As with all things, event planning continues to go through various trends and fads as different technology is developed, styles change and needs evolve. It is important to keep up-to-date with this fluid industry so that your events, or those of your clients, are always innovative, relevant and as advantageous for all involved as possible.
The following trends have already begun and are only going to get bigger and bigger during 2012:
Know Your Attendees
With Facebook, Twitter and plenty of research, event planners are interested in getting to know their guests and delegates better than ever. This requires time and dedicated following, but is well worth it to the planner who learns exactly what the clients and their invitees want and need from any given event. People and companies reveal a lot about themselves on social networking sites and blogs; including completed projects, upcoming projects, new clients, jobs and assignments, and so on.
No More Guest Speakers
Although guest speakers certainly have their place in modern events, there is a movement towards creating a platform for open discussion, rather than everyone simply listening to one person and his or her perspective. This allows those attending an event to be an integral part of decisions made and discussions held, adding a lot of value to the event for them as individuals, as well as to their companies.
Getting Greenminded and Mobilising
Instead of printing advertisements, posters, flyers, invitations, menus, programmes, agendas, and so on, event coordinators are being urged to investigate mobile and electronic options. With smart phones, so much more is possible in terms of recording the dates and details of important events, receiving electronic communiqués, and so on. It is also far cheaper for the event organiser to opt for electronic means rather than printing all of the material out hundreds of times. This also means that delegates should be able to vote, send text messages and convey opinions via their phones or laptops during the actual event, giving real-time feedback that then shapes the course of the event as it is happening.
Gone are the days when a branded pen and cardboard folder did the trick in terms of delegate goodies. Enter the personalised goody bag. This means different things for different companies and events, of course, but takes time, forethought and knowledge of your delegates or guests. It can actually be cheaper than the alternative, if done correctly. It also does not mean that each goody bag has to be different from another. It can simply mean that the contents are relevant to your group of delegates, useful to them in their sphere of life and business. For example, an environmentally-concerned conference might elect to give their delegates a recycled brown paper bag containing an indigenous sapling, instead of something more costly and generic.
There is also an increasing trend towards using the media available to almost everyone that is online. This includes Microsoft Outlook, which allows you to record dates, assign tasks to yourself, and send notifications to the event attendees. Facebook is another very valuable medium, allowing you to invite people, post photographs of previous events, include all of the administrative details (contacts, website, payment, and so forth) and keep track of RSVP’s. Google Calendar and Google Docs are other very important (free) applications that allow users to share information, monitor results and make real-time changes to text documents. This saves time and money, making it easier and cheaper to organise your event.