The events industry is ever changing, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. Read on to see the top trends which we think you’ll be seeing plenty of in 2019.
Healthy food will take over
In the last few years, the vegan scene in the UK has exploded, with an added emphasis on healthy food choices and catering to gluten or dairy-free diets. Historically, conferences and events have been catered with heavy food which it is easy to have large, shareable quantities of. This meant that most delegates were tucking into the likes of beef stroganoffs and lasagnes while at events, but the last few years has seen an increasing demand for healthier alternatives.
Now that people are much more knowledgeable about the link between nutrition and productivity, you can expect to see lighter and far healthier options available at events – think vibrant salad bowls and omega-rich fish. You can also expect much more choice on event menus for people with allergies, or vegans and vegetarians.
Our verdict: We welcome this change and think it’s about time that events started offering a wider range of food options. Anything that the events industry can do to be more socially responsible gets a thumbs up from us.
READ MORE: Is healthy eating the new landscape of conference food?
Events will ‘go green’
Similarly to the demand for healthier food choices, the events industry has also seen the environmentally-friendly movement gain real momentum in the last year. There has been plenty of news coverage about the perils of excessively using plastic, or the damage that irresponsibly farmed food can cause.
That’s why we expect to see plenty of events this year take a stand against single-use plastics, as well as incorporating sustainably sourced and locally produced food into event menus. At SquareMeal’s 2018 Venues + Events show, visitors were offered recyclable canned water, and were also encouraged to bring along their own reusable water bottles which could be filled up at designated stations. We expect to see plenty of events this year doing the same.
Our verdict: Global warming is a serious issue, and one that’s received a lot of attention over the last few years. There are plenty of ways in which the event industry can be a force for good, and we love to see event planners at the forefront of reducing waste and preserving the environment.
Grin for the 'gram
Whether you like it or not, we are living in the age of Instagram. From an events perspective, social media is a fantastic way to increase brand awareness without forking out on expensive advertising campaigns, so it makes sense that event planners are constantly thinking of new ways to make their events Instagrammable.
An added benefit is that activity stations at events, such as photobooths or beauty hubs, are a fantastic way to get people to network and feel comfortable, especially if they are attending by themselves. There are also a wide variety of Insta-friendly activities which you can create and they can be tailored to your event – a floral arrangement masterclass at a wedding fair say, or DIY cocktails at a drinks trade show.
Our verdict: We’re all for making corporate events more fun, and the benefits of added exposure on social media are hard to deny. As long as you think carefully about the kind of activities your audience will enjoy, we think Instagrammable moments can be a great way to bring in the likes, and hopefully some business too!
READ MORE: 9 Instagrammable venues in London
Everybody loves a good gimmick
Gimmicks at events can go one of two ways, but if they’re well thought out, they can be a runaway success. People in the industry sometimes attend several events in one week, so it’s important to have unique touches which will help you stand out from the crowd and keep people talking about your event long after it’s finished.
We’ve already seen a change in the events that we’ve been attending, including the rise of immersive experiences and theatrical presentation. Whether it is injecting sauces into a canapé yourself, or trying out some virtual reality experiences, these fun extras at events look like they’re here to stay.
Our verdict: You have to be careful that gimmicks don’t end up appearing cheap or poorly thought out, but if you put some time and effort into your planning, they can be a great way of making your event memorable. Plus, any added exposure from guests posting on social media is always welcome.
READ MORE: You can now have a selfie robot at your next event
Remote attendance will make things easier
With the added advantages of technology and social media, 2019 will see event teams looking at how they can expand their reach and deliver content outside of physical event spaces. This means that we’ll see greater investment into the likes of live streaming events, sharing content on social media or having guests speakers appear via online mediums such as Skype.
The added benefits of enabling remote access to events include being able to reach a larger audience, but also cutting down on the costs that a guest’s physical presence requires. There's also an environmental benefit, as remote access means delegates won't have to fly half way across the world for international conferences.
Our verdict: In order to get everything from an event, we definitely feel it’s best to be physically present. However, remote attendance is a great solution for those with long distances to travel and it’s well suited to large-scale conferences or similar.