Welcoming 2024 with The 12 Hottest Event Trends

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Episode description

The countdown to 2024 has officially begun.

And in terms of trends in the events industry, the future is looking bright.

Things like staffing levels, diversity, sustainability, accessibility, and AI will be covered in this week’s #GreatEvents episode. All FOUR hosts, Alyssa Peltier, Paulina Giusti, Rachel Andrews, AND our new 2024 host, Felicia Asiedu, tap into 12 key trends to look forward to in 2024.

But remember, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

They’ll also talk about inflation, how it’s affecting the meetings and events industry today, and how it will affect it in the future.

But… is there a secret on how to get over these hurdles?

Find out in this episode. You won’t want to miss it.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The significant impact of AI on the meetings and events industry
  • The evolution and centralization of event operations within companies
  • The continuing importance of prioritization and ROI in event planning

Things to listen for:

  • [03:26] Why in-person events have dominated in 2023
  • [04:35] How venues are supporting experience first events
  • [12:03] Rehiring with a focus on technology skills in 2024
  • [18:46] Expanding events with cost control and prioritization
  • [29:14] A checklist for event professionals embracing AI
  • [32:45] Event design: accessibility, sustainability, diversity, and inclusion
  • [37:07] A moment of gratitude

Meet your host

Rachel Andrews Senior Director, Global Meetings & Events at Cvent
Alyssa Peltier Director of Market Strategy & Insights for Cvent Consulting
Paulina Giusti Senior Manager of Meetings and Events, Cvent
Felicia Asiedu Director of Demand Gen for Europe at Cvent

Episode Transcript

Felicia Asiedu: So I recently went to IBTM, and I'm going to tell you, I feel like they've just replaced, or everybody's just replaced the word new technology or future tech with AI, it's like whenever we talk about future of tech, they're like, oh, so you mean AI? It's ridiculous. It's taken over. And those generative tools like Chat GPT. Yes. In fact, I was about to poo poo it and say, yes, everyone's using it. Not the case. Still, in rooms, they take that put your hand up survey of, “Come on, who's used Chat GPT in the last week?” And only about a third go up. And we're still probably at the precipice of using generative AI tools properly. So I think next year more hands will go up as a start.

Alyssa Peltier: Great events create great brands. And it takes a village to put on an event that engages, excites, and connects audiences to your brand. And we're that village. I'm Alyssa.

Paulina Giusti: I'm Paulina.

Rachel Andrews: And I'm Rachel.

Alyssa Peltier: And you're listening to great events, the podcast for all people interested in events and marketing.

Rachel Andrews: Hello, everyone. What is going on in the wide, wide world of events? My name is Rachel, and welcome to this week's episode of Great Events, a podcast by Cvent. I cannot believe it, ladies, but this is our last episode of the season of 2023, and I'm here with my co-hosts, Alyssa and Paulina.

Alyssa Peltier: Hey, everyone.

Paulina Giusti: Hey, friends.

Rachel Andrews: Awesome. Well, we also have a very special announcement. We are also joined by Felicia Asiedu, our Director of European Marketing, who we have a very special announcement. She will be joining as a co-host for our fourth podcast season next season. Felicia has been on many podcasts throughout our season. We're excited to officially have her as our fourth host. Welcome, Felicia.

Felicia Asiedu: Thank you. So happy to be here. Although I'm concerned I'm going to lose my special status because every time I come, I'm like a special guest and I'm just going to be like, Felicia.

Rachel Andrews: No, you're now a regular host. You're a badass. Let’s do it.

Alyssa Peltier: Okay. Now you have hosting responsibilities. No longer guests.

Rachel Andrews: We'll tell you what that means later.

Alyssa Peltier: You have to clean the house before. That's what it means.

Felicia Asiedu: Love it. Make some food.

Rachel Andrews: Oh, my goodness. All right, well, today, what are we talking about? It wouldn't be a season closer without a look forward. And we also have a look back, but we'll talk about that later. So the countdown to 2024 has officially begun for us event profs. The countdown begun months ago, but in terms of trends and things like that, the future is looking bright. We're going to be talking about some of that. We're covering staffing levels, hopefully a focus on diversity, accessibility, sustainability, but it's not all rainbows and sunshine.

