If you are an event director or promoter, you’ve got to stay on top of current trends to make sure you’re planning smarter, operating efficiently, and developing new revenue sources. Here are 6 trends you should be aware of and consider incorporating into your event(s).
1) Personalized Experiences
Consumers have greater choices across the board these days—from food to travel and on-demand entertainment. There is an increasing level of expectation that people can attend an event that closely matches their passions, pursuits, and wallet. Many events have begun generating larger audiences and increased sales by offering a variety of packages, including VIP, season passes, and a la carte options. Eventbrite estimates that VIP experiences, in particular, account for a sizeable difference: 10% of event ticket sales, generating 25% of the revenue.
2) Hybrid Events
In an increasingly crowded marketplace, differentiating your event by adding complementary activities and attractions can broaden appeal. Attendees are likely to come with larger groups of family and friends. Events that include a wide range of activities and entertainment offer a way for people to feel that they are spending their money wisely without having to travel too far from home. With more to see and do attendees are likely to stay longer, spend more, and mark their calendars for your next event!
3) Mobile Technology
Online ticketing can be a huge asset in logistics planning for events by anticipating crowd flow and where the most staff will be needed among other considerations. When it’s time for the gates to open, online ticketing plus a check-in technology - barcode/QR scanners and apps - can avoid bottlenecks and long wait times.
Online ticketing can also help make clear lines to successful marketing efforts. A ticket transaction can be directly linked with a referral source: email, social media, online ads, search engines, and more. This information allows organizers to make smarter marketing decisions leading up to future events.
4) RFID & Smart Cards
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) can be built into wristbands worn by attendees and can serve as the method for a number of services including: ticketless entry, cashless purchases, and automatic social media check-ins or status updates. This last option also turns your attendees into promoters! Huge outfits - like Disney World - have begun using this technology, making a wristband the only item someone needs to go about their day. Similarly, smart cards are prepaid cards that provide rapid entry via scanners and simplify merchandise transactions with funds that are preloaded or linked to a bank account.
The data generated by RFID wristbands and smart cards allows organizers up-to-the-minute access to revenue totals and the ability to track top-selling merchandise and popular attractions. Band and cardholders spend upward of 40% more than attendees who have to open a purse or wallet for each transaction.
5) Social Media
Social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more - has grown to be a major component and attendance driver for events. Successful events use social media to generate excitement, encourage conversation and sharing, and build a following. This following is invaluable year after year as it grows exponentially and users share their experiences with friends.
6) Live Streaming
More and more events are choosing to engage their audience through live content, including streaming concerts, interviews, and more. It is a way to directly interact with fans and reach a bigger audience that isn’t constrained by geography or venue size. Ever since Coachella began live streaming on YouTube in 2011, attendance at the actual event has grown each year causing them to have to expand the size of the event site. The live stream that the first year was viewed 4 million times, and inevitably a number of those tuning in decided to attend in person the following year. 2016’s attendance was 99,000 and 2017’s jumped to 125,000.
At the end of the day, you need to give the customer the experience that they want. That may be a drop-in pass for a single afternoon or an all-immersive, week-long, VIP experience. Expand your market by adding related activities and attractions. Avoid the hassles of long lines and lost tickets by using available technology, and keep your entire audience engaged before, during, and after the event via social media and live streaming.