Friday, December 27, 2013

2014 - What's Ahead for Events and Tradeshows

The year that passed has been one of massive change in our industry.

We went from tablets being a nice-to-have in January to a ubiquitous, indispensable accessory by year's end. We've seen the mobile app become a pre-requisite for events. We've been fascinated by how quickly even older workforces have adapted to the latest technology to make events, meetings, and tradeshows more interactive and personal than ever. In fact, it has become such an important part of the industry that we launched a website specific to mobile devices in 2013.

With 2013 nearly in the books, most of us are looking ahead to 2014, so we took a quick swing around to find a few of the best resources for what's to come in 2014, and a little inspiration for you.

Image courtesy of

What's Coming in 2014 for Events and Tradeshows

Kieth Nelsen makes a great point in his year-end post of digital screen trends he sees ahead in 2014. "It's no longer OK to put a screen on the wall and expect the consumer to pay attention," he writes. "The shopper is no longer wowed by the HD screen on the wall."

Just a few years ago a hotel with flatscreen TVs would leave a guest raving for weeks. Today it's expected. An event mobile app was groundbreaking just a year or two ago - today it's a given for large conferences.

What does that tell us? Well, for one, if you haven't started using digital screens in your booths and events, you better start just to catch up! You'll also want o put a little more thought into what you do with those screens, making sure you have content there that attracts eyeballs.

The ever-insightful Julius Solaris over at the Event Manager Blog chimed in with his predictions for 2014 as well. Among the 10 great ideas for things you should be on the watch for in the year ahead is social seating at conferences and events.

Look for this to pick up this year, allowing people to get seated at conferences next to people with similar backgrounds or interests. Now, one of the great things about a conference is the serendipity of meeting people you never thought you'd run into, but there's also comfort in familiarity. It's worth experimenting with in your event planning.

Finally, for those searching for inspiration, BizBash published a list of the 50 best event innovators of 2013. "The people - marketers, fund-raisers, designers, producers, and other professionals - that with new ideas and smart strategies are setting the standard for events and meetings today."

The short profiles of each of the honorees are worth a read and might just give you that extra kick of motivation you need for 2014!

Have a happy new year everyone, and an even better 2014!

John Dubielak is the Vice President of Operations for Rentfusion, which offers AV rentals, computer rentals, and all manner of equipment for meeting planners, tradeshows, convention hosts, exhibitors and event planners nationwide. Follow Rentfusion on Twitter at @rentfusion and on Linkedin.