Inflation is still hitting us, hitting the meetings and events team, hitting budgets. So we don't want to overlook that at all. But we also are going to talk about the biggest trend of them all, AI, and how it's impacting our roles as event Profs and marketers. So with that, with a forward look, since it's gifting season and holiday season, we're going to take you through twelve key trends to look forward to in 2024 and what this means for event profs and marketers. So we're going to go through this hopefully quickly. But we have a lot of great stuff for you. And because you're our new host, Felicia, let's kick it off with you to kick off the twelve trends.

Felicia Asiedu: Oh, thank you very much, Rachel. So in person events, I don't need to tell you this, but in person events has absolutely dominated this year and will continue to do so next year. I think people's calendars are about to just explode, quite frankly, because there's so many events people to attend. But what is very interesting is that virtual experiences, whether that's actually just including virtual elements, using virtual as an extension of in person, basically your hybrid event remains a very meaningful part of the event program. We said earlier this year about a third of the reg that came through the Cvent platform actually was for virtual events. So that's still a trend that's going to carry on. It's not dead, but organizers absolutely need technology to support all the event formats, whether it's in person, virtual or hybrid. I'd say key drivers behind this trend is a desire for maximum reach, but also sustainability and accessibility, which I know they are some of the benchmarks and the foundations of all the events we run.

So that's why people are still keeping parts of those virtual events going, because they need to reach all the people across the world, regardless of where their event is. So with that, I'm passing to Paulina for trend number two.

Paulina Giusti: Thanks, Felicia. The second trend is venues are really supporting experience first events. And what that means is our venue partners, our hotel partners, our destination partners are really understanding that hybrid event experience. I think the last few years we've all been able to test it out, perfect it, and so for the future years, we're seeing event venues really take hold of understanding what that hybrid experience looks like. On the other side of this, we're also starting to see the trend skew towards maybe smaller or more simple events, which brings into the fold unique event venues. We've hosted plenty of wonderful smaller VIP customer appreciation events at unique event venues, and they are really taking offs, I think a lot more goodness to come with that. And a lot of this is also tied to year over year trends like leisure. Right? So after you've attended a conference, is there a micro event that takes place after the event or even before the event that a special event venue can be hosting to complement that overall larger event experience? And our attendees are becoming more sophisticated.

They don't want to just go to an event for one purpose only. They really want a multitude of reasons to attend the event, whether it's networking, whether it's experiential, whether it's training. And so having your venue partners understand this experience first trend will only really help your sourcing for 2024 and your event experience for your customers to the next trend. Felicia, back to you.

Felicia Asiedu: Absolutely. You mentioned sourcing there and lots of smaller meetings and needing to find those venues. And our third trend is that technology is uniting planners and venues. This reminds me of, I think it was a session we had at Cvent Connect Europe some years back, where it was what drives planners and venues crazy about each other. And they got to be really honest, it was a very therapeutic session. And they were like, you know, when you make those last minute changes, it's not the best. And that was at a time where we didn't have sort of like thin, stretched out teams as we have at the moment. And hotel teams are still trying to recover from that pandemic time, and their teams are still smaller.

So as the demand grows and their teams had been reduced, there is still that kind of tension that has arisen between the planners and venues. Not because they're not working well together, but they're both just trying to do a lot with not so many resources. So they're looking to technology to help connect them, help streamline the event operations, including things like diagramming tools and space design and layouts, and room and block management technology. Surprise, we do all of those things. So hey, maybe you should just work with Cvent. But even beyond that, a little bit of AI is coming up in terms of how can we send and respond to RFPS quicker. I know we're not at the AI section yet, but definitely looking at technology to help to streamline all of this. And we know like I said, the key driver behind this trend is strained staff.

So even when they do have staff, there's a lot of requirements going their way. You've got event planners all like us asking staff, what's green about your venue? What about the food supply? Where's it coming from? What can I do to reduce my heat waste? And suddenly the venue is thinking about stuff they've never had to think about before. So there is that need for operational efficiency, green and greater collaboration, and even asking for things around engagement and trying to figure out can my venue help me to engage my audience better than the next? So a lot of that's coming to the venue space.

