C&IT Corporate Forum: Five conference trends for 2017

From confrontational content to behavioural analysis, Alex Vail, head of events, Digital Catapult outlined five key conference trends for 2017 at C&IT's Corporate Forum.

Alex Vail discusses trends for 2017
Alex Vail discusses trends for 2017

Head of events at Digital Catapult, Alex Vail spoke to the C&IT Corporate Forum audience on the five trends that are set to shape the meetings and events industry in 2017 arguing "the way people interact with events has changed significantly." 

1) Confrontation vs collaboration

"Collaborative speaking in the form of workshops and round-tables will enable delegates to develop tools to solve their own problems." Vail also stated that rather than be the protagonists of the event, conference speakers will become antagonists designed to provoke debate and reaction in the audience.

2) Curating intimacy

"Conferences are being reinvented as 'festivals of innovation'. Theatre workshops, campfire sessions with industry experts and unconferencing are all becoming trends and companies that foster a sense of intimacy will be the ones who thrive in the years that follow."

3) Behavioural analysis

Tech was previously only available for the large expos but now it is more widely available on a budget. This enables companies to measure vital data such as footfall, which means the experience can be tailored to keep people engaged. The analog event experience is dying as droves of live engagement data can be collected and acted upon.

Vail added that analysing delegate behaviour and tailoring the experience during the event to meet their needs will be huge in 2017.

4) Building communities with technology

"Digital life works when it is frictionless - having to re-enter information into an app creates friction. Successful event tech helps delegates engage with the event year-round while giving them a way to create relationships onsite.

"2017 will also see the end of apps for apps sake. Only apps that create a sense of community or add value to the event will continue to be used."

5) Unlocking the value in content

"Delegates expect free content and services in exchange for personal data, but the content they consume must be relevant. Content marketing has never been so important. In 2017, social media, digital marketing and live events will all form part of the same marketing strategy."

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Venue of the Week: Hilton, Syon Park, London 

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