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Event Trends 2020 | Significant change or same-same?
As the new decade begins, we are taking the time to consider… is the events industry in for significant change or will it remain same-same?
Over the past few years key trends such as sustainability, personalisation, social media savvy and the implementation of AI technology, have remained somewhat the same.
However, we predict there is a significant change looming in the events landscape – a shift that will see not only the design of events change, but a change in the type of events held too. This change has been creeping up on us for a while, but as our country burns this summer, we believe the events industry is about to endure a major shake-up that will impact everyone.
For a moment, forget about this year’s Pantone Colour of the Year or which canapé will grace the menu because the situation has changed and those elements won’t matter as much anymore….
A War on Waste and a Climate Emergency will shake things up….
For an industry that thrives on creating one-off, bespoke experiences, it has always been a challenge for event planners and suppliers to meet a client’s request for a “sustainable event”. For the past 10 years, many in the industry have been making attempts to reduce waste and implement sustainable practices. It was a nice-to-have but not a must-have.
However, as 2019 came to a close, shit-just-got-real. From an ongoing drought to the worse bush fire emergency our country has ever seen, with the help of Greta Thunberg, a movement has started that can no longer be ignored.
For the events industry, this means a significant change is about to occur. Businesses are now looking to reduce their impact on our environment more than ever before. This will not only impact the design of events but also whether an event will be held at all.
Purpose-driven events with clear performance outcomes will be the new norm. Even a company’s social events will need to justify their return and look to reduce waste in all areas.
We also predict a rise in elopements as climate-conscious couples ditch over-the-top extravaganzas and look to tie the knot in a more intimate and less “wasteful” way.
Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a plethora of “sustainable” products and suppliers emerge in the events industry – across catering, ticketing, technology and more, and we predict this market segment will grow significantly in 2020 and beyond.
Fundraising and socially-conscious activities to give purpose to events….
As event planners look to add purpose to their events, we predict a significant shift towards adding more fundraising and socially-conscious activities to their programs. From conference delegates building solar lights for children living in energy poverty to couples requesting donations to a chosen charity in lieu of wedding gifts – 2020 will be the year of giving.
For this reason, we also expect clients will be wanting to spend less on the actual event in order to distribute more funds to the causes they are supporting. With venues and suppliers already feeling the squeeze, this will require the industry to be creative on less. To counter the rise of sponsorship requests, we expect venues and suppliers to start being more strategic about the way they handle this market segment – lookout for tailored packages and partnerships.
Authentic, natural and community-minded
You can feel it everywhere… there is a growing desire for people to reconnect with nature and humanity. Events play a vital role in creating community and it will be up to event planners to help foster authentic human experiences.
From public events to conferences, product launches to exhibitions and everything in between, events will need to create an environment where people can connect with each other. Guests engaging and then sharing their genuine experiences on social media will be a priority for long term engagement.
Personalisation to be even more customised…
Personalisation at events will continue to grow in 2020 – but be wary of providing personalised products that end up in landfill.
The team from Frankly Social, Brand Engagement and Activation specialists spent most of 2019 personalising socks, t-shirts, tote bags and bottles of wine at events. Items they say are more coveted and more likely to be used rather than discarded. For 2020, they have a number of new personalisation services in the works, including their recently launched Cookie Photo Booth where they print guest’s photos directly onto cookies.
Technology getting sharper, not newer
When it comes to “new” technology for events, there hasn’t been anything significant for a few years. Sure, some of the cooler elements of AI, large-scale projection and LED-technology have continued to advance, however, the biggest benefit to events is that this technology is becoming more accessible. Production companies are using existing technology in more efficient and creative ways and, as a result, it’s getting cheaper and easier to implement too.
Local, Seasonal and Limited
Our thirst for sustainability has driven a massive change in the way we eat and drink at events. We’ve seen a mass movement towards reducing the use of single-use plastics in the industry, along with chefs using only locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in their menus.
Caterers like Wine & Dine’m in Brisbane have been busy implementing a vast array of sustainable practices that are proving hugely popular with clients. Saying no to plastic straws and single-use plastics, along with solar power, composting and reducing waste is just the start.
In 2020, with the drought unlikely to break soon, produce is not always reliable and we expect to see chefs being creative with less and releasing limited-time menus.
Along with a desire to have less impact on our environment, there’s a growing desire for menus to be “healthier” and we predict you’ll see a lot more plant-based menu items too.
Final Note | Where to now…
The need to take our impact on the environment seriously has escalated over the past 12-months, and as we enter the new decade, we must brace ourselves for the impact this movement will have on the events industry.
Event planners will need to become climate champions. Guests attending events will not tolerate obvious examples of waste – especially when it comes to plastics and food. What most guests may have barely noticed before will be highlighted and scoffed at going forward (be wary of social media shaming if you don’t get on the bandwagon).
Events will be purpose-driven, less fluffy and more focussed.
Things will change. New products and services will emerge. And while we cannot promise that it will be a pain-free adjustment, we know that it will ultimately be for the best both for the industry and our country.