Alyssa Peltier: Yeah, I was going to say perfect segue to the trend I was going to cover, which is the reimagining of kind of the engagement side of the house. I know Paulina just kind of alluded to this in the up leveling of the attendee experience as well, but we're noticing that attendees are really looking to get more from their event experiences. They want a little bit more of that participatory content stuff, less like a speaker talking at you, more of a two way dialogue with individuals in the room. We've seen a lot of emphasis on roundtables kind of coming back to the forefront, discussion based content, more interactivity just from attendee to attendee, and less just emphasis on your subject matter experts that happen to be in the room. And a lot of what's driving this is just not just the rising attendee expectations, but scrutiny on budgets and investment in events. They only have so many dollars to go to these types of continuing education opportunities or L and D type opportunities. And I know we're going to talk about this in just a few moments here on just ROI being a general theme within meetings and events. But your attendees are also in a similar macroeconomic climate, if you will.

They only have so many dollars to invest, and so you've really got to up level the experience and also the engagement within those experiences for them to justify the investment in coming to your event. Rach, take the next one.

Rachel Andrews: Yeah. Trend number five is the kind of the event shift to marketing. This is definitely not new, but it's ever evolving. Paulina and I have talked about this many times on the podcast and on a lot of webinars, actually. But the growing shift in the organizational trends of an event know we can no longer turn to blind eye and only plan events, just to plan them and move on to the next one. We really have to think with a marketer lens as well. But I honestly do think within the last, I want to say, five years, event planners are no longer just event planners. They're project managers, they're event marketers, they're business operators.

And so people need, especially planners that might not have felt that shift at their organization. We have to keep fighting for that because meetings do drive a lot of business. And so I guess impact is the name of the game. And focusing on how events contribute to the overall marketing mix, I think is the biggest ongoing trend in the industry. I feel like it should be on every trend list every year until we really do continue to display that impact. We're seeing things like that with ABM type event Marketing mix. We are seeing that as we start to look more at ROI, which we will talk about, because that is a trend coming up. But how do the events actually impact the bottom line of a company? And I think the pandemic definitely helped us, but it turned some CMOs heads to say, oh, wow, this actually does generate a lot of business for our company, and it is a huge, huge part of the marketing mix overall.

So insert yourself in those marketing meetings. If you're in an events team, insert yourself, be part of that discussion and be part of the marketing team at large. Even if maybe your team is not centered into marketing's department, open up that dialogue, because that is a huge part of what marketing kind of helps with. And this shift in prioritization definitely helps.

Alyssa Peltier: I'll take our next trend here. I find this is like a really interesting one here. I know we noted in our run of show that technology is becoming a core competency. I would dare say technology is a core competency now, for we're meeting and events teams, we have seen a major driving factor behind this being just the sheer loss of resourcing in the meetings and event space. We know that a lot of organizations are understaffed, and recovering those teams has been really hard over the past, I'd say two or three years. Just really hard to keep up with staffing, in part due to what Rachel was alluding to at the beginning of our conversation. Budgets are tight, right.

So rehiring. There's also more scrutiny on skill set, just full transparency there. I think there is a need for those technical proficiencies because like I just said, technology is now a core competency of your team, and it's expected that you will be leveraging technology to execute the tasks required by a meetings and events organization. A couple of other things that we've noted in this space, there are more users coming on board within technologies like Cvent, those users are also now becoming a little bit more differentiated in their skill set. So your event builder team might look different than your attendee management team might look different than those that are administering your accounts. You might have people that are more integrations proficient, so they're looking about the data coming out or going into a platform like Cvent. And so we're just seeing this kind of robustness and this enrichment of kind of all of those user roles, if you will, within technologies supported by the meetings and events team. So certainly if technology isn't a core competency of your team, it's something that you're starting to lag behind in a climate like 2024.

Rachel Andrews: I think that's why we formed our own event tech group within our events team, because it was such an important piece of it when we did that. It really helped up level our events programs, having everything in one. Yeah, obviously we work at Cvent and we have the luxury of using those products. But more than that, it expanded to the Martech that we were using beyond Cvent, too, and understanding everything that goes into the marketing mix like I talked about. But what programs use what and which ones should actually be included in our total event program.

Felicia Asiedu: I was going to say, I actually did a talk recently on the rise of the event technologist, and someone came up to me at the end and said, I use technology across all my event programs, and I'm the technologist and I'm so grateful you recognized me. And I thought it's really sweet that people are putting all their stuff in one place and they're happy that we're recognized and that's a role. It exists.

