With the new year having already rolled around, now is the time to pause and take a moment to consider what 2018 will hold for the events industry. A fairly accurate summary would be to say "it'll be like 2017, but multiplied by two" – trends around technology, promotion and engagement that began or took hold in 2017 are only set to grow in the next 12 months.
What are the industry trends to look out for in 2018?
Virtual Reality creeps ever closer to the fore
2018 will see hotel and air-travel prices in Australia increase by 5.7 and 5.4 per cent respectively, according to Carson Wagonlit Travel's 2018 Global Travel Forecast. As such, attending events in person is only going to become more expensive over the coming year. Thankfully, attending an event virtually is easier than ever before.
While it's true that sales of dedicated virtual reality (VR) headsets like the HTC Vive and the Occulus Rift have failed to set the world alight, taking part in a VR event doesn't require such expensive and unwieldy equipment. With only a smartphone and an appropriate headset, transporting oneself virtually to an event is as simple as connecting to the live video stream.
Event hosts that wish to provide this experience will need to make use of 360 cameras like the Insta360 One, the Samsung Gear 360 or one of the professional, high-end options on the market. Depending on what model you choose, doing so can be as simple as connecting the camera to a phone and broadcasting direct on your livestreaming platform of choice.
VR doesn't have to be limited to virtual event attendance either – you can use it to provide tailor-made experiences on the event floor itself, further immersing your attendees in the message you're communicating.
Live streaming continues to grow
However innovative 360 video and VR is, it will still be a niche outlet for remote viewing events in 2018. Regular-video livestreaming will still be the primary way users experience an event from the comfort of their own office or home. As such, it's important for event organisers to get their live streaming operations up to scratch (or hire a crack team like CMS Australasia to do the heavy lifting for you).
There are many commercial platforms available to host a livestream, such as Facebook Live, Youtube and Twitch. Each have their pros and cons, so it's worth investigating the differences between each. For many of our customers, it can mean dedicated secure hosting to be set up.
The event itself is just the beginning
Think about the event as something greater than just a function at an exhibition hall.
In 2018, simply hosting an event will no longer be enough to make it stick in people's minds. Instead, think about the event as something greater than just a function at an exhibition hall – the experience is greater than this. Conceptualising the event in this holistic way will help drive people to attend and remember their attendance afterwards.
Before the event, post regular and engaging content on your social media channels to promote it. Do you have a teaser for something that'll happen at the event you can share? Something to spark some anticipation and buzz? Creating an event hashtag is a great way to measure and channel any pre-event engagement you drum up.
During and after the event, you can post pictures, de-briefs of key ideas and messages that were told, and testimonials from event attendees. Anything that can position the event in attendees minds as a positive experience for them to remember.
AR, Mixed Reality & 4D
Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality and 4D presenting are also now emerging as viable options to run at live events. Already revolutionising the medical education sector, these formats will become more accessible during 2018.
It's always hard to predict the future but there's one thing you can be sure of – CMS Australasia will be your number one partner for hosting an engaging event in 2018. For more information on how we can help, request a proposal today.