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How to learn from international event trends

Wayne Morris, VP International at Guidebook, shows marketers what they can learn from international event trends

Only nine months ago I can remember having conversations with other event techies and being laughed at because I had suggested event marketers would be building their own event apps in the future. For them, apps seemed far too complicated and the risks far too high for event planners to ever want to attempt tackling one themselves. Working for an international event app company, I had some juicy inside knowledge that they hadn’t tapped into just yet.

Operating all over the world gives us an interesting foresight when it comes to industry trends. Our headquarters, for example, are in California, operating in a market that we consider to be around 12 months ahead of the UK when it comes to tech trends and adoption patterns.

One of the biggest changes that our US office have noticed over the last few months is the increasing demand for turnkey solutions - i.e. systems that are immediately ready to use upon implementation. Where previously event organisers were looking for entirely bespoke technology, they now want something that is scalable and affordable without compromising elegance - and importantly, they want the ability to be able to set it up on their own.

The upshot of using quick and intuitive platforms is that the tech doesn’t have to be reserved only for the marquee events in the calendar. In the app market, for example, they can be just as effective for board meetings, training sessions, or any other smaller events, with a quick self-build being the only setup required.

We’re gradually beginning to see the same behaviour patterns move over to the UK and don’t think it will be very many months until demand for turnkey solutions outweighs the more traditional bespoke models. A great example of this is with our client Centaur. Here we have a huge international media group, with a huge portfolio of events, a vast number of which now feature apps. The interesting thing here is that every app is self-built by the Centaur team, with departments appointing unofficial ‘app builders’ to put together what is needed. Clearly we’ve come a long way in just nine months.

I, for one, am looking forward to turnkey becoming the norm. By creating software or solutions that put the power and creativity firmly in the hands of the client, we are streamlining the whole process. I think the hesitations around turnkey solutions not being customisable will diminish as awareness around their flexibility grows. Of course, the human element will always remain important in support terms and we will always make sure that the features clients have access too are relevant, necessary and effective, but the software needs to be clever enough to offer the service required without needing an ‘expert’ to do the work instead.