What value do your in-person events provide? Respondents of the Encore Winter 2022 Planner Pulse Report say the greatest value their gatherings provide is networking/relationship building (74 percent). Sixty-one percent say it’s connecting people/employees to an organization’s mission/vision/values; an equal number say it’s education/training/professional development opportunities. Maximizing return on these three areas not only benefits attendees, but it also can benefit meeting professionals.
Of course, understanding the industry landscape is another critical factor in designing meetings and events that resonate with audiences. One trend we’re continuing to see? Demand for in-person experiences remains high, with three in five planners surveyed for the Encore Winter 2022 Planner Pulse anticipating their event attendance to increase by more than 10 percent. The challenge will be to get these audiences to return next year.
To this aim, meeting and event professionals are focused on delivering event experiences that are significant and provide clear advantages for participants. If attendees feel your conference delivered a smooth and streamlined experience, helped them build their networks, connect to the organization and gain important insights, then they’ll be satisfied and more likely to attend again.
Finding tools to prepare attendees for events, as well as connect and engage them during the in-person experience, isn’t easy. Many of the digital tools people relied on during the pandemic fall flat when events are in person. And, according to the Winter 2022 Planner Pulse Report, there is an expected rise in this event format each quarter.
An event platform that delivers end-to-end solutions
A notable exception is the Chime Live℠ event platform. It was developed for use at in-person events, though its capabilities have been expanded to fulfill the needs of any event format.
During the pandemic, its virtual and hybrid event capabilities became much more robust. Now that people are meeting face-to-face again, Chime Live provides an exceptionally flexible platform that can upgrade any event format.
With in-person events, planners can engage audiences before, during and after the program, while also taking elements of the conference off-line. Here are a few key ways this platform can do that and boost the overall impact of your next event.
Manage complex event schedules
With Chime Live, Encore can use the agenda-building tool to create personalized itineraries for participants, based on the customer’s requirements. These individualized tracks may be pushed to separate groups of attendees.
So, for example, if you’re planning a healthcare conference, different tracks could focus on various medical conditions, enabling you to provide targeted information to your audience segments. Alternatively, these sessions can be set up to enable participants to bookmark those they’d like to attend.
Another advantage? These personalized conference schedules can be made available to participants before they arrive onsite. This is especially valuable in helping keep events that feature a number of different breakout sessions running smoothly — and even more valuable if your event sessions are taking place across multiple venues. How? Participants simply need to use their smartphones to access their customized agenda to understand where they need to be and when or choose which sessions best speak to their goals and interests.
Enhance your participants’ learner journey
The tool also gives conference organizers the ability to enhance the attendee’s learner journey by showcasing speakers, assigning pre-conference work and sharing educational resources, such as pre- or post-event knowledge checks. Want to deliver engaging learning opportunities throughout an event? Simply provide live polling during your desired sessions.
Another way to bolster learning opportunities is through peer-to-peer interaction. Foster meaningful conversations about your programming by giving participants access to networking tools — these may even be provided pre-event with Chime Live.
Provide valuable content before, during and after events
Extending access to conference content is increasing in popularity among meeting professionals. Sharing content pre-event builds anticipation and boosts marketing efforts. Post-event, content can be repackaged to increase monetization opportunities and reach new audiences. This 365-day approach to participant engagement also encourages communities to form around the conference, which can enhance your influence.
Chime Live gives meeting organizers an effortless way to prep, organize, present and share this information directly to participants’ mobile devices before, during and after the conference. If there are changes to the schedule or speakers, or important updates about the venue, those can be handled in an instant and pushed directly to everyone’s phone or Encore-provided iPad.
A sustainable way to keep attendees focused on conference content
One of the best perks Chime Live offers is the ability to carefully choreograph conference content to keep attendees focused and engaged during the event. With Chime Live, this process is also more sustainable. To distribute conference materials, an Encore project manager can preload all the paperless content that attendees need on Chime Live-enabled iPads. These resources can be available for attendees before, during and/or after the event for easy reference.
Providing resources this way can up the green factor at your meeting or event by eliminating the need for packets of printed materials, like handouts and discussion guides. If you’re managing last-minute changes to attendee resources, these adjustments may be available immediately with the digital tool, rather than you needing to reprint. Distributing content this way also enhances the participant experience by giving them everything they need to connect, network and learn at their fingertips.
Using their iPads, attendees can ask questions during sessions and upvote their favorites. They can also use the device to chat and network with each other. Planners can amplify audience engagement by pushing out interactive polls, Q&As, forums and more to the iPads at specific times.
Perhaps one of the coolest applications for Chime Live technology is as a second screen. While a presentation is being given, attendees can use their iPads to ‘zoom’ into the presentation slides, rewind to parts they might have missed and take notes. With this tool in their hands, participants are focused on the presenter not on their personal texts or emails.
Keeping the conference conversation going
Want to give attendees access to conference content after the event? If you’re using the Chime Live event platform, you can keep its library of conference content and videos online and give event participants access to additional educational and networking opportunities.
Get key insights to continuously improve your events
Chime Live’s rich post-event analytics report can augment these strategies by providing essential information about patterns of engagement, the themes and content that most resonated with audience segments, and attendee return on investment (ROI). This data can demonstrate the event’s value to key stakeholders and decision-makers. It also can improve the event’s programing. Knowing what content resonated with audiences can help meeting and event professionals pinpoint future themes and content to develop. Understanding what engages your audience and when they tune out increases the potential for improving future engagement.
