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Five Event Planning Trends to Watch for in 2016

Five Event Planning Trends to Watch for in 2016

It’s a very exciting time to be in the event planning industry.  Meeting, convention and event coordinators have more tools available to us than ever before to manage the logistics involved in planning multi-day conventions, coordinating schedules, registrations, menus, speakers, vendors, catering, transportation and so much more.

Voted Oregon’s top meeting and convention facility by Northwest Meetings & Events, it’s our job to pay attention to the changes and trends happening in this ever-changing field.  Here are some of our predictions on what event planners should expect to see in 2016:

1. More Engagement and Experiences for Attendees

One of the biggest trends we are now seeing is a need for more interactions and engagement with attendees before, during and after the event.  In 2016, event hosts will have more opportunities to leverage technologies that enable them to build an active community and extend the life cycle of their event.

“Event planners have traditionally cared more about getting the logistics right,” says blogger By Al Wynant in 2016 Meeting and Event Trends for Event Planners. “However, with events becoming more experienced-based, planners are now playing an important role alongside the marketing department and the product development team around engaging attendees through the full lifecycle of the event. Events will no longer be judged on revenues alone. Benchmarks will be set for engagement levels and increased overall participation by onsite and at home participants.”

Event organizers are also looking to provide positive experiences for attendees outside the actual meeting and the convention. In 2016, we believe there will be more of a demand for centrally located venues where attendees (and those who are traveling with them) will be encouraged to get out and explore the area by taking some time to check out local retailers, coffee shops, cafes, museums, historical sites, parks etc. Click here to see an example of the many destinations Salem Convention Center event attendees have enjoyed in the past.

2.Convenience and Full Service Event Venues

Let’s face it. We’re busy and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down in 2016. Event planners need venues with an “all-under-one-roof” approach now more than ever. As organizations and individuals expect more from their events and meetings, planners are going to rely more and more on flexible meeting venues that offer a variety of amenities like staffing, decor, catering, technology assistance, lodging and more for their clients.

3. “All-in-One” Event Planning Tools

Yes, there is an app for just about every aspect of event planning, however 2016 will be the year of a more streamlined approach. We believe more planners will move away from the multiple tools approach and will opt in to one tool to accomplish all aspects of registration, engagement, program and community building. While we could write an entire post dedicated to the best online and mobile tools for for event planners, here are just a few worth checking out.

  • Eventinterface
    Allows planners to manage all aspects of the planning process, from the registration process to the management of the event community all while increasing efficiency and mitigating overall technology spend.
  • Bizzabo
    Allows organizers to create successful events by empowering them to build websites, sell tickets and maximize experiences with their all-in-one event success platform.
  • Planning Pod
    Online event management software and wedding planner software built for event planning firms, in-house corporate and non-profit planners and event venues who don’t have the time or budget to invest in a big, enterprise-based event management software solution.
  • Azavista
    Online event registration and event management software, developed especially for the corporate and enterprise user. Manage all your events on one platform.

Click here to find more outstanding tech tools for event planners.

4. Increased Demand for Sustainability

Now more than ever, event organizers value meeting and convention venues with environmentally friendly practices. Socially conscious event attendees are also demonstrating a preference for venues that are committed to providing locally sourced food, recycling, waste reduction and prevention, energy efficiency and conservation, and more. The environmentally sustainable “trend” has become a mainstay and is not going anywhere soon.

5.Even More Social Media

Speaking of “trends” not going anywhere, event planners can count on social media tools and other community building strategies to play an even bigger role in the coming year. Using social media to enhance your event is nothing new, however, we believe 2016 will be the year when a shift will take place and MOST organizations (rather than some) will implement social media into their event planning. We could devote 2 or 3 more posts to this topic, but for the sake of time, here are the big 3 that meeting planners should be paying attention to:

1. Use a meetings hashtag. Tom Spano, Head of Sales and Marketing at Goombal, shares a smart analogy in this post. “Think of the official event hashtag as a highway you want all your attendees to drive on. If you don’t build a highway, the attendees will create a bunch of individual side roads and they won’t be driving together on the same road to the same place. It’s not enough just to build the highway–you also have to build signs so everyone knows where the highway is and that they should be driving on it.” Smart tip: Pre-fill your event’s Twitter hashtag into your mobile event app. This way anyone tweeting with the app will automatically use the same hashtag.

2. Fun Photo Opportunities! Create an environment conducive to social sharing by install photo opps. Encourage your attendees to use the event hashtag in their post.

3. Live Blog. Ask your “event insiders” to live-blog during the event. Live-blogging is a great way to get people excited about the sessions and attractions at your event.

So, there you have it- five trends we expect to see more of in the event planning industry in 2016.  For additional details and more predictions, please check out these story resources below.

Story Resources-
Guidebook.com- Build and publish mobile apps for all types of devices
2016 Meeting and Event Trends for Event Planners
Fundamental Event Planning Tips
8 Trends for Event Marketing in 2016 and Beyond

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