28 Jul The Ramp-Up: Deploying the Right Resources to Support Event Growth
How essential are in-person events for human interaction and connection in this remote age?
Events have traditionally played a crucial role in human interaction and connection, providing opportunities for people to come together, share experiences, and form connections. We’ve entered an era characterized by advancements in technology and the widespread adoption of remote work and communication tools, which means the importance of events for human interaction and connection has evolved.
While remote interactions have certainly become more prevalent and convenient, events still hold significance in fostering meaningful connections. Face-to-face interactions at in-person events allow for richer and more nuanced communication. While video conferencing and virtual platforms can bridge some gaps, they don’t fully replicate the depth of face-to-face interaction.
In-person events also humanize us, allowing us to connect with others on a deeper level, fostering empathy and understanding. There’s tremendous value in serendipitous connections: Being physically together allows for casual encounters and impromptu conversations that may not happen in remote interactions. Shared experiences also foster meaningful connections. Whether at a concert, conference, or workshop, these collective experiences build a sense of community and camaraderie.
Virtual events have proven to be valuable, offering convenience, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness, making it easier for people to participate from different locations. However, they may not facilitate the same level of emotional connection as being physically present.
By balancing both digital and in-person experiences, deploying whichever is the right fit for any given situation, you can optimize the potential to help people make connections in this remote age.
The floodgates opened in 2022 with people craving connection and in-person interactions. What challenges do some major events continue to face because of this?
The sudden surge in people craving connection and in-person interactions in 2022 posed significant challenges for major events. Firstly, managing larger crowds is a crucial task for event organizers. With increased attendance, there is a need for more robust crowd management strategies to ensure the comfort and overall experience of participants. This includes considerations such as optimizing venue capacity, implementing effective queuing systems, and ensuring an efficient flow of people within event spaces.
Secondly, ensuring safety and security is even more paramount. With larger crowds, there is an increased risk of safety incidents and emergencies. Event organizers need to enhance their security measures, including screening protocols, crowd monitoring, and emergency response plans. Maintaining a safe environment is essential to prevent any potential risks and provide attendees with peace of mind.
Thirdly, logistical complexities arise due to the surge in demand. Major events face challenges in terms of accommodating the increased number of attendees, coordinating transportation and parking, managing accommodations, and handling the higher volume of logistical operations. Event organizers need to carefully plan and adapt their logistics infrastructure to cope with the amplified demand and ensure a seamless experience for participants.
One concern in the event management community is finding spaces for events with a planning time of under one year. Does JDC have any advice on how to handle situations such as this?
Prioritize flexibility in venue selection. Look for venues that offer versatile spaces and adaptable configurations, allowing for easy customization based on the event requirements. Consider venues that have multiple rooms or areas that can be combined or divided to accommodate different event sizes and layouts.
Leverage existing partnerships and networks. Reach out to local event management associations, industry professionals, or trusted vendors who may have knowledge of available spaces or connections with venue owners. Collaborating with these individuals can help expedite the process of finding suitable event venues, as they may have access to a broader range of options.
Consider non-traditional venues or alternative event formats. Explore unconventional spaces such as warehouses, outdoor locations, art galleries, or community centers that may not be conventionally associated with events but which can provide unique and memorable experiences. Additionally, consider alternative event formats such as pop-up events, mobile setups, or hybrid models that combine in-person and virtual components to maximize flexibility and adaptability.
These tips can help event management professionals navigate the challenge of finding suitable event spaces within a tight timeframe.
How is AI being used to create personalized experiences and interactions?
AI is being utilized by event planning management companies to create personalized experiences and interactions in several ways.
Data-driven personalization: AI algorithms analyze attendee data, including preferences, past behaviors, and feedback, to generate insights and create personalized event experiences. This data-driven approach helps event planners tailor event content, sessions, and recommendations to match individual interests and needs, enhancing attendee satisfaction.
Chatbots and virtual assistants: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are deployed to engage with attendees before, during, and after events. These AI systems can provide personalized event information, answer questions, offer recommendations, and assist with logistical queries. By delivering customized responses and guidance, chatbots enhance the overall attendee experience.
Dynamic scheduling and matchmaking: AI algorithms can optimize event schedules by considering attendee preferences, availability, and networking objectives. By intelligently matching attendees with relevant sessions, speakers, and networking opportunities, event planners can facilitate personalized interactions and increase attendee engagement.
By leveraging AI and adapting their strategies, event planning management companies can meet the increased demand for personalized events, offering attendees tailored experiences that cater to their individual preferences and objectives.
What can event professionals expect going into 2024?
One of the biggest shifts for 2024 is in the style and format of event trade shows. Traditionally, trade shows were characterized by rows of booths and exhibitors, with attendees walking through the aisles to gather information and make connections. However, this format is gradually evolving into a more dynamic and engaging experience, reminiscent of a fun festival-style event with indoor and outdoor spaces. Some key aspects of this changing trend are:
- Interactive and experiential elements to further engage attendees. Rather than a simple product display, exhibitors are creating immersive experiences through live demonstrations, hands-on activities, and interactive installations that allow attendees to directly interact with their offerings.
- Varied seating arrangements that are more flexible and informal, such as lounge areas, cozy seating nooks, and outdoor spaces.
- Incorporation of technology such as AR/VR, touchscreens, and interactive displays to create a wow factor and allow attendees to explore products and services in innovative ways.
- Outdoor spaces and open-air concepts that allow attendees to break away from traditional indoor settings, which promotes a more casual environment for networking and connection.
- Entertainment and live performances to create a fun festival-style experience. These entertainers include live music, dance performances, interactive games, and more – all based around the theme.
- Food and beverage experiences are also a big trend at events. Trade shows are incorporating food and beverage in creative ways, such as food trucks, pop-up bars, interactive food stations, or tasting experiences, which promote networking and socializing.
Event planners are striving to create environments that are inclusive for all attendees. What are some best practices to create an event that promotes diversity, accessibility, and a sense of belonging?
We have a number of resources dedicated to helping event planners create environments that are welcoming and accessible to all. Start by checking out our tip sheet for planning inclusive and accessible events. If you want to take a deeper dive into belonging and community, head over to Fuse, our program dedicated to infusing community thinking into event strategy. We have a number of resources there that speak to the importance of belonging.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to DE&I, but three over-arching tips will carry you far:
- Adopt a customer service mindset for all attendee interactions – whether they look like they have a disability or not. Remember that many disabilities are invisible, and a person can be more or less disabled by their environment. It’s up to us to create environments that enable access.
- Seek advice from user-experts who might face barriers to access at events. They will be able to point out potential hazards and roadblocks that you wouldn’t otherwise register.
- Create clear protocols to escalate attendee requests. If an attendee faces a barrier to access and speaks with a staff member who isn’t able to accommodate their request directly, the staff member should know who to call for swift and decisive assistance.