Emerging conference and events trends and technologies

Brainwaves headsets

We've seen a huge change in the way meetings and events are being delivered at our 26 conference and events venues, with more and more organisers exploring how technology can enhance the events experience.

Inspired by our C&E clients and the technology that's making waves in the industry, here are our top trend predictions for 2016.

Social media broadcasting

Social media broadcasting during events is already happening on the likes of Twitter. However, the next step will be for organisers to embrace apps based on images and video - which lend themselves to events - and build them into the delivery of meetings and events. 

We could see a new kind of video conferencing emerge, as live streaming apps such as Periscope start to work their way into the C&E industry, enabling delegates and organisers to stream events to groups and to the public via social networks.

Our very own Brainwaves experiment found that attendees using social media during events were actually more engaged than those who didn't.

Of course, this means connectivity and a reliable set-up are key for using social media successfully, which is one of the reasons we have already invested, and will continue to invest into Wi-Fi throughout 2016 and 2017.

Listening to organisers and delegates, we know that ease and speed is key for 2016 when it comes to venues.  Attendees expect the same smooth device set-up they experience at home or in the office, without the need to download and connect, making it easier for delegates to embrace social media during meetings.

Mobile apps

Mobile apps are hugely popular among our C&E guests, with a range of specialist apps on tap to help organisers manage the logistics of events and increase delegates' engagement. In 2016, we anticipate that mobile apps will continue to develop and provide the industry with the tools to collaborate more effectively; bringing organisers, delegates and venue teams together to create a holistic events experience. 

A good example of this is the TellTheChef app, which allows event organisers to effortlessly collect information from event attendees about their food orders, allergies and preferences. In turn, diners can leave extensive feedback, which the venue can take on board for future events. It's proving hugely effective in joining up the entire events experience.

Wearable tech

In the same way that mobile apps are enhancing the events experience, we're also seeing more clients exploring wearable technology and the benefits for organisers and delegates alike. After launching our Apple Watch incentive for bookers earlier this year -  providing a range of useful applications to help facilitate events - we are now exploring how FitBit technology can be used by our clients, focusing on the health benefits involved in organising or attending events to increase engagement, concentration and energy levels.

Real-time feedback

The most important development for meetings and events venues and organisers will be the opportunity to use technology to get real-time feedback from attendees during events. The industry has relied solely on gaining feedback after an event, but as technology advances we are now able to gather data to understand how attendees, organisers and speakers are feeling and behaving in the moment.  

The rise of social media at events allows event coordinators and organisers to capture and understand what delegates are thinking and feeling in the moment.  Offering attendees an official event hashtag helps facilitate and encourage this type of real-time feedback.

We will also start to see wearable tech being used to capture real-time feedback during events over the coming year. Our brainwaves study used hi-tech EEG headsets to track the changing thoughts of delegates during a conference. This allowed us to capture the stresses and strains, and the high points and low points, involved in a conference to offer clients new insights and recommendations to enhance their events.

As mobile apps and wearables mature, and delegates start broadcasting live, we can begin to measure real-time sentiment and feedback to create and adapt meetings, inspired by how people are feeling there and then.   

These are just a few of the trends we're experiencing, but we'd love to know what you think, and to hear about any meetings technology that's enhanced your job.

To inspire us, post your go-to tech in the comments section below.


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