We attended the Conference & Hospitality Show on 30th of April for its 10th year. As well as having the chance to meet hundreds of wonderful event professionals from organisers to the venues themselves we also had the opportunity to attend some seminars by industry heavyweights.

Towards the end of the day we were invited to attend a seminar called The Future of Event Design by three industry heavyweights; Liz Taylor, Managing Director of Taylor Lynn Corporation, Jonny Ross, Digital Expert at Fleek Marketing and Nick Tinker, Regional Business Development Manager at CrowdCompass. With a common theme of the future of events we were treated to an informative and insightful speech into how events are changing with the use of new technology.

Liz Taylor

Liz Taylor opened with a strong talk on the Taylor Lynn Corporation and how event design revolves around three key areas; theming, entertainment and catering. With over 30 years event management experience under her belt, Liz gave little nuggets of wisdom of how to succeed in the industry including deliver the unexpected and build a sense of anticipation. Creating a journey for the guests has become more important than ever and can change their whole perspective of an event from the moment they walk in the door. Immersion works hand-in-hand with the entertainment where you have a DJ or a band. And finally, a presentation on catering becoming more of a theatrical experience than necessity of fuel. As she says, “the devil’s in the details”.

Jonny Ross

Next up Jonny Ross, in true marketing style, got the whole audience to participate with an interactive quiz. Once set up on the Wifi we took part in a quick fire quiz with such questions as ‘which company first failed to digitalise?’ The answer turned out to be Borders, a little surprising with lots of votes going towards the famously public demise of Blockbusters. The winner received a bottle of bubbly to add to their collection of pencils and chocolates heisted from the stands. Rounding up the talk, Jonny made two very interesting points; that digital and offline marketing should marry up, and that marketing should be integrated into every aspect of a business, much like customer service and sales.

Nick Tinker

Finally, Nick Tinker took to the stage. Throwing off his earpiece in true grace, he spoke to the audience intimately, not wanting to hear his own voice through the earphones. Nick spoke about the future of events and technology, how we’re already flying head-first into new developments and that in a few years the events will have changed forever. There’s a lot of work on facial recognition software which allows attendees to be checked in through face scanning as they walk into an event instead of manually checking in through a tablet. He mentioned an event that recently took place in China where over 40,000 attendees were checked-in in this way.

Towards the end he asked a very profound question: “will events such as the Conference & Hospitality Show become obsolete?” He reckons definitely no. As humans we’re incredibly social beings, we love to be around other people and have the opportunity to discuss ideas and share experiences.