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The second annual Pulse Report surveyed 875 event industry professionals and asked 27 questions about trends and practices within the industry.

Mark Walker, head of content for Eventbrite, hosted a panel discussion covering the main themes of the report at an industry networking breakfast held on 27 April at Central Hall, Westminster.

The panel featured Kevin Jackson, ISES UK president; Julian Agostini, MD of Mash Media; Deborah Armstrong, founder of Strong & Co and Eventbrite UK’s general manager Joel Crouch.

Panelists discussed the impact of tech on the events industry, and acknowledged that while event tech plays a huge part in most events it still cannot compare with face-to-face contact.

“What makes people happier for longer is live experiences,” said Crouch, “we can interact with others in a way we can’t do online.”

“We have to remember that we’re the events industry, not the technology industry,” agreed Agostini, “our industry is about bringing people together.”

The report revealed that less than five per cent of organisers are investing money in ‘next generation’ technology for their events.

Walker pointed out that capitalising on these new technologies could be away for organisers willing to take a risk to stand out from the crowd, saying that ‘next generation’ tech is an “open goal for organisers who want to take the lead.”

When the discussion moved on to efficient event growth Walker pointed out that profit was lower down the list of priorities for organisers than in previous years, coming in fourth after factors like training and education.

“ROI is out of date,” argued Agostini, “now it’s all about your objectives.”

While the report found that organisers were generally positive about the future growth of their events (67 per cent expected their event to grow), it also found that it was more important than ever for events to stand out from the crowd and offer something unique to their audiences.

‘People want to attend events to learn, to network and to create new experiences,” said Walker. “Events now have to work harder than ever to build a loyal audience.”

“We’ve accepted that half the audience won’t turn up,” added Agostini, “if 100 people are saying yes online, then why aren’t they coming?”

The discussion concluded by examining the popularity of email as a marketing channel, which has long overshadowed social media and other forms of marketing.

Crouch pointed out that email marketing is easy to measure, while Agostini argued that emails can be a direct link to an event community, adding: “If you haven’t got a community, don’t run the event.”

The full Pulse Report can be downloaded from the Eventbrite website.