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Festivalisation of B2B Events: A Trend on the Upswing

10. October 2023 Industry Trends

Festivalisations were already trending a few years ago, and today they are experiencing a renewed upswing – perhaps even a revival. Instead of focusing exclusively on the transmission of information, the focus is on the experience. Memorable moments are created that make the event a highlight. Digital X has also succeeded in doing this in recent weeks and it is clear: the concept of “festivalisation” is more topical than ever!

In Focus: Live Experience and Happening

For the pure transfer of information, it is often unimportant whether events take place online or offline. However, to motivate participants to physically attend events, festivalisations offer great incentives: they are lively, colourful and generate positive emotions. In addition to captivating talks and innovative trends, the festival character takes centre stage. Important speakers share the stage with well-known musicians and artists and offer a varied programme on different stages. An event in the form of a festival thus goes far beyond the virtual. In this respect, festivalisation seems to be the logical conclusion to differentiate from virtual events and to emphasise the added value of live events.

Participants Create Reach

In view of the increasing affinity with technology, people must be motivated to experience events not only digitally. To do this, event organisers use the experiences of the last few years, which were characterised by social distancing, and create what people long for: shared experiences and memories. Many people want unique moments that they can share with others. The resulting user-generated content leads to an increasing reach of the event, the brand and all speakers and acts. By creating wow moments that participants share with their communities via social media, new target groups are reached.

Successful Across Generations

Away from the exhibition industry, festivals such as Rock am Ring, Coachella, Tomorrowland or Glastonbury have enjoyed great success for decades. Just as Generation X and Millennials have long been enthusiastic about festivals, Gen Z also loves festival culture. Because festivals create a strong community and social connections. This generation comprises today’s 11- to 26-year-olds and thus also represents the new target group of the trade fair industry. To reach them, the trade fair industry must adapt to their needs. Generation Z is tech-savvy, well-connected and expects interactive and immersive experiences. It needs modern technologies, interactivity and worlds of experience. And even if “festivalisation” may sound like a buzzword: it is not a short-lived phenomenon! Understanding and addressing the needs of new generations will be crucial to succeed in an ever-changing event landscape.

Festivalisation of the Digital X

A current example of successful festivalisation in Germany is the Digital X: In September, Europe’s leading digitalisation initiative transformed Cologne’s city centre into a future laboratory for two days with more than 250 speakers on six main stages, more than 300 partners – from start-ups to DAX companies, politics and associations – and a strong focus on the major megatrends. The sold-out event impressed with international superstars and innovative inputs. The 19 accreditation points, which were spread all over the city centre, were managed by #TeamADITUS. We also provided the software for ticket sales and registration. We facilitated the connection to the Digital X app and through single sign-on of the ADITUS Identity Provider, we simplified the use of different platforms for the participants. Digital X also decided to increase its reach through our event marketing and drew attention to the event through social cards and LinkedIn events.

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