2019 Event Trends. What to keep an eye out for

Based on my personal experience and the know-how of our event planning partners, I’ve put together a list on what we at Oveit expect to be the 2019 event trends.  This is far from being exhaustive, but I hope it will help you prepare for the year that lays ahead. Let’s have a meaningful and successful 2019.

Authenticity

In order to emotionally connect with attendees, authenticity needs to be one of the most important assets of your events. Line-ups, activities, brand activations and displays, everything will need to be in harmony with your stated values.

Event authenticity is mostly about being faithful to your stated values and loyal to your attendees. Trends will come and go, but your identity (based on your beliefs) cannot change from one year to another. Authenticity determines the trust in your brand, but it’s also the second most important factor for millennials to decide if they support a brand or not (the first being loyalty discounts).

authenticity as event trends for 2019. arrow showing that for 90% of millennials brand authenticity is important

Authenticity means being faithful to your stated values and loyal to your guests. It means that you are not afraid to show who you are and that you are not afraid to stand for what you believe in. Not everybody will be on the same page with you, but it is impossible to please everyone. And not everybody should be your guest, partner or sponsor – as your sets of values should apply to them as well.

For example: if you host your events outdoor and plead for ecology, having a company known for polluting the environment as a sponsor will make you look untrue (to be gentle).

Stay true to yourself and stay true to your attendees. In the long run, it will really make a difference.

Families with small children – one of the 2019 Event Trends

When it comes to events in general (and music festivals in particular), in the last 4 years families with small children saw the highest increase when it comes to attending rate. A study conducted by Starcom shows that more than 25% of the questioned young parents consider concert/festivals as a proper experience for children. And this should be of no surprise as millennials, members of the generation that chooses experiences over goods, have reached the parenthood age.

This change brings new challenges for the event organizers, but new opportunities as well. Child activities are becoming “a thing” at events, but are also a good way for brands to use them as new marketing channels. New sponsors can be interested in your events. You can now open new revenue streams by offering dedicated services for families with children.

Obviously, if your event is not child-friendly (for reasons that are beyond your power) you should mention it from the beginning. Don’t try to attract this category for events where kids will not feel welcome or where it is not safe for them. As I have mentioned before, it’s important that you create an authentic experience and this may mean that your event is not crafted for everyone.

Personalized experiences. Based on the relevant information

I’ve always been a huge fan of personalized experiences. I strongly believe that this is a great way of showing your guests they truly matter to you, that they are not just another sold ticket.

However – to offer personalized experiences you will first need to know what your attendees like. You will need to collect data about their favorite artist/speaker, along with their demographics, in order to create some cohort reports that will get you one step closer to creating a memorable experience.

This is why we have developed our NFC-based engagement features. We opted for NFC because it’s fast and secure. And believe me, attendees treasure their time. Nobody will be happy to repeat the same process over and over again each time they want to engage an exhibitor or join a gamification feature. The times when attendees were forced to manually enter all their information are over. Or so it should. Our software allows them to communicate with just a simple tap of the hand.

The same process is available to check their purchasing habits. Data is paired to your attendees’ information in order to use them for your current and future events.

Use a registration form to collect attendee data. Allow them to engage your exhibitors with a simple tap. GDPR compliant, of course.

photo showing 2 people and a device used for attendee engagement
Tablet and NFC reader used for attendee engagement. Source: Pioneers ’18

Connect attendee data to your cashless payment system information. See what attendees like and what they dislike. See which are the areas they like to spent their time in or which sessions/artist they find attractive.

Offer a customized experience without being too intrusive. Your attendees want a customized experience. But they don’t want to make an effort each time you need their data.

Contact us for more info on the “tap and engage” feature.

Social responsibility. More than a 2019 event trend

With generation Z reaching the “wow, I love events” age, social responsibility should get an important place on your agenda. Why? Because soon Gen Z and millennials will represent the most important age segment of your guests. And they take social responsibility extremely seriously.

