Four Experts Predict 2015’s Top Meeting Trends

As 2014 comes to a close, a big question remains for event professionals: What are the big meeting trends for 2015? Omnience asked some of the leading experts in the industry to share their thoughts on 2015 meeting trends and here are their top trends.

 

 

1. Data

Liz King – CEO, Chief Event Specialist, Liz King Events

2015 will be all about DATA. Thanks to robust registration systems, mobile apps, online communities and other event technology, event planners have more data at our fingertips than we know what to do with. The New Year will bring a large focus on collecting, analyzing and making decisions based on data.

 

2. Smartphone Omnipresence

Brandt Krueger – Consultant, Meeting & Event Technology Instructor, Event Leadership Institute Co-Host, Producer, Event Alley Show

We’ve seen steady growth in the adoption of smartphones, and not surprisingly, event/meeting apps. I think that growth will continue and we will reach the point we’ve all been waiting for since about 2011, where we’ll see not just a slight, but a solid majority of all conference, meeting, and event attendees in the US, Europe, and much of APAC having a smartphone. Likewise, the vast majority of conferences or meetings will have an app associated with it.  Apps like CrowdMics only work if the vast majority of an audience have smartphones.  Once we’ve reached that stage, where we’re not worrying anymore about the users who don’t have smartphones because they’re such a minority, then the real innovation will begin.  Event apps will start to move to the next level, and by 2016 we’ll have a whole new set of criteria for what we expect from event technology!

3. Time-Shift Learning Opportunities

Jeff Hurt – EVP, Education & Engagement at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting

In times past, the majority of learning was appointment based. We had to show up on a specific date, at a specific time at a specific location to listen to a scheduled speaker share their knowledge. Today, attendees want to time-shift learning opportunities. They want a mix of scheduled and available just-when-they-need-it opportunities. This means conferences need to repurpose some education sessions into smaller chunks of time, tag them appropriately for SEO and then make them available online. Some conference sessions are recorded and scheduled for a replay where attendees can interact with each other about the content with the speaker.

Jeff, shared a few other conference education trends on his blog and you can read more here.

 

4. Content Marketing

Elizabeth Glau – CMP, Building Blocks Social Media Founder

Events are the best place for your customers or members to experience your organization’s story and culture – which helps create loyalty. Why not capture that experience to use and share after the event? For such a long time, we’ve only thought of events in a silo. They should be intimately connected to all other sales and marketing efforts. 

Event professionals, we’d love to hear from you. How are you preparing for these trends?  What other trends do you see emerging? Comment below with your answer or prediction!

 

Just for you: A short video with a BIG idea

Remember the good old days, when marketers could get their budgets approved with nebulous justifications, such as “building brand awareness” and “generating leads”?

Not any more! Today, the C-suite wants proof of what it is getting from its investment in marketing.

In-person events, of course, are no exception. Management will demand metrics on how similar events have performed in the past, and the plan to show value in the future.

That’s the framework for a powerful short story Omnience just produced in our new video. Watch what happens when a CMO is “thinking big” in her budget – and needs help with measurable results to show management. Hint: CFOs don’t like big surprises!

Two Big Myths About Green Meetings

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It’s time for meeting planners to stop putting green meetings initiatives on the back burner and start realizing that some of their initial assumptions about a green meeting might not be true.

I attended the Plan Your Meetings (PYM) Live event several weeks ago in Atlanta and had the opportunity to speak to a room full of both meeting planners and suppliers. Given my involvement with the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC), which was discussed in an earlier blog, I spoke about the importance of green meetings. While GMIC has provided easy access to the tools to help make a green meeting vision into a reality, I still sense hesitation amongst industry professionals so I’ve identified, with the help of my friends from GMIC, two big myths about green meetings.
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Introducing a new Omnience/IBM solution for private social networking at events

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Events excel by combining learning with networking. That’s why event sponsors look for ways to encourage attendee engagement – with the event sponsor’s team and with other attendees.

Event managers tell us they have lacked collaboration technology to encourage private social networking before, during and after major conferences and events. Typically, their existing networking tools do not integrate well with event management software and can only link to personal networking sites.

