The past year has been testament to the fact that events and trade shows are becoming larger and more complex. With the new year setting in, we thought of putting together a list of trends that are sure to influence the event landscape in 2018.

1. The rise of blockchain technology

The wane of 2017 gave everyone a lot to ponder about when it came to blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. But what does this mean for the events industry? Glad you asked. If there is one aspect that has everyone impressed with blockchain technology, it is the fact that it has managed to address the most important aspect of financial and informational transactions – identity security and management. There are many new technologies that help secure mundane but important tasks like registration and payment support that adhere to General Data Protection Regulation. The implementation of the GDPR’s directive leads straight to the betterment of identity security and management protocol.

Blockchain technology also addresses one of the biggest concerns of the event industry – actual identity verification. And how is this information managed and protected? By decentralizing it. This way the information is secured and cannot be corrupted.

Related: How is technology impacting the event experience

Employing blockchain technology provides a trustworthy ledger of traceable and viewable transactions made by the individual. So repeat attendees can skip the security and badge scanning process since their information is already in the system. This helps event organizers focus on first-timers while not having to worry about security. Taking this one step further, the use of such technology can also help step up security at the venue by tracing who the ticket is issued to and who appears at the venue in person.

2. A step up in experiential marketing

2017 has seen event marketing take a sharp turn towards promoting experiences as opposed to sessions that revolve around the traditional conference room setting. According to a survey conducted in 2017 by EMI and Mosaic, 65% of brands felt that experiential marketing has a direct impact on sales. This implies that marketers have found greater success when targeting their audience with memorable event experiences. 2018 will not be any different, especially due to the fact that the next generation values experiences. The area of focus, therefore, should be to center the event experience around passion points that audiences are concerned with.

3. AI and chatbots

AI has played a crucial role in 2017 and is predicted to sustain its influence this year as well. Event planners will not only incorporate AI to showcase big amounts of information through booth elements but will also use it through smartphone apps that can answer the most common queries.

Chatbots, on the other hand, could come in handy when integrated into commonly used apps like Facebook messenger. This way, presenters can engage with the audience in an intimate way, understand their pain points, and present solutions. Chatbots are also going to become a bigger part of social media strategies.

4. Personalization will take a step forward

Attendees not only want to take back memorable experiences but also want to know that they have a direct impact on the course of the event. As events evolve, marketers will find that giving their attendees a direct hand in shaping the way they experience the event will help them reach out to their audiences better and can drastically improve engagement.
To effectively pull this off, event marketers need to create a framework that molds itself based on what the event needs to deliver. They need to lead audiences towards unique experiences with carefully framed questions and prompts. Interactivity is also key in this area. The elements placed around the booth need to offer attendees a way to submit their input while encouraging participation. This trend will not only help marketers improve the way attendees experience their products better, but will also help them understand their audiences intimately.

5. Emphasis on sustainability

With the newer generation coming of age, there has been a crucial shift of focus from lavish set-ups to sustainable events. With topics like global warming and climate change becoming a big area of focus over the last two years, sustainability and assessing the impact of events on the environment have become a challenge to address. With this in mind, 2018 will foster a large percentage of events routed towards going paperless. Collaterals such as brochures and pamphlets will be shared digitally, thereby reducing the amount of wastage. And even in cases where this cannot be avoided, the use of recycled, reusable materials are more likely be used.

With the passing of every year, events seem to be evolving at an incomprehensible rate. The trends mentioned above are just a handful of those that are bound to influence, impact and reshape the event industry. As event marketers, it becomes important to implement these strategies in order to maximize impact and stay with the times.

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Posted by Vishal Vibhaker

Vishal Vibhaker is a Content Marketer at Jifflenow. A writer by day and a reader by night, he is an amateur photographer and loves trivia.