Yes, by creating communities, events are changing the world, making it a better place. But this may not be enough.

Useful ideas:

  • Have Non-profits as exhibitors at your events; this way you will help them engage attendees and make their causes know.
  • Redirect a percentage from your tickets income to a social cause.
  • Support an existing cause by offering them exposure in your marketing campaigns.
  • If you host outdoor events you can re-energize an area with a damaged environment and host your event there.

But your efforts need to be for something you believe in. Don’t do it just for the publicity. People can tell.

As mentioned in a previous article, 80% of Gen Z feels that social responsibility is mandatory for brands. It’s not a trend, not just an option, it’s something that we all must support. It’s our duty.

Event marketing trends for 2019. Micro-influencers

Forbes recently published the  “11 trends that will shape marketing in 2019” article, pointing out 11 marketing trends that we all should focus on this year. But one really caught my attention: the growth of micro-influencers. I admit I have a personal affinity toward influencer marketing. I have written an article on how to use influencer marketing to promote your events, so I will not plead for it again. But I will mention one of the most important reasons for which influencer marketing is on the rise (besides banner blindness and the likes):

  • influencer marketing is closer to  word of mouth marketing than it is to traditional marketing

And this is BIG. We trust other humans’ feedback over a brand more than we trust its marketing messages. It’s reasonable. People follow social media influencers for the content they create, but also because they like them as humans. They trust them. This is why Influencer Marketing is so powerful.

Micro-influencers, a 2019 (event marketing) trend, are social influencers that have a smaller group of followers, but also the strongest engagement with their audience. Their connection is genuine. Their content is not created for everyone but suited for a niche. And that.

Would you rather work with a celebrity? That’s fine, but remember that 70% of the millennials prefer a brand that is endorsed by a non-celebrity influencer.

1 on 1 meetings

There’s nothing new here: conferences and business events are gold when it comes to meeting new people. If you are hosting such events I am sure you have noticed that the networking element is something your attendees really appreciate. In fact, this is so important that a google search for “networking at events” gives us over 350M results.  And this is why it made it to my 2019 event trends list.

print screen from google search of "networking tat events"
source: google.com

There are tons of articles that are trying to teach people how to become better and better are networking. And people are reading them. I’ve heard it from hundreds of attendees. The interest is real.

What can you do to help attendees network?

Start with a designated area. Pioneers ’18 had a designated area for one on one meetings and people loved it.

Have a 1:1 meeting feature in your event app.

Use a designated 1:1 meeting app: using our open API it’s easier than ever to send collected data (through registration forms) to third-party apps.

Help people connect and your event will quickly become the “go to” for professionals from multiple industries.

Although the year has just begun and surprises may occur, these are 6 of the 2019 event trends that I will keep an eye for. Hope my article helps you prepare for this great year that lays ahead.

The chip that helps you create better experiences

Although the title of the article refers to a small piece of plastic,  it really focuses on something much more important: the way in which technology can dramatically improve the experience you offer through events. It’s not the first time when we talk about how #eventtech allows us to create better experiences. It’s also not the first time when we talk about NFC technology and how it can be used within events. But today I want to retake together the customer journey and see how “a small piece of plastic” can make a BIG difference. For everyone involved: event planners, security team, sponsors, vendors, and most important…attendees.

Festival goer tapping NFC wristband to NFC reader

Festival-goers attend your events for the memories that will remain with them forever. They want to have fun and your ultimate goal is to make sure they will. But their fun means many sleepless nights for you and your team. It means speed, accuracy, well-crafted messages, information, and sweat.

Access control

Here is the journey attendees will take at your festival and here is how this small piece of plastic will lead their way.       

Let’s start with check-in, the first on-site interaction between you the attendee. Queueing is one of the biggest problem festival goers (and planners) face and that small piece of plastic can dramatically change things. How? If you pair the festival NFC wristband to the ticket and attendees receive them before they actually arrive on site (via mail or pre-registration parties) the check-in process will become much faster. And what a better way to welcome your attendees than a queueless view? It can also be used to access different areas on site will not just allow attendees to do this, but it will also capture their information.