Alyssa Peltier: Yeah. And not only that, I think I didn't even talk about this, but we're also starting to see more IT buyers come into the fold with meetings and events usage. Like they're starting to kind of analyze purchasing for event tech, which didn't used to be the norm, I would say, three to four years ago. We're also starting to see more marketing operations professionals, which is alluding more to what Rachel was talking about, where meetings and events is starting to converge a little bit more with marketing. That marketing operations professional in years past had not been present in the implementation of the technologies like Cvent. So it's really interesting dynamics that are going on in this technology space specifically.

Rachel Andrews: I think this is a good segue for our next theme. Paulina.

Paulina Giusti: Yeah, I was just going to say, you all beat me to the punch on what the next theme is, which is really around centralizing for scale. And I think to all of your points, a lot of meetings and events, teams are looking to scale their operations, the organization of their team, in ways that support this sort of overwhelming and far more complex event landscape and strategy. But additionally, kind of like what Rachel was saying, we're also taking into consideration centralized marketing tech stack. Right. And how Cvent is integrating with all of our other tech solutions that really drive the overall marketing machine. I think just myself know, and I think organizations, corporations go through this pretty regularly, where you try a certain software out and then you try another version of the similar tool. Right. And we're kind of all finding the right mix.

We have just undergone a pretty big transformative move to utilizing Wrike as a project management tool. And I think it's those kinds of conversations around decentralized solutions and how they impact all marketing departments and teams is really interesting and thinking about how it has a kind of trickle down impact to other processes that play into our event strategies.

Rachel Andrews: Yeah, just to chime on that, on the staffing side of things, when we were centralizing a few years ago, we kind of established these pillars on our team that we're not all event planners on our team. We have event strategists, we have event marketers, we have operational folks, we have research and analytics. And so we have a lot of support there. And what we've kind of been able to do with our total event program. And we've spent a lot of time with the leaders on the team and some of our other colleagues developing a total event program that helps centralize what the tier of event is, what the tactic is, and then what teams are actually pulled into that. And I think that's another expansion of the centralizing for scale element that Paulina was talking about, both with the technology, but also with the way that the team is organized. We almost have different sprint teams, if you want to call it that. If you're not at a tech company, it's just groups of people working together on specific event tactics or on specific event groupings.

So if Paulina's team, which primarily focuses on marquee programs that we do, is doing a tier one event, she's pretty much utilizing every department at the company, plus all the different pillars on our teams. But if you're doing something like a tier three program, which is basically just a lunch, you're utilizing just a specific group of people that are helping streamline that.

Felicia Asiedu: Yeah, I know. I spoke to an organization, a large bank. We'll say they said they have exactly that same process. I was surprised. I was like, oh, I thought we were beating people to the punch. And they said no. From a control perspective, they like to see it, but they don't want to have to execute on every single thing. So if there's a lunch, they just set up templates where people from the organization can put in the meeting request form just like they would here, and then they can request it.

But the meetings and events team can also be like, congratulations, you win. Go and run it. So I thought that was really cool. A nice way of like, if you are short on staff or you're just like, we're just not going to run all these things. You can still see everything, still control, but you don't have to execute on everything. So I thought it was really cool.

Rachel Andrews: I think that the staffing thing is just still such a volatile thing as well. Some people in the industry don't know if they're getting staff back. There's a move to outsourcing a little bit more. I've talked to a few industry peers to maybe control cost of headcount. They're reaching out to some partners to help work on that, but that also fits into the mix of centralizing for scale. So maybe you outsource just all your sourcing, or you outsource all of your rooming, depending on what you need, or you outsource your technology support, there's going to be a lot more of that. That's not a new trend. That's just what we're kind of feeling right now.

But I feel like the revenge events that have come back and are here to stay, we're far surpassed what we were doing in 2019, and now we're on the precipice of doing even more in 2024, which is with less people. Right. So how do we figure out that mix? Which is my segue to trend number eight, which is cost control, places a premium on ROI. So I'll let the team chime in, too here. But one of the huge focuses for myself and Paulina right now is prioritization, and we need to do that with data and with our international teams as well. We have a lot of folks looking at, hey, actually, I know that this is a big, sexy event that we go to every year, but it's actually not performing well based off of what we spend and the money. It's not all about the money you generate. Yes, that's important, but it doesn't also generate enough leads or enough relationships or you didn't get your brand out there enough.

