Whether corporate or otherwise, the landscape of meetings and events is changing. The younger generation is beginning to take leadership positions and become more prominent in their companies. Hosts need to be aware that expectations are changing and methods of efficient engagement should also shift in tandem. Let’s take a look at some ways to engage millennial audiences at your next meeting or event.
Modern Event Audiences
Modern event guests are not the same as they were even five or ten years ago. Whether you know it or not, the potential for younger audiences is higher than you might think. And reaching those people is far more important than a lot of leaders and hosts are aware. However, the methods of doing so are changing, and companies must meet their younger employees’ expectations. The truth is that Millennials are the decision-makers now.
Notably, attendance is down at trade shows across the board, not moving past 65% in most cases even after COVID-19 cases have declined. Some are pointing to outdated methods of engagement and events that are being tailored to the wrong demographic or audience. In order to improve, we can take a look at how modern attendees have changed and what they are looking for in a quality event.
The shift has been occurring for many years, as more millennials have been entering leadership roles in the workforce. For example, in 2016, millennials became the largest segment of the U.S. labor force. This number has increased, and the increase of younger people working also lends itself to being the largest potential attendees of a meeting or corporate event. There is no doubt that many people who will be making the journey, remotely or in-person, will be people ages 21-46. Now it’s time to look at how to get these people active in your next gathering.
New Engagement Strategies for a Cutting-Edge Event
So what are audiences looking for in a meeting or event that is different from their older counterparts? There are a few basic requirements of the millennial attendee, especially for an event that requires any amount of travel or additional effort. For example, the younger audience is beginning to prioritize experiences, rather than a run-of-the-mill get-together.
This means that event organizers need to craft the event to be experiential, with meaningful speakers and an impactful itinerary. The entire project needs to feel worth their time and energy. There are many ways to boost engagement for all attendees, including meaningful social events. Here are some great examples:
Keep in mind that another important aspect of the event is that it needs to be cost-effective. Affordability is valuable, and the younger audience wants to feel like, if attendees have to pay out of their own pocket, their money is being spent on a worthy experience. Provide the audience with information and activities that can not be found anywhere else. Exclusive content can be a way to offer value to attendees with high expectations.
It’s a delicate balance between creating a unique meeting without racking up the cost of the event. One way to do this is to offer the audience the chance to control their own meeting agenda. Flexibility is more important than it ever was in previous years, and you can give people more control over what they want to get out of the event.
Connection is Still Valuable
Despite the fact that millennials expect the efficient use of technology, this doesn’t mean that they value connection any less. In fact, use technology to bring more people together for a more well-rounded meeting experience. Even with this, millennials are 62% more likely to travel than their Generation X counterparts so this option should not be discounted.
However, if the younger generation travels to an event, they expect it to be worth their time. This reminds us of the need to create more than just an event and more of an experience. Forget cheap goodies, and focus more on the content of the meeting, whether that be through valuable speakers or exclusive access to information.
Are you ready to up your game and throw a cutting-edge event that the younger decision-makers in your audience will be excited to attend? Reach out to JTB today.