The Future of the Event and Conference Industry

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Introduction
In this assessment I plan to discuss the future of the event and conference industry, by identifying recent trends and trying to forecast how they will continue into the future. I will look at the topics of the increasing importance of events, the importance of technology when planning these events and conferences and how technology could be helping to shape the future of the industry. I will also look at the event industry in relation to tourism and how the two industries support each other and are growing rapidly together. I plan also to look at the growing importance of sponsorship in the industry, as well as the increasing magnitude of risk management when planning an event or conference.

To determine the future of the event and conference industry it is a good idea to first look at the sweeping changes that have occurred in the past decade and identify trends. The first aspect of the industry that has changed is the quality of the events and conferences and the amount of work that goes into their organisation. Event and conference planning has moved from an amateur occupation to a full professional operation, with highly skilled trained staff and specialisation within the company involved. Another changing demographic is the age of the guests at these events and conferences. Traditionally they would have been held for younger clients, mostly because events would have been seen largely as recreational or maybe for training purposes, where as over the years they are increasingly becoming an integral part of the business world, and the benefits of hosting events for clients are becoming increasingly obvious to all demographics in most industries. However, as the population ages, people will experience more health problems, so event planners will have to provide improved resources, such as large-font printed programs, ramps and handrails to accommodate people with physical disabilities and assisted-listening devices for the hard of hearing. A result of this aging population is that as people age, so do their institutions, creating a multiplier effect for the number of celebrations that will be held. Markets are transforming from local to global as corporations and governments are recently starting to see the social, economic and political advantages of hosting events. Since the widespread use of the jet airplane in the fifties, meetings and conferences have multiplied by thousands as people attending jet in and out of cities for three and four day events. These are primarily educational events and conferences that provide networking opportunities for both association members and corporate employers. Whether a corporate or association event, despite the challenge of terrorism, the globalisation of the economy has produced significant growth in international meetings and as a result, event leaders are now travelling constantly both domestically and internationally. As the industry gets more competitive, education, as well as experience is now becoming essential to become a leader in the conference and event industry. Evaluation is essential to constantly improve in this ever changing, competitive industry. In the past the evaluation process was brief and only covered very narrow spectrum of the aspects of organising an event or conference. However as the industry has been growing and expanding, so too has the evaluation process become more comprehensive, assessing every aspect of the production. Technology is an integral element in a successful event or conference or any other type of business meeting. Because it has become so advanced over the years and is accessible to everyone all over the world thanks to the internet, people have come to expect it at any major business event. The problem with technology is that it can be temperamental, and if it doesn’t work on the day the results can be catastrophic for the event as many people are disappointed. It is important therefore to have a reliable system to...
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