After a whirlwind year, Kelly Vickers and Judith Sloane at Meet Cambridge take stock and look at what they expect will be the top trends in the world of event organisers in 2017.


More than one in six event organisers expect their events to grow during the next 12 months, according to EventBrite’s latest Pulse Report. We asked our experts in and around Cambridge for their opinions regarding the year ahead – here are their thoughts.


AV and live tech

There’s been a huge rise in AV equipment requests at many of our venues over the past year, and more variation with what people want to get out of tech at their conferences. Our colleagues have told us that organisers are prepared to spend more money to receive a better experience with the use of tools such as voting keypads, WebEx streaming, photo booths and videos – as well as an increase in the use of apps, touchable tech and gamification during events.


Next year we’ll see events that require more remote engagement through virtual attendance, a greater emphasis on live video, such as Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, Twitter, Snapchat, and possibly events using augmented reality.


Venues that employ Live Tech will have an advantage as event organisers will be able to provide real-time feedback and have the opportunity to keep logistics on track.


Implications of Brexit

Meet Cambridge’s colleagues have said that lead times are shortening, with more corporates expecting more in terms of added value.


As the pound weakens, we expect to see even more interest from overseas with the UK becoming a more affordable destination for some organisers. Meanwhile, as inflation rises and the economy takes a downturn, budgets for events domestically will be tighter.


No such thing as a free lunch

Our venues are concerned that inflation may cause significant increases in food prices which will start to impact on profit margins. Creative catering options will need to be part of the new mix, whether it’s street food, healthy eating and even detox juices – and food miles and provenance will continue to feature too.


Inclusive catering options will be joined by alternative pay-as-you-go options, with delegates making their own choices and paying for their own meals. Venues hosting events of this type will need to adapt to handle cash/cashless payments, or risk losing delegates to off site eateries. Organisers will need to be careful not to dissolve valuable networking opportunities – delegates still cite downtime in meetings for reflecting, socialising and networking as a key reason for attending.


The Airbnb trend

There is a clear trend for group reservations to be replaced by delegates booking and paying for their own accommodation. As Airbnb makes an impact, we will need to provide quick and easy solutions to manage individual bookings and payments at venues so that delegates remain on site for their event and venues don’t lose out on delegate spend.


Expect to be busy

Events already contribute an incredible £42.3 billion to the UK economy. Our colleagues confirmed they were expecting increased numbers of bookings for 2017 as organisations use the events world to showcase, network, collaborate, celebrate, launch and say thank you. So despite the uncertainty that 2016 has presented, one thing is sure: next year will be a busy one for us!


Meet Cambridge is your one point of contact that can help you find and host the perfect event from an incredible portfolio of venues at the University of Cambridge, the Cambridge Colleges, hotels and other wonderful, unique properties in the city and beyond. You can make an enquiry by using our online enquiry formemailing, or by calling us on +44 (0)1223 768740.

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