Exhibition Industry Insights 2024

With 2024 in full swing, people are asking what the year ahead will look like for the events and exhibition industry. Are virtual events going to increase? What tech should I look out for? Will more and more events become sustainable? This article is brief summary of the excellent report created by Amex GBT. You can view it here.

Live Or Virtual?

Live exhibitions and events are still the front runner in terms of how they are delivered. Events with a live element are set to make up over 81% of all events over the course of 2024. The overwhelming majority of event organisers are not expecting the number of exhibition and trade shows to reduce – 28% say they are expecting the attendee levels to increase this year.

There’s nothing quite like the buzz of a busy exhibition or trade show; meeting new prospects, gathering leads, and getting your company known. It’s what it’s all about. A staggering 79% of people are feeling more than optimistic about the events industry in 2024 and we are excited for the part that we will play!

Virtual and hybrid events will still have a large part to play. They offer greater flexibility for attendees who cannot attend the event, help reach a broader audience as well as adding to the sustainability of the event.

2024 will also see a surge in truly inclusive and accessible events. There are a variety of ways that organisers and venues can improve, such as avoiding unconscious bias when selecting speakers or being very careful with the language used in communications. In general, organisers and venues have made great steps to facilitate better experiences for every attendee. They are aware there is more that can be done, and they aren’t shying away from it.

In Terms of Tech

AI could play a crucial role in the data collection and management of exhibitions and trade shows. Data from past exhibitions could be analysed using predictive modelling to predict what attendees are most likely to engage with. However, only a third of organisers expect to use AI, so it is still being met with a certain level of apprehension.

Meanwhile the technology that has already been widely adopted is expected to go from strength to strength. Mobile app usage and QR codes are amongst the tech that’s most likely to be used across events.

Technology is still going to play a crucial part in enticing visitors, but budgets are expected to be significantly increased in the overall visitor experience of the exhibition. With careful consideration going into areas such as immersive experiences and the small, yet sometimes overlooked, touches such a good coffee machine and drinks.

The use of VR and gamification within exhibition stands will continue to rise throughout 2024. Exhibitors have seen the benefits that these additions give by creating more engaging atmospheres that go beyond traditional exhibition methods.

Event Sustainability

Sustainability is going to continue to be at the forefront of business ideas and decisions. 62% of businesses say that sustainability is very or extremely important to their organisations.

Exhibition stands have seen a massive change over the recent years. We are seeing less and less ‘single use stands’ and the increasing popularity of modular exhibition stands. It’s also the small things that can have a massive impact on the sustainability of an event or exhibition. Reducing or stopping the use of single use plastics, switching to energy efficient lighting, re-using stand components, using digital displays instead of printed brochures and recycling anything that can be recycled; It all adds up. Our free design service is removes the stress and strain of planning an exhibition while maintaining a sustainable, eco-friendly ethos.

The UK pledged to achieve net zero by 2050 and halve their emissions by 2030. In 2021, a handful of event organisers, venues and suppliers also committed to this pledge. Over the years since, hundreds more have committed too. This will see initiatives like sourcing local, sustainable foods and packaging as well as implementing temperature guidelines.

Many organisers are now investing in carbon offsetting initiatives too – projects like reforestation and renewable energy initiatives are just a couple of examples.

2024 is certainly going to be an exciting year for the event and exhibition industry. As technology evolves at a rapid pace, what was once in a sci-fi film is now becoming reality.

The future of event and exhibitions will be heavily focused on the ‘experience’. Visitors want to feel something, get excited, intrigued. And it’s these feelings and emotions that will leave the visitor with lasting memories that are truly priceless. You know when your event or exhibition has been a  great success when these memories are of your brand, your services, or of your products.

It is heartwarming that people are becoming more aware of sustainability and inclusivity, and the impact of our decisions have on the world around us. The changes adopted by the industry are also reflected in the wider society. The future is shaping up to be one where we all feel welcome and safe to be ourselves and participate in everything. A future where our planet is well looked after and considered by all. And that is a future we can all be proud of.

If you need help with an upcoming exhibition or just need some free, friendly advice. Contact us today and speak to one of our experts. Let’s create the future together.

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