2016 was a huge year in events, impacted by experience-transforming technology. So what new innovations can we expect from 2017? TryBooking CEOJeff McAlister takes a look at the biggest tech trends set to shape events in the new year.
2016 was a big year for the events industry. It’s been heavily impacted by new technologies like virtual reality, cashless payments and wearables. These new technologies help attendees experience the event in a more deeper and meaningful way, one that will get them talking excitedly to their peers.
Working with event organisers every single day, we’re in a position to see and predict trends and in 2017, we’ll be seeing some exciting new developments
For both professionals and casual event hosters, getting familiar with some of the upcoming trends that will likely feature throughout the year will allow you to start learning how to leverage these trends, particularly as budgets get tighter and you’re asked to do more with less.
- Paper tickets are old school, but will we say goodbye to scanning?
The introduction of mobile e-tickets and QR codes saw the demise of paper ticketing across the industry and it’s going to change again in 2017 as scanning tickets looks to become a thing of the past. Wireless innovation like Bluetooth means it will be possible to track event attendance through guests’ smartphone without them even removing it from their pocket.
This technology is set to give hosts real-time visibility about who is walking in the door in real time straight from your phone- meaning no more scanning or forgotten tickets.
Wireless systems also come with a raft of communication perks. From the ability to notify guests of changes to your event, send emergency notifications and convey logistical information about the venue, to sending special offers and promotional material, this type of technology provides an effective way to engage with attendees.
- More integrations to streamline workloads
Software providers are realising they can offer more value in a smarter way, by teaming up with like-minded platforms to expand their services. We expect to see more technology companies joining the API economy and streamlining the way that different platforms work together.
At TryBooking, we’ll be making the most of this ability by working with a number of third parties to make life easier for our customers and allow them to work smarter.
- Mobile is in, desktop is out
We all knew that mobile was going to be big, but the uptake of mobile devices and shift away from desktop has happened faster and on a larger scale than expected. To stay relevant in this age, you need to be on top of the mobile game. An app isn’t necessary if you have a mobile responsive website that visitors can easily navigate.
We’re anticipating at least a 12 per cent jump in our mobile traffic by this time next year. It pays to be mobile-ready when people are looking to purchase tickets or find more information about an event while they’re out and about.
- Voice search will speak volumes
Voice technology and microphones have evolved and voice search is now impressively accurate. Amazon, Google, Samsung, Apple, Microsoft and other large technology vendors have heavily invested in voice.
In fact, Google’s CEO reported earlier this year that 20 per cent of its mobile searches occured via voice search. From navigating to a website or event, to finding the event location, you can expect the audiences you’re looking to connect with will want to be vocal.
- Work chat won’t be limited to around the water cooler
It’s fairly simple to automate most online transactions, however people are social creatures and appreciate retaining some human interaction in the process, particularly if they’re having any issues.
As people get more busier and instant messaging becomes the communication norm, customer chat tools have become a lot more advanced and we’re seeing a significant number of transactions being completed this way.
From customer queries to paying for tickets, chatting will become a new way to engage with customers when hosting events in 2017.
- A picture says a thousand words but video trumps all
With the rise of platforms like Snapchat and Instagram stories, video is one of the most popular ways to be active in the social realm.
Livestreaming is set to take events to the next level, with platforms like Facebook Live and Periscope pegged as the best way to give your followers a sneak peak into your event, engage with new audiences and drive FOMO. It also serves as a simple way to produce content that can be viewed and shared after your event.
It’s clear to see that the events space is moving fast and if you’re not on board with the latest trends, you may very well fall behind. Whether you’re in marcomms, media, advertising, events or anything in between, technology is key to hosting successful, fun and engaging events in 2017.