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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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."
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