Audio visual displays at RESPECT - An ICC Sydney Experience, hosted in Darling Harbour Theatre.

Six Trends Shaping the Evolution of Events

20 Feb 2024

International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), managed by ASM Global, strengthens its ‘venue of choice’ status for event organisers and attendees through its approach to inclusive, socially impactful, sustainable events that prioritise health and wellbeing, human connection and human-centric technology.

According to the ‘RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success’ report released today by McCrindle and ICC Sydney, 69% of Australians attended local entertainment events and 46% attended local business events in 2023, with high representation from Gen Z at events.

ICC Sydney CEO and Group Director of Convention Centres, ASM Global (APAC), Geoff Donaghy said the ‘RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success’ report highlights the importance of socially impactful, sustainable, accessible, innovative and connected event experiences for Australians.

“Through a demonstration of our commitment to engage with all generations, the report underpins ASM Global’s commitment to operating a venue that meets the expectations of event organisers and attendees of today and tomorrow,” Mr Donaghy said.

Placemaking NSW Chief Executive, Anita Mitchell said: “As Australia’s premier convention, exhibition and entertainment venue, ICC Sydney’s contribution to the tourism economy has long been recognised. Beyond this, the venue, located in the heart of Darling Harbour connects locals and visitors to the much loved vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable waterfront precinct. People from across the globe connect at ICC Sydney to learn about our rich local culture and history, share knowledge, access entertainment and elevate their wellbeing – importantly they have the opportunity to leave a positive legacy for our community long after the conclusion of events. ICC Sydney’s Respect: Shaping Events for Success report stands apart as a resource reflecting the views and behaviours of Australians and how they engage with business and entertainment events, and importantly – the growing demand for sustainable best practices such as those delivered at ICC Sydney.”


  • Two in three Australians (64% in total, or 72% Gen Z, 70% Gen Y, 65% Gen X, 51% Baby Boomers) place high importance on an event’s ability to create an accessible and inclusive space for all.
  • Almost half of respondents (46%) value events that provide the opportunity for human flourishing, including contributing to those in need.
  • Events designed for inclusion and engaging local communities contribute to social impact – 52% valued inclusion of those with a disability, 51% valued involving local communities, 41% valued showcasing local culture, 40% valued inclusion of diverse genders and sexualities, 39% valued creating a culturally inclusive space at events.
  • Gen Z values novelty (65%) and customisation (59%) in their event experience.

  • 52% respondents (or 62% of Gen Z) consider sustainable and environmentally friendly practices to be extremely/very important at an event.
  • Globally, sustainability is a key factor for 80% of event professionals. A venue’s commitment to sustainability is a key consideration, with 52.8% rating it as either extremely influential or very influential when selecting a venue.
  • Events that prioritise health and wellbeing are extremely important to 55% of Australian respondents, particularly millennials (64%).
  • Gen Y (62%) highly values a seamless integration of technology at events.
  • Gen Z is the group that places the highest value in opportunities to form new connections at an event (60% extremely/very important). Additionally, Gen Z is twice as likely as their older Baby Boomers counterparts to believe that social media is effective for promoting connection at events.

Social Researcher and Demographer, Mark McCrindle said the local results had 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,” Mr McCrindle said.

ICC Sydney Director of Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability, Samantha Glass said the venue team’s respectful business initiatives were reflective of international market sentiment.

“Respect is at the core of how we interact with each other, the way we conduct business and relate to the world around us. Through the research combined with our team’s insights, organisers can create immersive experiences for all generations, in an inclusive event environment, where opportunities to maintain delegate wellbeing is prioritised.

“Events can be sustainable, respectful and inclusive of local cultural experiences — all seamlessly integrated through high tech solutions.

“Events practising RESPECT, create a welcoming experience for people of all abilities, cultures and identities — while protecting the planet — allowing our People and our Places to flourish,” Ms Glass said.

ICC Sydney’s ‘RESPECT: Shaping Future Events’ report guides the industry towards innovative strategies that reimagine the landscape of business events and help to create impactful experiences for attendees spanning five generations. For in-depth insights and access to the complete report, visit RESPECT: Shaping Events For Success Report.