Experts say trade shows have changed more in the past five years than in the previous 100, and there’s plenty to look forward to in the future of event planning. Most of these changes revolve around innovations in technology, however such changes are also due to people’s expectations, including how they receive information. It is therefore up to event planners to consistently stay up to date on trends regarding customer needs and preferences. Check out what you can expect from trade shows in the coming years:
Changes in Data Accumulation
Photo by Paul Wilkinson
Data accumulation at trade shows is essential in determining what does and doesn’t work in terms of holding participant interest. QR codes continue to gain momentum as a quick and easy way to exchange information, such as Apple’s latest alternatives for near-field communication, iBeacon and AirDrop. Apple’s updates on near-field communication makes it that much easier for people to trade info without having to meet in a board room or conference hall. While many lampoon the social media age as one that forgoes human interaction in favor of computer and smartphone screens, these innovations are helpful when trying to speak with a large number of people at one event.
Changes in Event Participant Expectations
Photo by IAVM WHQ
What people expect to see and find at trade shows has changed dramatically in the past few years. Attendees, speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors are seeing a big change in terms of personal event experience. Organizers are collecting the aforementioned data regarding personal experience and using it to turn one-time attendees into lifelong customers. Questions need to be asked such as, are people engaged with what they see? What catches their eyes most? Does big bold signage from companies like Brisbaneimagegroup.com.au draw people in more? Do they enjoy the free handouts?
Changes in Social Media
Photo by New Media Expo
Trade show experts say that social media is tailored for expos and events. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram…attendees are encouraged to voice their opinions, participate in contests and sign up for giveaways through such channels. This allows attendees to discuss the event before, during and after it happens. While the trade show may be over after a day or weekend, those who enjoyed the event may be talking about it for weeks to come. Companies continue to harness the immense power of social media and are constantly finding new ways to utilize it for maximum benefit.
What Else Should We Expect?
Photo by Ludomir Panak
What else should we expect in terms of future trade shows? “Wearable tech,” such as Google Glass, is one way communication could improve at these events. These innovative glasses allow attendees to look at others and learn their names and job titles without ever having to glance at badges! This incredible feature would let organizers and exhibitors find out the names of those they met at events one, two or even five years ago without having to engage in awkward, we-met-before-what’s-your-name-again conversations. Similar technology is coming out on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, allowing people to match Google searches to Facebook profiles.
The days of writing down names and contact info or exchanging business cards at trade shows are dwindling. The instant gratification of technology is opening up a whole new world for events such as these, and is changing the entire trade show industry for the better.
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