Top Event Trends for 2020
Many of the trends we saw in 2019 are gaining momentum in 2020. In fact, they are becoming the norm. Here are the top trends to watch for this year:
Increasing Attendee Interaction Wins
Living in a digital age means less and less time making in-person contacts. It also makes face-to-face meetings more valuable. Events in 2020 will focus on bringing people together and creating unique networking opportunities. Events will provide an atmosphere that encourages interaction – less seating means more opportunity for mixing and mingling. And, this doesn’t simply apply to cocktail receptions. New trends for interactive, immersive experiences include instagrammable (yes, that’s a new word) social media moments, topic-based meetups, escape rooms, and even puppy play pens!
Customization is Key to Success
Use of interactive digital agendas in mobile apps will allow attendees to personalize their experience. In 2020, attendees will control their event schedules and meeting planners will provide the means. Breakout session paths will be the most popular personalization trend this year. Choosing their own path will not only be satisfying for attendees, but it will provide planners with invaluable data.
Gone are the days when planners only had access to pre- and post-event data. With the growing mainstream use of RFID technology, 2020 will bring physical and digital data together in the most effective ways yet! Collecting attendees’ activities throughout the event through app data will allow improve the experience for all. Wearable technology can serve as a hotel key, means for payments, event tickets, and more.
Live Entertainment is Expected
In 2020, a well-rounded event experience includes music. Whether it’s a cover band, dinner theater, or a full-blown music festival, attendees have come to almost expect some sort of live entertainment. Because hotels aren’t the most ideal set-up for a concert, the trend to buy-out off-site venues for this purpose is becoming more and more popular.
Sustainability and Wellness Go Hand-in-Hand
Reducing the carbon footprint of an event is certainly a challenge that requires thoughtful planning. But, it will be the major theme of 2020 events. Eco-friendly events will not distribute water bottles or vendor freebies that will just end up the in trash. Mobile apps will replace paper. Biodegradable catering supplies will be the norm. And, planners will also take into account the environmental impact of transportation by planning more localized events with smaller, more intimate settings.
But, you can’t stop there.
More and more people are adopting better lifestyles. Events offering options to make wellness a top priority will make a huge impact on attendee satisfaction. Thing like plant-based diet options, Keto-friendly offerings, yoga, exercise, massages, tech-free zones, guided mediation, walking meet-ups are all great ways to show attendees that we care about their well-being.
Rising Costs = Opportunities
The demand for meetings and events continues to rise which could lead to an increase in hotel group rates. AMEX Meetings & Events Forecast predicts an increase of about 2.4%. Budget accordingly and book as early as possible to avoid missing out on viable space.
Second-tier cities will be first choices. Not only do they offer a more affordable option than their first-tier competitors (like NYC, Chicago, LA), they have a certain appeal that attracts today’s attendees. From distinctive cultures and ease of transportation, to unique venues, second-tiers are the places to be.
Unique Venues Replace Hotels
According to socialtables.com, over 90% of meeting planners believe events are more likely to be booked outside of hotels in 2020. We’re talking art studios, gardens, warehouses, barns, urban farms, museums, industrial lofts, stadiums, aquariums, co-working spaces, and much more.
Thinking outside the box when it comes to your event venue comes with advantages. Choosing a visually appealing venue is more engaging for attendees and encourages them to post images of the event on social media.