A streamlined event solution
Staffing challenges, economic uncertainty and fatigue from planning hybrid and virtual events is driving a desire to reduce the overall event footprint and to streamline the experience. Meeting and event professionals also want to ensure the time attendees spend at the conference is more meaningful and productive.
Let’s examine a real-world example of how one event professional overcame these challenges. Jo Merriman, Encore Director, Commercial & Operations, used Chime Live’s end-to-end solutions to enhance the event experience for a financial customer planning their Annual General Meeting.
With high-value investors flying into Avignon, France, from around the globe for the event, Jo showed the customer how the event platform they already knew and loved could also address and streamline complex logistical challenges surrounding the program’s multiple venues, sessions and schedules.
The event featured several fund meetings held across two different venues in the foreign city. Yet with one single solution, Jo was able to help the customer streamline the experience for attending investors while also connecting and engaging participants during each session to deliver a seamless five-star experience.
Want to see how she did it? Explore Jo’s case study here!
Over 70 percent of meeting and event organizers believe networking and engagement will be the future of events. The challenge is how to do that. LED walls are one of the most flexible technology solutions you can use to breathe new life into your programming. From creating immersive environments to transforming presentations into interactive activities, LED walls can enhance indoor or outdoor meetings and events in myriad ways.
Let’s examine some use cases and applications where LED walls can support event goals to facilitate networking and improve engagement.
How do LED walls create more engaging and immersive environments?
“The No. 1 reason why we attend meetings is to interact with people,” says Encore Product Manager Damein Futch.
“Instead of you telling me the Top 10 things I should remember, I learn because you’re using the billboard principle in the dining room.”
LED walls also allow you to change the environment without changing the space. “There’s an unlimited palette of opportunities,” Futch explains. For example, there might be a beach scene during the morning session, which turns into a sunset over a mountaintop for the general session.
“You can even put a transparent LED over a window in a breakout room.” This makes it possible to transport participants to different places, planets and emotional spaces without moving them from their chairs.
“Any time you want an interactive display behind something you want to sell or promote, you can use an LED wall,” Futch says. “You don’t have to worry about people walking through the cone of projection.” LED panels can be built to look like a product that you can transform into anything you want with striking visuals.
You may have seen LED walls used to show what people are experiencing while wearing virtual reality (VR) headsets or as a background layer for augmented reality (AR) activations. But have you heard about extended reality (XR)?
“Extended reality is a camera working with a media server and LED wall to create realistic background movement to give viewers the sense of being in another location,” Futch explains. It’s a technique used for TV/film productions to create immersive 360-degree sets. But the same technology can be used for events.
Futch says a professional meeting or event organizer’s use of LED walls is only limited only by their creativity, budget and opportunity. “The ROI of LED is exponentially greater than you see with other mediums. It costs more because it accomplishes more, and you can do more with it.“
A technology solution for all meeting types and formats
“Any time you have a screen or a wall, you can use LED,” Futch adds. “LED walls can be used in general sessions, breakout rooms, digital signage, creative elements, scenic and anywhere else, really.”
What does this look like in practice? The resolution and clarity provided by LED walls make them a good fit for medical meetings or any other gatherings where it’s essential to view high-contrast images. In general sessions, they can be used in place of traditional projections as scenic elements, or they may comprise the entire set. “LED walls don’t have to be rectangular or square,” Futch shares. “You can build and stagger them into any configuration you need.”
Another benefit? You’re not restricted to aspect ratios with LED walls the way you are with traditional projectors. You don’t have to worry about blending because you’re using one surface, whether it’s a window, wall, curved screen or even the side of a building. It can be as large or small as you need without compromising the resolution quality.
LED walls can also be used as creative accents. For example, if you wanted to use a projector for a presentation, you could wrap the presentation with LED walls to drive home the message.
No matter how they’re used, people’s eyes and attention naturally drift to LED walls because they’re so vivid and bright, which makes them an incredible tool for engagement. “You could even put one behind a registration desk,” Futch says. “And people will be drawn in.”
The benefits of using LED walls vs projectors
LED walls possess several technological advantages to projection equipment traditionally used, whether you’re creating scenic elements, relaying information or transforming spaces with projection mapping. These advantages enhance the participant experience and elevate the overall event.
Brightness is an additional advantage. “A projection always competes with stage lights or daylight,” Futch says. You never have to draw the curtains in a room with an LED wall. Examples of this can be seen within exhibit halls or outdoor venues.
Projectors are either rear-projecting or front-projecting. In both cases, a considerable amount of space is required to fit the ‘cone of projection.’ This isn’t the case with LED walls.
“You gain back seating and capacity for your attendees,” Futch informs. “You don’t have to worry about projection distance because everything is displayed on a flat surface.”
When light is projected, it bounces off a screen before it enters the participants’ eyes, making it a passive medium. In contrast, LED walls are an active medium. What they display is directly absorbed by the viewer. As Futch adds, “It is like your TV on steroids.”
It also offers increased opportunities for creative expression. “LED walls are visual LEGOs,” Futch explains. “With projectors, light [is] beamed at a source. With LED walls, the possibilities are endless when it comes to resolution and area covered.”
