Many pundits mistakenly think that social media is changing events. That is also what we tend to believe as event professionals and attendees. What many fail to realise is that the real change is happening in how we consume the event experience. We, the human beings attending and planning the event, are the ones changing the industry. Of course technology and social media are the most powerful tools we ever had to fuel our revolution. But the revolution is ours. Back in December, I published a yearly presentation about industry trends. This year was especially made unique by the amount of human driven change.

The latest trends in event technology and concept design are mostly about us. Let me give you a few examples. Crowdfunding is definitely a trend in 2013. For those not familiar with the term, the process of crowdfunding involves a person with an idea (an event), a platform to call for support and an audience willing to pledge a ticket purchase to make the event happen. An immediate mistake would be to think that the platform is revolutionary. This is not the case. What is changing here is the way we sell and buy tickets.

In the past (the past being today for most of us), we decided a concept and we started to sell tickets, not knowing what could happen. Today attendees want to be involved in the event creation process very early. With crowdfunding attendees can immediately validate a concept and start feeling that excitement of feeling part of a terrific experience. Financial success is just an obvious result of such validation process. If you consider another popular trend of 2013, Crowdsourced Speakers, the above logic is even more relevant. As event professionals we usually assume the right to decide what is best for our attendees. Food, decor and performers. News is that our attendees are changing. They want to decide what’s best for them.

Several events are now opening the speakers (or performers) selection process to attendees. This is an incredible democratisation of the process that leads to emotionally involved attendees and new promotion opportunities. Research has shown that involved attendees usually means satisfied attendees who are willing to recommend our event.

Attendees are not the only human beings changing. Event professionals are in fact change agents themselves. If you consider the trend of Event Marketplaces, you will immediately realize the impact of this change. Event professionals want to source venues, sponsors and suppliers with no middlemen. They demand competition and they do not want ridiculous extra fees. Event Marketplaces allow the event professional to shop for the best solution and to revolutionise the concept of RFP.

When we vote for a video on Youtube, rate a Hotel on Tripadvisor or retweet an interesting update, we forget how that action is changing us as human beings. As a result of social networks, social media and technology, we are smarter and more demanding customers and professionals. Our industry is starting to acknowledge such change. Interesting times are ahead of us.

COLUMN - Julius Solaris

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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.