Often called young, diverse, self-expressive, tech-savvy, and umbilically connected to their smartphones species, the millennials represent one in every three American workers and will own 50% of all business travel spending by 2020.
No matter where you turn in the meetings industry, you’ll find tens of thousands of auditorium seats and millions of square feet of exhibit area filled with millennials. These attendees bring along multiple devices, have an inherent desire to access business apps or collaborative services, and want to increase productivity from anywhere, anytime.
“I think what Millennials are really looking for is things that are different and interesting, and not your cookie-cutter experiences,” says Sandy Heydt, director of sales and marketing at The Logan, Philadelphia’s Hotel.
With streamed content delivery at their fingertips, they demand enhanced personalization, immersive technology, and improved wireless connectivity at conferences and meetings. That means hotels and conference properties squarely accustomed to using certain practices to engage attendees are seeking new ways to tap this newest communal cohort, the digital millennials.
Adopting Event Technology to Enhance the Exhibitor Experience Beacons. Wearables. Cloud. IoT. With event and meetings technology progressing at a breakthrough pace, Wi-Fi is intrinsically involved in choosing or rejecting a venue as brands continue to rethink their attendee engagement strategies.
Wi-Fi network architectures―that are seamless and uninterrupted―are required over the entire conference and accommodation campus to rapidly respond to new technologies designed to enhance user experience and improve quality of service.
Beacons that Digitally Engage Attendees: Beacons have tremendous potential. A small and nimble device that sends messages on the go via smartphones or badges, it can place location-sensitive information right in the palms of the exhibitor.
Beacons can also disseminate comprehensive information, such as the number of entrances and exits in a room, time taken by an attendee to browse the booth, and more.
Adoption of Wearables that Change How Attendees Interact with Exhibits:
Smart glasses, watches, and fitness trackers are becoming the next frontier of wireless personal computing and mobility. Similarly, other enticing new technologies such as smart fabrics and nano-sensors are on the horizon. They can be used for measuring customer sentiment and pinpointing the exact moment when the attendee is looking at a particular exhibit. These technologies also enable smart networking on the event floor by using connected wristbands that glow when attendees with similar interests come into range.
The possibilities are just endless. While wearables offer unprecedented functional conveniences, these devices require Internet connectivity to be deemed useful. An unreliable Wi-Fi network at a venue would lead to a conference full of frustrated millennials.
Virtual Site Visits: Web-based audio and video connections facilitate face-to-face immersive experience with the attendee. Facilitated by expanded bandwidth and geocoded media technologies, it can result in a real-life version of what brands want to convey―such as a virtual meeting, planner with text, still photography, maps, or a video. But, to take it off, the bandwidth required to assure responsive and high-quality media is massive. Latest Wi-Fi technologies such as Wave2 must support such high throughput requirements.
Heavy Use of Multimedia: Every good story ends when all the loose ends are tied up, and multimedia can do just that. With 43% attendees wanting access to cloud business apps, an exhibit rich with information transmitted via digital signage, interactive kiosks, LED screens, tablets, QR codes, and live demos helps brands engage with customers and enhance their attendees’ experience.
Further, use of video conferencing and augmented reality creates a personalized and real-world environment, enabling even remote attendees to experience the event closely.
High-speed multimedia optimized Wi-Fi is the backbone of an exceptional technology experience at meetings and events and needs to be owned by the event industry.
 Boston Consulting Group; https://www.30secondstofly.com/corporate-traveler/millennials-new-generation-business-travelers
 iPass; https://www.ipass.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/iPass-business-traveler-connectivity-report-q2-2014.pdf