A new free ebook from MPI explores trends from onsite logistics to event technology, as well as some of the key areas affecting events and hospitality now.
A new 46-page ebook from Meeting Professionals International, What to Know About Business Events in 2023, delves into key trends for the industry, from event design and digitization to hiring and retention, addressing skills gaps and why Millennials are exiting their positions.
When it comes to events themselves, the ebook targets three main areas, event design, technology and logistics, as being the most likely to affect meetings and events this year, which it predicts will be a time of rapid change.
Event design — having a well-thought-out event strategy has long been a key ingredient for success, and that is going to be doubly true this year, according to the ebook. Among the key pieces of an event strategy now are developing goals that are SMART, meaning specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Also vital are having objectives that can be measured, key performance indicators (KPIs) that lead to measurable outcomes, and return on investment (ROI).
“If the event does not meet the intended goals or ROI, then it’s a waste of money, time and resources,” Tammy Kockaya, CMP, CMM, chief strategy and growth office, Event Leadership Institute (which now is part of MPI), in the ebook.
Event technology — as event technology analyst Corbin Ball of Corbin Ball Associates points out in the ebook, the pandemic has pushed digitization ahead of where it would have been had COVID not happened, perhaps by as much as a decade. “In the last three years, there has been unprecedented growth. A huge amount of funding was dumped into virtual and hybrid event technologies. We are farther ahead in those areas than we were when it started, and when it comes to all the best practices learned.” Among those leaping ahead were major event tech platforms and online registration systems, which Ball notes are now available in one unified system. The rise in virtual events has brought along a quantum leap in analytics now available to planners as well. Other top technologies to keep an eye on now are artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots like ChatGPT, as well as more established event-centric chatbots. On the horizon? The metaverse, NFTs and TV-production–level studio technology.
The downside to all this innovation, however, is the cost of providing a digital version in addition to an in-person event, commonly known as a hybrid meeting. “Meeting planners have found that hybrid events can be twice as expensive and twice as complex,” he says in the ebook.
Event logistics — the continued strength of the hybrid meeting is adding logistical complexities along with costs, the ebook notes. Especially complicated is trying to find ways to provide an online experience that’s as compelling as what the on-site attendees are having. While the experience of being at the closing concert on its own likely can’t be replicated in digital format, planners need to find a different way to provide that engagement, Courtney McGee, CMP emeritus, Owner and CEO of Event Logistics, says in the ebook. ““We’ll have that artist do an interview so we can broadcast or livestream it. If they are sitting in the audience, they see the behind-the- scenes action. They get to have that different kind of engagement, so they don’t feel completely disconnected.”
Other event logistics that should be on your radar screen this year, the ebook says, are health and safety in the venue environment (especially ventilation); reducing costs on logistics; and finding ways to make all that new technology work for events. While many planners are just perplexed by NFTs (non-fungible tokens), McGee provides an example of how these could work for events. “Coachella used NFTs to create tokens, instead of tickets,” she says. “It also turns into a souvenir. That’s something that’s going to be really attractive to people.”
For more on these trends, along with workforce issues such as how to attract and retain staff — including Millennials — and which skills are going to be key for events now and into the future, you can access a free copy (registration required) on the MPI website.
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