5 Meeting Trends for 2016

At the beginning of a new year we can always read numerous articles about the top meeting trends. Trendwatchers spend months researching and interviewing industry professionals and eventually come up with their top trends. From all the articles that I’ve come across these last weeks I’ve put together my personal top 5 meeting trends for 2016.

1. Personalisation

People are individuals and they want to be treated as such – also when it comes to participating in meetings and events. The larger the event the more difficult it is to create a personal experience, but also the more important it is. Somewhat of a paradox, but personal, tailor made experiences can make or break an event in the eye of the beholder. To maximise (marketing) efforts, personalisation should be applied prior to, during and after an event. Relevant content, flexible programme options and social interaction & engagement opportunities are all means that can be used to offer a personal experience.

one size does not fit allBy the way, personalisation is a logical development from another mega trend that we started hearing about a couple of years ago: big data. Simply said, big data refers to collecting large amounts of available data and – most importantly extracting – value from this gathered information. In other words, big data is a necessary means for personalisation and the two go hand-in-hand.

2. Crowd streaming

When we talk about Live streaming it is usually the event professional or meeting organizer who is in charge of the broadcast. The organizer keeps full control over what is and isn’t broadcast and how. Crowd streaming on the other hand is user generated content. The stream is created by attendees of the event, which means that the event organizer cannot influence the broadcast. Periscope and Meerkat, tools that both surged in 2015, show great examples of crowd streaming.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is seen on the display of a phone as she speaks to members of the media after meeting with small business owners, Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at the Bike Tech cycling shop in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Live crowd stream of Hillary Clinton responding to questions (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Losing control over what is being broadcast might sound scary, but don’t be afraid. Crowd streaming is actually a great opportunity for the events industry. It’s a unique way to get attendees engaged, particularly those ‘attending’ remotely. Event professionals should embrace crowd streaming as a (content) marketing tool to attract (potential) attendees for future events. One thing to keep in mind though is the legal perspective for both live and crowd streaming: everything being broadcasted is subject to rights.

3. Shared economy for venues

screen shot headbox homepage

screen shot HeadBox homepage

By now most of us have embraced the concept of social sharing. Airbnb and Uber, probably the most renowned social sharing companies, have become part of our daily lives. In 2016 this trend will likely expand more specifically to the meetings industry as well, with a number of ‘airbnb for venues’ platforms popping up. HeadBox and Splacer, for example. And that is a good thing as it offers a lot more flexibility for both supply and demand.

4. Safety First

Safety always has been and always will be part of the meetings and events industry, especially for large or high profile events. However, taking into account current affairs the pressure to ‘guarantee’ a safe environment for attendees and staff is increasing. While in the past safety might not necessarily have been one of the top priorities it will definitely be on the top of the list for a growing number of events. Just meeting the basic safety requirements will not be enough anymore. Event planners will have to go the extra mile to make everyone feel safe. Communicating openly about (extra) measures taken and action plans in case of a threat will make information more accessible for everyone involved.

5. Sustainability

A few years ago Green Meetings was a buzzword. While it’s been buzzing a bit less loud these past years, it definitely has not gone away. Quite on the contrary. In light of the recent Climate Change Conference in Paris it is clear that sustainability has to become the standard, not something you do to stand out.

The difference is that we are now focussing on more differentiated trends in the meetings industry. Digital itineraries, working with event apps rather than print-outs, chosing renewable resources, opting for green transportation, working with local suppliers, giving back to the community, digital goody bags – all trends that we see in the industry. And each single one of them is part of the larger sustainability trend. This one’s here to stay.

green transportation - the Dutch way

green transportation – the Dutch way

During the next weeks I’ll take a closer look at some of these trends. In the meantime, I’m very curious: what are your top meeting trends for 2016?

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Meeting trends for the (near) future

‘The future is now.’ That being said, it’s time to think of what might lay ahead of us in the (near) future. What will change for the meeting industry? And what will forever be the same. Today I’m going to share my thoughts with you. Let’s see if I’m right!

future

 

Super fast internet – everywhere!
With super fast and reliable internet as the standard (whether it’s back home, during your intercontinental flight or at the waiting room at the dentist), it’s easier and more convenient to set up virtual meetings and events. Large scale online webinars are easily held whereby it’s not an unilateral affair, but an organic, interactive gathering.

