The age-old adage that says, ‘There’s only two things certain in life, death and taxes’ needs revising to fit the modern era, because surely there is now a third thing that is certain in life; change. It’s everywhere and ever-evolving. Change is causing major upheavals in the political world, in the way we form and maintain relationships, in our attitudes and opinions, in our approach to health, in the opportunities in business, in our career goals, in technology and in so much more, and at a rate that grows ever more intense.
Making the right decisions for your business in this world of constant flux, can seem like riding a push bike uphill in busy traffic, on a pot-holed road, while trying to avoid low hanging tree branches from behind a blind fold. Stop. Rest a while. Read this blog. We’re going to clear the way ahead and help you see what’s coming by highlighting the hot topics that will influence your choices in the coming months.
Your first challenge will be staying on the right side of GDPR. The General Data Protection Regulation comes into law on 25th May and is set to shake up how we use the data we hold on people. This law is necessary, because its part of a bigger picture which is far more pressing and set to continue to be a core influence beyond GDPR, and that is the right to privacy in the world of big data. Further attacks on wielders of this powerful business tool will come; be mindful of how you use it in your business. Expect to increasingly see businesses using data – big data – with respect. Use it well and it is an opportunity to better understand the dynamics of delegates and the needs of your clients, so that you can ehance the quality and relevance of bespoke event programmes, making them more engaging to achieve better results.
The need for privacy is a singular consequence of the core driver for change, and that is shifting attitudes. In business and in society, attitudes are changing on a number of issues. Perhaps most evident is that, at long last, forms of discrimination that were merely frowned upon, but ultimately tolerated – sexism, gender, class, age – are now being exposed and eradicated. Equality is a huge issue that will affect our industry and your business in coming months. There will be panel discussions at events, articles in the media and initiatives launched by industry leaders – businesses that fail to comply will be increasingly held to account, as we all work together to ensure no one, no matter who they are, misses opportunities or is left behind simply because of who they are.
Promoting equality is an example of how attitudinal shift will attempt to make things right. But you can expect it to go further. Attitudinal shift, powered by improved access to information and enabling technology, will drive expectations of making things better. Better is a subjective word, what is better to me, is not necessarily better for you, and that is the point – people expect their choices to be met. Personalisation is already a hot topic and it will continue to get hotter. People are less likely to come to your event or venue if it means compromising their values or qualities. It’s about meeting the needs of the customer; they’re looking for healthy food and leisure choices, authentic experiences, for their concerns about use of plastics and fossil fuels to be addressed and to share their experiences on social media. People are increasingly wanting to have it their way, deliver it and they’ll become loyal advocates, keen to return your events again and again.
Interestingly, the desire for personalised experiences, is helping to validate another hot trend – the growing success of mid-size cities as event destinations. Event planners looking for a solution to rising prices for hotels bedrooms, venue hire and refreshments in the world’s leading cities, are increasingly discovering they can deliver greater value on tight budgets – and a more personalised event experience – by turning to smaller cities. The likes of Bristol, Stuttgart, Nashville and Hanoi, are offering event planners increased value and choice.
Midsize cities have made themselves more appealing by investing heavily in urban revitalization, events infrastructure and transport links. Additionally, they’re using branding to focus on their sector strengths, promote the availability of local leaders in key sectors and can support events with city-wide branding and ready access to leading officials in ways that large cities simply cannot do.
A blog on hot business trends could be written entirely on technological advancement. The ramifications are enormous, it’s coming at your business in all directions and it will continue to do so in more ways than we can cover here. All we’ll say is that technology of all kinds will create new challenges and opportunities in the coming months and long into the foreseeable future, please stay up to date or your business will be left behind.
We’ve spent the last 30 years as the events industry’s trusted right-hand person, helping conference and events organisers from around the globe make connections, discover new technologies and learn about the cutting-edge innovations they need to create world class events. We’ll tell you that no one really knows what the future holds, but we do know for sure that in this world of rapid change, the biggest obstacle on the road ahead, the one thing you must avoid above all else, is something you can’t see coming.
You could call it a cold topic, or an anti-trend, but this obstacle will knock you back time and time again unless you guide your business away from it. What is this obstruction in the road ahead? Simple, it’s ignoring change and continuing to do things the same.