1. Change your terminology
You no longer have "clients;" you no longer have "guests;" you no longer have "attendees" ... you have PARTICIPANTS. This changes the mind set on everything you think about and plan, because now you are offering to engage them in an experience.
2. Demographics are being replaced by psychographics, or "what do you like," not what is your age and where are you from.
3. Look closely at Generation Z, those 19 and under ... they are the participants of the future and should guide what you are doing now.
Mike Dominguez, VP of MGM Mirage, shared with me that they are building a new arena where the entire second tier will be General Admission for people to buy tickets but not purchase seats. They will stand and be a part of the experience of the concert ... an entirely new way of thinking.
4. Examine what the Music Festival Experience is all about:
- People meet others they would never normally encounter.
- They use the power of music as a unique tool to aid the human experience.
- Adding this to a social gathering is an unparalleled force.
- Festivals are a uniting experience; people synch with each other; in other words, they connect.
- The use of social media at events, once known for mosh pits, morphed into hyper-connected webs of social interaction.
- Think of the possibilities:
- geo tagging allows users to drop a pin on their tents so participants won't get lost;
- Austin City Limits programmed RFID bracelets with credit card information so no one had to pull out cash or cards to pay for drinks; for organizers all the data needed is provided, even line control, because they can see a back-up before it happens;
- At the Sapphire Conference, use of I-Beacons and Wi-Fi heat mapping to improve the participants' experiences allowed data to be monitored in real time but analyzed later. It provided how people moved, what attracted the crowds, where they stayed the longest. And the data can be broken down into patterns by industry and job title.
- We have no more secrets.
- We share ideas.
- Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are becoming a norm.
- It's about groups and togetherness ... nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd; just look at the popularity of flash mobs.
- In the words of my friend, Colja Dams, President and CEO of Vok Dams, this is an era of word-of-mouth in 3-D.
- One Spark is a great example of a Crowdfunding Festival in Jacksonville, Florida. It proves that face-to-face connections are critical to start-up projects. The idea is that great ideas can come from anywhere; it cuts through the digital noise and allows people to connect and truly engage and get real-time feedback. Ideas are presented on multiple stages; participants cast votes at kiosks or on an event app, and significant monies are given to creators in proportion to total votes cast; it empowers the crowd to make the decisions.
A lot to absorb, right? I'm going to give you some time to mull over all of these and watch for the next blog which will continue this conversation. I invite you to participate with your own "trends." Let's get the dialogue moving!
Andrea Michaels is founder and president of Extraordinary Events, a multi-award-winning international meeting and event planning and production firm based in Los Angeles. Andrea is the author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower: Lessons in Business; Lessons in Life and an in-demand speaker and leading voice in the special events industry. She may be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.