The big data hairball 
With big data becoming more and more important and organisations know better how to handle the big data hairball. We can use all the digital obtained information to market our events better, make planning easier and convenient for all parties involved. With the smart online agenda’s that are linked with email, social media en (written) conversations – you’ll have a pretty fast answer to the ever big question: ‘How many attendees do I have?’

Niches
People don’t have a lot of time. That’s something I don’t think will change very soon. So instead of large scale events, there are probably going to be more small scale events where quality beats quantity.

People business
But in the end the meeting industry will always be a people’s industry. Planning an event has a lot to do with the X-factor, the gut feeling. Therefore getting to places will stay very important. With the ongoing price wars, comfort and service stays on top of the list of reasons to choose for an airline, hotel or venue. Meeting planners are people’s people, so make them feel welcome and partner up with them.

What do you think will change in the (near) future? Let me know in the comments!

Meeting trends for 2015

A new year, a new perspective. Many people said something about new meeting trends. We’ll have to wait and see of all these come true. Of course I have my ideas as well. I think the following things are going to be a meeting trend in 2015:

meeting trends 2015

Big data
Big data is huge in all sectors. The meeting industry has to do with a lot of data, acquired by email marketing, checkins, community management and offline forms. There are a lot of possibilities with all this information. For instance creating specific profiles that helps you target your message even better. But you can use all the information also for creating your own persona’s.

Focus on interaction
It’s all about the attention span. We have to focus more on engaging the participators than ever before. For instance by asking them to take part in discussions or come up with the subjects for the speakers.

Online is mainstream
A fast wifi connection is a must nowadays. So are a good website, engaging social media platforms and apps. People will expect more online tools, all information on a event website, event hashtags – all mobile friendly.

Budgets will be spent wisely
During the economic crises we learned a lot about our budget. Whats is truly necessary? Where can we cut costs and where can we partner up to save money? I think this trend will continue in 2015 as well. Not because budgets are still tight, but because we live in another world.

Re-use information for content marketing
Videos of speakers, whitepapers, pictures etc. In 2015 we will collect all materials smarter and use them for content marketing reasons to keep engaging participants after the event.

Social media at your event – why, where, what and how!

What is an event without social media in 2014? There are many ways you can use social media to your advantage. To increase involvement, expand exposure, create buzz and monitor the event’s sentiment.

social media

Event website
When people check out your event website they might be not sure if they should attend. A most recent Twitter stream with your hashtag could rule them over – because if these interesting people are going, so should I! The same hashtag can create a lot of buzz before your event even starts and gives people the possibility to connect with fellow attendees.

Signing up
Whether you have linked your sign-up system with your CRM database or just create an attendee list from your Facebook event guest list, it’s the ideal time to connect with them. Invite them to like your Facebook page, your event page or to download your specially created app. Don’t forget to mention your hashtag!

Entrance
Yes, they are here! Now people have to check in, collect their badge, hang their coats and make a quick bathroom stop. You can imagine there’s a lot of waiting involved in the first stage of attending your event. Make it worthwhile! Send them a welcome SMS or tweet, give away stickers with your event’s hashtag or cool brand logo (social nerds love to put them on their fancy Apple computers), show snippets of video’s in the waiting area’s, hang posters that mention the social platforms you are monitoring today and invite the attendee to share Tweets, pictures on Instagram etc. Don’t forget: free wifi is the key to a social event.

Social signage
What’s going on? In which room  is that interesting talk? What’s trending? Where should I go? What are others doing? All questions you can answer with a social signage. A social signage can be optimised specially for your brand. Insert livestreams full with updates, pictures, check-in, mentions and presentation notifications. Link the social signage with several big screens at smart locations such as waiting area’s, the coffee corner, entrance of rooms and nearby the bathrooms.

Background screens
Chances are you invited a lot of interested speakers. Whether you like it or not people are going to live tweet, discuss and talk online during the talk. Why not implement this buzz in the presentation? A background screen can create interesting discussions. Ask listeners to post their question or opinion with the hashtag. It works a lot easier than going around with a mic and besides, people tend to ask something faster online than raising their hands in real life.

