The Future of Event Planning: The 2020 Vision


From unbelievable event technology to a revitalized focus on personalized learning environments and attendees’ work/life balance, the future of event planning in 2020 looks bright. In this post, we discuss the digital world’s influence on attendees’ experiences, the next level of interactive learning, and forecasts for meeting and event technology.

We are at the tail end of 2018, staring into 2019 and all the events it holds for us in the meeting and event industry. With the quick succession trends and technologies keep today, it isn’t enough to look one year ahead; rather, we as modern meeting and event planners should keep our eyes on innovation coming over the horizon for the upcoming years within long-term planning range.

Event planners suppose to be creative, organized, and thorough, yes, but where do we really add value for our clients is our ability to build on information to predict needs in the future. Since meetings and events often take months to plan—perhaps even years—planners must live in the future while they work out exactly what the expectations will be at that time. That is why it is vital to begin implementing trends now, being an early adopter, and priming your eye to curate the trends that will appeal to your target demographics. So we do...

Data-Driven Trends to Prioritize Event Resources

Being trendy for the sake of it does not usually work out favorably. Instead of using every new trick, tool, or resource you can catch, use your data to tell you where to invest your time and money.

Every industry has its own priorities and preferences, so start there. Obviously, technology-centered industries will be more excited to use brand new tech tools at a meeting, and they will be more comfortable handling them as well. Use your demographic data from previous events, and post-event surveys if possible, to see how they want to see your event evolve.

Future Meeting Environments to Increase Event Innovation

We have seen a rise in creative and offbeat event venues, and we predict this is one of the event planning trends that will continue to grow. With a focus on creating memorable, interactive experiences, meetings and events that choose venues beyond the standard will drive your attendee engagement. In coming years, unconventional meeting and event venues will pique interest and create unforgettable memories, building your event’s story in an organic way. Taking on the task of transforming an unexpected space will set a foundation of innovation and add loads of value to your event.

Bleisure-Friendly


You heard about Bleisure? Bleisure travel is a portmanteau of “business” and “leisure”, and, it refers to “the activity of combining business travel with leisure time”. The term bleisure was first published in 2009 by the Future Laboratory as part of their biannual Trend Briefing. By adding leisure time before or after a business trip meeting or event, your attendees get to enjoy a better work/life balance—a concern that has slowly developed over the past few years. In 2020, we predict that bleisure travel will be even more common.

Since many of your attendees will be using their spare time to explore the event destination, this means choosing a location according to some different factors. Consider the surrounding area and what it offers in the way of adventures, nightlife, and culture.

Sustainability-Focused

A focus on sustainable practices isn’t going anywhere in the coming years, but simply ditching plastic straws isn’t going to cut it anymore. We will be looking for venues with LEED certifications, energy efficiency, local food initiatives, and innovative answers to minimizing our carbon footprints.

Artistic

Since social media is a visual platform, more event professionals are partnering with artistic venues for built-in Instagram-worthy backdrops. From empty warehouses with event-specific graffiti to museums dedicated to ice cream, meeting and event venues are going to get a dose of off-beat creativity.

Innovative Seating


Event planners are already embracing meeting environments that consider attendee experience first, and this will continue to develop into new and exciting meeting space layouts. Everything from the choice of seating to how attendees are arranged affects the mood and tone of the event; event professionals will carefully consider these factors when planning layouts, optimizing for brainstorming, networking, teamwork, and creativity.

Interactive Live Event Experiences for More Meaningful Memories

It is safe to say that interactive event elements are not fads, but are only going to become more personalized and meaningful. Live event experiences bring extra vigor to meetings and events, which is exactly what wakes up attendees and gets them engaged. No longer is the dry speaker at a podium an option; now attendees expect the content delivery to be exciting, personal, and innovative.

Personalized Content

Since everyone retains information differently, we will start differentiating for content delivery, focus, and scaffolding. The future of professional education and entertainment will rely on data to pinpoint how to best reach each attendee, including what content will be in demand. Technology will facilitate this connection, ensuring that every speaker, session, and demonstration is offering valuable content.

Amplified Gamification

Applying the elements of games to encourage engagement is all the rage right now, and in 2020 event professionals will ramp it up in even bigger ways. This trend takes the appeal of competition to learning and networking. This can build a sense of community as well as address the “forgetting curve”, how information is forgotten over time when there is no attempt to strengthen it. In the future, events will offer personalized gaming opportunities that engage attendees in winning prizes, badges, and points. Event technology will allow attendees to keep track of their place in the leaderboard, share their experience with other attendees, and customize their gaming.

VR Content



Virtual reality used to be out of most event budgets, but we are seeing more accessible VR experiences become available. In the future, VR will be more standard during live events to engage everyone. What we love about VR is the ability to make our clients event anything they can imagine. From enhanced gamification to fully interactive surveys, VR is how we will engage attendees through all their senses.


Global Attendance to Increase Event Reach

With live streaming, remote working, and international mindfulness hotter now than ever, we aim to be thinking bigger as far as our global reach.

More connection through technology has emphasized our part in the big picture, which will force us to consider how we can open up our events to attendees around the world. While previous livestreaming experiences were treated as an afterthought, event planners are beginning to value the remote attendee’s engagement and feedback as much as those who attended in person. VR technology will help bring the excitement of the event to the livestream experience, and chatbots will ensure remote attendees are engaged.

We certainly have to be versed in worldwide conversations since the attendees can now come from anywhere to interact with their sponsors. Cultural sensitivities, current global concerns, and translation platforms will become more vital to us as they navigate this widespread reach.