Tech rules, immersion is imperative, and social media has never been so useful. From food experiences to virtual reality, we’ve dug up the hottest event trends to watch in 2018!
VR & AR
VR (Virtual Reality) is going to change the events industry. This is the “most popular [tech] innovation of the past years,” and with headsets like Google’s Daydream now readily available, there is no doubt VR will continue to boom in 2018. VR and AR (Augmented Reality) are an exciting and experiential way for attendees to engage with sponsors, and there are endless opportunities for clever branding.
51% of people expect a business to be open 24/7, and ticket sales can be lost because potential attendees are unable to have their questions answered instantly online. Chat-bots are more popular than ever, and will almost certainly become a must-have for conference websites in 2018.
It may seem obvious, but so many events seem to lack basic modern essentials like built-in power and charging stations. Phones on low-battery can leave attendees anxious and withdrawn from the event, so these are another must-have. Also a great opportunity for branding!
Fresh, local and plant-based
Plant-based is the new organic, with vegetarianism and veganism on the rise and increasing concerns about the environmental impact of agriculture. Venues and catering companies will feel more pressure to accommodate changing diets with plenty of plant-based menu options. As in 2017, we predict that people will continue to favour fresh, local ingredients that tell stories.
Feast your eyes
We love this trend and can guarantee we will be seeing a lot more of this in 2018 – food as the edible décor or table centrepiece! Food is the lifeblood of any gathering; it brings us together in a way nothing else can. Elaborate, colourful masterpieces trailing down the tables, themed stations and food walls – the visual wow-factor and gram-ability of food will be a big focus point in 2018.
The hottest theme in 2018, according to Event Manager Blog, will be the Un-Theme – event planners, steer clear of clichés and done-to-death themes, and instead get creative and find unique ways to invoke emotions in attendees. Events are sensory experiences, and the devil really is in the detail, so expect to see lots of out-of-the-box concepts playing on your senses in unexpected and wonderful ways next year!
We saw a lot of this trend in 2017, and predict that whimsical, larger-than-life styling will continue to make its mark in the coming year. Think over-sized blooms, huge balloons, lots of rich colours and textures, cascading décor, and layers, baby, layers!
Channels like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have been marketing staples for events for a few years now, and this will continue in 2018. Social media is where audiences are already engaging and seeking information, and with constant algorithm updates and new app features, event marketers will want to stay on top of the latest changes. Key players include personalisation – targeting specific content to a very specific segment or individual – and video, which has a much higher engagement rate than text or images. New features in Instagram stories include the ability to go live with a friend – a clever way to involve attendees – as well as polling. Snapchat’s Snap Map is a fun and innovative location-sharing tool that can be used to create hype. Social media is ever-evolving so we can only suggest that event planners keep their fingers on the pulse and stay ahead!
Drip marketing campaigns
The hard-sell just doesn’t cut it anymore. Drip marketing feeds a series of teasers (usually videos) to your targeted audience, avoiding the act-now message in favour of a more subtle, more enticing campaign. We predict to see plenty of event marketers getting out there with drones, shooting picturesque teasers on location for their conferences and events. When it comes to sponsored ads, Facebook is smart enough to know where your audience member sits along the drip campaign, so you can make sure they see content in the right order! Genius.
2018 is shaping up to be an exciting and innovative year in the events industry. We can`t wait to get planning!