The Event Trends You Need to Know in 2020

Hannah Tow
Hannah Tow  |  July 19, 2019

If one thing’s true about the event industry, it’s that what’s ‘in’ one day can be ‘out’ the next.

Which is a pretty stressful thought, isn't it? The ultimate goal for any event planner is to plan and execute the perfect event, where every single guest is engaged, impressed, and happy for the duration of the night.

Sure, that’s the dream, and as I am sure you know, it’s a lot easier said than done. The only way to come close to accomplishing a night such as the one described is by reacting quickly to what’s trending.

TIP: Do you want to fully be in the know? Check out 108 shocking event industry statistics to learn everything you can about the event space. 

Anticipating the next big thing is a critical step for anyone that’s in the business to please. And event planners are not doing their jobs if they aren’t pleasing their guests.

If you’re hoping to emulate the picture-perfect events you see on Instagram, Pinterest, and in magazines, then you’re going to need an edge. Those jaw-dropping events you look up to are not doing what everyone else is doing.

They are ahead of the trends.

The event trends on the rise in 2019

Keeping up in a fast-paced industry is no easy task, which is why I asked nine event industry pros about what they foresee trending in the coming months.

These trends are guaranteed to provide you with that edge you need to produce a spectacular event that will be talked about for many months to come.

Here is what they had to say:

1.VR is out, AR is in

“Although VR was a major trend in the past few years, it appears that the next big push from a lot of event planners and participants is AR: Augmented Reality. The beauty of this technology is that it doesn't require a great deal of hardware since it's almost entirely software-intensive. Best of all is that it can be operated through event participants and guests' own devices. Because of this, a clever event planner can use AR technology as an incentive to drive up app installations and engagement. Although many businesses have caught on to this trend, I predict that there's still plenty of opportunities available to other businesses if they want to try it as well.”

- Bryce Welker, CEO, Crush the CPA Exam

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2. Attention is the new currency

“No one can argue the power of getting the right people in the room for any type of field marketing event. As the saying goes, time is money and money is time. With the world becoming increasingly more demanding of people’s time, attention is the new currency. Marketers and sales professionals are going to be challenged to truly maximize the impact and value they bring to the table through their relationship building, which at the end of the day is what we are trying to do through event marketing.”

- Hannah Mans, Director of Marketing, Directive

3. Bring the outdoors inside

“One of the biggest trends right now is to bring the outdoors inside! Why? Everyone loves the beauty of nature, but no one likes the unpredictability of the weather. The solution? Plan an amazing outdoor-inspired event...indoors! Here are 4 ways to get the look for this new trend:

  • Starry Night Lighting: This trending style of event lighting creates a realistic night sky effect on a ceiling. Guests love dining and dancing under the stars – with air conditioning!
  • Simple Greenery: Over-the-top florals are being replaced with simple greenery. Think tiny succulents, single palm fronds, and garland table runners. We foresee this minimalist look to be the biggest trend this year!
  • Bistro Lights: String lights twinkling overhead instantly evoke the feeling of a dreamy, outdoor event. The latest trend is to attach bistro lights to the ceiling of any venue to bring this romantic effect indoors!
  • Gobo Lighting with Natural Textures: Gobo lighting is a staple of any event. The new trend is to use gobo lighting for patterns and textures. Project leaves, trees, or floral patterns on the walls to create a magical garden ambiance!

                                                                                                      - Marie Kubin, CEO, RENT MY WEDDING

4. Small to mid-sized & non-traditional event spaces

“Demand is exceeding supply in regard to event venue space bookings. Many traditional venues like hotels and restaurants are in an enviable position to charge premium rates and have been for the last few years. This has led to event managers to seek out alternatives to these traditional venues, and we have seen increased demand and revenue growth for smaller venues (capacity well under 500) as well as less traditional venues, which can include barns, museums, libraries, dance studios, showrooms, warehouses, gardens, and parks.”

- Jeff Kear, Co-Founder, Planning Pod

5. Sustainability is everything

“Sustainability has become a massive part of the event industry, especially with the amount of waste that can be produced from such a large gathering and the public is finally taking notice! Conversion to biodegradable, bamboo, paper straws and more will also be a focus as the events industry shifts to a natural and more sustainable focus.

What we'll also continue to see is events being used as a tool for brand awareness, brand affinity and marketing, and to connect brands with the community as a whole. Experiential marketing is here to stay, and event planners will have to have a marketing eye, now more than ever.”

- Beth Lawrence, President & CEO, Beth Lawrence Meetings & Events

“Growth of environmental awareness. The elements of environmental sustainability have been implemented in the event industry in 2018-2019. Recently, our clients wanted to have an eco-friendly event; the vendors were asked to serve local organic food and use seasonal sources as catering while we were asked to do everything possible to avoid waste and use as little plastic as possible at all stages of event planning.”

- Anna Bessonowa, Director of Operations, Magic Day Luxury Experiences

6. Live entertainment is growing faster than ever

“In general, hiring entertainment for events has been continuously growing more popular each year due to online marketplaces making it easy for anyone to book entertainers and service providers. It is no longer necessary to have the right connections or go through an agent. Any event planner, novice, or professional has endless options right at their fingertips!

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen some interesting trends in what specifically is being booked.

For the first half of 2019, Mariachi Bands were our most requested category of entertainment (with almost 12% more requests than the first half of 2018).

The second half of the year is dominated by Santa Claus bookings. Each year, thousands of individuals hire a Santa performer for home visits and holiday events. Last year, our Santa bookings increased by 21% from the previous year. We expect to see a similar increase again this year. In fact, 25% more Santa requests have already been made this year for the upcoming holiday season so people are also booking earlier than normal.”

- Heather Roonan, Content Manager, GigSalad

7. Provide shareable, VIP experiences

“Experiences that are fun, memorable and documented on your mobile phone are what’s in right now. I'm starting to see more people taking photos of our Step and Repeat banners at our events, as well as our huge LED logo that shines on our boat cruise. My guests want to show what they’re doing to their social media following.

More people pay for additional, premium services like reserved seating and front of line privileges because people want to be separated from the regular crowd and they want to be seen in person and on social media for doing so. It is all about the VIP, exclusive experiences that are share-worthy.”

- Michael Onsurez, Creator, Sabor On The Bay

8. Signage makes a comeback in a dramatic way

“Signage has been around for hundreds of years. However, only in the past few years has signage been used to brand event venues in a dramatic and creative way. That is because the cost of signage has been decreasing dramatically due to new digital printing technology. Plus, branding the event venue with signage improves the attendees' experiences.”

- Stanley Tan, Digital Marketing Specialist, Selby’s

You better be taking notes

Get planning and implement these trends quickly, because they won’t be sticking around for too long. Trends in the event space will come and go, but if one thing is for certain, it’s that the event industry thrives off of impressive experiences and connections. As long as you keep your guests engaged and happy, you will have success.

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Hannah Tow
Author

Hannah Tow

Hannah is a Content Marketing Associate at G2. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in Journalism and is very happy to be working in her favorite city, Chicago. In her free time, Hannah enjoys running with her dog, Teddy, traveling to new and exciting places, and capturing the beautiful places she travels to with her DSLR camera. (she/her/hers)