12 tips, trends and suggestions for events in 2016

If you’re hoping to produce amazing events in 2016, then take a look at our list of things to consider when planning events this year. We’ve put together a list of what we think will be popular, bang-on-trend or worth considering when planning events in 2016. From catering, to event themes, technology and marketing, there is something for everyone and every event...

1. Create unique experiences one element at a time

Cookie cutter, mundane events are well and truly out. Time is a precious commodity and in order to lure guests to your events you are going to have to plan some unique experiences.
Creating a truly unique, never-done-before experience is not always feasible, so we suggest you focus your efforts on one or two key elements per event.
Consider which elements will make the biggest impact on your guests. It may be the location, the catering, the format, the entertainment, the technology, the styling or the décor. Aim to create talking points that will get people raving about, sharing and promoting your event before, during and after.
And remember, the unique factors only have to be unique in the eyes of your guests.

2. Rio + Olympics… did someone say P-A-R-T-Y?

When you think of Rio it’s all about parties, sun, beach, colour, music and fun. When you think of the Olympics, it’s all about action, heroes and motivation! What more inspiration do you need for your events in 2016? 
For team building events, think mini-Olympics Rio style!  Beach games, water sports or our favourite - some pineapple games!
For Christmas parties and special events, think Carnival or samba themes! The music, food and styling are guaranteed to create an exciting party atmosphere.
For End-of-Financial-Year events and conferences, you might consider building in some of the core messages of the Olympics – excellence, friendship and respect. 
Save the dates for Rio Olympics: 5th August – 21 August 2016.

Rio + Olympics = Party

3. Pantone colour of the year

For the first time ever, Pantone has released two – yes TWO - colours of the year: Rose Quartz and Serenity. And we’re loving the colour combo!

Pantone explains that, “as consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colours that psychologically fulfil our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent”. Or, in other words, this colour combo will make you chillax. Perhaps not the best colours for lively parties, but we think the colour combo is a great choice for business lunches, networking events, weddings and business retreats, where you want your guests to feel relaxed, welcomed and secure. Oh and they are brilliant baby shower colours too!
Pantone colours of the year 2016

4. Smell that sizzle… yum!

Aussies love a barbeque and the much loved way of cooking is always a popular way to cater for events. But it’s not just snags, steaks and shrimps anymore… Argentinians, Japanese, Brazilians and Americans all love cooking over coals too and their BBQ techniques and flavours are a delicious way to entertain. Whether it’s a BBQ, parrilla (Argentina), robata (Japan) or churrasqueira (Brazil), these smokey flavours are going to be gracing more event menus in 2016. Visually they are a great addition to an event (think live BBQ stations!) and are an easy way to cook fresh food fast for large gatherings. 

Smell that sizzle

5. More video content at events

Video content for marketing purposes is proving to be hugely successful. In fact, 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium*. Why? Because we are programmed to watch video - if we have the option to watch a one minute video instead of reading five pages of text, we will.
It’s no wonder then that event professionals are seeing the benefit of incorporating video into their events. Rather than have audiences sit through long presentations or slides, incorporate the same messages into video and you will find audiences will soak up the information faster and more effectively. The other great benefit of investing in video content is that you can share the content more easily with those who were not able to attend.
*We found this and even more awesome stats about video content on Adelie Studios.

6. Flexible event staff

Planning events is often left to one or two people in the office, but let’s be serious – the admin duties, on the day set-up, registration and hosting on the day can leave those one or two people burnt out! Finding volunteers from the office can also be tricky – especially if they have no experience or interest in events.
This year, give yourself a break and look at hiring some temporary event staff. Companies like Sidekicker make it super easy to hire a few extra hands (or a whole crew) to help out before, during and after your event. 

7. Networking is a must!

Facilitating quality networking opportunities at your events is a must-do in 2016. One of the key reasons for attendance at many events is because people want to meet other like-minded people! They want opportunities to meet key influencers in their industry and make new contacts that will help them grow as individuals, as well as help their career.
Note: the emphasis here is on quality… make sure the timing, environment, catering and attendees are right and the guests will do the rest.

8. Use Social Media before, during and after your event

If you’re not a fan of social media marketing, you better pick up your printed flyers and bury your head back in the sand! Social media is here to stay and by incorporating it into your event marketing strategy your events will perform even better.
Consider incorporating some of the following tips when marketing your next event:
  • Promote your event on your social media channels. Be prepared to pay for reach, the benefit of which means you can market to your ideal target guests very easily.
  • Include a Giff Giff machine (we LOVE Social Playground’s) at your event and encourage people to share their experiences. (Video content is often shared more than still images!)
  • Always create a hashtag for use at the event and promote the hell out of it (before and during the event)!
  • Tweet and Instagram the action throughout the event (dedicate someone to do this and don’t leave it until post-event).
  • Share, comment and like the posts your guests posts about your event – again do it during the event, not a few days later. 
  • Create event specific accounts on social media where you can add details, useful advice about attending and highlight aspects of your event before, during and after.
P.S. These suggestions work well for conferences, Christmas parties and even weddings!

9. Big data can make your events worthwhile

The ability to capture and utilise data captured at events is a huge growth market, with new technology popping up every day. This ability to capture big data from attendees means marketing professionals can efficiently tailor campaigns, shape products and design events that are even more appealing to customers than ever before. Do not underestimate the potential of data collection when planning your events – think ahead and plan your data collection strategy for 2016 now.

10. Do away with paper

2016 is the year to do away with paper handouts – they’re costly, not environmentally friendly and more often than not, left behind. Do your printer a favour and create digital handouts instead! 
If suitable, pop the notes on a branded USB to give to guests or, better still, email the documents to attendees following the event. By having the documents delivered straight to their inbox, they will be easier to find for future reference. It also means you’ll need to capture the email addresses of your guests… which can be handy for more marketing activity in the future! 

11. Beacon Technology is only going to get bigger

Beacons… OK we admit we’re getting a bit tech-nerdy here with this one, but honestly this is the future of events – even smaller ones! Beacon technology is becoming more accessible and more affordable, so there is no doubt that in 2016 you will start to experience its potential at more events. Without getting too carried away with explanations, Beacon technology essentially allows you to interact with your attendees during the event via their phone. You can send them alerts to notify them when sessions are starting or ending, you can help facilitate networking and you can reward them with prizes and incentives throughout the event. For more details check out this super easy-to-read (and understand) post about how Beacon Technology can transform Event Management

12. The donut revolution gains momentum...

We predicted last year that 2015 was going to be there year of the donut. Well, it seems we were right and the popularity of donuts is growing more than we could ever have imagined! Donuts hanging on walls, donuts on your milkshakes, donuts filled with so much Nutella there was almost an international shortage of the stuff and donuts that are so deliciously creative you just have to Instagram a pic of them! Want to bulk order some donuts for your next event? Check out Grumpy Donuts or Doughnut Time – a guaranteed winner at any type of event.

The donut revolution continues!
Centre images from Grumpy Donuts. Others from Pinterest.
Stay tuned as we’ll be expanding on some of these topics throughout the year. Not signed up to our mailing list? Then jump on board
P.S. Do you have a hot prediction for events in 2016? If so, we’d love to know what you think will be on trend in the comments below?