Hard to believe but we’re rounding out 2023 and on the cusp of a new year. Before we peek under the 2024 tent …
… we want to express our heartfelt appreciation for each of our clients, your wonderful programs and all who share in the success of dynami-produced meetings and events. Thank you!
It goes without saying that holiday “down time” is a great opportunity to pre-plan so you can hit the floor running in early January. But we’ve discussed this before so we’ll leave it at that.
Instead, we’d like to share with you what we anticipate 2024 meetings and events to look like. And trust me, if you thought things evolved rapidly during the pandemic/post-pandemic era, hold onto your hat, your scarf and your mittens, especially when it comes to program design.
Along with ongoing trends such as virtual meetings, hybrid meetings, increasing use of smart technology, a strong focus on healthier food & beverage options, prioritizing sustainability, etc., here are four key trends in upcoming meetings and events …
Trend 1: Greater Demand for Authenticity
Millennials and Gen-Zers, who make up a greater percentage of audiences these days [roughly 42%], crave authenticity and inclusivity and reject traditional, sales-driven approaches. They can sniff out practices or messaging that seem somehow disingenuous or exclusive. They’re more discerning and demanding when it comes to program design and execution and, above all, they value a genuine experience [research indicates more than 70% of Millennials and Gen-Zers value experiences over material things]. They desire authentic engagement and connection to an organization with a purpose, along with its customers, their colleagues, and their individual contribution[s] to overall success.
Trend 2: Empowering Attendees to Influence Content
This shift is based on a psychological principle known, interestingly, as the “IKEA Effect”. This is a phenomenon in which individuals feel a deeper connection and investment in something they have actually contributed to, which demands a reshaping of how we think about attendee event engagement. This approach is gaining momentum in the events industry, particularly as we look towards 2024.
Though some may find it maddening, many others consider the process of assembling a piece of IKEA flat-pack furniture to be a challenge and an opportunity to seize a sense of true accomplishment and ownership of the final result. Designing meeting/event content with this in mind can be remarkably effective in enhancing event engagement.
Trend 3: Increasing Use and Application of Data Analytics
Polling audiences and post-event surveys have been staples of the M&E industry for a long time but matters will accelerate in 2024. Use of rich data in greater volumes will lead to more and more emphasis on making meeting and event planning decisions that are rooted in data collected from previous events, or by responding to program-design recommendations from your targeted attendees. This all folds into the macro trend toward attendee-driven program design and execution which results in higher levels of satisfaction, engagement and motivated performance, post-event.
Trend 4: Increased Use of Artificial Intelligence [AI]
Whew, the biggie! Read anything online, listen to the news, watch a live stream, read a book, or tune into a podcast and everyone’s talking about AI. [Almost as much as Taylor Swift, that is.] From Alexa listening in on your kitchen conversations to the old “Big Brother is watching” comments, there’s clearly a trepidation surrounding this seemingly limitless innovation.
Plain and simple, AI is like a bolt of lightning — If you can effectively harness its energy and power, you can light a city for a year. If you don’t harness it, well, watch out.
So what’s the deal with AI? Interestingly, for all the chitter-chatter about how it will revolutionize the world in all ways, there’s little understanding of what it is and what it means now and in the future. Will it become the latest revolution in technology since smart devices … or will it be found dead on the roadside like the “world-changing” Segway?
I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read a recent article that indicated one of the top issues on the minds of meeting planners these days is AI and how to leverage its potential. Yet, when the group was asked if they’d ever even used ChatGPT, the leading AI chatbot technology developed by research company Open AI, only 3% said they had!
dynami recently released a White Paper addressing AI – the good of it, the bad and the ugly (White Paper: Unleash the Power of AI at Your Franchise Conventions). On the plus side, planners who have adopted AI in conferences, meetings and events have found it can help you cut costs and accelerate your team’s efficiencies. It excels at processing vast amounts [I mean vast amounts] of data quickly, analyzing it for valuable insights, identifying patterns and tendencies, and making data-based recommendations. When applied to corporate conferences, meetings and events, this capability is invaluable for understanding attendee preferences, optimizing event schedules, and forecasting attendance for non-command-performance gatherings.
More specifically, AI can assist in email marketing, social media content-generation, program logistics, etc. which saves planners significant time and energy, and reduces the likelihood of errors or miscalculations. Digging further, in today’s world of hyper-personalized communication, AI can tailor event experiences based on data mined directly from past attendees or those polled in advance of an event. It can suggest relevant sessions, preferred speakers, and recommended content; all resulting in a meeting/event experience that feels customized and tailored to the specific needs and desires of the individual attendee.
While its benefits can save enormous time and money and drive more effective meeting/content design, it’s not time to hand over the keys to the kingdom just yet!
Like all technology and innovation, used well, it’s a big ol’ plus. Used incorrectly or nefariously, you’ve got a big ol’ messy mud pie. So what are AI’s limitations [at least for now]?
AI simply cannot replace the richness of human interaction, not to mention the power and value of face-to-face networking and the energy and enthusiasm that is evident when one proud person shares exciting information with an interested audience of 1 or 101.
Building genuine connections, understanding nuanced communication, and providing active, engaged listening are aspects of events where human interaction is supremely superior to a soulless data aggregator and processor – no matter how quick on its tech toes it may be.
AI also falls short when it comes to creativity. While it can certainly generate content and make suggestions, it lacks the deep passion that human beings bring to the table. Everything generated by AI is sourced from known facts so if something new or unexpected arises, AI will not have taken such matters into consideration when kicking out suggestions to you. AI is largely devoid of intuition, subtle understanding, imaginative thinking, generational and cultural sensitivities and priorities, etc. As such, you cannot entrust your program design 100% to AI or there will, without question, be many, many non-tech toes stepped on.
No doubt, we’ll be addressing AI again in our blogs in 2024. It’s a force of innovation sure to gain steam as time goes on. For now, let’s just say AI is, at once, both exciting and incredible … but it is yet to be fully understood. The passage of time and lessons shared will be a key player in gaining that understanding.
A final note …
The flip of the calendar to 2024 marks a meaningful milestone for the dynami team. We will celebrate our 20th year in business and we humbly and gratefully acknowledge that none of our success would have come without our wonderful clients and your trust and belief in us.
Our pledge to you in 2024 and beyond is to always guide you toward the highest quality program design and execution with a focus on empowering your strategy and increasing ROI on your meeting spend.
Happy Holidays from the entire dynami team!