As an event planner, you should be up-to-date on the latest trends to deliver the best experience to guests. Your clients don’t want the same-old, same-old — they want to blow guests away and leave a lasting impression. So what tricks can you stow up your sleeve for this year’s gatherings?
To no one’s surprise, the biggest event trends 2020 has to offer revolve around technology; new tech is constantly being introduced, and last year’s innovations are becoming mainstream. As you commence conference planning, make sure to keep the following trends in mind.
Nowadays, guests aren’t content to be corralled and lectured. They want engagement, and interactive zones are an excellent way to offer that. These areas can range from practical to fun:
- Phone and computer charging stations
- Guided yoga
- Massage chairs
These smaller zones allow guests to break away from the larger group and interact more intimately with fellow attendees, facilitating networking. They can also be a great relief for more anxious or introverted guests who need a little time to acclimate to the bustling atmosphere or recuperate from extended socializing.
Food is a huge part of event planning; even if everything else goes off without a hitch, a lackluster menu can leave guests grumbling. While it may be tempting to go with the fastest, easiest, or cheapest option, going fresh can pay off in the long run.
In 2020, the latest event food trend is healthy and light. Guests are tired of heavy, fattening foods with little else to choose from. While offering a tasty dessert is fine, you should also consider providing fruit and vegetables for the health-conscious. Additionally, remember to take allergies into account and make sure there are gluten-free and dairy-free options.
Colorful, Simple Décor
Décor can be a conundrum when organizing a large event — you want to create a fun, inviting atmosphere, but don’t want the event to be dominated by decorations. A good way to balance these concerns is with this 2020 trend: minimalist décor with bold accents.
Negative space is popular, with large, open areas becoming a favorite for weddings and other gatherings. White or neutral colors allow the focus to be on the experience, rather than the environment. Of course, you don’t want a drab atmosphere, which is where the accents come in. Vibrant floral pieces or light fixtures add a touch of color and keep the space from feeling cold and distant.
Folding chairs and tables have long been the staple for conferences, but they don’t have to remain so. There are many different furniture options in 2020, ranging from innovative to eccentric:
- Easy chairs
- Beanbag chair
- Exercise balls
- Over-sized ottomans
Of course, which furniture is appropriate depends on the attendees, purpose of the event, and target atmosphere. For example, if you anticipate attendees with mobility issues, exercise balls may not be the best idea. On the other hand, if your event aims to encourage movement and incorporates exercise into the itinerary, exercise balls may be the perfect seating choice.
For many attendees, an event is, first and foremost, a place to network. With that in mind, many organizers are making an effort to create as many networking opportunities as possible. One way to do so is to provide staging that encourages engagement between guests.
What does that mean? Furniture should be arranged to both allow movement and offer areas for private conversation. Orderly rows of chairs are constrictive and discourage interactions with more than a handful of people; well-spaced couches and tables invite groups to settle where they wish and come and go as they please.
While ensuring guests have a good time is an integral part of your job as a meeting planner, it’s not the most important one. With the recent history of attacks on large gatherings, the safety of guests and staff is paramount. You, the venue, and your client should all work together to ensure there are plans in place in case of trouble.
To that end, it’s essential that you have some sort of security personnel at the event, whether provided by the venue, client, or a third-party agency. There should be open communication between all parties to ensure that everyone’s on the same page should an emergency arise.
Following the 2020 trend of focusing on experiences, many hosts are looking to provide unique events that impact attendees on multiple levels. While some clients interpret this as an all-out spectacle, the truth is that you don’t need a huge budget to offer a creative experience.
The most effective approach to this trend is out-of-the-box thinking. What can you provide that guests have never seen before? Between your clients and selected venues, you can fashion an event that lingers in guests’ memories for years to come.
With the effects of climate change worsening every day, individuals are more environmentally conscious than ever. A large event risks generating unacceptable amounts of waste, and long-distance travel creates a large carbon footprint. If your clients want to present their organizations as sustainable actors in their industries, guests expect them to show their commitment.
As a result, sustainability should be a factor in every facet of planning, from transportation to foodservice. Choosing a venue that has its own sustainability efforts is a surefire way to ensure that guests see their hosts walking the walk when it comes to environmental protection.
Gone are the days of easily lost or discarded pamphlets — 2020’s latest event trend is the branded app. These provide benefits to both clients and guests.
For clients, it allows them to promote their event with a simple downloadable app; due to the flexibility of this technology, they can create real-time updates and provide extensive information. It’s also an excellent opportunity to form an ongoing relationship with attendees, as regular promotions or updates can encourage guests to keep the app long after the event is over.
For guests, they have a single point of contact, eliminating any confusion about where to go for answers. Additionally, branded apps allow attendees to personalize their experience by bookmarking interesting panels, signing up for breakout sessions, and creating their own agenda.
Entertainment has become an important part of events, even those of a corporate or professional nature. As a result, live music is a fast-rising 2020 trend. While the appropriateness of performances varies by gathering, a little casual dancing after a long day of conferences can go a long way to relaxing guests.
To take full advantage of these 2020 trends, you need a venue dedicated to making events special. At Ellicott Development, we offer a wide range of venues to accommodate large-scale meetings. Our property management services further equip us to provide the utmost coordination with clients and vendors, ensuring that your meeting goes off without a hitch. To learn more about our company or inquire after available venues, give us a call at 716-854-0060 or contact us here.
Featured Image: Shutterstock / Tzido Sun