It’s a new year and a new decade, so why not try a new strategy? January provides the perfect opportunity for reflection, and more importantly, forward thinking for the next 12 months that lay ahead. To beat the competition, conference and events organisers should take advantage of this fresh beginning by looking at upcoming conferencing trends and thinking about how they can implement them in their own work.
Whether that means including new methods of technology within your event, offering sustainable catering options or creating experiential meetings, with competition higher than ever, it’s crucial that organisers and conference facilities are ready to hit the ground running in 2020.
Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, offers her expertise on the top five conferencing trends for 2020.
There is no denying that technology offers a wealth of benefits within the conferencing industry, helping us to create an overall superior delegate experience.
One particular aspect of technology that is becoming increasingly popular is the use of live streaming, as it offers the ability to widen a conference’s audience reach by bringing the attendees right into the room with you, even if they are hundreds of miles away.
Following the huge success that live steaming has had at the University of Leeds’ School of Music department, it is now used for a wide range of conferencing activities including broadcasting performance exams, assessed performances, concerts and keynote speakers within the music industry. The department has also recently invested in a new creative space specifically for live streaming.
Another huge benefit of live streaming is the ability to widen public engagement. For example, the University of Leeds’ concert hall sits 250 people, whilst its live streaming channel has over 53,000 followers. This means that performances and keynote speakers are now able to be reached far and wide. Live streaming also enables organisers to delve into the demographics of its audience, which not only showcases where their live streams are being viewed, but also can form the basis of future improvements.
The Choice of Catering
Within the industry, food is one of the most important elements for any event. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that the catering is planned in detail and well in advance.
One way in which organisers can truly bring their city to life via food is by opting for suppliers who favour locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. This not only offers delegates a more localised and personal touch to the event, but also furthers promotes the city and the surrounding areas.
What’s more, catering to special dietary requirements is more important than ever. By showcasing that an event’s catering includes gluten-free, plant-based and lactose-free options, you can help to create an inclusive environment and encourage as many attendees as possible.
Finally, with an enhanced focus on sustainability in conferencing in 2020, vegan and vegetarian options are becoming increasingly popular choices within the conferencing industry. Ensure that your event caters to all dietary requirements whilst also enforcing a sustainable mind-set.
The trend of well-being across all sectors is no longer a passing phase, but is becoming increasingly more important within many industries, and will continue to grow into next year.
A conference presents the perfect opportunity to balance business with leisure and by taking simple steps, such as including the use of outdoor venues within an event, conferences can add a further sense of wellbeing for their delegates. What’s more, creative activities for delegates arranged before, during or after the event can also have a positive impact on the wellbeing of attendees. Whether that includes workshops, guided tours of the city, or even a simple outdoor networking setup.
For past conferences, MEETinLEEDS has arranged 5K runs, as well as countryside walks and public art trails. With a wealth of well-being benefits on offer to delegates who visit Leeds, including Galleries in Parkinson, the M&S archive and gym and pool facilities at The Edge, wellbeing is widely encouraged across all events within the city.
Sustainability on Campus
The move to more sustainable events is not something that happens overnight, but is a long-term commitment that will continue to be a high priority in 2020.
The University of Leeds is increasingly taking into account the social, environmental, economic and cultural responsibilities of its institution, which will allow campus to be operated in a more sustainable way. This includes focusing on building knowledge and capacity, acting as a positive partner in society, making the most of the available resources and embedding sustainable practices through collaboration.
By focusing on an integrated approach across the entire university, it is able to work together to ensure that improvements in sustainability are continuously being strived towards, whilst also responding to global challenges through research and education.
It’s all in the Design
When it comes to room design, it’s not just the colour of the curtains and style of the carpet that needs to be considered. Innovative room design has the potential to facilitate networking, enhance collaboration and improve information processing, which will in turn assist in creating an overall successful event.
Whilst advancements in technology offer benefits to conferencing, face-to-face meeting spaces will continue to play a hugely crucial role in 2020. By offering a flexible learning space that encompasses a pedagogical approach, the use of technology and a creative space, conferences will be able to increase their ability to encourage collaborations.
The University of Leeds is adapting to the changing needs of the industry by remodelling many of its spaces in order to encourage collaborations through conferencing. By keeping up-to-date with the latest conferencing trends within the industry, it will be able to further meet the needs of its organisers and their delegates, and offer the very best possible venues and service.