Event Trends For 2016
It’s been a massive year for Londonlaunch. In fact, in our fifteen-year history, it’s been the biggest, busiest and most event-full twelve-month period on record. By a long way.
This is down to a number of internal factors but it’s also indicative of a steadily building and increasingly professional industry. Events are a major and widely recognised component within the generic ‘marketing’ sector and, to coin a phrase from inspirational industry luminary, Kevin Jackson, the Experience is the Marketing…(In fact, he believes this so passionately that he named his company after it!)
These days, at Londonlaunch.com, we base almost everything we do on statistics. We look at what our 100,000 monthly visitors do when they land on our site and try to continually improve their experience so that they come back and make more bookings. It’s that simple. Of course, we have to make a constant effort to attract those visitors time and time again and this is achieved by fresh, interesting content. Lots of it! Significantly, this information is carefully archived so we are able to slice and dice it to establish exactly what’s going on out there.
Part of the appeal is the advice we give event planners, based on our own extensive experience. Then it’s about introducing them to the best, most innovative, interesting and on trend venues, suppliers and innovation concepts on the market – which is a constantly moving target, of course. Check out the ‘Will’s Week’ section in ‘Be Inspired’ for all of this year’s ‘Top Tens’.
The massive shift to mobile continues, with mobile access to our site up 93.5% since last year. It’s a good thing we invested in a mobile optimised site then! You’ll be surprised how many ‘market leaders’ aren’t. If your website renders on a mobile as if it was just a smaller version of the desktop version then it’ll be annoying to anyone who uses it. And they won’t use it again! In fact, with the ‘Swift’ Apple update earlier this year, many sites are now built first as an app and then converted to a website. That’s the complete opposite of what used to happen, such is the power of app culture. Mobile sessions now account for 27% of our total web traffic, so our site has to deliver a positive and simple mobile experience. I predict this will top 35% in 2016.
Our all important enquiry conversion rate has dramatically risen by 32% since last year too, so the new fully immersive experience is working!
With that in mind, here are the key insights which form the basis of our 2015 Trends Report:
• January 2015 was our busiest month, with a 66% uplift from December, which was the quietest month of 2014. This demonstrates that event planners are quick off the mark and are becoming increasingly more organised, prioritising and pre-planning their annual events programme. With our traffic rising 123% over the past two years, we expect this trend to gather pace into 2016, with January being a huge month to get the party started! Be ready. And visible.
• Christmas is firmly back on the agenda this year with party venue searches starting to increase slowly from July. However, due to instant web and mobile enabled access to an ever increasing array of options, 79% of all Christmas visits occur from September to October. October is the peak month with 25% of all Christmas party bookings made during that month. There are still last minute Christmas party bookings happening in early December, but this is tailing off dramatically as office parties are now well underway. Of course, there are always those who opt for a January celebration instead, so it’s worth keeping packages live throughout the holiday and perhaps even beyond.
• Summer party venue bookings start to see an increase from January (boosted by the popular Summer Event Show for which we are a proud media partner) and the busiest month is April with 14.28% of summer party related visitors. 75% of all summer party bookings are made between January and early springtime.
• Users love to browse our site in September (1038 seconds per visit) & October (1177 seconds), but spend just 422 seconds on our site in June. Possibly because it’s sunny during the lunch break! Of course, much of the planning for Autumn has already taken place by this stage and there’s a small lull before the Winter and Christmas 2016/17 seasons kick in.
• Users landing on our unique and unusual venues (295 seconds) page stay the longest of all venue type landing pages, followed by Corporate events (268 seconds). This clearly demonstrates that many event planners are serious about looking for something different and unusual and will go to great lengths to find a venue that works! Being different isn’t always easy. That’s life!
• We have seen the greatest number of visitors to our blog and news section in May, June and October. This was the same pattern in both 2014 & 2015. I have no idea why though but it seems to be a seasonal fact!?
We have also seen a growth of 45% in users phoning our member venues over the past 12 months, and the share of phone enquiries from the total has also grown by 10%. This demonstrates that human contact is as essential as ever when making a booking decision. Especially when the purchase decision is a big one! Technology is a fast and efficient means to an end but the human touch will always prevail…
As I’ve already mentioned, Londonlaunch traffic has increased by 123% over the past 24 months and 72% of that traffic is ‘organic’ via our widespread domination of search engines (which is entirely based on relevance, quality and depth of content – something which can no longer be faked!) Interestingly, 4.2% of all this traffic converted into confirmed business for our members – that’s a huge stat, even if it looks like a little one! If an event booker lands on a venue or supplier profile page, there’s a 7% chance it’ll turn into secured business so profile is everything – the more (fun) stories you can tell, the more people will listen!
This is reiterated by the fact that 27% of our traffic comes from our Editorial ‘Be Inspired’ and ‘News’ sections. It’s amazing to think that these sections barely existed two years ago!
Our site search functionality – the big google style search bar on the homepage which effectively acts as a search engine for the events industry (albeit exclusively within our own site!) converts to business at an astonishing rate of 18.9%.
In summary, 2015 has been a pivotal year. Events are increasing in importance, are firmly on the corporate agenda and are therefore included in a growing number of corporate budgets. More people are using their mobile device for almost everything and this is a Juggernaut that’s only going to accelerate throughout 2016.
Events are all about creating an experience for guests and delegates whilst conveying a message in as exciting a manner as possible – even a financial conference needs to somehow be inspirational. Or what’s the point? It’s clear that business must also be pleasure in 2016.
Sometimes stats aren’t everything though. As we’ve established, business should be fun. Events should be even fun-er. Let’s not lose site of that. Have a Merry Christmas and a sensational New Year. Check out the stats and double your budgets, it’s going to be a huge 2016!
If you’re a venue or event service provider and you’re considering Londonlaunch membership in 2016, you can see our brand new 2016 Credentials Pack here.