ICC Sydney reveals six future trends and Gen Z’s dynamic influence in latest report

International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) has outlined six trends shaping the future of events and conventions, as well as found Gen Z to be highly engaged and represented at events, in its latest report.

Jointly released by McCrindle and ICC Sydney, the new report, ‘RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success,’ reveals significant insights into Australian event attendance and preferences. emphasising a strong demand for socially impactful, sustainable, and inclusive events.

From left: ICC Sydney’s Samantha Glass and Geoff Donaghy speaking to TTGmice at AIME. Photo: Adelaine Ng

The six key trends were identified as curated and immersive event experiences, socially impactful events, gathering in sustainable ways, prioritising health and wellbeing, and a seamless integration of technology.

The study of more than 1,000 respondents showed 69 per cent of Australians engaged with local entertainment events last year, while 46 per cent participated in business events, showcasing a robust involvement across all generations.

Samantha Glass, ICC Sydney’s director of corporate affairs, communication, and sustainability, and the driving force behind the project, noted that Gen Z ranked highest for valuing accessible and inclusive spaces, sustainable practices, and opportunities to form new connections.

They were also twice as likely as their older Baby Boomers counterparts to see social media as effective for promoting connection at events.

“There’s a desire from Gen Z not just to be marketed at through technology and social media, but for social media and technology to help curate their experiences and to connect with their tribe when they come to an event,” said Glass at the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) last week.

“Also, millennials are increasingly using social media to call out individuals and organisations that don’t walk the talk,” she noted.

The report further noted that Gen Z valued novelty (65 per cent) and customisation (59 per cent) in their event experience, while Gen Y (62 per cent) placed a high value on the seamless integration of technology at events.

Social researcher and demographer, Mark McCrindle, said the local results has the potential to shape future global trends.

“Australians have returned to events with fresh expectations. Our quickly evolving society, culture, environment and technology are shaping their outlook and sentiment. In particular, Gen Z seeks to engage with events in new and immersive ways that prioritise human connection and social impact – all these elements are already supported at ICC Sydney every day,” he said.

ICC Sydney also announced an expansion of its Legacy Program in response, by adding an ‘Inclusion and Belonging’ stream. The programme was introduced in 2017 to acknowledge and celebrate First Nations culture at events.

Geoff Donaghy, CEO of ICC Sydney and group director of convention centres at ASM Global (APAC), said it reflects parent company ASM Global’s dedication to resonating with evolving event expectations.

“This is a data validation of what we have felt instinctively in our journey (at ICC Sydney) and it provides a little more formality for us that we can take to clients, to show how we can help put their events on,” he said.

The full report for RESPECT can be accessed here.

Sponsored Post