If you’re thinking conferences are boring events with a long table on a stage, you’re thinking of conferences in the wrong way. They’re turning into fun, immersive events that are meant to engage the audience and take them on an interactive adventure.
There was a time where exciting conferences were unique, but there’s a trend continuing into 2016 of audio and visual displays that keep attendees engaged and interested.
When choosing a location, you’ll want to ensure that you have an accurate head count of those who will attend. A room that is too large will appear as if many of your guests declined to attend. A cramped space can make the conference incredibly uncomfortable.
Consider the trend of hybrid locations for your next event. Many corporations and groups are using hybrid locations to give instructional or training events in one part of the venue while the fun, interactive space is separated. This allows the formal part of the event to be split from the informal and gives attendees a relaxed location to discuss the event’s message and network with others.
Mobile Interaction with Event Apps
While you might have a hashtag and event page for your conference, there are more ways to have your guests interact with other attendees. Imagine a writer conference where there’s an app detailing all the speakers, the rooms they can be found in along with workshop schedules.
The mobile app could include GPS locator for event navigation as well as live interaction with other attendees. Attendees can communicate in real-time about the event, which gives the coordinators instant feedback in case changes need to be made.
Conferences don’t have to be one time events until the next year’s conference rolls around again. There’s a growing trend of creating a community around the conference that continues after the event. Attendees continue the conversation based on the shared interests of the group.
One of the biggest conferences that’s talked about constantly is Comic-Con. This is a group that has built a community around the conference itself. It has a continued presence throughout the year with social media, publications and videos of the conference as well as the speakers.
You’ll need to consider the time before the event as a build-up for the community. It can take a lot of time to build an event community, but it begins with heavy social media interaction. Hashtags and dedicated accounts for the event are vital for its success.
When planning your event, consider what you’re doing to be green. Existing customers will love the environmentally-friendly conference, and it can bring in new customers who will appreciate the effort.
You can use recycled and sustainable materials in everything from the catering company to the materials used to design the stage itself. Contact a local catering company that advertises organic, local ingredients.
Continuing the theme of green events, you could have a completely paperless event. You’ll need to rely heavily on technology for this. It should include mobile check-in at the event as well as registration that is completely paperless.
For the event, you could consider virtual gift bags that will help you connect with sponsors as well as attendees. You’ll need to build your virtual gift bag months in advance. Consider who you want sponsoring your event and think about how they’ll fit with your virtual gift bag.
For 2016, conferences are heading towards more technology and more interactive events that attendees can stay connected with on their mobile devices while in the conference. This gives event coordinators real-time feedback they can use immediately.