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2024 MICE trend: Experiential event elements

Meetings magazine reached out to several business events professionals to find out what trends they foresee will have the biggest impact on the local MICE (or Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) events industry in 2024 and beyond. Eight trends were unpacked in the full article – here we share one of them.

B2B events are adopting B2C experiential strategies

Joshua Low, vice president at dmg events, shares that the experiential trend is gaining momentum at trade events; “While this was traditionally associated with consumer-focused events, we are now witnessing an increasing number of B2B show organisers incorporating experiential elements into their offerings. This strategy aims to enhance the value for participants attending or exhibiting at these shows by providing unique and engaging experiences.”

Charlene Hefer, portfolio director at Specialised Exhibitions – a division of Montgomery Group, agrees; “Exhibitions not only need to focus on content, but they also need to deliver on experiences. Those attending exhibitions are looking for meaningful connections and entertainment, in addition to the content shared. Entertainment in the trade exhibition environment includes live demonstrations, free-to-attend seminars presented by industry experts, interactive displays or touchscreen activations, and virtual reality. We’re also getting closer to AI powered chatbots and facial recognition technology offering personalised assistance and creating a more engaging experience.”

Technologies experiential role

Futuristic technologies are another tool for upping the experiential and entertainment factor of shows. Charlene explains, “Digital Twins technologies and simulations work well in exhibitions as they offer a digital representation of real products, eliminating the need to physically transport numerous items to trade shows. Exhibitors can showcase their flagship products while digitising the rest.

“Also being developed, and interesting to many, hologram technology enables the live beaming of individuals into exhibits from remote locations. The beamed-in person can even interact with the crowd, creating a truly immersive and realistic experience. This is only likely to be used or considered in South Africa beyond 2024. 3D Content is also beginning to make its way into event spaces becoming popular for showcasing 3D logos and visual effects adding an extra layer of depth and engagement.”

On the topic of 3D visuals and multi-sensory experiences, it’s worth mentioning Paul Rouessart’s Le Petit Chef. Paul is the managing member of 100% Event and owns the rights to the globally acclaimed Le Petit Chef gastronomic experience. He explains, “Le Petit Chef is a dinner theatre event, where cutting-edge technology and culinary deliciousness creatively come together to entertain all the senses and redefine dining out. The adventures of the world’s smallest chef are bought to life in front of each guest, using 4K tabletop projections that create mind-blowing 3D fun and surprises.

“This is creatively combined with the mood, music, table patterns, authentic imported props, and decorations that all change with the epochs of the story. And while the tiny chef cooks on your plate and tabletop, using animated optical illusion techniques, real and delectable food and flavours are served up in a six-course meal.”

This scenario sheds light on the possibilities of how these new technologies can interplay with the live elements of an event. Paul adds, “I’m loving the integration of more augmented and virtual reality into events. Using virtual reality solutions can help to reinforce key messages, simplify complex concepts, and develop new skills. It has been proven that virtual reality solutions increase recall and retention as well as enhance the overall experience.” All of which are solid wins for event planners.

To read Meetings magazines full report on Event trends in 2024, please click here.

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.