Six Ways to Up Level Your Event in 2018

There is an increased expectation for hosts to up-level their event experience each year and there are always current and emerging trends to consider. So keep up or get passed by in 2018!

Wearable Technology

Microtechnology and mass production have made designing wearable devices more cost-effective than ever. So take the next step in engaging your audience at your live music event or conference with wearable technology.

One in four people check their phones every thirty minutes, while one in five check every ten. During an exciting event there is always an online conversation going on. Pictures and videos are being taken to share experiences with friends, family and coworkers. Lady Gaga brilliantly catered to her demographic during her Joanne World Tour by customizing her VIP badges with a phone charging lanyard. Technology like this allows your audience the freedom to post during the entire event, giving those suffering from the all-consuming feeling of missing out, an inside view. This would allow corporate conference attendees the freedom to endlessly engage on your app, avoid missing sessions and see everything your event has to offer without wasting time being tied to a charging station.

Get the most out of wearable technology by incorporating wristbands at your concert or conference. During a live music event, the audience can be a part of the performance with light up and sound activated wristbands that change color and pulsate throughout each song. Wristbands allow for paperless ticketing and cashless payments so the flow of the event won’t be interrupted, the lines will be quicker and attendees can get to their seats and be ready to enjoy the show.

Conference ticket holders can be sent personalized badges and wristbands prior to the event and the technology of the wristband will allow them to create individual profiles for themselves that other registered guests can view. This will allow your attendees to find networking opportunities before even arriving at your event. Registration can be a long process that upsets some and can have a negative impact on satisfaction scores, but with this technology, it can be as easy as scanning your band. This will make for a smoother experience from the start.

A Unique Space

Event planners are starting to see the importance in using unique venues and room layouts. A nontraditional venue will offer a memorable experience for guests and by changing the room layout, you will cater to different learning styles.

Straying away from a convention center or hotel ballroom offers guests a change of pace and if you include the venue announcement in your strategic marketing plan, your target audience will be more inclined to attend, share pictures and spread the word about your event. The nontraditional venue that you choose could also help promote your event through their social media sites because it will help draw attention to their space.

You want the layout of the event space to encourage participation and make it easy for attendees to network. Nontraditional venues can offer more of an opportunity for customization. Move past blank walls and a generic setup by turning an open warehouse into a multi-purpose space where you can accommodate groups or one on one sessions, offer alternative seating like bean bags or sofas or engage your speakers with a 360 degree set up.

Live streams

Expand your audience beyond your event capacity with live streaming. According to Digitell, 30% of people who watch a live streamed event will go to the same event in person the following year.

Live streaming can also accommodate your biggest advocates who have challenging schedules. You can now book speakers who may be in a different state or country. This creates an interactive experience between industry leaders throughout the world contributing challenges and best practices for an incredibly meaningful discussion.

Your organization can repurpose the live streamed footage over time so the benefits continue after the event is over. Post special moments on your website and social media, include footage in follow-up emails, add into blog posts and upload your live stream on YouTube to improve SEO.

Fitness Workshops

Making sure your clients and employees are engaged and happy is essential for your organization’s success and every time the holidays roll around, we hear the same New Year's resolutions: work out more and eat healthier food. One way you can contribute to their personal goals, is to incorporate physical activity into the workday. According to Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the brain and the body can be energized with ten minute “sparks” of aerobic activity.

A great example of collaboration through physical activity is the “Get Healthy Get Together” event at the Long Center in Austin, Texas. This event is open to anyone who wants to register and takes place every spring. It encourages health, wellness and connection through small workouts, meditation and a panel discussion.

You can start small in your office by encouraging everyone to take a five minute break or two. These breaks should involve stretching, walking and drinking water. Incorporate wellness breaks into your event sponsorship packages. Sponsors can provide healthy foods like fruit at a snack station or sponsor short movement classes such as yoga outside or stretching in breakout rooms in between sessions. Make a conscious effort to help keep everyone on track to reach their lifestyle goals in 2018.

Virtual Reality (VR)

Give your event attendees a fully immersive experience and create better brand connection with virtual reality.

Brands such as the New York Times have been utilizing VR to tell stories in fresh and exciting ways. The NYT’s appealed to their younger readers by adding exciting dimension to the traditional printed version of the paper. They sent online subscribers Google Cardboard VR glasses to view the film, "Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart", which allowed them to explore the planet in a stimulating way.

According to Google’s Consumer Survey, more than one third of adults say they want to try VR. At your next event, give them the chance by creating a user-friendly way to demo your products. VR gives attendees a chance to virtually use the product and see the benefits first hand. VR creates an impactful moment that will stay fresh in users’ minds and enhance their relationship with a brand. To promote your next event, show potential attendees how great your event will be ahead of time by creating a short virtual version they can be a part of.

Social Media and Graffiti Walls

Let your attendees view and give live feedback of your event with a social media wall. A social media wall encourages them to be a part of the online conversation and post about your event while they’re present. Create an event hashtag to track what is being said and display the content. You will see posts, questions, opinions and photos that your attendees are sharing.

Another way attendees can convey their feelings about the event is with a digital graffiti wall. This element offers a more interactive way for guests to express themselves. They can grab a spray can and it will look and feel like they are creating real street art. Each attendee’s masterpiece can be printed on merchandise like mugs, t-shirts and tote bags to give them a personalized souvenir that they can use or wear for years to come.

By adding features like a social media or digital graffiti wall, you’re giving attendees the chance to participate in your event in ways they haven’t done before.

Need more ideas on how to stand out in 2018? Read our blog on experiential marketing to see what other organizations have accomplished by thinking outside of the box!