New beginnings are always exciting and as event organizers, you’re probably already looking into new ways to boost your events in the year to come. As the beginning of the new year is fast approaching, we’ve been studying the industry and we came up with a list of 10 event trends for 2019 that we think will shape the market. Of course, the nuances and details are endless, but we believe that if you incorporate these main trends into your events, you’re off to a great start for a successful year. So let’s dive in!
1. Advanced technology becomes mainstream
Incorporating technology into your events will no longer be a matter of option. As tech becomes more refined, it will shape everything from ticket sales to customer service, from on-site attendee experience to data collection and reporting. Here’s how to incorporate advanced technology into your events.
Event management platforms
From the creation of an event website to ticket sales to admissions, using an event management platform for any kind of event, small or large scale, will be the best way to make sure you keep all your planning efforts in one place. Back in the day, the administrative tasks like issuing and printing tickets, issuing invoices, sending invitations were what took you as a planner the most amount of time out of the entire organizing process. Now event management platforms are so evolved that you can literally manage any kind of event on them, from concerts to training courses. So in 2019 using such a platform is a must.
Moreover, an event management platform is what you need in order to offer your attendees flawless customer service and to make it easier for them to find, buy tickets to, and check-in at your event. If you use Metooo as your platform, you can do all this while saving time and reducing management costs. Your beautiful event website takes just minutes to build, ticket sales with the most affordable fees on the market are done through secure transactions, and you can even manage several connected events at the same time, with the event groups feature. And since check-in is a crucial part of the attendee experience, on Metooo you can manage it by simply scanning QR codes on tickets in seconds, even if they are just shown to you on the attendees’ phones at the door.
This technology has just stopped being “novelty”. Devices that deliver it were simplified and became more affordable, so now it’s the moment to start using it. A VR headset starts from as low as $110 for the most simple versions and goes up based on the extra features it offers. Here you can find a comparative analysis of the best VR devices for 2019. Incorporate virtual reality in your event by creating immersive experiences for your guests. Transport them in a world of sensations. Here are a few ideas of what works best:
- test drive simulations: you can use these as brand activations for sponsors (when the sponsor brand is an automotive or even motorbike or scooter brand)
- virtual walks and hikes: let’s say you’re organizing a real estate fair, you can have your guests walk around an apartment, office building or an entire virtual neighborhood instead of just showing brochures with construction projects. Or you’re putting together a tourism fair and you want your guests to experience the beauties of a certain region or resort: a virtual hike would be a great way to show them around!
- rollercoaster rides and amusement park attractions: this is a great idea if you’re planning a festival or fair: you could place virtual reality stations among the festival vendor booths and have people enjoy the ride without having to install the actual huge luna park machinery!
- a virtual trip into an artist studio or artisan workshop or factory showing how a certain work of art or product is being made
- a virtual front row seat experience at a fashion show
- any kind of expression of real life usage of products and brands.
Chatbots are the most common expression of this technology, and they are in fact not even that new anymore. What will change though, is that chatbots will become more like a personal assistant, and you’ll be actually able to set them up to give customized responses based on the profile of your attendees. Use them for large scale events like trade shows and conventions to guide your attendees through the event, from constant updates on schedule, to giving directions on how to get to the various spaces within the event.
A personalized chatbot can also send notifications in case a certain part of an event is being canceled or postponed, and reminders about an upcoming part of the event starting in an X amount of time. And last but not least, there are now chatbots that have agenda functions and can work as networking and meeting planners for attendees.
2019 will be the year when incorporating chatbots in your events should become a priority, because as the technology evolves, costs for adopting it decrease, and you’ll be able to almost completely automatize the customer service side of your event. This way, in the long run, you’ll also be able to reduce staffing costs because you’ll need less people to assist guests in person at the event venue.
2. Video content is taking over
We chose to treat video as a separate trend in order to stress its importance in all facets of event planning, promotion and management. In 2018 we saw a boom in the use of video content when it comes to events and this means that next year it will be mandatory to incorporate it.
When it comes to event planning: more and more venues offer video tours in the booking process so planners no longer have to travel to the venue in person to see it before they close the deal.
Video content is also crucial in event promotion for two reasons:
- social media platforms grant more organic reach to video posts
- events are entities in movement, so the emotion and anticipation feeling of being at an event and living an experience are best expressed through video
How to use video content in event promotion
- create an engaging event trailer and share it as ads and posts across platforms (Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) AND on your event website. If you build your event website on Metooo, you can embed the video from Youtube. Ideally the trailer should contain shots from the previous edition but even if your event is at its first edition, you still have options: include footage of the venue, artists performing in other occasions, speakers in action, graphics in motion, etc.
