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Jenise Fryatt

BizBash CEO David Adler on Event Industry Trends to Watch
Posted by: Jenise Fryatt
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Founder and CEO of BizBash, David Adler is perhaps one of the most progressive thinkers in the events industry. He is known for being an engaging speaker and is also often the herald of some new trend or technology that seems to overtake the industry within short order.

I recently asked David to share his thoughts on trends in the industry by answering five questions.  Not surprisingly, his responses were fascinating and full of useful information on what’s coming down the pike. In fact, he gave me enough great content for two posts.  Here are his answers to my first two questions.

What are the major influences causing trends in the events industry today?

Relevance Matters
Keeping events relevant is the biggest trend affecting the event industry today.
People are highly critical and will tell you how they feel immediately. If an event doesn’t serve their needs they will either say it via social media, or they will just never show up again and you may not even know why.

Social media authenticity affects events
Just as in social media, authenticity also rules the day. Sometimes if something is over programmed it does not allow people to communicate with each other.

Old-fashioned social skills need fine tuning
One other area that is influencing events is that people don’t know how to be social. They are fine behind their desk having the power of their anonymity, but put them in front of another person and they may not even have a clue how to behave.

The power of let’s
Another trend that I see is that groups that never were getting together are now getting together. When you look at phenomenons like you get a good sense of the organic growth that is actually forming.  According to the CEO of meet up, Scott Heffernan, the number 1 group of people gathering on meet up is made up of “mom’s. When they gather, the number 1 word that is used is let’s.  These gatherings are promoting all sorts of new actions. It is interesting to note that both the tea party and Occupy Wall Street use the meet up technology as  a central organizing opportunity for both.

Learning Affects Everything
When companies like  are creating alternatives to traditional tradeshows like their Dream Force event, it is evident that user groups and customer training are becoming some of the biggest trends in events. Teaching your clients, keeping your clients, and showing the love for your clients create the best insurance policy that an organization can have. That is why you’re seeing user groups of companies with major platforms becoming the central organizing trade shows of their niche.

What positive trends do you see?

Entrepreneur Power
Events are the last bastion of the entrepreneur. The fact that the hospitality layer has already been created makes it easy for entrepreneurs to create events out of nothing and promote to see if they will get any traction. The hospitality layer is the fact that convention centers, hotels, ground transportation, airplanes and restaurants are in place and planners don’t have to think about dealing with infrastructure issues around those elements and can concentrate on the actual gathering of people in a space makes it easier. Think about Burning Man that actually builds an entire city from scratch each year.

Events and meetings are getting strategic
Smarter people are getting involved in the event meeting industry. Executives understand that managing human workforces and gatherings of strategic bases can have huge impact that can be used for positive things. The political world is leading the way on this by combining both online and off-line as well as face-to-face and the longtail to make meetings and events a centerpiece of the strategic opportunity rather than a nice to have.

Understanding the brain
Professional brain researchers like Andrea Sullivan, who are integrating how the brain works with meetings and events work, are propelling the trend of letting “the brain be the brain” in developing a strategy for meetings and events. It is this understanding that is probably going to have the largest impact in how meanings of events actually happen. Their findings will be impacting everything from the physical meeting room, to the presentation tactics, to the food that is served, to the learning aspects.

Permission to talk
Going back to the illustration about, building an appropriate time for people to actually just speak to each other without music blaring, distractions from entertainment, or managed environments will give people the space to make the magic happen – just personal communications. Facilitated discussions are still fantastic, but allowing people to take it further is something that cannot be programmed to the nth degree.

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2 Responses to this article

Tahira Endean, CMP December 23, 2011

Great post. I am always surprised to see authenticity and relevance as trends – when people are investing their resources (time and money) to participate in events, they should be both of these things plus all the rest – places to learn and communicate; somewhere you leave rejuvenated with new energy to reinvest in yourself and your profession. Idealistic? Perhaps, but if events don’t benefit the participants in a combination of tangible and intangible ways (touching the emotions, engaging the brain) – through the feelings created from joy,inspiration, new learnings or innovations shared, new or deepened relationships or intrinsic motivation on departing, then we have not done our job as event professionals. I say, bring it on – let’s show the value of meetings and events!

Jenise Fryatt December 27, 2011


Thanks so much for the comment. I agree. Authenticity and relevancy should be givens, otherwise, what’s the point of having an event? We are, after all, in the business of facilitating human connections. Without authenticity and relevancy, there is NO connection.

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