Use cashless payments to create better experiences

Cashless payments are a real game-changer for events. Bar queues are, by far, the most annoying part of any big (or small) festival or concert. I will always remember that time when I missed half of Robbie Williams performance because I wanted to buy some beer water. Cashless payments dramatically reduce the waiting time for your attendees. A report conducted by American Express states that cashless payments are 63% faster than cash and 53% faster the standard card payments (but imagine having an internet problem…that would not be nice!). But speed is not the only benefit that cashless payments bring to the table. Cashless payments will also increase your revenue (reports state that incomes can go up to almost 30%) while decreasing fraud and loses. Here the main benefits of using a cashless payment solution:

  • Visitors tend to spend 15-30% more (Ex: By creating an entertainment micro-economy #coachella2017 managed to register a gross income of over $114 million)
  • Speeds up purchases & reduces queues
  • Minimize cash handling
  • Captures all sales
  • Control and transparency

Schedule a live demo to find out more about our cashless payment solution.

Attendee engagement

With the right tools, attendees are more likely to interact with your sponsors. And to make this process as easy as possible we have developed our integrated NFC technology so that it can be used to allow your partners to collect information from your attendees. With their explicit consent, of course.

Any attendee can express interest by simply tapping the wristband, allowing the exhibitor to collect data and follow up instantly. The flawless of this process encourages attendees to interact with the brands that they are interested in. They don’t need to spell their names or type in their email address, two of the most common reasons for which people tend to avoid sponsor interactions within festivals or concerts.

Picture of tablet and NFC reader and people in the background

There are many benefits of using NFC technology, but this article was just about 3 of them. Another important aspect is that having all that data in one place, you can use it to create better experiences within your future events.

Event management world: small improvements to increase your revenue

                                                   –without increasing the ticket price-

As companies from every industry, event management companies to need to be profitable in order to survive. In my experience, money is not the main reason for which somebody starts a business in this industry, but even event planners have bills and salaries to pay. And unfortunately smiles, the best currency exchange in the industry, aren’t able to do it. Today’s article is based on a very simple principle (yet many times ignored) on how small changes can increase your revenue. The key is to look at the journey attendees have from the moment they first come into contact with your event until the moment your event is over (and even farther)pexels-photo-990818

From  prospects to buyers

When you first start marketing your event lots of people will see your message. But only a small percentage of them will convert into buyers. Assuming that 200.000 people hear your message and 2000 buy tickets to your event, this means you have a 1% conversion rate.

There are ways you can increase the conversion rate, and we have written multiple articles on this subject. You can write better marketing copy, use influential marketing or use the right social media tools for marketing. And later in this article, you will see why any small improvement can dramatically improve the overall financial result.

So, if your average ticket is 500 USD and you have 2000 paying attendees, your ticket revenue will be 1.000.000 USD. You have invested a considerable amount of money to convince people to come to your event, but let’s exaggerate and think that all of your attendees are the result of your marketing campaigns. A great experience will bring people back to your next event(s). And considering the fact that it’s 6-7 times more expensive to acquire a new client than to retain an existing one you should definitely make the most out of this opportunity.

good to know:

In average, event profs invest in marketing between 1 and 8 percent of what they expect the event to return. We can use a 4,5 average and consider that 45.000 USD brought you 2000 attendees (22,5 USD/attendee). A job done right gives you the opportunity to sell tickets to next year’s event for 4 USD to at least 15% of your current attendees. Of course, figures are not quite exact, but I am sure that you see where I am going.