Think about the events you have coming up. How would you like to use LED walls to surprise and delight, educate and engage, or entertain your participants? We’d love to provide a free consultation on how this technology solution can help you achieve your meeting or event goals.
Interested in learning more? Click the button below to explore our experts’ guidance on dazzling audiences with LED technology.
Encore values the power of inclusion. That’s why we’re proud to create spaces of belonging and work to proactively diversify our team. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re excited to share a new way we’re putting our commitment to equity into practice with our Women in Audio Visual Technology (WAVE) program. We’re also delighted to also shine a spotlight on some of the trailblazing women of Encore and reflections from our leadership on why Women’s History Month matters to our organization.
Generating career opportunities for women at Encore
The WAVE initiative is part of our ongoing efforts to create career opportunities for women in the event production industry. The program features a pre-hire training certification, called Introduction to Event Technology, which is carefully designed to provide an overview of processes and best practices in the technology field. Anyone can take the course. The initiative also offers continuing education, a mentorship program and career mapping — all focusing on elevating women and identifying clear career paths to leadership and management positions.
Fostering community for women and allies
Knowing the role community support and knowledge-sharing can play in career and life empowerment. Encore offers seven business resource groups that enable members to develop deeper connections with colleagues. The Women of Encore business resource group serves as an inclusive community for women and their allies, providing an opportunity for conversation, mentorship, development and advocacy.
Honoring Encore award-winners and nominees
Diversity in our leadership helps push our industry forward in new ways. In fact, two of our award-winning teammates Donna Hubley, Encore Vice President of Field Sales, and Alyssa Freire, Encore Project Manager of Production, were recently honored in the 2023 Smart Women in Meetings Awards program for doing just that.
Because Encore had so many women nominated for the 2023 Smart Women in Meetings Awards, Smart Meetings also released a companion article, ‘Think Event Technology Is Still a Man’s World? Think Again,’ which features 15 additional women of Encore working in technology, sales, operations, production, human resources and management. Check out the article for an introduction to these pioneers, learn their approaches to life, advice for readers, and goals they’re working toward.
Reflections on Women’s History Month from
While we take a moment to celebrate the incredible women who propel our organization, industry and communities forward, our leadership is reflecting on what this month means to Encore. Here’s what they had to share:
Becky Sheehan, Chief Financial Officer
“I am thrilled to recognize and celebrate International Women’s History Month and continue to be both proud of and inspired by the women of the past and present. One particular highlight for us today is my observation that the goals of Encore are closely aligned to those of the UN Women organization as it pertains to gender equality.
The UN Women’s International Women’s Day theme — “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality” — aligns well with the efforts Encore is making to encourage more women to enter the event production industry. For example, WAVE, or Women in Audio Visual Events, is an Encore program that focuses on generating career opportunities for women in our industry. More specifically, it’s a community where we can provide women with educational, training, and mentorship resources to be successful and ultimately become the next generation of leaders at Encore. This relates closely to another goal we have established to double representation of women in leadership positions at Encore.”
Toni Williams, Sr. Manager, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
“At Encore, we recognize that diversity is critically important, equity is a choice, inclusion is an action and belonging is the outcome we desire. Creating equitable spaces and opportunities for women isn’t just a matter of ethics or corporate responsibility. We have seen tangible results time and time again on how more diverse companies lure better talent and improve their decision making, customer orientation and employee satisfaction. All areas of diversity are important to our inclusive culture, and gender, racial and ethnic diversity are certainly competitive differentiators for companies in the same industry and country. As we honor Women’s History Month, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the broader impacts that creating equity for women, and other underrepresented and marginalized groups, has on the way we live and work.”
Ben Erwin, President and CEO
“We know our ability to best solve challenges comes from our team’s individual experiences — a capacity that grows with the diversity of the talent around the table. When women are invited to these conversations, we win. When women are given opportunities to sharpen their skillsets, we win. When women are empowered as leaders, we win. Our customers win. Our industry wins.
Women’s History Month reminds us of the role inclusion can play in progress . . . for women, people of color, or anyone marginalized or underrepresented. We know our team members are the key differentiator in the marketplace. This belief powers a culture of diversity, inclusion and motivates investments to grow opportunity with programs like WAVE and our Women of Encore business resource group, to promote brighter futures for women.”
Small meetings have become an incredible source of growth and opportunity in the wake of the pandemic. Catering to a group of 50 or fewer participants means you can provide more targeted programming, promote greater intimacy between your audience and stakeholders, and foster meaningful interactions that build trust. This holds true whether you’re conducting a management training or strategizing session, holding a board meeting or focused on team building. Regardless of the use case, small meetings can generate a closer level of connection and engagement to drive business outcomes.
Doing so, however, is not without its challenges. Today’s tech-savvy attendees have higher expectations for the level of production, technology and meeting tools than before the pandemic. Event professionals also face rising related costs, shorter lead times and changing attendee dynamics – influenced by higher anxiety levels and lower, eight-second attention spans.
The growing number of meeting professionals with less than a year’s experience plays another factor. These professionals want to create successful experiences, and having a full-service provider on their side that can provide end-to-end support can make all the difference. Whether someone is a seasoned meeting planner or excited to get their feet wet and deliver their first outstanding program, having the optimal technology support is a crucial part of any successful small meeting strategy.
