Disruption — what was once a scary word has now become synonymous with innovation. And it also just happened to be the overarching theme of this year’s IMEX. Meeting planners and event professionals from around the world descended upon Las Vegas to discuss what’s new and next in the industry. And, of course, IMEX once again delivered a thought-provoking program and valuable connections.
Keynote speaker Pablos Holman described disruption as a way to get ahead of current thinking. Disruption, he says, will happen in every industry. We’ve already seen it happen with transportation, entertainment, and hospitality thanks to Uber, Netflix, and Airbnb. And we’re now seeing audiences expect that same level of personalization in the meetings and events industry.
What does disruption mean for attendees and exhibitors in the near term? Audiences are expecting more and more from their brand experiences. Technology, as well as personalized consumer and social media experiences, drive these expectations, and attendees expect the same customization to occur at events as well. That puts responsibility on the shoulders of exhibitors to reach attendees in new and increasingly personal ways.
Meeting planners juggling all sorts of events seek ways to consolidate suppliers and make the process simple and easy for them. Show organizers also expect to work with partners that simplify their process and offer more value. In other words, they are all seeking a more personal experience from their vendors.
Other ideas that bubbled to the top of conversations at IMEX included new and innovative ways to engage audiences during education sessions. There was much talk about the power of second screen technology. We also heard a lot of conversation around technology and data security and the fine line organizations must walk when it comes to personalization tech. We know that this is an expectation, but how much is enough?
With all these expectations, the industry is in the midst of rapid change and disruption, but with disruption comes great opportunity.