Destinations and their business event organisers should always be clear on their niche and USP. However, these specialities also need to be relevant and ‘of the now’. So, how do you ensure your location or event topic is on point when it comes to your target audiences?
This answer, says Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau’s Karen Tocher, is to get ahead of the game. We look at the role of the ‘trend scout’ and when it really comes into its own.
The rise of the trend scout
The concept of a trend scout is nothing new, but for the post-Covid business events industry, it is more relevant than ever. As we work to navigate the opportunities ahead and put the challenges of the pandemic behind us, proactively identifying key trends also supports resilience and growth in the sector.
Whether it is an individual, a team or a network, ‘scouting’ for, consistently monitoring and evaluating the latest trends can make your event or destination the one to watch.
Engaging your community
Creating the right connections within your own community will spark an authentic mechanism for trend scouting. At Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau, we have established a highly successful Pathfinders programme, which connects leading academics, industry professionals and knowledge experts to help drive forward our region as a key business event destination.
Pathfinders also taps into our experts out ‘in the field’, helping Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau identify critical trends that ultimately inform our market-leading conference programme.
Supporting the event organiser
The business events sector is a rapidly evolving space, with an increased focus on new technologies, building meaningful ‘24/7’ communities and catering for hybrid as well as physical audiences. And, just as the conference sector is evolving, so is the role of the event organiser. Increasingly event organisers are also expected to be community manager, moderator, technology guru and digital marketeer.
However, maintaining the competitive edge in the face of rapidly emerging trends within the conference and events industry means always striving to be one step ahead. And so, event managers need to not only operate as a trend scout, but also create their own trending spotting network.
Through a community of external experts selected for their specific knowledge niche, event organisers and agencies can more effectively identify the latest trends and create specialised content that will not just satisfy but exceed the expectations of their audiences.
Taking it regional…and beyond
The concept of the trend scout also translates to business events destination marketing where the objective is to position and raise the national and international profile of a region as a key business event hub.
Convention bureaux, in particular, can be effective trend scouts for their region and build its reputation. By creating a productive ‘ecosystem’ of experts across disciplines and sectors, a convention bureau should be able to identify all the key strengths of their region. As a destination marketing organisation, they can then package and promote exactly what is so special about the region as an event destination and how it is leading the way.
Acting as a resource for its own events sector and associated industries, a regional convention bureau can also become the local ‘expert’, signposting and providing invaluable insight into trends and the region’s special features.
The concept of trend scouts for destination marketing ultimately helps to create a stand-out narrative for a region and ensures its conference and event offering remains not just relevant, but innovative and forward-thinking.
This in turn, builds confidence within its own networks that a region, its venues, stakeholders, and clients are all joined-up when it comes to delivering on its USP. Which just goes to reinforce that when it comes to effective destination and event marketing, scouting is a trend that here to stay.