Read on to learn six ways technology solutions can empower event professionals to create small meetings that deliver a big impact.
1. Create a high-production look
With effective technology solutions in place, you can help ensure that your small meeting feels as significant as a larger conference production. Why does this matter? Coordinating a visually impressive meeting can positively affect audience sentiment and strengthen your programming – which is critical whether you deliver content to 50 people or 500. Achieving this all comes down to smart technology choices. You can take the guesswork out of this process by partnering with Encore. We can help you make the most of your space with aesthetically clean and professional-looking technology solutions. Here are a few of our top recommendations:
- Eliminate room clutter
Create more floor space for seating and eliminate room clutter with a short-throw projector and tension screen. This not only expands your meeting capacity, but also creates a more visually appealing environment for participants. With this consolidated setup, there is no visible projector, cords or cart taking up space and distracting from your programming.
- Use quality audio
Don’t lose opportunities for interaction or engagement by overlooking the importance of high-quality audio solutions. If participants are straining to hear your presenter, they’re less likely to fully grasp or connect with your content. Opt for a compact powered speaker to make sure your message is delivered loud and clear.
- Customize your visual elements
Want to make your meeting more memorable? Take advantage of clever design accents that can leave a lasting impression. Branded screen skirts are a perfect way to do this. They can feature company logos or other designs relevant to your meeting theme to visually reinforce a brand or idea.
2. Elevate the ambiance
When making intentional meeting design choices, don’t overlook the power of color to affect attendees’ emotions. LED lights are an excellent tool for this. They can change hues instantaneously to alter the ambiance of your event and elicit certain feelings in your participants. Simply use an IR Remote or wireless control to change their color on cue.
This budget-friendly solution is also ideal for small accent spaces. LED lights can fit almost anywhere with their 3.5 in x 3.5 in footprint. Another advantage? LED lights use less energy than most other lighting solutions, which can help raise the “green” factor of your meeting. With a range of LED options to choose from, our experts can help you create an environment that inspires everything from excitement and creativity to critique and analysis – all at the click of a button.
3. Increase engagement opportunities
A common theme for meeting professionals, no matter their audience size, is the desire to boost participant engagement. With an event platform, you can provide simple-to-use yet powerful tools that enable participants to connect with each other and your content. Chime Go℠ by Encore is a fully-supported, quick-start event app that equips users with key information – from agendas and maps to forums to Q&A tools – all organized in one hub and branded with your logo. It can be turned around in as little as four working days, which makes it ideal for planners navigating short lead times, and provides an easy, affordable and professional way to add a new level of engagement to small meetings.
With Chime Go, you can elevate the experience for participants with an easy-to-use event site and interactive features like:
- Pre-event and onsite access
- Detailed digital agendas & maps
- Live Q&As/Upvoter
- Real-time broadcasts that enable attendees or presenters to join remotely
- Live analytics to view engagement levels, capture questions asked and more!
Instead of your audience passively digesting content, the event platform’s digital tools can help deliver greater ways for participants to interact with your programming throughout the experience – and directly from their own smart device.
4. Set the tone with music
“Having no music creates a void that you’re not used to having in day-to-day life when you go into public spaces,” says Nick Greene, Encore Product Manager for Audio and Power. “It creates an awkward silence…imagine showing up at a company meeting at 8 a.m. and walking into an empty room with no music. There won’t be the energy.”
Ensure you’re creating an atmosphere that breathes new life into your small meeting with the perfect tone-setting tracks. Encore Music provides hit songs from today’s popular artists, already licensed and ready to play. With hundreds of curated playlists to choose from, select the perfect soundtrack for your meeting to enhance the experience and curate your desired mood. Whether you’re looking for an upbeat tempo to invigorate discussions, mellow jazz to introduce thought-provoking themes, or even a festive dance track to energize your audience after a long day, Encore Music offers a diverse range of creative choices to meet your needs – and without you having to obtain a separate music license as you would with a generic streaming service or bringing your own music.
5. Deliver memorable content
When planning your small meeting, visually enhancing your content goes a long way in helping to make a lasting impression and ensure it doesn’t fall flat. Amplify your presentations – with a minimal impact on your budget – with our self-serve creative. We can equip you with professionally designed PowerPoint template slides with three matching elements: A logo loop, intro video and speaker title. The elements are designed to be used together for a seamless transition but may also be used individually to suit various display requirements.
Have another creative idea you’d like to bring to life? A small meeting doesn’t have to mean limited possibilities. Our team of experienced designers can work closely with you to create stunning graphics and videos tailored specifically to meet your needs and budget — from logos and invitations to custom videos and presentations.
6. Protect against internet interruptions
Whether you need to ensure a speaker’s multimedia presentation works without a hitch or that in-person attendees can download an event app, interruption-free, secure and reliable internet is essential to your small meeting’s success. It’s also become a big part of attendees’ expectations, with audiences now counting on uninterrupted streaming capabilities to multiple devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets, as part of their experience.
As your strategic partner, Encore provides fast, seamless internet, best-in-class connectivity and extensive technical support to protect against any embarrassing lags and ensure the focus stays on your message.
