Millennials continue to change the game. In the last two years, millennials—people born between 1981 and 1997—became the largest generation in the United States workforce. This increase has affected every industry, but the events industry is obligated to be especially in tune with these changes. To increase ROI and maintain active attendee engagement, event planners need to be prepared to cater to a variety of millennial-specific desires.
That’s why we’ve prepared a guide of the changing landscape, along with some quick solves for any millennial-related obstacles event planners might face.
The E is Key
Recent studies have shown that millennials are growing less materialistic, and are instead more interested in experiences. While event planners are often focused on an attendee’s experience, it’s important to keep this emerging statistic in mind when deciding how to budget an event. The most successful events are the events that are interactive, allowing millennials to make memories they’ll never forget. That is why experiential marketing roles are popping up left and right at organizations today. They are the ones who's job is to make these immersive experiences possible. Not to mention, it is usually millennials that hold these rolls.
The more impactful that interaction is, the more likely an attendee is to go out into the world and tell people about the experience they enjoyed. Think of incorporating a photobooth, a hands-on activity or something immersive, there are a variety of methods to try out. In the long run, catering to this millennial need will add to the impact of an event’s success.
Speaking of experiences, one of the best ways to enhance an experience is to keep it in the now with some of the latest and greatest technologies. As millennials have grown up, the world has advanced technologically, but with an overwhelming amount of information and change, comes a decrease in attention spans. This decrease—the average human attention span is down do eight seconds—poses a problem for event planners, as it’s harder than ever to keep an attendee’s attention. However, in spite of the fact that technology can serve as a distraction, event planners can use this tech-dependence to their advantage.
Introducing a mobile app to an event can help channel that cell-interaction craving, and many event management software platforms can be personalized. Event planners can add games, live polling, scavenger hunts and more to increase attendee engagement. Even simple networking events can be brought up to the next level with Bluetooth smart badges. This technology can simplify networking while maximizing connections.
One of the most noticeable trends regarding millennial event attendees is the increased emphasis on the aesthetic appeal of an event. The better an event looks, the more attractive it will be to millennial attendees. The only things millennials like more than an experiential event is an experiential event that they can share with others. Social media is not only a tool to help share your event, but the desire for an instagrammable experience can pose as a threat. Many millennials approach an event aiming to come out of it with a post. If an event planner fails to meet these expectations, he or she may be at risk of jeopardizing an attendee’s satisfaction.
There are plenty of ways to create a pleasing, picture-perfect event:
- Food and Beverages – Find ways to incorporate color, style and trends into your event’s food and beverage options to jump on every opportunity.
- Venue – Pick a place that will wow attendees. Even if it’s not the most upscale or expensive venue, finding something that embraces the atmosphere and tone of an event is essential. If the event is trendy, play around with lighting. If it’s smaller, choose a cozier, more intimate, or rustic atmosphere.
- Décor – Play around with fun fixtures, photobooth opportunities and creative centerpieces.
Lastly, be cognizant of the fact that millennials are growing increasingly engaged in political discourse. Keep events inclusive and sustainable to maximize attendee satisfaction.