Written by Richard Green, CEO and founder, Evvnt
Whether it be attending a business conference, a Premier League match or food festival, the UK public are highly engaged when it comes to events. The numbers speak for themselves – the 2018 Pulse Report estimated the country’s events industry to be worth an impressive £42.3bn. What’s more, this represents an 8% increase on the previous year’s figures.
Of all the events people regularly attend, it may come as a surprise that corporate and business events account for 47% of total industry spend, or £19.9bn per annum. For more popular social events like concerts, festivals and sporting events, which generate significant social buzz, their combined value is much smaller – approximately £4.7bn. Although undoubtedly an impressive figure, business-focused events dominate the industry through sheer numbers.
Characterised by promising growth, the events industry is also experiencing a rapid change in consumer preferences. Once happy to settle for social functions with little entertainment value, consumers now have noticeably higher expectations. Recent trends include a demand for activity-based and interactive events, where attendees can try something new and create a memorable experience.
In a rapidly changing environment, digital innovation can help event organisers make a successful event and attract the desired audience. Because, of course, the fact remains that there is little sense in putting on an exciting event if you cannot get enough attendees to fill a venue’s capacity.
With social media having an ever-increasing influence over many people’s daily lives, organisers need to be able to cater to demand by providing strong and reliable Wifi. Allowing attendees to access their favourite social media platforms – Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – while at an event can at the same time increase exposure and audience engagement.
Good Wifi is beneficial for all parties, as people will be more inclined to share their experiences of the event in real-time through Twitter hashtags, Snapchat, lnstagram stories and live-streaming. This will complement the photos and videos that are posted after the event, with the overall result being that friends and connections of attendees will engage with the posts; a simple and cost-effective way of boosting awareness of an event and enticing new interest. An initial investment in Wi-Fi will quickly be rewarded with greater online exposure.
Breaking away from tired formats
Event-goers are constantly looking for something new and exciting, so it is equally important that organisers find ways to offer more than just an event – they must try to offer an experience. Consequently, increasing numbers of people are planning events at unconventional venues like ball pit bars and venturing out to late-night functions held at museums.
Activity-focused experiences are becoming more widespread too, with interactive art displays and rooftop yoga sessions soaring in popularity (to name just a few examples). Tapping into this potential can boost attendance and transform normal events into something new and exciting.
Providing innovative food and drinks options can encourage different people to come to an event – so make sure you have some interesting options when necessary. Restaurant pop-ups and food festivals are on the rise, with creative catering becoming a deciding factor when considering whether to attend an event.
The main point here is that regardless of the category of an event – whether it is a corporate networking function or a comedy festival – including some unusual or interactive elements that attendees can tell their friends and family about is likely to spark interest and boost engagement.
Marketing a successful event
Away from hosting a great event, the other challenge is to get as many people through the doors as possible. This requires effective marketing.
Marketing an event has traditionally been a time-consuming and costly experience. Making individual listings on dozens of different sites in the hope of improving ticket sales or registrations is often inefficient and can be daunting for many organisers when attempting to identify which sites they would like to target.
Thankfully, a wide range of solutions exist that can help businesses and organisers reach wider audiences and increase the number of people purchasing tickets. With most people nowadays discovering events through listing sites and social media platforms, digital innovations such as Evvnt can simplify the process of attracting attendees. As an events marketing platform, Evvnt makes life easier by providing 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 the event organisers time and money.
Ultimately, to keep pace with the changing environment and effectively organise and market a successful event, it is crucial that organisers take heed of the trends shaking up the industry and consider the technological solutions available to them. Many of these solutions are inexpensive and simple, yet the results delivered could be highly effective.
Event organisers need to make themselves aware of the latest tech trends and identify which tools will be most relevant for their next event. In doing so, they will also be able to create an event that offers a unique or interactive experience, catering to the changing expectations of consumers.