There seems to be a big future for conferences as they become increasingly professional, almost moving from the “realms of amateurism to pure professionalism”, said Nicolette Kruger, operations manager at NFS Technology, the developer and supplier of a range of software for the hospitality and leisure industry.
Formerly known as NFS Hospitality, NFS Technology is also the developer of Rendezvous, one of the leading software solutions for the conference and event s industry.
Kruger said while the worldwide recession had certainly negatively impacted the conference industry, there were signs of an improvement, with 2013 likely to “see a noticeable improvement in this industry”.
“Companies, despite watching budgets, are realising the importance of conferences and seminars and, because of this, they are started to rebound against the rigors of the long-winded worldwide recession.”
She said there is definitely a strong feeling that there is a “growing level of importance” for conferences in the industry.
One of the most noticeable changes that has impacted on the industry is the quality of the events and the conferences and the amount of work that goes into their organisation. “It certainly seems to be the general consensus that event and conference planning has moved from an amateur occupation to a full-profession occupation, with highly skilled staff offering specialisation within the industry they are operating. There are far more superior conference companies operating out there now. Excellence is the norm, as opposed to the rare exception.
“Another changing demographic is the age of guests at these events and conferences,” said Kruger. “Traditionally they would have been held for younger clients, mostly because events would have been seen largely as recreational or maybe for training purposes. But, over the years, they are increasingly becoming a more pivotal part of the business world – and the benefits for hosting events for clients are becoming increasingly obvious to all demographics in most industries.
“However,” Kruger added, “as the population ages, people will start to experience more age-related problems so event planners will have to take cognisance of this and provide a changed range of resources and accessories. This will include large-font printed programmes and presentations, and possibly even things like ramps and handrails to accommodate people who are physically challenged, as well as providing assisted-listening devices for the more hard of hearing.”