Dynamic expectations call for dynamic solutions
Gone are the days when small meetings meant reduced expectations. Today’s attendees have dynamic expectations that can’t be met without the right tools. Whether you’re focused on delivering a high-production feel, improving engagement or setting the perfect ambiance, having the right technology solutions in place is key to leveling up any small meeting experience and transforming it from mundane to memorable.
Request a free consultation with our experts to learn more ways we can help you deliver outstanding small meeting outcomes. We’d love to discuss your specific needs and empower you to deliver an experience that connects and inspires.
In the events world, sometimes we’re caught by an ask so big, it feels unimaginable. Just ask Encore Regional Director Chris Baker, who oversees the Alberta Branches in Canada.
It all began with an unexpected RFP from the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops (CCB). They queried Encore Canada for a proposal related to a visit by Pope Francis. The ask: create five papal events in five unique and complex locations. All five events would happen within a three-day time frame. The CCB projected that the events would attract more than 200,000 people during that time.
By the time CCB awarded Encore the project, there were 45 days before the first event. Then by the time the contract was signed, the Encore team had only 30 days to officially design, produce and execute the events. Here’s Chris’s unbelievable story. Read on or click here to watch the video.
The ultimate challenge
Papal tours rarely occur, so expectations for this tour were high. Because this tour intended to deliver an important message, Pope Francis intentionally wanted to visit out-of-the-way locations where people might not have had the occasion to attend a papal event. Baker’s team was tasked with the event strategy and design, building and managing all production and event technology components for distinctly different and complex locations and events. Most of the events were concentrated around the Canadian city of Edmonton. Some of the facilities selected were not event venues, and few were built to handle the number of participants expected—meaning limited to no infrastructure. The final event location was so remote that no roads existed. On top of all the logistical, strategic, creative and production challenges, Baker’s team needed to figure out how to transport heavy equipment into 10 perfectly packed and weighted pallets for an eight-hour flight with a total of 12- to 16 hours for the crew.
Besides, none of the events in the five locations being remotely the same, on some days, there was more than one event taking place. For example, on Day One, Baker’s team needed to produce a morning event for 23,000 attendees in Maskwacis and a 1,250-person event at the Sacred Heart Church in Edmonton, 60 miles away, on the same day. On Day Two, Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium would welcome 75,000 attendees in the morning. That afternoon, there would be an event for 100,000 people at Lac Ste. Anne in Stony Plain. In the tiny, remote indigenous village of Iqaluit, Nunavit, the final event of the three-day papal visit was expected to attract 5,000 people.
This is where decades of experience producing world-class events and a global team well-versed in developing and executing end-to-end event solutions help Encore to deliver on the requests. Baker, and North American location-specific teams, began with the total papal visit and journey with the end goals and location in mind. They collectively set out to meet this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with thoughtful understanding and enthusiasm.
Juggling the logistical demands, short booking window and staffing requirements to make all five events happen required teamwork and careful coordination between over 270 Encore team members from across Canada and the U.S. Additionally, Baker’s team had to work with and satisfy the needs of a different set of clients and stakeholders in each location from the CCB to local tribal leaders.
Baker and team decided that the best way to manage the demands of the consecutive events on Day One and Day Two was to use separate crews for each event location. Thankfully, Encore has access to a vast network of hundreds of experienced and skilled people. Crews were bussed in daily to provide dedicated support for various papal events.
Three of the five sites required infrastructure work to accommodate the expected crowds. Because of the high-profile nature of the event, it was necessary to construct media facilities and green rooms at most sites. Three sites required the creation of overflow spaces for up to 10,000 people. Baker’s team even constructed roads and supplied the power so gear and people could reach some of the unique, non-traditional event locations requested.
Most of the events required Baker’s team to set up large LED walls with delayed audio, staging, lighting and audio coverage. In addition to the state-of-the-art staging and different event technologies, Baker and teams also managed broadcast and live stream feeds and related internet network needs.
All five stakeholder groups were pleased with the outcome of Encore’s work, which enabled the Pope to present his important message to more than 200,000 people. This was because Baker and his North America Encore teams saw solutions instead of challenges.
Every year, Encore surveys thousands of meeting and event professionals about meeting/event patterns and formats, how they spend their money and their biggest concerns. Individually, these quarterly Planner Pulse reports form snapshots of current industry trends. But taken collectively, we can begin to forecast where the industry is headed. Looking at the big picture painted by results from our four 2022 surveys, here are the Top 3 event trends for 2023.
Trend No. 1: Immersive and interactive experiences to engage participants and enhance organizational culture
According to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, 58 percent of the employed respondents in the U.S. have the option of working from home for all or part of the week. With a dispersed workforce, in-person engagement is more important than ever for creating and reinforcing an organization’s culture, training employees and fostering a sense of belonging. Companies aren’t the only ones seeing the need for in-person meetings. Encore Planner Pulse respondents report that, compared to 2019, participants value the in-person experience more and are more engaged with and ‘leaning into’ the entire face-to-face experience (Winter 2022 Pulse).
Planners know participants derive the greatest value from networking/relationship building, education/training and organizational culture-building/enhancing activities (Winter 2022 Pulse). Meeting and event professionals are creating more immersive and interactive experiences to maximize the event return-on experience.
How are meeting and event professionals doing this? Designing events with the end in mind, investing in engaging technology, and collaborating with presenters to rethink how content is delivered.