On-site payments

But the revenue an attendee brings doesn’t limit to the ticket he pays for. If you are hosting a 2-day festival and attendees spend on average 100 USD per day, food and beverages will bring you 400.000 USD. But what if I tell you that Oveit can help you increase on-site revenues? Reports show that people tend to spend up to 30% more at events where a cashless payment system is in place. Using the right event management tool will definitely help you increase the revenue.

print screen with Oveit's digital wallet report

p.s. We know sponsorship is a crucial piece of the puzzle. And to help event planners offer a great experience for sponsors too, we have developed our NFC built-in technology so that it can be used to engage attendees and collect data. Read more here.

Increase your revenue: the practical example.

Scenario A:

So, the figures that we have until now are :

200.000 (prospects) X 1% (conversion rate) = 2000 (ticket buyers)

2000 (ticket buyers) X 500 USD(ticket price)= 1000000 USD (income)

+

2000 (attendees) X 200 USD (spent on-site)= 400.000 USD

total income: 1.400.000.

Assuming that you have a 20% profit rate you will make  280.000 USD profit

Scenario B:

Now, starting from this figures, let’s assume that you use our blog and technology and make just a few improvements. Maybe you refine your marketing strategy (better copy, better targeting etc.) and use an online ticketing system that allows you to sell tickets directly on your website. And buyers to use their mobile phones to place the order: your conversion rate goes from 1% to 1.5%.

200.000 (prospects) X 1.5% (conversion rate)= 3000 (ticket buyers)

3000 (ticket buyers) X 500 USD= 1.500.000

+

On-site, using Oveit’s cashless payments system, people spend 10% more, with an average of 220 USD.

3000 (attendees) X 220 USD= 660.000

Total income: 2.160.000

with the same 20% profit rate you will have 432.000 USD profit.

As you can see, just some small improvements can increase your revenue without increasing your ticket price. Having the right partners can be the difference between failure and success, so make sure that you choose a smart tool as your event management system. Read here another great example of how small changes can bring huge improvements.

 

Ready to welcome your future attendees?

In the last few years, we have read (and written) countless articles on Millennials and how this generation is changing the event industry and consumer habits. Now I would like to include the Z Generation in this article on how things are going to change; although Z generation members are still too young to fundamentally change the event management industry they will start to be a very important part in the next 24 months.

young lady with headphones holding a mobile phone

But first, let’s remember who exactly can be included in these 2 categories:

Millennials: name used for those born between 1980 and mid 90’s

Generation Z: name used for those born starting with mid 90’s (there are many discussions regarding the ending birth years for this generation).

Let’s see some figures on these two generations:

At present time, 1/3 of the global consumption power is owned by millennials (and this percentage is going to grow in the next few years)

It’s estimated that by the year 2020 Generation Z will represent over 40% in the USA consumption market

2 years from now, Millennials and Generation Z will represent almost 60% of the worldwide employees

The first common feature is their lean toward technology. But while millennials grew up while the rise of technology, Gen Z members were born into an already technologized world. For them, a world without search engines, social media, and smartphones is simply unacceptable. This first common feature draws our attention toward 2 extremely important aspects:

  1. Online marketing, using both search engines (and search engine optimization) and social media platforms. If you need any help please read one of the multiple articles that we have written about how to use keywords, email marketing, Instagram and Snapchat to promote your events.

P.s. if you think social media marketing works great for millennials you should know that Gen Z members are 4X more likely to convert on it. Great news or what?!?

  1. The movement toward smart event management tools, tools that allow your future attendees to buy online tickets using their smartphones. Why? Because a recent study shows that gen Z would rather give up TV for a day (80%) or event money and friends (28%) and keep their smartphones in return. So a software that allows them to buy tickets using smartphones is more than welcome.

Another important aspect is represented by the importance Gen Z members give to the environment and social responsibility. According to fusemarketing.com, “85% of Gen Z believes companies have an obligation to help solve social problems.” This also includes the environment and a paperless ticketing system is one way you can show that your event management company cares about the environment.

