Learning with TBOE

The past and future of event production

Posted on January 29th, 2019 in Event News, Industry Insight, Leadership, Speaker Interview

There’s a quote attributed to American author Reed Markham that says ‘If you are standing still, you are also going backwards’. This seems particularly pertinent for events planning, which is undergoing a huge shift at the moment. With so many changes year-on-year, it’s the people who are taking the evolution in their strides that are creating the best events.

We spoke to Peter Jones, an events producer with more than 20 years’ experience in Australia, about the changes he’s seen in the industry in his career and what he expects to see change in the near future.

Risks

The most obvious change, and one that we can all be thankful for, is a greater appreciation of risk. Not so long ago, there was a much more relaxed attitude to safety in the workplace which led to risky and unsafe practices. The ultimate aim was to put on a good show, often a spectacle, and while that’s still true, we now do things with more thought of our guests and their well-being.

Peter said, “Ten years ago there was no such thing as a risk assessment, there was no such thing as worrying about what you were doing, would it be safe, how would it jeopardise potentially the safety of guests.”

“That’s been impacted by what’s happened a lot externally with horrific events that then get tied back to how, particularly public events, are designed and run.”

Technology

Technology is an obvious choice, with changes happening today that were unthought of just a year or two ago. Look back longer and the idea of something like virtual reality or live streaming would’ve been a fantasy, but these types of things are now commonly seen in events.

Peter said, “What you can do now with technology in different forms that didn’t exist 10 or 15 years ago has really changed the way the industry is run.”

The technological improvements have certainly added to an event producer’s arsenal, but each has to have a purpose or they can end up detracting from the message of the event. With any part of your event planning, there has to be a reason for doing something.

Social media

The way we talk about and promote events has changed, with social media campaigns having a huge influence on ticket sales. Sites like Facebook (established in 2004), YouTube (2005), Twitter (2006) and Instagram (2010) weren’t around when Peter began his career, but he’s active on them now as he’s adapted to the changing times.

Event goers are often taking photos or making updates while at an event which can go one of two ways. Word of mouth is huge and this gives people an easy way to praise or criticise your work, so it’s harder to get away with doing a bad job.

Peter said, “These days you can’t go anywhere without someone taking a photo or making a comment about something that’s going on at a particular event. That goes out to everybody, and you’ve got to be very careful with that these days.”

The future

Predicting the future can be a troublesome task, but the best placed people to make forecasts are those who live and breathe the industry. Having seen the changes that have happened, even on a small scale, can give indications of what’s to come.

The biggest change that Peter sees coming is how we organise events for clients, making sure their objectives are front and centre in all the planning. Gone are the days of copying and pasting work from previous events and, instead, we’ll be working more laterally.

He added, “The world for us now is changing particularly to be relevant for what clients want these days. Gone are the days where you can just cookie-cut a design of an event and take it from there. Event producers now have to think ‘how can I achieve the objectives for the client with all the different things that I need to incorporate in the event?'”

“Event producers have to think a little bit more laterally. They need to think about how they’re going to achieve it from a client’s perspective, and how they can then design that event to work in with those objectives.”

To find out more about Peter Jones and to learn from his vast experience as he shares his tips for how to create memorable experiences, book your ticket to The Business of Events, 7-8 February 2019 at Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park.

*Photo Credit Peter Jones Special Events

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