Reverse-engineering the event design leads organizers to rethink how rooms are set to maximize connection and collaboration, bake more opportunities for networking into the agenda and think about how they can create sensory experiences. Technology, like LED walls and 3D projection mapping, is the easiest way to transform rooms and sets quickly. Event technology platforms that enable live polling and Q&A, can be used to educate and entertain. Challenging presenters to respond to questions about how they intend to engage the audience in the call for proposals is a fantastic starting point for conversations about designing and delivering the most meaningful and relevant content for event participants.
Trend No. 2: More attendees for in-person meetings
In-person events continue to gain momentum. Meeting and event professionals expect in-person attendance to increase by as much as 25 percent in 2023. This is a reversal of a downsizing trend seen last spring (Spring 2022 and Winter 2022 Pulse).
The most popular venues remain hotels (Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 Pulse). Sixty-one percent of planners expect to pay slightly to significantly more on hotel room rates (Fall 2022 Pulse). Sixty-two percent expect to pay more for food and beverage, and 57 percent report they will pay more for transportation (Winter 2022, Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 Pulse). Not coincidentally, these also are the Top 3 areas Planners Pulse respondents expect to see their 2023 budgets increase. Of the planners who say their 2023 budgets are increasing, 80 percent expect an increase of more than 25 percent (Winter 2022 Pulse).
According to Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 Pulse reports, the top technology products and services being sourced this year are standard projection/audiovisual equipment (50+ percent) and streaming technology (44 percent). Top attributes driving the selection of event technology partners are value, technical expertise and service excellence (Summer 2022 Pulse).
Trend No. 3: Inclusive and supportive environments to enhance participant wellness and sense of belonging
Health and safety had the greatest impact on participant comfort levels (Spring 2022 Pulse). For that reason, hybrid meetings comprised up to 30 percent of the meetings held in the first half of last year. (Winter 2022 and Spring 2022 Pulse). Now that people are more comfortable traveling, the number of hybrid meetings represents fewer than 20 percent of the meetings planned for 2023 (Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 Pulse).
It’s not just participants’ physical wellness that’s a focus for planners. They also want to support mental and emotional wellness by fostering a sense of attendee belonging, enhanced by face-to-face meeting. One of the ways planners are incorporating this trend into event design include education and conversational groups modeled on the ‘business resource groups’ present at most major organizations, where participants gather with like-minded community members. They’re also using technology, like AI-powered simultaneous translation and captioning tools, to ensure people with neurodiversity or disabilities have an easier time connecting to the content and enjoying it. And for those who don’t want to travel, hybrid event technology allows everyone to participate in the event, no matter where they’re located.
Technology can also help people connect to each other on a more human level by capturing images and stories and sharing them with participants before, during or after the event. Consider setting up on-site interviews or photography booths to capture this user-generated content. Remember: everyone wants to feel special and included. If you can deliver experiences that deliver both to your participants, they’ll want to come back next year.
Those are the Top 3 trends we’re seeing. How are you planning to make your meetings more engaging, supportive of ESG or inclusive? We’d love to hear about your 2023 events and the challenges and solutions you discover as you move through the year. Click here to download the Winter 2022 Planners Pulse Report and opt-in to future communications to have your opinion included.
Humans are social by nature. We are inherently driven to connect and create moments of belonging. This is where in-person events shine — they satisfy this innate human need while fostering a sense of community. By bringing participants together, you enable engagement on various levels, whether through direct communication, nonverbal cues or even physical touch, such as a handshake with an industry peer. All these factors elevate an in-person event’s programming and how it can activate your audience. But are you missing out on opportunities to enhance your impact in today’s tech-savvy climate?
Leveraging digital capabilities through an event platform can be an invaluable part of your in-person event’s success. By incorporating the platform’s interactive technology, you can better engage audiences, strengthen your programming, and gain valuable data insights to enhance future events. Deliberating whether to incorporate an event platform at your next in-person event? Read on to learn six advantages to doing just that — plus, click the button below to download our free Event Platforms Guidebook and explore even more ways to elevate your upcoming events with a platform’s digital capabilities.
1. Boost audience engagement
According to the Encore Fall 2022 Planner Pulse Report, nearly half of event professionals want to improve attendee engagement at their upcoming events. While this may seem like a daunting task, including digital capabilities can serve as a key way to help boost audience participation. How? They offer exciting ways to engage your attendees.
Event platforms, like Chime Live ℠, are an excellent tool for this. From the get-go, you set the tone for a more interactive experience with its second screen technology. Attendees can participate with your content while it’s being delivered, directly from their own Encore-provided iPad. Whether via chat, virtual break-out rooms, gamification elements or connecting via social feeds, the platform’s experience opens up new opportunities for presenters and attendees alike to engage on a more intimate level than in the past. Chime Live is also unique in the way that it supports choreographed event design, allowing you to focus attendees on what they need to see or do in the platform. Push slides and pop-up interactive polls, Q&A and more — right on cue.
2. Strengthen your programming
When it comes to your event, the more targeted the content is for your audience, the more likely it will resonate and leave a lasting impression. With an event platform, you can strengthen your programming by engaging participants pre-event to check their pulse on topics that will be presented so you can best tailor the messaging. Send pre-event surveys and knowledge checks to assess how much background information to cover, encourage discussions via forums to learn about your attendees’ interests, and even provide helpful resources — including white papers or videos — for your audience to learn from beforehand.
