Event professionals will have to adapt the way they educate delegates at conferences due to changing technology and delegates’ needs, argued Jessie States, manager of professional development at MPI. States listed six of the ways that conference education will change:
1. Information will all be free
"When anything delegates can learn onsite can be found online for free, why should delegates attend the meeting?" asked States. "Events professionals need to think about how they can give value to the attendees in other ways."
2. People will want to engage
"If people don’t come for the knowledge they can obtain, they will come for the opportunity to meet people and do business, so meeting planners should think about how the can capitalise on that," said States. "Planners should think about giving the delegates the information beforehand instead, so the conference can be used for discussing that information and debating best practice with others."
3. Experiences should be individualised
States said: "People want unique experiences. They want to find that one conversation that makes attending the meeting worthwhile. As mobile technology gets better it will be able to give each delegate recommendations of which talks to go to and who to meet, so everyone’s experience can be individualised, which they want."
4. Meeting space will change
"The way venues are looking at meetings and events will have to change," said States. "We want space that suits us and we want specificity and spaces that are designed to meet a certain type of meeting and have the latest in technology.
"30 years ago people wanted all space to look the same, but now that’s being called into question by delegates. They want to know why they’re there, and local experiences need to be incorporated. If a meeting is in a certain destination, they’ll want local food, amenities and case studies."
5. Everything will be accessible on-the-go
States said: "63% of meetings professionals have had an app developed, and 85% say they will do in future. Things that used to be done manually or on paper are already done on apps now, like maps and surveys during the event. New areas like attendee engagement and budget approval will shortly be moving there, too."
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