True, you’ll find plenty of mobile apps for event attendees on the market, and many claim to have great social networking capabilities. But most apps suffer from two pitfalls: (more…)

The Path to Event Excellence [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Putting on a great event takes a ton of hard work. The work starts long before the event opens and continues long after the event ends. Throughout, there are a zillion or so activities to perform, chunks of information to analyze, and decisions to be made.

At Omnience, we call this the Plan-Manage-Measure cycle.  On our website, an overview of the cycle explains it in 424 words, followed by a deeper dive of almost 1,400 words.  It occurred to me, what if our website visitor has just a minute or so to grasp what we’re doing? How can we visually portray what’s going on?

So our new infographic, “The Path to Event Excellence,” was born today to show how Ontrac event technology improves the experience for the event team and for attendees. Check it out. Event planners and owners, you’ll see yourself on left side of the path. Your attendee is on the right side.

 

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Event hosts: Steal some technology ideas from the entertainment industry!

RFID

Recently I posted a rave review of my pre-opening visit to Atlanta’s new College Football Hall of Fame. The venue creates fascinating interactive experiences using RFID technology supplied by Omnience partner Stark RFID.

The CFHOF was a real eye-opener for me. It vividly demonstrated how imaginative uses of RFID can engage attendees personally. Thanks to the RFID chip in my necklace badge (a.k.a “credential”), the entire venue “knew” me. Wherever I went, one piece of personal information my favorite college football team triggered another fun digital experience. For example, this one:

CFHOF is just the latest in the attractions and entertainment industry to exploit RFID’s potential.  Music festivals, such as Bonnaroo, are finding great applications for the technology, too. (more…)

Utilising your delegates’ devices to drive interactivity

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This week, we are featuring a guest blog written by Dean Ronnie, a UK-based marketing professional working for Miromedia on behalf of Conference Care.

At events today, it is increasingly getting harder and harder to capture people’s attention. Time is precious and even if someone is attending your event, that’s not to say you will have their full attention.

Face-to-face events are a great way for people to engage with your brand, but advancing technologies mean there are ever more ways for people to become distracted. The majority of your attendees will be carrying smartphones, tablets or laptop computers, all of which are devices distracting. The key to getting maximum attendee engagement though is to utilise these devices to your advantage. Once you are done with venue finding, you should then consider the technology you can employ to make use of the devices your attendees will be carrying.
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Technology makes you a game-day star at the new College Football Hall of Fame

Jack Tyson, VP of Sales and Marketing of Stark RFID, and Casey Cote, CEO of Omnience

Note to meeting planners, football fans, and technology freaks: For a “Wow!” experience, put Atlanta’s new College Football Hall of Fame on your must-visit list.

The football-shaped building doesn’t open until this weekend, but I had the good fortune to get a preview tour this week.

Let me give you a glimpse of the fun in store for you—and hopefully, your family and clients, too.  After getting my RFID-chip-enabled entry credential, game day started!  I walked through the simulated tunnel into what the Hall of Fame’s president calls “a big, crazy football playground. “ (more…)

How green is your meeting?

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I didn’t know that the average conference attendee generates more than 20 pounds of waste per day, four times what the same person would generate at home. I didn’t know that an attendee’s water usage, on average, is triple that of a home resident.

But now I know – thanks to my colleague Allyson Wagner, who assists Omnience clients with meeting planning, site logistics and sustainability initiatives. She serves on the board for the Atlanta Chapter of the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) and is GMIC’s immediate past president.

Yes, Allyson has raised my eyebrows on what it means to implement green meeting practices.  GMIC, along with the Convention Industry Council’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) and ASTM International (a standards-making body), worked several years to build environmental standards for sustainable meetings. The result, published last year, is the ASTM Standards for Green Meetings.
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Does your sales force need more face time with buyers? 15 ways to use technology.

problem

Recently I was interviewed by Meeting Pros Radio on how technology is reinventing event management. And I mentioned that technology-assisted processes can jump-start-and shorten-the sales cycle.

Actually, the term “sales cycle” is rapidly becoming a relic of the past. “Buying cycle” and “Buyer’s journey” more accurately depict how sales really happen in modern times.


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