Short attention span for both Millennials and Generation Z members

If in the past we were shocked by the short attention span that millennials had, now things are even more complicated. The average attention span for gen Z is 8 seconds (4 seconds shorter than the average one of millennials), forcing us to become a lot better when trying to get their attention. This is one of the most important aspects why our partners use NFC technology for on-site interactions. If attendees see something that captures their interest they just need to tap the wristband to let the exhibitor/sponsor know that they would love to find out more. And an NFC-ready event management software (like Oveit) does the rest.

The future of event payments

Forget about cash or physical tokens, the future is 100% digital. Modern times allow us to take event payments to the next level and allow attendees to pay with just a tap of their wristband. No cash, no queueing, no worries. Attendees should be able to top up credit using a designated top-up point (or even the event app) and payments will be instantly processed, allowing your guests to concentrate on the things that really matter at events (networking and having fun).

As you we can see around us, by each passing day technology becomes more and more important. For us, but especially for those that never lived in a tech-free world, the future cannot exist without smartphones, apps, gadgets, and wearables. And neither the event industry.

Are you using Instagram’s latest updates?

2018 brought some really exciting updates on Instagram, making the Facebook-owned platform one of the hottest places on the internet. We have talked about Instagram before, and I would like to start by letting you know that over 100 million new users joined since our last article on how event planners can use Instagram to promote their events. We have already mentioned the general features, today we are going to focus on the latest updates and how event planners can use them in their best interest.

picture of a phone logging in on Instagram

You can now follow a hashtag

I would like to start with my favorite update, the ability to follow hashtags. Yes, this is correct, Instagram now allows us to follow hashtags just as we follow people or brands. The result is that all posts with that particular hashtag will appear in the user’s feed.

This new option is very helpful for event planners that have created a unique hashtag for their events. Fans will be to join an online community by simply following the hashtag; their feed will gather content that uses that particular hashtag, no matter who posts it (official account of the event, performers, attendees of fans).

Carousel ads for Instagram stories

With the help of a few lucky advertisers ( from brands like Coca-Cola, GAP or Bottega Veneta) Instagram is testing the way Carousel Ads fit into Instagram Stories. As an event planner, Carousel Ads are perfect because they allow you tell a short story about your event. As a marketer, Instagram Stories are great because they have a higher conversion rate than Feed Ads ( in a 2017 study conducted by Agorapulse – Instagram Stories had a 23% higher conversion rate than Feed Ads). I think it’s safe to say that Carousel Ads for Instagram Stories will be a great tool that combines two powerful features. For start, the carousel format will allow marketers to use just 3 pictures/videos, but according to Instagram officials this is just the starting point and things may change.

 

series of 3 pictures showing how carousel works on Instagram
source:adweek.com

Scheduling for Instagram

In the past, it was impossible to schedule a picture to be automatically posted on Instagram. The process involved push notifications, meaning that when the time came for the post to go online we would still need our approval. The good news is that starting January 2018, Instagram allows business accounts to schedule single photos (and it automatically posts them) – the changes in Instagram API allows 3rd party apps like HootSuite, Later or Buffer to do that for Instagram users. For videos, ads, and multiple photos scheduling still involves notifications, but this update shows us that things are moving towards what we all want. For event planners, this new feature means more posts with fewer interruptions.

P.s.  there are signs that scheduling will become available for regular users as well.

An improvement made to Instagram Stories

Instagram made it easier for users to upload pictures and videos into the Stories section. Following its latest update (April 2018), it is now possible for multiple photos and videos to be uploaded at once. Great news for content creators, this new option helps them save precious time.

Earlier this year “Stories” received another update, the “Type” mode initially used for status update on Facebook. “Type” allows you to create personalized messages using stylish fonts and backgrounds and can be used by event planners to deliver live messages to their followers. It may not be the best way to communicate but it is an option that may come in handy.

 

The Facebook-owned platform seems the hottest place to be right now, and the new features developed by the team behind are a clear sign that Instagram is shooting for the moon. The new Instagram Updates can help event planners better connect with their followers but also to reach new ones. 2018 seems to be Instagram’s year and it would be a shame not to use it to promote your events.