And looking at that ROI is really going to help prioritize what we're doing. And so from an event prof standpoint now we just need all the executives to look at the ROI and say, you know what, you're right, this is actually not worth it, even though it's a fun event to go to. Or, hey, we really enjoyed hosting this event, but maybe other folks didn't necessarily see value in it being able to prioritize that.

Alyssa Peltier: I think there's like, conversation on, like, 360 degree ROI, right? When we say ROI, we really mean the cost and the benefit side of the house. In years past, we might have only been saying, oh, it doesn't cost that much to attend, so we should go, or we get a lot of value out of it, so we should go. But we were only taking into cost. Now, there is true language of C suite coming into the fold to justify the investments in these event programs, from small to large, right. Whether it's a very small trade show that you're participating in, up to your massive conferences that you potentially are hosting, that same level of rigor is being applied to every single event that you're participating in. And it's in part, I would dare say, almost solely in part due to the economic environment that we're in right now. Where are we in a recession? Are we not in a recession? Are we going to be in a recession? There's just a lot of hesitancy to invest in things if the return just isn't there.

Rachel Andrews: Yeah.

Felicia Asiedu: And I'd say, as a field marketer, I would say I ran the risk. And event planners don't hate me, but I ran the risk of being like, oh, it's a really easy event, it shouldn't take time. But when your team show me the sheer volume of events we're running, and they're like, you think it doesn't take time, but every single one of these events we're running takes time, takes effort. So even though we might come at it from the angle, oh, it doesn't cost much. It's a small event. They're like, but actually time, I need return on my time investment as well. So is it really worth me spending my time doing this for you if we're not getting that much out of it? Probably not. So we're having to really think about cutting.

We don't want to cut events, but just changing. Like, what are we doing? Because we have to consider the time of our planners as well. It's not just all about execution.

Alyssa Peltier: And what are we doing and why. Right. Why are we doing it?

Paulina Giusti: I was just going to say this is an opportunity to take a look at what your survey program looks like. What is the feedback that you're collecting event over event. I think for us, we standardized our feedback collection, and that has significantly given us a far more even spectrum of evaluating events against events. Right. And that allows you to have a more, I guess, articulate conversation with value and perceived value, and taking all of that into context when you're waiting, what makes the roadmap versus what doesn't.

Alyssa Peltier: That's such a good. I know we did not call this out on here, Paulina, but data standardization alongside of the ROI conversation, and that is perfectly aligned to what you're talking about here. Sorry, didn't want to cut you off there. But really important piece to the ROI conversation is making sure that you have good data and you have quality data and you have standard data to be able to react to and make those informed decisions.

Rachel Andrews: One of the things I'm really excited about is we built a ROI dashboard this past year, and it's still going through iterations of change. It will probably be changing for years to come, just with all the amount of data that we have to put in there. But one of the things, and you mentioned this, Felicia, but the indirect cost. Yeah, sure. We have what the venue cost, but the indirect cost is actually huge. Right. So it's not just the planner's time, it's the marketing operations. It's the salespeople's time going to the event, promoting it, getting their customers or attendees to attend.

But you need to be able to quantify that across the organization. That's really hard. It's easier to quantify how much does it cost to send somebody to an event versus the hours spent on it through countless different divisions that are going into it. And I feel like that's phase three or four. Right now, we just want to look at total expense to attributed marketing, and then we can build off of that later. But I think the indirect cost is actually a pretty big cost to the organization, especially with, if you know that, let's say tier three, event X is only making, or you're only seeing ten people attend each one, and the planner's time is three X, that it's like, well, maybe we don't do these anymore. So you got to make some hard decisions, especially with budget cuts and especially with lack of staff right now. We need to take a hard, critical lens at those things.

Felicia Asiedu: Yeah, and I love that. I love the fact that Alyssa got really excited over data and standardization. First.

Alyssa Peltier: Nerd alert.