- film the entire planning process and regularly share video posts on the event’s social media channels. The whole series could be a vlog and it would engage your attendees and potential attendees and bring them behind the scenes, thus creating anticipation and excitement about the upcoming event. You can include a variety of themes in the behind the scenes vlog, such as: the event planner speaking about the challenges in the organization of this particular event; venue scouting, showing visits to various venues, travel footage, and the chosen venue; a discussion and brainstorming session within the event organizing team; the setup of all equipment at the venue (stage, sound, lights, decorations etc)
- have professional videomakers immortalize each key moment of the event (the content will be used for promoting the next edition, and also for reporting purposes)
- make sure the content includes: footage of the event as a whole; behind the scenes during event set-up, during the event, and after the lights go out; testimonials of attendees; interviews with speakers and performing artists; interviews with celebrities and influencers
3. The World will be brought closer with remote participation
Live streaming through social media
With the advent of live streaming through the main social media (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube) it is already very easy to have the whole world participating at your event. So live streaming will definitely be an opportunity not to miss. Basically any type of event is suitable and could benefit from live streaming. During an event, various key moments can be of interest for live streaming: the main performance/act, speaking sessions, action behind the scenes, Q&A sessions and interviews with keynote speakers and artists, etc.
What’s great about live streaming on social media is that all platforms allow posting comments to the video being live streamed. Since comments appear in real time, this is a perfect opportunity for Q&A sessions and interviews to go way beyond the conference hall. It means that people all over the world can ask questions to the speakers and have them answered immediately
Live streaming will also be an indispensable tool for sponsor marketing and for boosting sponsor brand visibility: if your sponsors put together exciting brand activations (games, contests, interactive art installations) you can live stream those as well.
Live streaming and virtual reality
But even more can be done. For example, virtual reality devices could be given to remote VIP guests who can attend the event live, without actually being present. Many types of events like seminars, conventions, congresses and conferences are suitable for this kind of attendance. A special type of ticket can be created for this kind of experience and total event revenue would benefit from it.
The other side of it is that attendees in a conference hall can be transported through virtual reality in a different part of the world. A virtual presentation would add value to the informational and/or educative content being shared at the event.
Last but not least, not only attendees can participate remotely to an event, but also speakers! Have a very well known personality in mind for speaking at your event but your budget or his/her schedule don’t allow you to physically bring him/her over? You can organize a remote session by having him/her speak through a video call, and, at the same time, broadcast the whole thing!
4. Business or leisure? Better make it bleisure!
We’ve been used to dividing events into two categories. The first category are all those events that have to do with business, work and education. The “serious” ones: conferences, congresses, seminars, workshops, training courses. Then, the second category encompasses everything that has to do with entertainment and leisure. We include here festivals, concerts, parties, retreats, theater shows, exhibitions, sports events. In the first category, attendees are used to be concentrated on the informational and/or educational content being provided, for extended periods of time (ranging from a few hours to a few days). The atmosphere at the event is generally colder, more professional. But the news for 2019 is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.
In 2018, events from the first category started to include more and more elements of leisure, and the trend will only get bigger in 2019. With professionals in most fields already having attended countless events, there is a need for less “conference fatigue” and more absorption of meaningful content in a relaxed environment.
How to use the bleisure trend
In 2019, make your professional and educational events more enjoyable by reducing the number of speaking panels and adding more moments of relaxation in the schedule.
Use unconventional venues as much as possible. It can be as simple as hosting the conference in a hotel that has a pool, and hosting debate sessions with cocktails by the poolside. Your attendees will surely appreciate it. For some more ideas of unconventional event venues, check out this post.
Another way in which you can take advantage of the bleisure trend is to host your event in a city that provides touristic attractions. Give people several reasons to attend the event, beyond the event itself. You can also include guided tours in the event schedule and limit the actual event activities to half days, leaving the rest of the day for leisure. For example: 3 seminars/discussion panels in the morning, then a lunch break (maybe at a local restaurant to get a more authentic feeling of the city/town), then a visit to a touristic site or a shopping session.
5. Successful events will tell stories
We are at a point in history where the world is saturated with events. The choice is incredibly vast for each and every type of event we can think of, be it professional or related to leisure, on any given day of the week, season, location, and for every budget. Throughout all the noise, we want to participate in immersive, meaningful experiences that have the power to draw us from our everyday lives and transport us into a world where we can fully dedicate our attention to what is being communicated to us (information, educational content, entertainment). We want events we go to to speak to our desires and values.
How to create events that tell stories
- choose a very clear theme and have everything at the event (venue, decorations, catering, speakers, artists) revolve around the theme. If the event is within the entertainment category such as a party or gala, a dress code related to the theme will make people feel more involved, and will create an atmosphere that’s part of the story.
- include immersive experiences such as virtual reality and augmented reality
- split the event into smaller activities and create various types of tickets that cater to specific needs (seminars only, parties only, backstage meet and greet tickets, etc.). If you use Metooo as your event management platform, you can create several types of tickets, with different prices, for the same event, and give your attendees the chance to choose the type of experience they need.
6. Diversity will become the new standard
Diversity has been a reality of our world for a long while now but in professional environments it took for ever for it to be considered. But, since as a society we started to embrace diversity in all aspects of daily life, voices of people who in any way don’t fit into the idea of a standard are more and more heard. A successful event in 2019 will be an event that caters to tastes, preferences, races, and orientations.
