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Event Trends 2024 - What's Hot in the Sector, This Year & Beyond

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As someone involved in the event planning landscape, you’ll know that it rarely stands still. 

Shaped by new technologies and global happenings, the industry has had to evolve in terms of how events are conducted. What's also changed at the same time is what's possible in the experiences attendees are given. As has been the case for a few years now, event trends in 2024 are being driven by digital transformation and rising expectations.

In 2023, we saw groundbreaking events like the Swiss Red Cross Gala, which introduced innovative fundraising interactive digital auctions and VR experiences to engage donors and raise awareness of a range of worthy humanitarian causes.  

Occasions like this one have reset the bar in regards to how people conceive, organise and participate in events, and it's most certainly an upward curve. In this article, we look at trends that are predicted to be used by engagement marketing experts and define the industry not just in 2024 but for years after. 

Virtual & hybrid event trends 2024

The prominence of virtual events across the world was significantly accelerated during the pandemic, primarily as lockdowns and social distancing left no other option. However, the use of online platforms would continue to have lasting implications for the event industry as the benefits, such as the ability to reach a broader audience, became evident. 
 

The reasons behind the continued popularity of virtual include a raft of advantages over physical in-person events:

  • Cost Efficiency - Virtual events significantly reduce costs related to venues, logistics, travel, and accommodation for both organisers and attendees.
  • Flexibility in Scheduling - Virtual platforms allow for greater flexibility, making it easier to schedule events without the constraints of physical venue availability.
  • Enhanced Data Collection - Digital platforms facilitate more effective tracking of attendee engagement, preferences, and behaviour.

Now that COVID-19 is thankfully a fading memory, the enduring appeal of virtual events persists, suggesting they're very much here to stay. They've also given rise to a popular hybrid of the two that allows event holders to enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Increased popularity of hybrid events

Offering both the immediate engagement of an in-person event and the accessibility of its virtual counterpart, hybrid events like DoTerra’s annual sales event are reshaping expectations. Engaging more than 10,000 online viewers, as well as all those in attendance, the event was designed to stimulate all five senses using the essential oil manufacturer’s products, performance art and incredible visuals. 

Adding to the experience that virtual and real-world attendees get are rapid advancements in technology like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Also, improved internet speeds, streaming quality, and interactive platforms make for a seamless experience for people, and this hybrid approach will feature prominently in event trends in the foreseeable future.

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Sustainability in event planning

Environmental issues and the pressing need to address them are having greater and greater influence on the world. No matter the industry, the need to operate sustainably is more important than ever, and this paradigm will impact event trends in 2024 and beyond. The broader societal shift towards eco-responsibility is shaping how events are planned, and it's an ethos that's being seen in many ways, such as:

  • Digital Ticketing - One of the most visible ways in which event planners address this environmental aspect is by doing away with traditional paper ticketing. Paper waste is significantly reduced by issuing attendees digital tickets while also eliminating the associated production and postage costs.
  • Sustainable Venues - Another aspect that's gained considerable traction in recent years is the sustainable venue. By choosing facilities that use renewable energy and offer eco-friendly systems, it's possible to significantly reduce an event's carbon footprint. In fact, there are even those that provide a zero-waste promise. 

Given the prominence of climate change matters, sustainability is sure to permeate all aspects of event trends in 2024. No industry can be seen to harm the planet knowingly, so any planning strategy must include environmental stewardship at its core. 

An über personalised experience

While they're not new concepts to professionals in the sector, significant parts of event trends in 2024 include customer experience and personalisation. It's about making every individual out of the thousands who come to your event feel like everything is laid on with them in mind. This involves leveraging data analytics to craft resonant event experiences. 

Data analysis is crucial 

In 2024, it's possible to collect and analyse unimaginable amounts of data for the benefit of the event you're creating. As such, data has transformed how events are delivered, allowing for unprecedented levels of personalisation. From the moment a person arrives at your event, you can make them feel like a VIP and leave a real, lasting impression.

RFID bracelets offer valuable insights

A useful tool for this end is the RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) bracelet, which is wearable technology that can be given to people as they arrive. These nifty bits of tech are able to track attendee movements, interactions and preferences, letting event organisers customise the experiences they have in real time. Personalised recommendations about which event feature to visit next based on preferences represent just one example of what's possible.

Event apps 

The yearly South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals offers the SXSW app, which offers an array of benefits. Along with helping to deliver a more personalised experience, the free-to-download app provides great features like the traffic light system that tells you which rooms and attractions are free, in addition to those that are close to being full. 

Social media engagement 

People live on their phones these days, so what better way to connect with event attendees than through social media? TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are among the many that now exist, and that number is one that’s growing all of the time. 

Organisers can monitor and analyse engagement via their platform of choice prior to, during and after the event. They can also use event pages, hashtags and direct interactions to gain insights into individual preferences and interests.

Feedback surveys

By distributing pre-event, during-event and post-event surveys through an event app or email, feedback can be collected directly about their experiences and reflections. It’s another information resource that can be invaluable for tailoring event offerings to their needs.

04 Red Cross

Inclusivity & Accessibility

The last of our event trends in 2024 is the adoption of an approach that ensures that everyone in attendance gets the optimal experience. Recognising the fact that people have a diverse range of needs, events will be formulated with them in mind, meaning they will also cater for those with disabilities. Moreover, this aspect is not simply concerned with expanded reach. Instead, it's about making everyone feel heard and valued. 

These considerations can take a variety of different forms:

  • The provision of sign language interpreters 
  • Sensory-friendly spaces for neurodiverse attendees
  • Catering for health or cultural-related dietary requirements
  • Adequate wheelchair accessibility

The movement towards offering inclusivity to attendees also extends to virtual events. Hard-of-hearing visitors can be supported with closed captioning and content transcripts, as well as by providing screen readers for access to real-time AI translators, making events global in every sense. 

Diverse programming and content that appeal to a broader spectrum of society are set to appear more often in 2024, with all perspectives included in planning. Furthermore, as the prioritisation of inclusivity becomes more widespread in the industry, organisers are more than likely to see an increased demand for events that are not just physically accessible but also accommodating and welcoming to people from all walks of life.

Take your events to the next level with the right engagement marketing partner 

It's clear that 2024 will see a continuation of many of the trends that have emerged in recent years. Whether talking about sustainability, accessibility, greater levels of personalisation or the adoption of cutting-edge tech, those holding events need to keep a close eye on trends in 2024 in order to create experiences that will live long in the mind. 

As such, having the right engagement marketing partner in your corner who's conversant with all of the latest techniques is vital. Staying ahead of the game in this dynamic industry also involves being abreast of emerging tech and knowing how to use it for the best effect. 

At MCI, we have years of know-how in the events sector, allowing us to help our clients put on events that get people talking. With a proven track record of strategies that engage audiences and create unforgettable experiences, we have the creative spark you need for success. 

Our skilled team is with you at every step of your journey, from beginning to end, giving you the guidance required to achieve the best possible outcomes. So, why not take a look around through our comprehensive range of services or get in touch? We'll make your success a priority in every little thing we do.

MCI Content Team