Felicia Asiedu: But the combination of the data, like Paulina was saying, standardizing those surveys, but also communication. If we hadn't had the opportunity that, yes, you've got the dashboard, but the good communication that happens between the teams know we've got Penny locally on our team. And she's like, let me just show you what this looks like. And then I'm able to make a better decision and go, okay, that doesn't make any sense. As much as the why might even make sense in my head. By the time I have that level of communication with Penny locally, she's able to show me this. It doesn't make any sense. So I'm happy to follow.

I'm not the one running it. At the end of the day, I have to take some guidance. So I think that, again, it highlights the importance of the planner. You have to listen to your team. They're telling you something. Just listen to them. Make sense.

Alyssa Peltier: Yep. The strategic role of the planner.

Rachel Andrews: Well, why don't we go in a completely different direction for the 9th trend? I'll let you and Felicia kick that off. 

Felicia Asiedu: AI.

Rachel Andrews: Like, honestly, should we ask AI what to say about this trend?

Alyssa Peltier: Yeah, AI wrote this trend for us.

Felicia Asiedu: Well, I said this. So I recently went to IBTM, and I'm going to tell you, I feel like they've just replaced, or everybody's just replaced the word new technology or future tech with AI, it's like whenever we talk about future of tech, they're like, oh, so you mean AI. It's that. What's the word? There's a word like proliferate or it's ridiculous. It's taken over. And those generative tools like chat GPT. Yes.

In fact, I was about to poo poo it and say, yes, everyone's using it. Not the case. Still, in rooms, they take that put your hand up survey of, come on, who's used chat GPT in the last week and only about a third go up. And we're still probably at the precipice of using generative AI tools properly. So I think next year more hands will go up as a start.

Paulina Giusti: Yeah.

Alyssa Peltier: I would also say I work with really large enterprise level global organizations, and it's very polarizing. There are some organizations that are all about it and they have invested in it, and it's widely used throughout their organization. There are others from a security control, privacy, all of the scary words that they're very hesitant to implement a tool like AI. And so their individuals, employees, meetings, and events planners included in that are not even allowed to touch these things. So it's like very black and white. You either are all in or you're all out. I would also say after a conversation just in London last month, the appetite to use the generative AI like chat GPT, to just write emails and things like that, that's kind of like the common, the visuals, the written words, scripting, email copy, website copy is great. The real opportunity that many individuals see is on data, data management, data aggregate, data insights help me understand year over year trends for my conference.

How can I do things better? By prompting a tool. I don't know what that will look like, but being able to prompt a tool to give you the data insights that you're looking for, as opposed to manually creating reports, going and looking through dashboards that you have today, I think that's where much of the industry sees real potential for the AI conversation and simply we're just not there yet. We as in Cvent, but also the industry at large. So super immature space, but certainly lots of opportunity to grow and innovate and transform meetings and events in all areas of the business.

Felicia Asiedu: You're absolutely right. And I would say it's the one area where sometimes we said on this list, well, that's not really a trend. It's been happening. It's a trend. Right, but this is the one that has the potential to go like a rocket ship. And all the stuff that we say, well, we're not there yet. Within two months, someone's going to probably be like, yeah, we are. Here we are.

This is the investigative AI that you were looking for. This is the predictive AI that you were looking for. It's just not that far away. And I think that is actually what scares people, that this is the one trend that has the potential to move really quickly depending on what some genius comes up with.

Alyssa Peltier: And I would say, even to your point earlier, Felicia, 30% of an audience in twelve month time span is pretty significant. Adoption of a technology like that. So I think even the more rudimentary tools that just launched this year will continue in adoption, moving into 2024. I think we can assume that will be the case. Those that have been reticent will have to join, assuming that their organizations allow them to. But I think that this is something that, to your point, Felicia is going to take off like a rocket ship. It's not stopping.

Rachel Andrews: I feel like we need to do a checklist for, yes, event Profs are in event marketing as well, but almost like a checklist of things that you can do right now. Every single conference I have coming up in 2024, there is AI content for event Profs. And there are so many little things that you can do right now that are not that hard to adopt. Like for example, hey, where should I host my conference next year? Can you tell me? Big convention centers around the country? Or hey, can you write this email for me? I'm trying to target these attendees and we're doing these activities. Those are little things that maybe there's a checklist for event profs. If you don't know anything about AI, start here.

