Feeling excited about 2019 and all the opportunities the new year will bring? You should be!
We asked 8 event professionals to tell us the key factors they think will shape the events industry next year and their answers paint an optimistic future.
They believe events will become more focused on well-being, on creating emotions and memories and bringing people together for a purpose. They also foresee events becoming more sustainable and venues becoming cheaper, while technology will make planners more effective than ever.
Events will have more purpose.
Hannah Sheppard, Events Director, Clownfish Events
â€œOne big trend for 2019 is an expectation for events to be more socially responsible and have a wider purpose. A lot more thought will go into the planning stages, with people trying to deliver an underlying message and maybe make a social or environmental statement. Theyâ€™ll want to take their guests on a â€˜journeyâ€™ and try to evoke their emotions. This makes the whole event experience that bit more memorable and is a very powerful way to get guests talking about it for days afterwards.
â€œCarrying on with the theme of emotions, personalised event aromas will be a new trend as people try to tap into all five senses. From summer parties with a lovely fresh-cut grass aroma to breakout sessions at conferences with delicious smells of fresh coffee, it can create a really memorable experience.â€
Wellness will be on the agenda.
Jemma Peers, Commercial Director, Top Banana
â€œWith health and fitness fanatics rising to fame on Instagram and YouTube and apps such as â€˜Headspaceâ€™ and â€˜Calmâ€™ growing at an exponential rate, health and wellness are at the forefront of our minds and this is transitioning into the workplace. Questions will be asked about the use of technology in regards to employeesâ€™ wellbeing.
â€œThe relevance of this will grow in 2019 and we will see events incorporating this more and more into the agenda. Whether thatâ€™s simply allowing more time to think, reflect and relax, or through the topics, speakers and live event experiences.
â€œThis theme will also transition to the incentives industry with itineraries becoming less about jam-packed itineraries and more about wellness, with time to rest and recuperate. This will be combined with once-in-a-lifetime â€œwellness for the soulâ€ type CSR experiences.â€œ
Planners will seek venues with a story.
Raffaela Pozzi, Corporate Sales Manager, Museum of London
â€œWeâ€™re seeing an increasing emphasis being placed on added value element, which offer guests that money-canâ€™t-buy experience. Clients are looking at ways they can lean on a venueâ€™s story to enhance their own event experience. This has also led to an increasing demand for historic and unique venues, as clients are very much looking for ways to add that wow factor into their events.â€
Personal and professional will mix.
Patrick Delaney, Director, SoolNua
â€œWe need to stop thinking about B2B and B2C as different markets; I think the real disruptor is that it should be H2H â€“ human to human. We have to get back to understanding the power of human connections, the power of the live event â€“ the power of making that true connection that only comes when people actually treat each other as human beings. We need to look at what peopleâ€™s needs are, see how they can be met, and deliver on that.
â€œI think technology can be used to connect people and provide genuine experiences â€“ experiences that will leave a delegate saying, â€˜You know something, that had an impact on me, it emotionally engaged me, it intellectually engaged me â€“ it changed me in some way.â€™ The continuation of this will also see personal and professional mixing to deliver an end result.â€
Event programmes will be pared back.
Chris Powell, Director, The Event Expert
â€œI have attended a number of events where the speaker/session list runs to several pages. The choice is overwhelming, meaning the sessions with the funkiest titles win the greatest number of bums on seats.
â€œItâ€™s time to get back to basics and the delivery of a sensibly sized event programme, which is consistently themed to deliver the required behaviour change. It should be presented by industry professionals with a proven track record in delivering what they are going to teach. It must be impactful, engaging and relevant to the audience and delivered in a style and format that best suits them (not us or the speaker). Yes, we might know our stuff but we are not all great speakers.
â€œSpeakers must understand it is a privilege to be invited to educate somebody elseâ€™s audience and to stand on your platform. Conducting thorough speaker research and insisting they jump through a number of hoops is a must do event management activity. After all, the time a delegate spends with you must be a worthwhile and valuable experience for them. Less and properly aligned programme content is definitely more in this case.â€
Events will take guests on a â€˜journeyâ€™.
Jodie Guilford, Business Development & Marketing Manager, Science Museum Group
â€œDemand is ever-increasing for event experiences that break from the norm and offer something truly memorable, often flowing from a daytime event into an evening reception or dinner. Venues offering multi-space hire options have the upper hand in terms of creating an event journey, though more often than not organisers have to compromise on either the quality of a dedicated daytime space or the memorability of the eveningâ€™s setting.
â€œThatâ€™s why the opening of our new space Illuminate in February 2019 is so exciting, as weâ€™ll be able to hold multi-faceted events that include daytime conferences, smaller meetings and exhibitions combined with receptions and dinners in the main museumâ€™s unique and thought-provoking galleries.â€
Team building will play a central role.
Dan Elliott, National Sales Manager, Center Parcs
â€œAt Center Parcs, weâ€™ve seen an increase over time of companies incorporating team building as a much bigger part of their conference agenda, as well as clients coming to us purely for our team building facilities and ability to offer corporate away days that have a universal appeal. No longer is team building viewed as a jolly out of the office, rather companies are fully recognising the benefits of getting the team together for some time spent outside in the fresh air away from the daily routine. With objectives made clear from the outset, team building can go a long way when it comes to enhancing the office culture, and showing staff how much you value them, both as individuals and for their input into the company.â€
Theyâ€™ll be more â€˜Instagram momentsâ€™.
Ali Blows, Head of Commercial Events & Business Development, National Theatre
â€œAt our launch event earlier this year we set up hair and make-up stations hosted by the National Theatreâ€™s very talented Wigs, Hair And Make-up Department to give guests a few minutes of pampering and get them selfie-ready â€“ it proved to be very popular. More interactive experiences will definitely be a big theme at events in 2019, whether itâ€™s DIY cocktails, temporary tattoos, flower arranging or a graffiti board.
As well as it being a great way to encourage guests to bond and network, activity stations come with the added bonus of being extremely Instagramable, meaning a brand can achieve additional exposure through digital platforms. Itâ€™s important to make sure the activity fits the tone and theme of the event but, if you nail it, guests will be talking about your event long after itâ€™s over!â€