According to the 2017 Pulse Report, the events industry was worth more than £42 billion to the UK economy, and its growth over the past few years shows no signs of it faltering. One year after this same report was released, the value of the event’s market had increased by 8 per cent.
Perhaps surprisingly, the business sector dominates the industry through the sheer volume of conferences, networking sessions and seminars being held across the country on a daily basis. Indeed, most business professionals will attend a handful of different corporate events over the year.
The corporate sector accounts for almost half of the value of the UK events industry, or £19.9 billion in total. By comparison, despite the media attention they receive, mass participation consumer events – such as music festivals and sporting fixtures – have a combined value of approximately £4.7 billion.
In light of the huge number and variety of events held across the UK every year, organisers should keep a keen eye out for emerging trends and changing consumer preferences. After all, as the industry grows, so do consumer expectations. In particular, people are increasingly looking for experience-based events – whether this means attending an unusual venue, tasting unfamiliar food or trying a new activity – and event organisers need to cater to this demand by breaking away from tried and tested methods.
So how can organisers host an engaging event that will deliver value for the attendees? What’s more, how can businesses ensure they attract enough people to their event and maximise their profits? The answer to both questions is the same: by embracing new technologies.
Hosting a better event
The events industry has been revolutionised by technology over the past decade or so. And most obviously, there has been an increase in the number of technologies being used to deliver a better customer experience, whether that customer is a business professional or a consumer.
Virtual reality (VR) is a good example. We are now seeing VR at all manner of events – from traditional corporate functions to massive music festivals. VR experiences can range from the subtle to the immersive – the choice largely depends on the budget. However, even low-cost, accessible options can be extremely effective and engaging.
Simple features like offering product and service demos at the likes of exhibitions and trade fairs can grab consumer attention and entice attendees to directly interact with the business. This can help a business stand out, and most importantly build a lasting impression. There is no easier way to spark a conversation and ensure that people come to future events than by providing attendees with an interactive and immersive experience.
Simultaneously, VR offers an exciting way of enjoying the same events in new ways. Events like concerts and festivals can be enhanced through virtual attendance – an increasingly popular feature. Where attendees are unable to physically attend an event, VR can provide a great solution.
Creating more buzz
As well as using technology to create new experiences for event attendees, it is also a valuable way of creating more buzz for an event, particularly through social media.
The use of social media within the events industry is on the rise, with nearly 25 per cent of traffic to ticketing and registration pages coming from this source. Tapping into the advertising potential of giants like Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook is a cost-effective way of creating hype and attracting new customers.
Characterised by different types of users, tailoring marketing methods to the various qualities of each social media platform enables organisers to target their advertising at the desired audience.
Promoting the event through Instagram, for example, can be done through great visuals and photographs of past events. On LinkedIn, explaining the professional benefits of an event is more likely to entice attendees. Using Twitter hashtags, meanwhile, is a great way to spark engagement and online conversations while an event is taking place.
Event-goers also often share live updates on their social media, so ensuring that an event has good Wi-Fi coverage is crucial. With the rise of live-streaming in particular, fast and reliable Wi-Fi can encourage attendees to share their experience with their contacts. And at the same time as helping attendees to enjoy themselves and stay connected, having people post photos from the event boosts exposure, improving the organiser’s chances of luring new people to future iterations of their events.
Getting more attendees
Finding ways to make an event stand out can seem challenging. With 1.3 million business events held in the UK alone every year, marketing an event and targeting the right audience can be a daunting prospect. And of course, there seems little point in holding a great event if the organiser is unable to attract the optimal number of people.
As one of the more long-term trends within the events space, there has been a significant shift in the way people find events they want to attend. While advertising and mailing lists are often used by organisers, the vast majority of events are now discovered through online or mobile event listing sites and social media platforms.
The array of different listing sites and events platforms scattered across the internet, however, often makes it difficult to target the desired audience and encourage people to purchase tickets or register their interest.
Previously a time-consuming and often expensive task, promoting an event has been made significantly more straightforward thanks to marketing technology. Today, digital innovations such as Evvnt can simplify the process of attracting attendees and ensure that people find your event.
As an events marketing platform, Evvnt provides organisers with innovative software that makes sure an event has the biggest possible reach. Having built up a network of partner websites used for marketing events, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool delivers widespread awareness of events by automating the listing process. By completing a single listing, this can then be aggregated among thousands of other sites – saving event organisers time and money.
Rising above the noise of a crowded industry is difficult. However, utilising digital innovations can allow event marketers and organisers to create exciting experiences and sell out their events. Businesses have before them a truly exciting collection of digital tools they can use to engage with a target audience, and what’s more, these solutions are cost effective for all.
Richard Green, CEO and Founder, Evvnt
Image Credit: Coffee / Pixabay