The events of the future will be larger, more secure and focused on social needs

The future of C&E

Events that satisfy emotional needs and teach interpersonal skills, alongside supporting professional development, and venues that can offer completely secure environments will be key trends in the future of the C&E industry, according to new predictions by QHotels.

Moves towards larger events, increased leisure time around events, and a reduction in the need to travel for smaller meetings and training were also identified as likely trends.

QHotels commissioned futurist, Dr Ian Pearson, to lead a workshop with QHotels' Event Profs Panel, to examine the key factors that will shape the C&E industry of the future.

The panel were asked to complete a series of exercises to investigate what effects changes to population and demographics, technology, future living, transport and home and togetherness, might have on the industry over the coming years.


This first infographic / report focuses on predictions about the C&E industry, physical events and event content.  In our next report we'll look at the experience of event attendees of the future.

The key findings included:

Socially focused events

Changes to employment structure, including remote working, flexitime, short-term contracts and freelance working will place greater focus on supporting the emotional needs and developing the interpersonal skills of a workforce, when they do come together.  Training in areas such as the social skills necessary to succeed in business and team building exercises designed to help organisations create a sense of identity and belonging are likely to be of increasing importance.

In addition, the continued development of time-saving technologies in areas such as event registration, and flexible working patterns, will lead to increased leisure time around events as we all work less and play more, which will need to be considered when organising events.

Greater demands on venue security

Venues' security protocol and credentials will become a selling point for event organisers. The ability to guarantee 'clean' spaces, free from surveillance and monitoring devices or bugs in order to hold confidential discussions and negotiations will be required, especially in sectors where patent/trademark and IP are critical.

In addition, the ability to confidently verify the identity of attendees and delegates and track them from registration through an entire event or exhibition while they remain on site, will become a feature of the industry.

Move away from smaller meetings towards larger events

Advances in technology including VR and AR and increased security fears means smaller meetings can take place virtually, more easily and cheaply, avoiding the need to travel and reducing risk. This could also affect other types of events such as training courses and product launches, where new skills can be mastered through the creation of virtual classrooms and learning environments and employees and media can be given 360 degree product tours and 'hands-on' experience, without needing to be physically present.

Companies and organisations are therefore likely to spend budgets on larger, more impactful gatherings, in order to communicate key information and provide training, leading to an overall increase in large events.

Technology to drive change in the short-term

Technology was expected to be the biggest driver of change in the short-term, shortening the distance between bookers and venues when shortlisting and selecting venues, with VR and AR offering the opportunity for virtual walk-rounds and to dress venues from your desk or mobile device.  Augmented reality was also felt to offer opportunities by bringing greater gamification to areas such as team building and training by creating task and mission focused exercises in the same way as Pokemon Go.

QHotels' Director of Marketing, Claire Rowland, said: "As an industry it is normal to look a year or two ahead to try and identify key trends in conference and events, but we wanted to look even further into the future, to anticipate what the industry will look like over the next five to 10 years.

"The pace of change is accelerating in the industry, so it's important that we are aware of new developments and can react to new opportunities. That's why we are listening to professionals both inside and outside of our industry, to ensure that we can anticipate the wider issues and changes that will affect us all. What has become clear is that, whilst technology is often cited as where we will see the biggest changes, it's not a specific piece of technology or device that you need to focus on, it's the broader effect that it will have on people's behaviour that will shape the industry. Listening to, understanding and adapting to those changes in behaviour is how we can support the C&E industry of the future."

Dr Ian Pearson, added: "Being asked to look at the conference and events industry was an interesting exercise as it is based on the need to bring groups of people together - something that we're often told won't need to happen in the future thanks to advances in communication technology. 

"There are certainly challenges that technology throws up that the industry will have to face, but there are also huge opportunities to facilitate better, safer, more personal conference and events experiences."

 Download the infographic here

If you'd like to receive a high resolution copy of this infographic, please email [email protected] 

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