Event Trends for 2024
It’s that time of year when the event boffins at Lime Venue Portfolio crunch data from our 80+ portfolio of venues, and 15 years’ worth of year-on-year statistics in order to share what we think 2024 could bring to our industry.
There is so much to say about where we’ve come from, where we are, and where we’re going. So, to keep it simple, here’s our top 11, yes 11, not 10, for 2024 …
1. Cost of living will drive costs: There is no doubt that events have become more expensive to produce. Everything from food to energy has gone up, and the materials and people we need to make our events happen carry a larger price tag. This rise in inflation is not forever, and it is predicted to fall in the new year, but many of these price hikes are here to stay.
2. High production will drive results: There is a secondary reason why the cost of events has gone up. A much more positive one. The reality is that businesses and brands are investing more in them. They have seen amazing results throughout 2022 and 2023 and have increased investment in production and quality. At LVP we believe the better the production, the better the ROI and that this continued investment in live face-to-face communication will continue to spur positive results in 2024. This will be reflected in venue choice, both from an experience point of view, but also from a quality one. Almost anywhere can be a venue, creative event organisers are looking for attractions, stadia and museums, as a viable alternative to traditional hotels.
3. Event convergence will add further value: This higher production also covers a wider scope of event than we have witnessed in the past. A trend we picked up on some time ago continues to accelerate as event types converge to create incentives with training, conferences with end of year receptions, even workspaces converging with conferences and larger meetings. This again pushes up the value of the event, and the returns the organisations gain from them.
4. Sustainability will continue to add to delegate experience: Sustainability remains crucial to the values of event organisers, their delegates, and the businesses they work for. This means it will continue to be a key part of any event experience in 2024. LVP have remained at the forefront of this discussion, we’re looking closely at Scope Three emissions, we’re addressing legacy, and we’re once again providing information to our customers that help them strive for their own suitable goals.
5. AI will affect event experiences: AI was the word of 2023, but honestly, did we really know what it meant for events? Basically, clarity is now forming about what it could mean. From automation (see below) to accessibility (see next!), to augmentation, the layering in off new information, creativity, and immersive wizardry that makes the event experience better and of more value to businesses, AI event products are now coming off the line.
6. Accessibility will be a key frontier in this evolution: AI and accessibility will be closely linked in 2024, with the key beneficiaries of the technology being people who would not usually have been able or accepted at events. From ‘smart’ captioning and sound design to neurodiverse and empathetic environments. AI will help us reach a new kind of delegate ... if we use it responsibly.
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7. More specialists will be needed: From sustainability to accessibility, technology, security, content sourcing, and environment design. There has never been more need for expertise in the events industry. As a cheerleader for great events and creative organisers, we feel that it’s about time. But now, more than ever, it is just so important to have major, high production, events in the hands of the experts.
8. Brands will continue to use events to showcase their values: As quality improves, brands will continue to use events as part of their sales, marketing, and general communication needs. However, the major growth in events’ use is to showcase brands, businesses, and other organisations’ values. This again centres around major trends like sustainability and backs up this need for specialist event organisers. Regardless, this is an area where events are really capturing the imagination of business.
9. Delegate numbers will rise: Alongside this value will be further engagement from delegates. As we continue to create more responsible, ethical, and welcoming environments, we will see the steady rise in delegate numbers. Again, this will add to the perceived value of events to businesses.
10. Lead times will continue to shorten: One of the trends that we have seen post-pandemic is the continued reduction in lead times on event bookings. There are many reasons for this reduction; uncertainty, internal timing pressures, and nervousness on longer term commitments. Event professionals, like Lime Venue Portfolio, will need to continue to be flexible and collaborate with stakeholders to deliver time sensitive events. We’re also advising our clients to book early, secure optimum spaces and times, to get the very best result for their events.
11. Wellbeing remains paramount: Both from a delegate point of view and for event organisers themselves. The pressure remains on to deliver exceptional quality with pressure on cost. Trends such as accessibility and sustainability are being championed by organisers on behalf of their businesses and their delegates, but they require more strategy, creativity and time. In the meantime, the duty of care they feel towards their delegation continues to rise and will become a key part of a positive event experience.