 

10 Features Every Social Media Dashboard Must Have

Reports and insights from social media monitoring tools are a valuable resource to understand the status and development of your brand or company on social media. If you want to be a ‘social brand’, it is not sufficient to just monitor. You have to create unique content, read and respond to individual messages and monitor. Only this way you can build a community and a relationship with brand fans.

social media

There are many free and paid tools on the market to post updates in advance, have a look in reach and monitor on the basis of keywords or hashtags. A few examples of these dashboards are: HootSuite, TweetDeck & Buffer.

Not all dashboard have the same options. But, from experience, I can recommend dashboards that are or have at least the following things:

Easy
An social media dashboard should be easy to use. The features should feel natural or native to you. If it is too complicated chances are you won’t make the most of it.

Coverage
Which of my social media platforms can be linked with this dashboard? Important, because you don’t want to use different tools for different platforms.

Flexible
You need a dashboard that can be arranged to fit your wishes. It al depends on your goal at that moment. Are you live tweeting an event or are you monitoring the sentiment of your latest campaign?

Look & Feel
Does it look fresh and clean to you? Dashboards that are too full, have too many colours or graphics can feel overwhelming and might distract you from the most important stuff.

Intern & Extern
Does your social media dashboard has an public option? Would be nice to share a compact dashboard with a Twitterstream, latest updates and fan count for public rooms where your clients can see how social you are.

Relevancy
There is a lot going on. And most of it is white noise. A dashboard that offers features to filter this noise into e.g. relevant mentions is exactly what a busy community manager needs.

Real-time
You don’t want to refresh every 5 seconds. You don’t want to be on top of old news. In 2014 we want real-time information.

Posting
A great social media dashboard let you schedule posts for times that you are not around. The weekend of evenings for example. Make sure that you can schedule rich content such as pictures and videos.

Multiple members
Bigger brands and companies have several people who manage the social content. To keep things tidy it is advisable to create a personal login for each member of the account. It makes delegating a lot easier.

Reports
You are probably too busy to create weekly or day to day social media reports. So don’t! Most social media dashboards offer some kind of report system, many of them are only available for paid accounts.

Orange glow in Switzerland at #EMEC13

The European Meetings and Event Conference in Montreux belongs to the leading educational events of the European meeting industry. It brings together meeting planners, academics, business owners, executives and managers to explore the latest research and event strategies. Therefore the programme includes various master classes, educational sessions and networking opportunities.

Facebook Holland MPI EMEC 2013

As one of the biggest groups at EMEC13 we bring some orange glow to Switzerland. With 26 participants we rank right behind the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States. During the programme there will be ten Dutch speakers. Here is a preview of what you can expect:

Ruud Janssen & Mike van de Vijver: The Solution Room

A highly interactive session to learn about your co-participants and yourself. Explore your comfort zone on issues relevant to you; and extract valuable input.

Blog Holland EMEC13_ruud

David Nieborg: Gamification

Learn how to implement game mechanics and structures in non-game environments with an expert on social media, games and gamification.

Blog Holland EMEC13_david

Jitske Kramer: Cultural Rhythm Worlds

Connecting people through their differences is crucial in our globalized business world. The challenge of meeting professionals is to orchestrate meetings in which all feel included.

Blog Holland EMEC13_jitske

Monic Buhrs and Elisa de Groot: Women In Business

The founders of In Touch and designers of Stratego® for Women showcase their ground-breaking strategy workshops for women in business.

Blog Holland EMEC13 Monic

Ruud Janssen: Hybrid Events

Ruud Janssen – Techniques for creating remarkable Hybrid Events
This session will reveal key insights gained from the MPI study on hybrid meetings.

Blog Holland EMEC13_ruud

Philip Walkate & Huib Hudig: Speak To Inspire

Huib & Philip will introduce you to the essentials of writing an inspiring speech by using fundamental truths, analyzing problems, offering solutions and creating a vision that matters.

Blog Holland EMEC13_Huib

Gerrit Heijkoop & Donald Roos: How Can I Be Social?

The “How Can I Be Social” duo will show you how to apply new social technologies when organising your next meeting or event.

Blog Holland EMEC13_hcibs

 

Let’s meet in Montreux!