Back in January of 2019, we interviewed ten industry experts and asked them to share their thoughts on the top meeting and event trends for planners and marketers in 2019, and in June, we reassessed those trends for the second half of the year.
As we quickly approach the end of the year, we sat down with Mike Burns, Aventri’s Chief Revenue Officer, Shane Edmonds, Aventri’s chief technology officer, and Ivan Lazarev, Aventri’s Group Head of Experiential Solution, to hear their opinion on what 2019 trends planners and marketers in our industry can expect to continue to hold strong in 2020. After speaking with these industry leaders, we found that four technology trends will continue to dominate the industry in 2020. Check it out.
4 Meeting & Event Tech Trends for 2019 & Beyond
1. Fully Integrated Event Management Software Platform
Perhaps the most dominating trend seen by professionals in the meeting and event tech indsutry for 2019 has been the fully integrated event management software platform. As Mike says, "We’re seeing a lot of consolidation in the industry. If we just look at the uptake in our business that’s indicative of the fact that point solutions, while they might do a good job with their one particular patch, data needs to flow throughout an event management software platform, and to do that, it needs to be integrated."
So not only are fully integrated event management software platforms easier for customers to use, but they also can better capture data from every stage of the event lifecycle. Shane furthers this point saying, "Fully integrated software platforms will be sought after by organizers of Tier 1 events, replacing the myriad of point solutions. Key drivers will be significant cost savings for these organizations as well as ensuring all data is centrally housed and easily accessible."
As Ivan summarizes, "The ability for large worldwide providers of cloud-based data management platforms, specifically designed for events, tradeshows and conferences, to offer truly end-to-end solutions for events of any size, from pre-event, to onsite and post-event has created a unique long-lasting environment where valuable analytics will be gathered using Machine Learning and AI algorithms.
For all these reasons, Mike says, "Fully integrated event management software platforms for sure aren’t going anywhere in 2020."
2. Machine Learning and AI
Machine learning and AI were both powerful technology trends in 2019, as seen in chatbots, AI matchmaking tools, and more. In 2020, as Shane says, "AI and Machine Learning is not only here to stay but will soon be a prominent technology used in all aspects of meetings and events." He continues, "The biggest impact of this will be the elevation of the attendee experience through optimizations in agenda scheduling, networking, and individual personalization of the experience."
Mike agrees. "Machine learning and AI are definitely here to stay. In 2019 we saw people get interested in it," he argues, "We saw people take the first steps toward integrating AI or machine learning into meeting and event solutions. I think in 2020, we will start to see some of these come to market."
Mike explains that Aventri has spent 2019 building their recommendation engines, which, he explains "are AI-powered and use machine learning to understand the trends and make recommendations to attendees, not only based on their demographic data points, but also based on their preferences, their activities, and their behaviors."
In addition to providing attendees accurate session, activity, and accommodation recommendations, this same solution Mike explains will also be able to make recommendations to meeting and event planners. "This technology will help event planners figure out what the right attendee mixes for their event are, how to optimize their event, how to draw the right attendee group to the event, etc. So, AI and machine learning aren’t going anywhere in 2020 in our industry."
3. Big Data
In addition to an integrated platform, machine learning, and AI, big data will also continue to be an important trend for meeting and event professionals in 2020.
"Big data isn’t going anywhere. How people are using it though, is starting to mature," Mike says. "The first step is using your event data to make a better event, after the one you are studying. But what we are starting to see is that companies that are using events as a marketing channel use behavioral data (what their attendees are doing on-site), to inform their marketing decisions outside of the event world and the in-person world. So that’s huge."
Shane reiterates Mike's point by saying, "Event data, of course, is and has always been a key goal for planners and organizers. This will be taken to the next level by the integration of this data to marketing systems allowing them to become a key part of the event lifecycle and attendee journeys."
Because all of the data is collected across the event lifecycle and integrated into one platform, users are now able to digest and build off event information in new ways. "For the first time," as Ivan says, "we have moved the needle from descriptive analytics to predictive analytics, which, in turn, will finally lead the platform market to issue prescriptive analytics to organizers of events, tradeshows, and conferences."
4. Social Media
The last 201 9 trend that is predicted to hold strong for 2020 and beyond is social media.
"Social media strategy is certainly is big," Mike says. "Aventri did a study with Alex Plaxen and held a session, “Facts & Lies: How Planners Really Use Social Media for Events” at IMEX America on the key takeaways. People are still trying to learn how to use social media effectively in our industry, to not just drive attendance, but drive engagement during their events. And it’s a balance. You want people sharing and interacting on social media when they are at the event, but you don’t want their heads down on their phones the whole time either. So, finding that balance will definitely still be explored in 2020."
What do you think of these predicted trends for 2020? What's your favorite? Are we missing any? Let us know by commenting below!