How to Attract Gen Z and Millennials to Your NYC Events

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Together, they make up the largest cohort of working adults, and collectively, they have somewhere around a trillion dollars in spending power. You can bet your bottom dollar: Gen Z and Millennials will be your primary marketing target for your NYC events in the very near future if they aren’t already. So, how do you market your NYC events and increase attendee engagement when it comes to this crowd of young whipper snappers?

Who Are Gen Z and Millennials?

For starters, Gen Z and Millennials are not as young as you may think. Born from the mid-80s to 2009, people in these generations are anywhere from aged 15 to 40. While that is a wide age range, there are characteristics that set Gen Z and Millennials apart from their older counterparts, Generation X and baby boomers. These differences mean that NYC event planners need to adjust the marketing and execution of their NY events if they are going to increase attendee engagement for their younger guests.

Incorporate Technology Into Your Event

Technology is the most obvious place to start to increase attendee engagement at your NY event. Both millennials and Gen Z expect event organizers to incorporate technology to make their experience more efficient and memorable. We’ve listed some ideas below, but be aware that older generations, especially baby boomers, are less comfortable with technology. In some instances, you’ll have to offer more than one option to event attendees.

Use Smart Badges and Wristbands

Smart badges and wristbands are good for your younger attendees and good for you. Millennials and Gen Z attendees will appreciate the efficiency of being able to check in or share contact information using the RFID technology in their badges. And you’ll benefit from fewer staff assigned to key logistical areas and more analytic data.

Incorporate AR Reality

AR reality makes events more immersive and entertaining. With AR reality, attendees can use their phone’s camera lens to view anything from a virtual path to the restrooms to clues in a scavenger hunt game. You can go even bigger with AR by hiring an agency to bring big screens and interactive games to take attendee engagement to new heights.

Roll Out an Event App

Event apps are must-haves for your NYC event, especially for younger attendees. An event app can help attendees create an agenda, unlock networking opportunities, and shape an all-around more personalized experience.

Get Social (in More Ways than One)

Gen Z, especially, gets a bad rap for being socially inept. Nothing could be further from the truth. Gen Z and millennials alike crave social interactions at your NYC events. They just want to go about it in different ways than other generations. Gone are the days when NYC event planners could offer up an open bar and hire a DJ, and call it a day. Millennials were already drinking less than their parents, and Gen Z are drinking 20% less than millennials. Below are some ideas that will increase attendee engagement for the 40 and younger set.

Create an Instagram-Worthy NYC Event

You knew social media was going to be top on the list of socializing hacks for NYC events. Gen Z is the first generation, remember, to grow up with the internet. And millennials have been scrolling since at least middle school. Social media interactions are just as valuable to younger people as in-person mingling. And creating an event space that is screaming for selfies will satisfy their social media itch and boost your NYC event marketing efforts to boot. Try these tips:

  • Create plenty of fun, colorful photo backdrops.
  • Give the food and beverage tables a makeover with creative displays.
  • Use large screens throughout the event to display a rolling parade of attendees’ social media posts.
  • Create Fun, Hands-On Activities

Create experiences that bring people together to accomplish goals and have fun. You can increase attendee engagement with simple group games, like pitting teams against each other as the stack cups against the clock. Or you can organize outings to local area attractions, such as museums or amusement parks.

Tailor Your Presentations to Gen Z and Millennials

Gen Z and millennials will quickly zone out and start scrolling if your speaker presentations are an old-school, classroom-stye bore fest. You’ll hear a lot of buzz that young peoples’ attention span is only 8 seconds. That’s actually malarkey, according to McKinsey. As the research firm astutely puts it, Gen Z’s attention span is just as capable as other generations. The difference is, as they put it, you have to “break through the noise” generated by the oodles of content available. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Keep Sessions Short: Gen Z and Millennials don’t have much patience for what they perceive as inefficiency. Placing shorter time limits on your speakers forces them to cut the fluff and focus their message.

Incorporate Visual Content: Younger attendees are more likely to be visual learners. This is likely due to the influx of online content during their formative years. So, be sure to include interesting and eye-popping visuals to go along with your speakers’ presentations.

Involve Your Audience:  Gen Z and millennials are likely to have a more egalitarian outlook than older event attendees, meaning that they respect speakers’ knowledge but won’t necessarily defer to their opinions. They’re not afraid to get involved in the conversation and make their voices heard. So, offer opportunities for attendee engagement during presentations through Q&A sessions.

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Learn More About Appealing to Gen Z and Millennials at The Event Planner Expo

Generational bickering is an American pastime. And, as a result, you’ll hear a lot about unmotivated and antisocial youngins’ with the attention span of a goldfish. Social justice-minded millennials will be the first to tell you generational stereotyping is baloney. The truth is that younger attendees have different expectations than Gen X and boomers. They’ve watched and learned from their elders, and the expectations that Gen Z and millennials have for NYC events make a better experience for all.

The increasing role Gen Z and Millennials play in your NYC events is just one way that the industry is growing. You can learn more about trends in NYC event planning when you attend The Event Planner Expo 2024. Buy your tickets today, and don’t miss out on this opportunity to get in the room with the industry’s best and most influential event professionals!


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