Photo Credit: Future Meeting Space

Navigating Business Events in Challenging Times

With its 2023 research topic “Navigating Business Events in Challenging Times”, the Future Meeting Space (FMS) innovation network addresses the role of business events in the current era of transformation. The GCB German Convention Bureau and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, together with their research partners, will discuss the changing role of business events in times of multiple and simultaneous challenges. This new research focus follows the 2022 “Redefining Event Attendance” analysis. The corresponding results report which also includes recommendations for business event stakeholders is now available for free-of-charge download.

Faced with multiple challenges, the events sector has seen a wide-ranging transformation in recent years. This also affects the reasons why people attend business events in the first place. Hence, the FMS innovation network looked at the changing motivation for event attendance and business travel in its 2022 “Redefining Event Attendance” study, with three key findings: Events continue to be very attractive as sources of inspiration. They are also an important tool for attracting and retaining employees. And, thirdly, sustainability and the environmental impact of events matter to attendees. Organising and running events in a sustainable way will be crucial for successful business events of the future.

“We need innovative and sustainable ideas now, to be able to shape our tomorrow. Business events are an important source of inspiration, promoting scientific innovation as well as industry expertise in Germany. It will be key that all stakeholders in the meetings industry boost this function in a sustainable way,” says Matthias Schultze, Managing Director of the GCB.

Photo Credit: GCB

Analysing the role of business events in times of transformation

The FMS research shows that, after the pandemic, people will continue to seek out face-to-face meetings, attend business events and also again travel more in the future. However, they will make more deliberate decisions than before on whether they attend an event in person or not. The event ecosystem will therefore have to look at the question of what kind of solutions business events can offer in the context of climate change, pandemics, international conflicts or energy issues. At the same time, how to implement events and which strategic approach to using when organising events will be influenced by these multiple challenges. In its 2023 research phase “Navigating Business Events in Challenging Times,” the FMS innovation partners will focus on these aspects, using a multi-layered and practice-oriented research approach.

Definition of event types and formats

The aim of the research process 2023 is the repositioning of business events in times of change in order to define distinct event concepts and formats. Furthermore, the role of business events as a social space and a place for learning from each other will be analysed as well as how they can support transformation processes. Based on the research results, specific recommendations for the different business event stakeholders will be formulated. “Due to diverse and sometimes simultaneously occurring challenges, it is essential to reclassify the role of business events in order to be able to develop customised formats that are adapted to current requirements,” says Dr Stefan Rief, Head of Organisational Development and Work Design Research Unit at Fraunhofer IAO.

The 2023 FMS research topic directly follows from the 2022 “Redefining Event Attendance” analysis.

The corresponding results report can now be downloaded for free here.