Short notice: 5 Tips for flexible planning!

Author: Matthias Schultze, Managing Director GCB German Convention Bureau e.V.


Short notice bookings are growing and event business becomes increasingly dynamic and flexible. Five recommendations venue owners and planners should take into consideration. 

Short-term everything is trendy and becoming the new norm even if the average event duration of 1.6 days has not changed over the past few years. Conferences are rarely planned long in advance and individual services are often booked on short notice. When in the past companies began planning six months in advance, nowadays it is only a few weeks. The reason is an accelerated innovation cycle as well as the necessity to incorporate current topics changing on a daily basis. Five aspects to prep event planners on how to properly react to last minute requests and demands. 

1. Adaptive rooms

Functional event rooms not only need to boost concentration and motivation of participants, but also foster their interaction and collaboration. To do so, rooms of various sizes, flexible settings (seating arrangements, furnishings, technology etc.) as well as equipment that can be intuitively operated are essential. For example, the lobby is continuously evolving from a mere passage to the event room to a centralized location to meet and network. Integrating co-working elements into the event such as a virtual room or multiple sites, the path of travel will either shorten or even completely disappear. This will not only save time and financial resources, but will also increase motivation to participate. 

2. Count on flexibility

An essential part of flexible rooms is a modularly built stage. This allows for stage elements to be arranged in various shapes that can also be used as a seating area in small group meeting rooms. For the focused and concentrated small group work the main room should be dividable into zones. The room division must be audio effective while being transparent. This can be achieved through partitions or curtains.  

3. Usage of interactive technology

Instant booking creates a dynamic change of the traditional booking process. Real-time online booking of conference and congress services is a budget friendly alternative to traditional processes, especially for small meetings. New technologies (holograms, tangible media, bluescape, etc. ) allow to reinforce interaction and the flexible usage of rooms (Innovations Catalogue). Additionally, in person meetings can be complimented with virtual rooms in which participants can exchange. 

4. Modernize Technical infrastructure

Hybrid events, mobile apps or Augmented-Reality-Tools are becoming increasingly important for event organization. This requires appropriate equipment with the most modern technology and digital infrastructure. Naturally, free, secure and reliable WIFI access as wells as sufficient electronical outlets and charging stations for smartphones, notebooks and tablets must be a given. 

5. Choose the right event scenario

The innovation hub “Future Meetings Space” developed various scenarios on how to organize future events. Utilizing the latter, the “Future Meeting Rooms”, an integrative complete scenario was established (Future Meeting Room). 

The "Future Meeting Room" scenario shows how events can promote interactive knowledge transfer. It was developed by the "Future Meeting Space" innovation network that was set up by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) and the GCB German Convention Bureau.

The results of the research phase will serve as an instruction manual for the design of future-oriented organisational, technological and special future meeting spaces in phase 2 of the project.