Once your event comes to a close, you can use the platform’s tools to drive long-term engagement and reach. This provides people who couldn’t attend a way to connect with your programming while enhancing the overall experience for those who did. Simply include video content in your event platform’s resource section and choose how long you’d like the media to be available – for many event platforms, you can request that it be accessible 365 days a year. You can also efficiently repurpose and reshare event videos, clips and other digital content via email, social posts or blogs. This feeds your marketing pipeline and can expand your impact by allowing you to reach and engage new audiences even after your event has ended. Another advantage? These capabilities help you maximize your return on investment (ROI). With so many benefits at your fingertips, it’s no wonder that 78 percent of businesses that use an event application say it contributes to a positive event ROI.
3. Grow sponsorship reach
Did you know you can offer more sponsorship packages when your event includes digital components? Depending on the platform, you can add a sponsor banner or enhanced branding, empowering you to deliver additional promotional opportunities. With physical and digital options to choose from, businesses have the flexibility to choose the level of participation that makes the most sense for them, which can increase the ROI of their investment.
As mentioned above, using an event platform can also extend the shelf life of your programming, as your content can be available on-demand after the initial live event has ended. This means that sponsors’ logos and other branding elements will continue to be seen by potential customers. If you’re looking to attract sponsors for your next event, adding these digital capabilities will work in your favor.
4. Enable smarter networking
Meeting and event professionals know that one of the most important elements of a successful event is networking. It’s not enough to just have people in the same room; participants should be able to connect with each other on a deeper level. Utilizing an event platform simplifies and facilitates this process — it can help identify attendees who have shared interests or attributes and encourage them to build strong professional relationships with each other. Event platforms can take job titles, interests, skills, backgrounds and even more customizable factors into account to make sure attendees can learn about and meet others who share similar goals or interests.
This makes it easier for everyone attending an in-person event to find the right person to talk to without having to filter through hundreds of people they have little in common with. Additionally, this digital capability facilitates professional development by helping participants identify potential mentors or career opportunities within their network.
5. Gain valuable data insights
At traditional in-person events, you can track attendance and observe attendees’ reactions to the programming. But you gain more specific data by connecting your audience with an event platform, which features a live analytics dashboard. With this tool, you can track not only attendance, but also participant engagement and event results. This type of functionality can demonstrate how engaged attendees were and even get their responses to the experience via surveys or feedback forms.
Because digital components allow for more interaction during presentations than typical offline events — thanks to features such as polling and Q&A — you can gather streamlined data on participants’ preferences and continually develop more tailored content that speaks to their interests. The platform makes it easy to track all this data and more, so you’re equipped with the insights that will help you craft future events that are even more engaging and relevant to the needs of your audience.
6. Impress participants with great-to-know info
Using an event platform, you can present participants with powerful and important information that is easily accessible. Not only does this add to the event experience for all involved, but it can also empower you with more control over your event offerings than ever before. Feature a detailed agenda, bios on each speaker and even multiple language options to enhance how inclusive your programming is for diverse audiences.
Will your event include break-out sessions? With an event platform, you can include personalized tracks for each attendee based on your specific requirements. Your event platform’s “toolset” can be customized to your needs — simply bookmark potential items you’re interested in offering. These may range from preloaded destination information to helpful contact info to nearby sites attendees may want to check out while they’re in the area.
Incorporating digital capabilities with an event platform
According to the 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast conducted by American Express, 73 percent of event professionals are very optimistic about their ability to use technology to enhance the attendee experience.
By leaning into digital components, planners can create opportunities for their events to engage audiences in new and memorable ways with an event platform. However, your success in doing so is dependent on your technology. It’s critical to have a user-friendly platform that can host events on any device — whether desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone — and that offers easy-to-use digital features that can breathe fresh life into your programming and deliver your desired outcomes.
Want to explore how to deliver more impactful, seamless events of any size, location or complexity? Download our Event Platforms with Boundless Possibilities Guidebook.
Interested in learning how Encore can elevate your next event through our end-to-end event platforms and strategic solutions? Our experts offer free consultations if you want to discuss your specific needs. We’d love to help you develop a transformative experience for all attendees — so that your events can foster a new level of community, inspiration and connection.
Key findings from the Encore 2022 Winter Planner Pulse
With the world of events ever-changing, staying up-to-date on the latest industry trends is an essential tool for crafting successful experiences. To help ensure your event design, programming and format resonates with today’s audiences, Encore surveys meeting and event professionals quarterly to capture a closer look into today’s event landscape and to maintain a pulse on where meeting event needs are heading.
Read on to learn key insights from our latest survey.
Human connection and engagement are the most impactful values for in-person events
In-person events will continue to increase with each new quarter
Most planners expect their audience numbers to grow this year
This data brings a welcome implication — people are actively interested in physically attending conferences, meetings and other events, making now the perfect time for you to invest more resources into their event design. Get ahead of the curve by ensuring you have the best solutions to deliver successful outcomes.
Six of 10 planners will see budget increases — driven by food and beverage, room rates and transportation costs
DE&I is an important ESG area of focus
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives remain an opportunity in 2023. We asked planners about four major ESG issues to collect feedback on the role they play in event planning. Those issues were: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I), environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and local legislation that aligns with organizational values.
