As an important education provider for the event industry, Wittenborg University made sure its presence was felt at event16, the biggest annual fair for stakeholders in the event industry of the Netherlands.
The fair started today (23 March) and will last until tomorrow at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. Wittenborg students who register for the event will still be able to attend for free. The Young Professionals Programme – on Thursday between 15:30 – 17:00 – will be of particular interest to event students and young start-ups as it will provide plenty of insight from professionals and an opportunity to make contacts in the event industry.
Earlier this year Wittenborg was announced as the first institute of higher education to be a supporting partner of event16. As with previous events, Wittenborg had information ready about its programmes, including the Master in International Event Management, handed out by university students at the fair.
Wittenborg’s Chair of the Executive Board, Peter Birdsall, was one of the speakers today covering the latest trends in the industry and challenges to its growth. He said 80% of event planners worldwide are expecting the industry to grow in 2016. However, he highlighted that one of the anticipated challenges to growth will be that clients are expecting a lot more for their money.
“Customers have got used to the discounts and ‘additional extras’ used by event planning companies, venues, hospitality locations and vendors during the recession and now see this as normal business. So although event budgets are growing, so are expectations of ‘added value’”. Birdsall added that getting qualified, capable staff will also be a challenge for the future as well as budget management and cost of venues.
Birdsall also said “drenching” will continue to define events in 2016. “Drenching” is seen as the process of making attendees feel like they own the space and content being presented. This includes:
- Using technology that allow attendees to interact and participate with content, technology that give them unplanned experiences and also technology that give them the opportunity to influence the planning of an event
- Flexible venues that are “technology-ready”
- Tools that create “two-way” communication during an event like beacons and event-specific wifi
- Off-line connectivity – in other words, technology that create a micro social network
- Creating events that mesmerize attendees and make them highly involved during the whole event
Event16 attracts around 7 500 attendees per year. Wittenborg is seen as a key expert in the provision of knowledge and content in the sector. The university offers a unique 1-year Master of Science Programme for existing event specialist and event industry starts. It is seen as one year of giving students an analytical and critical look at the event industry from a practical and academic point of view. The programme is taught by professors from Wittenborg and the University of Brighton in the UK. Graduates gain a UK Master of Science degree in International Event Management. The programme can also be followed part-time over a 2-year stretch. Related to the event industry, Wittenborg also offers similar MSc programmes in International Hospitality Management and International Tourism Management.
by Anesca Smith