Alyssa Peltier: Yeah, taking the story out of it a little bit, like, making it a little bit more like this is for B.

Rachel Andrews: It's not as scary as it needs to be. From Alyssa's lens, she's talking about total global adoption for something. But if you're one event planner at your company or one event marketer marketing events, you could start small. You don't have to start with total. What we did was at Cvent, we rolled out enterprise software that everybody can use through their secure portal, right? So I don't think it has to be that your company has adopted this massive piece of technology that's coming, I hope for you. But these are small things that you can do now. And if you kind of want to write those checklists, for myself, honestly, we're.

Felicia Asiedu: Looking with a partner organization of ours, and they did a good, better best for sustainability. We could do the same for AI. This is good, this is better. This is the know so that people at least have an entry point. And I know that with that, the best side of that. We had a great debate during Cvent Connect Europe on people versus AI. And actually, we all knew that it's people plus AI. It's not people versus, but we just had some fun.

And the guy that was arguing on the side of AI and tech, he was just like, if you don't understand it, you're fired. Like, he was so extreme. You're not fired. Everything's going to be okay, right? But he was being fun, but he was saying, look, you're going to have to learn, when we spoke about upskilling and have to learn the prompts, you're going to have to learn how to prompt the prompter. So you tell the AI, you are this, you're writing like this. And when you say, show me the venues, you need to say, you're show me the best venues. Right? So there's like different ways to use the right language, but it's not that hard? It really is. We could do the good checklist and we just put some stuff in there.

Rachel Andrews: That's easy, especially for the stuff that you don't want to do all the time. Right. Help me write this. Like the amount of times I've looked at website copy and been like, I don't feel creative right now. Can someone else just do this for me? And AI is that someone else, they can just write it for you and then obviously you tweak it because it's very computerized right now. You tweak it to make more sense for your brand. But that can help. Well, hopefully not going to take over our jobs, but it will take over some of the crappy parts of our jobs that we don't want to do every day.

Felicia Asiedu: Yeah, I mean, that's the point of it. But I know as we come to our last three not so trendy trends, because they're definitely not trends. They're things that should be the kind of underbelly of everything that we do. AI is useful for things like accessibility, things like sustainability, to give us these kinds of ideas of what we should be doing. But it also can have biases. So there's so much to investigate. But I think, like you said, Rachel, someone should just get started. If you haven't started already, that's definitely the trend for 24. Just go in, give it a go. But are trendy, not trends. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

Paulina Giusti: Yeah. Those last three trends that we feel like we've kind of discussed quite significantly over the last year. But accessible events, sustainable events and DEI and for us, I think I'm speaking on behalf of all of us. We don't see these as trends. We see these know really pillars in the event design and strategy. Know, creating and designing accessible events should be something that we're all doing right. Whether we need to start with that short checklist that we were just talking about for AI, if you need to figure out what the first five things you need to do in order to make sure that your events are accessible, that's sort of the approach that we would suggest for all three of these, right? If you want to think about how your events have or leave an impact from a sustainability perspective, it's really about striking a balance, right? We want there to be equal amounts of enjoyment and responsibility and ensuring that we leave a positive impact or legacy for both the environment and the immediate communities for where we host events. And then the diversity, equity, inclusion.

This is very much something that's at the heart or the center of event design for so many of us. And these are going to continue. These are not just trends, these are really embedded in the event design process. And I think we were talking, these are really about the sentiment of belonging, this sort of overarching umbrella term of belonging. And the entire value prop of hosting events and immersive experiences is to create a sense of belonging, to create a sense of resonating with the brand or mission. And so all three of these should be integral in your event design and event strategy going forward. But anything else you guys like to add to this?

Felicia Asiedu: No, that was really sweet. I want to belong.

Rachel Andrews: I mean, that's why we plan events, to bring people together. And like you said, make it great for everybody, not just a few.

Felicia Asiedu: Absolutely. I know we had. Stephen Cutchins is amazing. For those who don't know, he helps to design accessibility within our product so that it makes it easier not just for you using our product, but also your attendees. But he puts it in such clear ways of know, why would you want to leave people out? It's almost like looking at from the other perspective of like, who are you handpicking to say, no, not you. Not you. You would never do that. So when you do know things like Paulina just said, how do I make it more inclusive? How do I make people feel like they belong? You should be saying, I want everybody to be there, and no one should feel, even when they turn up, like, oh, I made a mistake, I shouldn't have come. They should never feel that way. So, yeah, I love this as the pillars, like you said.

