Why—with all our digital devices, 24/7 media streams, access to webinars, videos, and written content—would anyone attend a live event? It certainly isn't the most convenient way to access someone’s opinion, data, their process or experiences. Yet, despite access to ‘everything’ on the internet, events and conferences seem to be gaining popularity and growing their attendee numbers.
In the U.S., live event attendance is on the rise. From the first half of 2012 to the first half of 2014, concert revenue was up 29%(1); queries on Google for sports tickets increased 32%(2), and Broadway attendance was up 5.5% year over year(3). For conferences, the Convention Industry Council’s report for 2012 measured significant increases in participation, direct spending, participant spending and contribution to GDP(4)!
What could be driving the growth? An interesting study in the UK showed that the Experience Economy, aged 18-34, were spending over £419,556,233 each month attending live events. But what was more revealing was that two-thirds (66%) of the study’s respondents said they felt more fulfilled by spending money on live experiences than by purchasing an item of the same value – and 62% of them plan to increase the amount of money they spend on experiences, instead of possessions, over the next 12 months.(5)
As a conference-presenter and conference-goer, I can palpably feel this surge. We choose to attend various conferences for a range of reasons, most of which include a desire to build and engage in a community. Allen Mireles, a technology strategist and wordsmith writing on the Cision blog, highlights seven reasons to attend a conference or trade show—all of which make sense to me!(6)
1. Renew your excitement about the work you do.
2. Meet online friends and colleagues face to face.
3. Learn about industry trends and how they’re implemented.
4. Evaluate new vendors.
5. Develop ideas for content based on sessions.
6. Make connections with industry media.
7. Get out of Dodge and just have fun.
I’ve got a busy year planned for Sappi North America in my role as the Sappi etc.® Print and Creative Manager. I’m a confirmed speaker at DscoopX in March and will be on hand at the HOW Design Live Conference in May. Stop by the Sappi North America booth to say hello. It will be our chance to fulfill items #2 and #4. See you soon!
Sappi's list of additional upcoming conferences, panel sessions, and events are accessible here.
Does that make sense?
1 Live Nation Entertainment, Live Nation Entertainment Reports First Quarter 2014 Financial Results, 6 May 2014, Web accessed 7 July 2014.
2 Google/Ipsos MediaCT, Lifting the Curtain on Live Entertainment, Google inforgraphic, March 2014.
3 The Broadway League, Broadway Season Statistics, May 2014, Web accessed 7 July 2014.
4 PricewaterhouseCooper, LLPs for Convention Industry Coucil, The Economic Signficance of Meetings to the U.S. economy, 30 January 2014.
5 Walker, Mark, Study: Millennials Want Experiences More Than Anything, Eventbrite Blog post, Eventbrite, 8 December 2014.
6 Mireles, Allen, 7 Reasons It Still Makes Sense to Go to Professional Conferences, Cision Blog post, Cision, 22 May 2014.