The UK is renowned for its events industry. Worth an impressive £42.3bn to the UK economy, the sector is made up of over 25,000 companies – spanning from venues to marketing organisations and suppliers. With the UK consistently ranking third place in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 ICCA rankings as a destination for business events, it’s responsible for a huge influx of international entrepreneurs every year. Hence it accounts for £19.9bn annually, overseeing 1.3 million conferences and networking sessions.
The looming uncertainty surrounding Brexit, however, has made it difficult to pinpoint exactly how the UK’s departure from the EU will affect businesses involved in running and managing events. For instance, international trade and investment are fundamental to the events industry which relies on strong business connections and trade links. Indeed, C&IT’s 2016 State of the Industry survey revealed one in five event planners felt that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit was the greatest threat to the industry.
Fortunately, the UK is renowned for its innovation and ability to adapt to economic and political transitions. This is partly due to the country’s bustling collection of startups and scaling tech businesses that are transforming and updating outdated industry practices. So how can you ensure the UK remains a leading destination for businesses from overseas? The answer is simple – by embracing innovative tech and digital solutions.
Taking advantage of AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers a range of digital products and functions that can be used to enhance an event. AI may conjure images of robots and driverless cars but the reality is AI technology comes in various forms that are readily accessible to event organisers.
With customer expectations changing as a result of new technology, AI can be used to drastically improve an event and entice new businesses. Take, for instance, facial recognition software which can be used to personalise an event experience for each attendee by drawing information from their social media profiles. In the case of a B2B event, AI technology can be used to recommend relevant speakers or workshops tailored to their interests.
Embracing the new wave of marketing technology
Marketing an event through tired methods such as individual listings on different sites can often be time-consuming, costly and extremely inefficient. Thankfully, a wide range of solutions exist that can help businesses reach new audiences and increase the number of people purchasing tickets.
While in the past, most people discovered events through listing sites and social media platforms, today, digital innovation is gaining more popularity. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool delivers widespread awareness of events by automating the listing process. By completing a single listing, this can then be aggregated among thousands of other sites – saving the event organisers both time and money.
The basics of good wifi
Customers nowadays have high expectations when it comes to wifi. Catering to their demand for good wifi not only increases consumer satisfaction but gives attendees the ability to access their social media platforms. This is extremely important when it comes to promoting an event.
With the growing popularity of platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, people are inclined to update their colleagues, friends and families about where they are and what they are doing. This proves to be a handy and cost-efficient way of advertising. Creating specific event hashtags to encourage audience engagement, as well as ensuring the atmosphere and experience is one which attendees would want to share with their friends, encourages people to promote events through their social media platforms.
Taking advantage of tech
As the Brexit deadline approaches, organisers are thus encouraged to adopt technological innovations – particularly in light of growing audience expectations about what these events should offer. Taking advantage of changing technology can noticeably enhance the efficiency and seamlessness of an event and ensure that consumer demands are constantly being met.
Tech solutions mean that organisations regardless of size are positioned to run successful and engaging events that are accessible and simple to use. And with the upcoming political and economic changes lying on the horizon, it’s important that the UK continues leading the way and protecting its status as a top destination for events.