Festivalisation is a sweeping event trend that stems from the increasing demand from audience members to get the best experience out of every event they attend. The organiser “gives up on the traditional event format” and instead “offers an informal richer experience” of the event that satisfies the varied interests of guests.

Making use of Festivalisation isn’t a new thing, “traditional exhibitions, trade shows and conferences have adhered to a set format,” says our CEO Nick Morgan, “but their delegate expectations are changing.” These type of events have been upgrading to compete with the market for years now and are becoming increasingly aware of the demand for experience. There is a demand to make an otherwise slightly boring event, into something that people will want to go to. The last thing the organisers want is for their target audience to become disinterested and for them to start looking elsewhere to get a more exciting experience.

However, it is important that Festivalisation is done in the right way and done well and that event organisers do the term justice. Putting up a small amount of bunting or simple décor and calling it Festivalisation doesn’t really work and throws people off from what the concept actually means and the importance of the term for the event industry as a whole. Festivalisation can be done correctly, with sectors across the event industry coming together to positively create an experience for guests.

There needs to be some engagement with the festival industry for organisers to see a return in their investment in upscaling their events. The worry is that Festivalisation is deemed too expensive and organisers see it as a huge loss in cost. “It may cost more but there is return on investment in future years in terms of increased tenancy, attendees and brand partnership revenue that ticks all the KPI boxes,” says Nick Morgan. The investment will pay off while audiences continue to crave more and more of an experience in the highly competitive events field.

Event planners need to look to embrace Festivalisation and to understand the certain limitations and changes they will need to make. For example, organisers will need to bring on “additional teams, designers, and planners to help them coordinate these innovate immersion experiences,” to expand their teams and to work with more people across the sector. Festivalisation is eventually going to affect all event organisers and planners. The sooner investment is made the better as we will then start to see more truly engaging events.