This article is part of our new Future of Events 2021 Series which will interview a mix of event organizers, consultants, thought leaders, and other event professionals responsible for overseeing events put on by their organization. Our goal with this series is to help event organizers best prepare for the future of events.
The following is an interview we recently had with Serena Holmes, President and CEO of Tigris Events
What are the top trends that will shape the events space in 2021?
SH: Three trends we’ve identified are micro experiences, hybrid events and virtual/augmented reality.
If you’re not familiar with micro experiences, they are small, subtle, affordable and best of all memorable touches that resonate with consumers. Think pop-ups, small samplings or surprise and delight events! Micro experiences give brands the ability to leverage smaller experiences, while still capitalizing on the many possible touchpoints, with consumers from a lot of different markets. In addition, they are much easier to manage from a health and safety perspective in our current climate.
Hybrid events are trending now and no doubt the future – and for good reason. They create a world of possibilities in addition to making space and time less of a factor. They broaden audiences and cast a much larger footprint.
Some type of new technology is always trending! While VR & AR technologies are not necessarily new, they are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve! This has to do with experience and engagement. There are so many interesting and fun applications you can experience with these types of technologies. Consider a game or a custom simulated environment to elevate guest experience. Alternatively, use them to display branding in fun and interactive ways Essentially, if you can imagine it, it can be simulated.
What are the top mistakes you see organizations make with events?
SH: We’ve been in event services for over 17 years and the most common mistakes could generally be avoided with proper planning. We’ve seen organizations lose sight of the initial goal of the event (we like to say it’s hard to see the frame of the picture you’re in). Sometimes they focus too much on one asset or big surprise and forget about the importance of investing in the small details.
In addition, some organizations don’t have the experience and try to do it all by themselves, often taking on too much. We would encourage the use of professional assistance. It saves a lot of time, energy and money in the long run.
Another mistake we’ve seen is failing to adequately research their audiences needs and preferences. You want each and every guest to feel like a VIP!
Lastly, execution is everything! Surrounding yourself with the proper onsite team – whether that is managers, suppliers, or event staff – will make the world of difference!
What are the keys to a successful event?
SH: While trends come and go, the keys to a successful event are clearly defined goals, a transparent budget, open and honest communication as well as a reliable team. When goals and budgets aren’t adequately communicated, you can end up in trouble. It’s always best to define these first. In addition, budgets have to be realistic for the type of event you wish to put on. Lastly, you can pull off almost anything if you have clear communication and the right team supporting you – trust me, we’ve done it! If I was to add anything else, having the right resources, such as a trusted database of suppliers as well as an appropriate amount of lead time always helps!
What makes events such an important channel?
SH: As we like to say, events bring brands (and organizations) to life with the power of presence! Events are such an important channel because they create an excellent opportunity to build better relationships with attendees/consumers. As we know, every interaction an organization has with a consumer, attendee, guest, etc. is being challenged to be more personal, engaging, and meaningful. Events are the ideal channel to create those special interactions and touchpoints. This is why we particularly love events and recognize the importance of connecting with consumers on a personal level beyond the tactics of traditional advertising.
In your own words, what will the future of events look like?
SH : It’s interesting to think about the future of events at this particular moment in time, but we’re certainly optimistic. Personally, I see a focus on health and safety. In addition, I envision a re-imagined attendee experience. I believe creators and planners will be pushing the envelope more than ever before. A nod to hybrid events, I think there will be more options to merge offline and online experiences. Events will be more personal and include more of what attendees have voiced are important to them, i.e., diversity, inclusion, and mental health awareness. Lastly, I think there will be a shift in attendee participation from physical to digital and more post event follow up with guests. Overall, we’ve had an unprecedented year and we’re not quite out of the woods yet, but I think the future of events looks bright but will be different moving forward.