Rachel Andrews: Oh my gosh. Wow. So we have so many good things to look forward to in 2024. Again, these are continued trends from 2023. But I just see so much value in looking at these and continuing to keep these on your radar. My recommendation is to make a checklist out of these. I'm sure there's more trends and things like that on your radars. Outside of this. There could be a laundry list of 100 trends for the events industry, but we narrowed it down to twelve for our list. But I want to keep a checklist and measure ourselves, maybe give ourselves a grade each year on how we're doing with these trends.

Maybe it's something to look forward to when you look back at the end of 2024 and say, how did I do with these trends? Did I help impact the company or help with the meetings industry? I've been furthering it.

Alyssa Peltier: Yeah, and I'll jump in too. We're doing a year in review webinar this week that I'd like to invite all of our listeners to participate in. If you feel like looking back fondly on 2023, before you jump into some of these trends for 2024, I myself will be hosting that. Felicia just alluded to Stephen Cutchins. He will be joining me on that podcast as well, in addition to several other thought leaders at Cvent who have made a meaningful impact on our 2023 roadmap of insights that we've been delivering to our listeners and our viewers of our webinar. So please join me for that. I think that's taking place tomorrow.

Rachel Andrews: Nice. Well, any other final thoughts from our newest host? Or Paulina or Alyssa? Any other final thoughts before we wrap our season for 2023?

Alyssa Peltier: I just wanted to express gratitude for our listeners this year. We've met some of you in person. I think Paulina might have mentioned that on a previous episode. It's starting to really, I have to say, like, this was a pet project for Paulina, myself, and Rachel when we first started out. Now we're growing in our hosts, we're growing in listeners, and it really helps us to continue to make meaningful impact to our customers and to non customers. You know, even if you don't use Cvent, that's okay, too. We're fine. We want to have you here. And so I'm just really grateful for everyone who listens to this on a regular basis. We love having you join us and listening to our banter, and we're happy to know that it's meaningful to you all.

Paulina Giusti: Retweet what Alyssa said. No, I think I'm also very grateful. I think as we look to 2024, we're all kind of bracing for the change and the hopeful, progressive changes that come our way. But we always look to you for ideas and inspiration, and however you see fit to share those with us, we definitely will take that and absolutely run with it for next year's season. So, really looking forward to having another season with you all.

Felicia Asiedu: Well, since we're doing gratitude, things we're grateful for, right? So thank you, ladies, for inviting me to join. It's really nice, and I loved. I think one of my favorite moments of this year is when we were together in Vegas on the couch, having, like, the bants and just recapping. And I'm very grateful for you all.

Alyssa Peltier: Tears, laughter. We bring all the emotions to this podcast. It's very Shakespearean of us.

Felicia Asiedu: I'm very grateful to have you, and I'm very grateful that you've invited me as a guest because I've even had times where people are like, I heard your podcast, and I'm like, oh my God, I feel like somebody. So thank you. Thank you very much.

Rachel Andrews: Oh my God. More than just my dad listens to this. Oh, this is great. Well, I couldn't have said it better than what you all said, so I'll just say retweet and thank you to our listeners. And so, with that, this episode wraps our 2023 season. We will be back next season in February. We are going to take a much-needed break. Enjoy our holidays.

I hope our listeners do the same. We all deserve it. We work so hard in this industry, so I hope everyone gets their much-needed rest. Also, shameless plug, we are on LinkedIn. Please be our friends. Please follow or friend us. We'd love to hear from you.

So, one last plug for our listeners. Thanks for tuning in this season. It's been a wild ride. We love hosting it, and we couldn't do it without our listeners. So, if there is something you would like to hear about next season, we are all ears. We need all the ideas and all the guest speakers. So, if there's something you'd like to hear about, DM us on LinkedIn, or you can send us an email at greatevents@cvent.com. And if you love our show, don't forget to subscribe and rate our podcast.

So again, we hope you have a healthy and happy holiday season, and we'll see you next year.

Alyssa Peltier: Bye. See you next year.

Paulina Giusti: See you next year. Happy New Year. Bye.