The Custard team was out in force last week at the annual The Meetings Show, managing the PR, coordinating media opportunities, creating social content, arranging interviews and managing the media lounge.
This year’s #TakeTheTime theme encouraged event professionals to find time in their diaries to attend the two-day show and learn from experts, network with peers, and be inspired by the latest innovations and developments in the event industry.
With 28 educational sessions taking place that were expertly designed to inform, inspire, and empower event professionals to think, differently, connect differently, plan differently, and live differently, there was plenty of information to digest and insights to takeaway. Here’s our vital takeaways that you need to know.
Ensuring genuine conversations
For stronger communities and to enhance your reach its important to have genuine conversations, believes Elinor Hoinigstein, Business Development Manager at LinkedIn and Michael Barnett, Founder and CEO at InGo. The marketing landscape is now more competitive than ever, with 76% thinking marketing has changed more in two years than over the past 50 years. This makes communities key to connecting and building partnerships beyond an event’s lifespan.
People are excited by genuine conversations, so it’s important to find a way to start those conversations before the event, through sharing content around key themes and topics, and then keeping those conversations going post-event.
Making an impact
An event needs to make an impact. The various case studies showcasing innovative approaches to inspire event planners all stressed the importance of designing events for people who don’t typically like events and how you can ensure their buy-in. They highlighted how AV can enhance the overall experience and the need to demonstrate your values at all available touchpoints while utilising AI can aid the personalisation of the overall event experience.
Measuring and assessing your sustainable impact are essential. In one of the many sustainability-focused sessions, Katherine Bell, Director at CWT Meetings & Events and Kit Aspen, Director at Thurst Carbon explained that getting to Net Zero is a journey that requires measurable milestones. You can’t set those milestones if you don’t do a thorough, and honest assessment of where your business is at right now.
As a starting point, businesses should look at how accessible their event is, their food and beverage options and how any waste is managed and encourage sustainable activities throughout the event to engage and motivate attendees to make daily, actionable changes.
Impactful events require event planners to focus on stakeholders, but this can only be achieved if they provide themselves the conditions to excel. Essentially, it’s more important than ever for us to take care of ourselves. Wellness was high on the agenda throughout the show, with one of the opening keynotes demonstrating breathing exercises and tactics on how to look after your wellbeing, so that you can maximise and reignite your creative abilities.
The power of AI
Unsurprisingly, AI and how it’s important for event planners to acknowledge its existence, were a hot topic. It’s crucial to get ahead of the curve by using it, dedicating time to it, and practising it both personally and playfully to build your familiarity with it. Only then can you have a better understanding of its potential future uses. Start small; how could AI be an automated executive assistant for you?
Take the time
Over 600 exhibitors joined The Meetings Show this year, including global destinations, venues, and suppliers, showcasing their offerings to event planners in a bid to take the event and meetings industry to the next level.
The Meetings Show is committed to providing a platform to support and showcase the next generation of talent through several initiatives and this year was no different with the return of its Next Generation initiative.
Together with partner Event First Steps, an organisation that helps industry newcomers build their networks, learn from industry heavyweights, and forge their own career path, there was a dedicated programme for students and those just starting out in the industry.
This included a special ‘Next Generation’ tour, which concluded with a visit to the Meetings Industry Association’s stand where the trade body announced the introduction of a new student membership. This exciting initiative aims to foster and nurture the growth of future event professionals.
Will you #TakeTheTime to go next year? See you in 2024.