How you can incorporate diversity into your events:
- make sure you feature speakers of diverse races and nationalities if you have the opportunity to do so
- feature women as speakers at professional events
- if your event includes presentations, round tables, speeches, lectures, make sure the furniture you choose (chairs, tables) is suitable for being comfortably used by women too. There is nothing more frustrating for a female speaker than constantly worrying “my skirt is riding up while I sit on this chair, and the entire conference hall can see it!”
- include catering for diverse tastes: dishes or menu options for intolerances (gluten free, lactose free), vegetarian, vegan, kosher
- no matter what type of event you’re organizing, make sure the venue is well equipped with features that facilitate movement for those disabled (special entrances/exits, stairways, restrooms)
- diversity itself can be the very source of inspiration and theme for your event and this is not even something new. 2019 will be the year to create entire niche events catering especially to certain categories (women’s conferences, cultural events for certain ethnic groups, LGBTQ events, etc.)
7. Co-created events will increase in importance
The point of any event, as of any product or service, is to satisfy a need. As professional event organizers, we think we know what the needs of our attendees are, but we can take the concept even further. Flexibility and adaptability are key words for 2019 so how can we be sure we’re giving our attendees exactly what they need? Luckily technology comes into play once more, and now we can actually co-create events with our potential attendees. Online communication allows us to talk to our audience even before the event is completely conceptualized. We anticipate an increased usage of surveys to consult our audience about anything from identification of topics for a conference or seminar, to the choice of speakers or of menus. If you use an online event management platform such as Metooo, you can administrate a survey about these choices right in the ticket selling phase.
User generated content
User generated content is another way of co-creating an event with your attendees. Make sure you allow and encourage them to take pictures and videos and to share them on social media, and don’t forget about Facebook live videos and Instagram stories. The final outcome of an event is shown as much through the eyes of the participants as through the result of planning efforts. Another thing that you can do is encourage attendees to publish pictures and text posts on your event website (which, on Metooo, can be done through the Storytelling feature).
To stimulate the creation of user generated content at the event and to make sure such content continues to circulate online after the event is over, you can set up contests for attendees. Have them take photos and videos and post them on their profiles and on the event pages. Then pick up winners of “best photo” or “best video” and award prizes after a number of days.
8. Sustainable events become the norm
As society becomes more conscious about environmental issues, the need for sustainability will increase in all fields product and service consumption. This means that as consumers we are more and more careful about the impact that our lifestyle has on the environment. Sustainable events will become the norm, and for good reason. Here’s how to incorporate this concept into your events:
- go paperless: print as little materials as possible. Opt for email invitations (on Metooo you can create a beautiful invitation and send it within minutes to a whole mailing list); go for digital tickets (all event platforms now allow checking your guests in by just scanning the QR code on a mobile device instead of a printed ticket); use digital press kits sent by email, instead of the printed press folders you can usually find on designated seats at events
- reduce food waste by carefully estimating quantities and placing your final orders as close to the event date as possibly
- if you do have to deal with food leftovers, you have two solutions: either donate them to local food shelters, or, if they’re no longer proper for consumption, collect them as organic waste and have them composted
- reduce or eliminate the use of plastic plates, cutlery and straws
- use green transportation such as electric cars for your guests and/or speakers
- collect general waste at the event in such a way that it can be recycled
9. Event security will be reinforced
Events are by definition gatherings of more or less large numbers of people, and security will be an important and sensitive matter, more than ever. There are several ways you can increase security at your events:
- cyber security: make sure payments are done in a safe environment. Choose a ticketing platform with a proven track record of safe transactions. Be very careful about data collection and make sure you’re compliant with the regulations such as GDPR. Never use attendee personal data for other purposes than the ones they agreed to provide it for
- physical security: have enough security staff at the door and throughout the event venue. No matter the size of the event, security staff must be thoroughly briefed regarding venue layout, emergency exits and emergency procedures.
- security technology at the door: for large scale events and for events that involve sensible, high value items such as works of art, make sure you provide top notch scanning equipment at the entrance. Depending on the case, there might be a need to scan both people and bags separately. Set and communicate clear rules about what is and is not allowed to be carried by guests at the event venue.
- medical needs: for events gathering a large number of people, hire medical staff at the venue and provide emergency medical supplies
- coordinate with local law enforcement and have all permits in place for the event (alcohol consumption, large crowds on public ground)
- have a risk plan for various situation (fire, power blackout, storms)
10. Event styling becomes eclectic
The struggle is real. Each year we wonder what can we do to make our events look different. More interesting, more photographable, and, recently, more Instagrammable. The key word for event style and decorations in 2019 is eclectic. How to incorporate this trend into your events:
- custom neon signage (consider placing it at the venue entrance, behind a bar, or near a dance floor)
- colorful vases, candle holders, light fittings, napkins, and bar items
- foliage: putting more accent on leaves than on flowers will give an organic, natural look and feel to your event, while still making it appear luxurious (and at a lower cost!)
- spectacular chandeliers and light installations
- live, seasonal trees for venues with high ceilings (this also caters to the sustainability trend)
These were our favorite 2019 trends for events and, while for sure not exhausting, we’re convinced that our list can act as a starting point to get you inspired for your next awesome event!