After many years in the post-GFC doldrums, the events industry is growing. Revenue has increased by 2.7% annually over the last five years to reach $4.4 billion in Australia, largely due to stable downstream demand for event production services, according to the Event Promotion and Management Services – Australia Market Research Report (published at IBIS World).

To accompany this growth, there is a need for technology to run in tandem – creating deeper engagement and making event production simpler.

With the influx of new start-ups and entrepreneurs specialising in technologies for the event industry, there are now myriad ways to use technology to make event production more efficient and in doing so, reduce event production costs.  This can have a significant impact on the client’s bottom line and the opportunity for event agencies to stay in the game. The use of new technologies, however, doesn’t have to be limited to minimising costs. There are many novel apps and programs that help to create more memorable and engaging experiences for guests, and allow agencies to produce events that surprise and delight.

 Below are four ways technological advances are changing the face of the events industry:

1. Mobile

From scannable ticketing on your personal device using QR codes, to live guest-list management technologies, there are a plethora of companies such as Eventbrite that offer mobile phone solutions for the events industry. Some larger event production agencies are now creating their own guest-management apps that can be tailored and skinned to a specific event, creating a deeper engagement on a personal level for both clients and guests.

Mobile payment apps like Apple Pay are at the forefront of the cashless economy. These apps significantly reduce the inevitable costs for venues and event promoters that come with on-site cash management. The rise of the cashless event is expected to reach its zenith at a point in the not so distant future.

2. Venues

For those who work as event producers, venue sourcing can be an immensely time-consuming task and one not often billed for the true amount of time that it takes. Luckily, there are some companies – such as Australian based iVvy – pioneering the use of database venue sourcing. These agencies provide access to countless venue options at the click of a button, allowing event producers to work smarter both physically and financially, not harder.

3. Data Capture

By integrating activities with a social media outcome into events – such as Photobooths, GIF GIF cameras, Live Feeds and Hashtag printers – Australian companies like Social Playground offer a customised, branded experience for guests that they can enjoy and share even after the event. These experiences are a unique and specific way for guests to interact with a brand resulting in the precise capture of data for the client. Who was there? What did they share? What did they think? Gone are the days of the electronic guest review form. These types of technologies are becoming more of a non-negotiable than a nice-to-have for clients across all industries.

4. Immersive technologies

Although in many cases still a fearful topic for clients, the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology is becoming more and more prevalent within the events industry. Virtual attendance, discussion and interaction at events such as conferences, sporting events (like the Super Bowl), weddings and brand launches, has the potential to provide lower cost options for those who are unable to physically attend. These technologies can also massively increase the scope of brand exposure. Ranging from Snapchat’s VR Lite offering, to the more premium Samsung Gear VR, more than several exciting options exist for the future of events.

For event producers, the future of technology and how it can support our industry is dependent on our understanding of the value certain technologies can bring to events. Sorting the wheat from the proverbial chaff, the gimmick from the relevant tech that yields a return on investment – both in regard to the bottom line and guest enjoyment – is the real challenge for event producers and their relationship with the hi-tech.

Those smart enough, and brave enough, to offer unique immersive technologies will be at the forefront of the expanding Australian events landscape.