A trifecta of event trends in 2024 shows promise in creating innovative, immersive, and inclusive events that drive engagement and align with evolving societal values.
Below, we share more about the top three event trends of 2024, guaranteed to leave lasting impressions and showcase technological adaptability and eco-consciousness in a rapidly changing world.
Event Trend #1: Embracing New Technologies
2023 saw widespread adoption of AI as a way of streamlining duties for event organizers and creating engaging event experiences. But embracing advanced event technologies isn't just a passing fad – it is crucial in revolutionizing the event landscape.
“As AI leaps forwards, it has the potential to transform the meetings and events sector through its capacity to instantly crunch data,” states Accor’s Meeting Expectations: The Future of Meetings & Events report. “ If used wisely, AI undeniably holds great value to offer all sorts of possibilities for next-gen meetings and event planners.”
In 2024, advanced technology will continue to drive event planning and production efficiency through automation and scalable platforms that allow organizers to create and manage multiple events simultaneously. As event organizers look to modernize processes, demand is likely to increase for platforms, such as Ticketbud, that allow organizers to manage multiple events and offer flexible registration, ticketing, and check-in tools.
Sources also predict that mobile event apps will become more prevalent and wearables may also emerge. According to Bizzabo, 67.5% of attendees consider mobile event apps to be vital, and 62.9% expect in-person conferences utilize modern technology. These advanced technologies work to improve attendee experiences and provide real-time data that help inform event planner decisions.
Event Trend #2: Sustainability
Much like technology, a focus on sustainability within events is here to stay. This is due in part to the evolving make-up of attendees. Millennials and Gen Z account for 42% of the population, bringing on new preferences, perspectives, and ethos.
To appeal to these generations, events must be environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.
“People’s values are changing and they will look to engage in a way which aligns with these new values. Brands can’t afford to not prioritize sustainable approaches and will need to ensure that their people on the ground deliver against this ambition,” says Carina Filek, COO at Elevate Global, in an article appearing in Conference News.
According to a study published in Nature Communications, the global events industry accounts for more than 10% of annual global greenhouse emissions. And a recent trends report by Marriott shows that more than half of travelers are looking to reduce travel with high carbon emissions.
With these findings, it is imperative that brands seeking to engage non-local audiences do so virtually in order to reduce travel and the amount of energy consumed and waste produced by their events.
These efforts may also help companies demonstrate their economic and social sustainability. In-person events require a significant amount of time, energy, and finances that account for 58% of B2B marketing budgets. Therefore, organizations can broaden their reach and accessibility to wider audiences by integrating a mix of in-person, hybrid, and virtual events throughout the year.
If doing so, companies should share how these decisions are making an impact and educate audiences on sustainability initiatives in order to motivate participation. For more ideas on how to incorporate sustainability practices into events, read “Nine Ways to Go Green at Your Next Event” in the Ticketbud blog.
Event Trend #3: Individualized Event Experiences
Hybrid event models and digital-first approaches also offer tailored event journeys, empowering attendees to create their own, individualized experiences.
“Experience design is human-to-human now; and that’s how we’re approaching events in 2024,” says Georgia Cross, senior marketing manager at Cheerful Twentyfirst, in an article appearing in Conference News. “Rather than building an experience for 500 attendees, we’re thinking about 500 individual audience experiences and, crucially, how those individuals are engaging with the brand as much as with each other.”
According to research published in SpotMe, 70% of millennials value experiences over material things. To cater to these values, event organizers should make diverse, human-centric experiences available a-la-carte, allowing attendees to craft their own event. This build-your-own event design could take many forms, including optional roundtables, dinners or happy hours, breakout sessions, topical tracks, VIP experiences, and more.
Here, event organizers can leverage technology to heighten engagement. For example, mobile apps or websites give attendees the tools and information needed to build their own schedule, and on-site activations, immersive experiences and leaderboards may encourage participation.
Personalizing event experiences taps into the psychological principle known as the IKEA effect. The idea suggests that much like people feel a sense of pride and ownership in having furniture they put together themselves, they may also feel a stronger sense of investment to an event they played a role in shaping.
Giving attendees this type of satisfaction begins at registration, where event organizers can solicit ideas by asking attendees to submit questions or suggest discussion topics when making ticket purchases. The IKEA effect is also powerful tool in gaining feedback after an event when asking attendees to share photos, memories, quotes or suggestions for the next event.
Modern events must intertwine technology, sustainability, and personalized experiences for a transformative impact.
Integrating cutting-edge technology fosters interactive engagement. Prioritizing sustainability reduces environmental footprints and appeals to the next-gen of event goers. And, crafting personalized experiences tailors content and experiences, resonating deeply with emerging attendee needs and diverse preferences.