by Matt Alderton | December 27, 2012
After several years of contraction, the corporate events market is poised for expansion, according to event management software firm Active Network, which today announced five major trends it believes will fuel corporate meetings growth in 2013 by increasing the strategic ROI of events for event organizers and attendees.
"Analysts are estimating that total U.S. spending on corporate meetings and events is expected to rise by 20 percent over the next two years. Yet thanks to the corporate cutbacks of the 2008 recession, as well as pressure from shareholders and constituents for more responsible spending, organizations are expecting more from events than ever before," the company said in a news release, in which it outlined the following five predictions for the top corporate event trends of 2013:

1. Smarter Events: Only 25 percent of organizations maintain real-time visibility into what they spend against corporate budgets, according to Active Network, which predicts an increase in the adoption of event management technology for the purpose of spending transparency. "In 2013, we expect to see more organizations choosing event technology that helps them increase efficiency, extend engagement and grow their business across various types of events in their portfolio," said JR Sherman, senior vice president of business solutions at Active Network. "We anticipate there will be an increased demand for technology solutions that ensure 'smart events' from the top down — and the bottom up."

2. Increased SMM Adoption: Industry analysts estimate that 9 percent of the average organization's budget is being spent on corporate meetings and events. According to Active Network, that means the ability to reduce, track and understand costs will make strategic meetings management (SMM) technology "a vital tool for event planners in the immediate future."

3. Consolidated Solutions: Although organizations have historically relied on multiple tools to manage the various aspects of events, Active Network predicts an increase in consolidated solutions. "Over the next year, we expect companies will invest more money in consolidated event technology solutions that offer a one-stop-shop for organizers," Sherman said. "Ideal solutions will have the ability to provide organizations with a single view into their strategic meeting management, attendee and engagement management and vendor sourcing, freeing up event planners to spend less time on manually pulling information from disparate systems and more time creating exceptional events."

4. Extended Audience Engagement: Smartphones will officially overtake PCs in 2013 as the most common method for accessing the web, reports Active Network, which says "it's imperative that organizations fully leverage attendee use of these devices before, during and after events." According to the company, opportunities for extended audience engagement include networking apps, social media integration and lead generation technology. "These mobile apps will offer organizers the ability to obtain real-time feedback on their events and allow them to adjust the attendee experience on the go," it said.

5. Measurement: According to Active Network, the growing need to justify meetings spend means companies increasingly require hard data to back up their financial decision-making. "Technology makes it possible to gather in-depth information on attendees' interests and attitudes. With that data in hand, organizers can gauge whether their event strategy is working and alter it if necessary to help maximize their return on investment," Sherman said. "Organizations will have the ability to take advantage of these capabilities to measure their results and fine-tune their meeting plans to get the most out of every interaction with attendees."

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