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Top 10 conference trends

By Claire Fagg, operations manager, Penguins

The core purpose to organising a conference is usually to engage, educate and inspire your delegates. Whilst it is often easy to visualise the event look and feel, it is the smaller details that make the biggest impact that often get overlooked.

With a rise in Conferences being held in the UK. 1.4m to be exact in 2017, the highest number since 2008 and an 8% increase from the previous year. We have created our Top 10 conference trends for 2018 to help with the planning of your upcoming conferences.

  1. Be Diverse. Should you require a panel of speakers at your conference, ensure that you deliver diversity, consider speakers from all walks of life. This trend will help engage a wider audience and aid in the removal of bias.
  2. Encourage conversation. Standing in front of delegates and reading content from slides is in no longer enough. Delegates want to interact and feel a part of the moment. Almost 1/3 of event technology created in the last two years has been around live interaction. Have a voting exercise, ask questions and listen to the delegate’s thoughts and opinions in real time.
  3. Give your event a home to be proud of. Companies are wanting to be more creative, often adding themes and elaborate décor to their conferences. Now is the time to step out of your comfort zone and select a venue that will push boundaries. Don’t just use production and decoration, rid yourself of the ‘boring conference’ label and choose a non-traditional event space.
  4. Make the most of your event app. Event apps are almost a necessity these days. But don’t just use them as a way to go paperless. Use them to their fullest capacity. Encourage interaction, networking, and utilise available AR and VR functions. Did you know, 91% of event planners have seen a positive return on investment from event apps?
  5. Use your event app as a measurement tool. Drive improvement and prove ROI. Collating data from event apps gives organisers an opportunity to use data from every scroll, tap and swipe to help improve their next conference.
  6. Extend your conference reach through live video and VR. The use of live streaming and virtual reality technology in 2018 will help create an additional experience for your delegates. Anyone with a phone can watch or even present at your event.
  7. Build a conference community. 80% of millennials say that they attend live events to connect with the wider community. This gives organisers an opportunity to create a platform that will encourage engagement for delegates to engage all year round.
  8. Give your attendees the power to perform. One of our trends has been to create conversations. Take it a step further and allow your attendees to create breakout sessions, create ideas for workshops or get up on stage and view their opinion about a key topic.
  9. Provide instant response to attendee’s questions. AI chatbots are on the rise, with a prediction by 2025, AI will handle 95% of customer interactions, which will answer frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) and help delegates navigate their way around your event.
  10. Make sure your event is worth sharing. The use of social media platforms and hashtags has seen an increase in social sharing. As well as the standard hashtags create moments that attendees will want to share. This creates virality and helps to draw attendees to future events.