Crawls, Wellness and Crowdsourcing for Speakers Highlight New Event Trends

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Here are some new trends in the events world that may be adaptable to publishers.

Crowdsource your subscribers/members for topics and speakers. Last year, for their annual Bid & Proposal Con, the Association of Proposal Management Professionals changed up their speaker selection process. Reported SIPA member Columbia Books and Information Services' Association Trends:

Every year they would put out a call for presentations; receive topic suggestions; select based on abstracts; present that topic. There was no excitement! They wanted to try something new... Instead of deciding what topics and themes their conference attendees should be learning about, they turned the model around and asked, "what do you want to learn?" Overall, APMP received 60 more topics then they ever had in past years. Members loved the fact that they were the ones driving the content and were eager to be a part of the process. But it didn't stop there.

Once they had received topics from their members, the association posted them online and allowed members to vote on their favorites. Simultaneously, they had hopeful conference speakers log-on and submit short articles explaining why they should be chosen to speak on one of the proposed topics. APMP saw massive increases in their conference registrations, selling out at nearly 1,000 attendees six weeks before the start of the conference.  

A "Health" track. A conference called IMEX in Frankfurt, Germany, will have a Be Well at IMEX bent next year. "Relax, refresh, revive," they write. "Because it's all too easy to forget to look after number one during show time, we're offering umpteen opportunities to relax, refresh and revive. Retreat to the Be Well Lounge for meditation, a massage, or a few quiet moments to yourself. Rise early and run, jog or walk along the River Main on the IMEXrun. Learn how to weave well-being into your own events by following our health and well-being education track." They even have a sponsor for this "track." 

Any kind of "Crawl." I mentioned this last week but it's worth mentioning again. Any type of "crawl" can be successful—meaning taking a group of attendees and giving them a tour of places with a theme to it. I've seen many Innovation Lab Crawls pop up on the event circuit. Here's the marketing blurb for one in Denmark next month: "The Innovation Lab Crawl showcases the city of Copenhagen and a vibrant tech scene. In partnership with leading innovation labs located around centre of Copenhagen, join us as we hop from one cool location to the next 'lab crawl' style."

A big film and music festival here in Washington earlier this month included a crawl. "Our one-of-a-kind cinematic pub crawl is back by popular demand! Joining together our three loves—good people, good movies, and good drinks—this program highlights the short film series Diverse or Di-Tryin'  in a festive bar atmosphere."

A special "Fair." For its Esca Bona conference next week, Informa will have a Food Funded Entrepreneurship & Investor Fair. "Food entrepreneurs and investors convene for a day of educational workshops and live investment presentations to catalyze the funding flow for food ventures."

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…