Our findings? Approximately half of event professionals (55 percent) view DE&I as the most important ESG area to consider while selecting venues. This research speaks volumes about how event professionals now prioritize DE&I when making critical event planning decisions.
When it comes to selecting a venue, event professionals regard the other ESG attributes in the following order of importance:
- Local legislation that is aligned with organization values (45 percent)
- Environmental sustainability (45 percent)
- Social responsibility (42 percent)
In terms of choosing an AV/event technology partner, event professionals prioritize the following attributes behind DE&I:
- Environmental sustainability (40 percent)
- Local legislation that is aligned with organization values (39 percent)
- Social responsibility (35 percent)
Insights-led meeting planning for more engaging experiences
Interested in personalized solutions that can help optimize your next event? Request a free consultation with our event experts! We’d love to discuss your specific needs and help you develop a transformative experience that achieves your event goals.
More meeting and event professionals are actively booking or sourcing new events now than any time since 2020. According to the Encore Summer Planner Pulse 2022 report, that number represents 71 percent of 461 survey respondents, who represent a diverse swath of corporate, association, administrative, marketing, third-party, independent and special event producers and organizers.
More than half of the meeting and event professionals surveyed say they are booking new events. And only five percent are currently rescheduling or re-booking events — the lowest number since the pandemic began.
Despite rising costs, in-person events are expected to increase in the second half of 2022.
Key survey findings:
- 80 percent of events will have an in-person audience
- 20 percent of events will be hybrid, with both in-person and remote audiences
The demands of keeping these dual hybrid event audiences engaged and planning two parallel events are a major stressor, the report finds. Perhaps that’s why the participant experience is becoming a greater factor in event design, with professionals layering technology over the in-person experience to create events that feel like they are in-person+ — with or without hybrid participants.
When asked how future in-person events will compare to pre-pandemic in-person events:
- 45 percent of respondents said better attendee engagement
- 38 percent of respondents said more networking
- 37 percent of respondents said more attendee personalization
This trend drove Encore to create a free guide to help meeting and event professionals meet shifting audience expectations: Boundless Possibilities for Engagement. The Encore team also offers free consultations on how to enhance the in-person and remote attendee experience.
Other challenges meeting and event professionals say they face include lead times, specifically for large events. Event professionals report that a third of their events for more than 250 people (34 percent) must be organized within a three-to-six month window. Only half of these sized events are planned more than six months out. Most small meetings with one to 50 participants (43 percent) are being organized within one to two months out. Most mid-sized events with 51 to 250 participants (43 percent) are being organized three to six months out.
Want to read the full report? Download it here.
The basic tools, technologies and best practices you need to engage dual remote and in-room audiences.
What are your event essentials?
Basic event technology requirements
Camera and audio: For small, hybrid meetings, most cameras offer integrated audio and speaker solutions. For larger events, you may want an external camera or a broadcast-quality setup. The three main considerations that will help you select the right camera and audio for your event are:
- Connectivity: Will the camera/audio be integrated into a laptop, plugged in via USB, or will it be a broadcast solution connected via SDI or HDMI?
- Field of view (FOV): Do you need a camera that swivels 360 degrees? Or is a static shot with fixed angle of 125 degrees or less sufficient?
Wired internet: Pre-pandemic, wireless internet was the standard, but for broadcast events, you need a wired internet connection.
- Simple wired internet (3 MB) is ideal for 1:1 videoconferencing but not great for webinars.
- Superior wired internet (5 MB) is ideal for webinars, but not great for hybrid conferences.
- Dedicated bandwidth (varies depending on need) is ideal for hybrid conferences and broadcast events but is overkill for 1:1 videoconferences and most webinars.
Additional displays: If your event is a one-way broadcast, then you don’t need to worry about additional in-room displays. But they are phenomenal at increasing engagement between remote and in-room audiences. They help these dual audiences see and talk with each other.
- Traditional tripod screen kits are ideal for educational meetings, standard presentations and large conference rooms. They’re not great for rooms with limited space or interactive sessions.
- Large format monitors are idea for board meetings, rooms with limited space, collaborative sessions and large conference rooms. They are not great for single-focus meetings.
Enterprise videoconferencing tool: When you’re broadcasting content, you need a reliable videoconferencing tool to stream content. Encore offers an enterprise videoconferencing tool through Zoom that guarantees the highest quality stream available. Encore also provides platform solutions and onsite support for technologies such as Chime Go℠, Chime Live℠, Cvent Attendee Hub® and Notified Virtual Event Platform®
Laptop rental: If you want to be able to show up and start your meeting, or if you need to check email and work during breaks, then invest in a rental laptop. For a relatively small investment, it provides huge peace of mind and frees up presenters and planners onsite. Having a dedicated laptop for your event guarantees:
- Properly configured software and broadcast settings
- Full integration with technology services
- Required processing power needed to display rich media content without glitches
Event technology provider: Producing a hybrid event means you’re designing two simultaneous experiences. With one of them being face-to-face and the other existing in digital spaces, this creates additional layers of complexity and potential errors. Partnering with a trusted event technology partner, like Encore, can eliminate human error, turnaround professional-quality events in an abbreviated period, and help you exceed expectations. Contact Encore for a free consultation.
Want to read more about hybrid essential technology? See this content and more in guidebook form by clicking the link below: