5 Event-Planning Trends That Are Changing the Industry

If you’re engaged with event-planning, you’re no doubt committed to fostering and encouraging change.

In today’s ever-more-networked, interconnected, and evolving world, event-planning is changing, growing, and becoming more meaningful, more dynamic, and better suited to audience needs.

With this in mind, here are 5 event-planning trends you’ll want to watch – because they’re changing the industry for 2020.

1). Demand is Outpacing Supply

Two words: book now.

Demand for events is high and expected to continue that way in 2020.

This means, among other things, that you’ll probably want to book that venue for hire in London now, rather than waiting until a few months out.

Acting now is important to make sure you get the best venue for your event – at a bare minimum, a venue that can accommodate your event.

Meanwhile, event planner budgets seem to be expanding to keep up with costs. What this means is that if you don’t control the purse strings, you’ll want to make a good case for a larger budget for your event.

Also, think about the impact that increased demand for events will have on hotel supply, and advise your guests to book early as well. They’ll most likely thank you for it.

2). Face-to-Face Time is In

Events are going to be a major marketing channel in 2020. One survey of event respondents found 52 percent agreeing that event marketing drove more value for them than other options.

This isn’t some kind of big mystery. Year by year, we spend more time in front of screens, and that means less time in front of other people’s faces… and what we have less of, we tend to value more.

It’s supply and demand: your event will be more valuable to the extent that it can deliver more face-to-face time, and events, in general, are more in demand for this very reason.

Once you understand this, you can give people more of what they want. Networking is second only to content as a motivator for people to attend events – and that means not only formal meetings but also spontaneous, out-of-the-blue conversations.

Design your event to encourage people to move around and talk to each other. Find a venue that has private meeting spaces as well as more common areas. You might also provide fewer chairs than attendees, thus encouraging people to mingle.

A good-size space with minimalist décor and an accessible bar is a good idea to promote networking, as is making sure you are catering for everyone.

3). Business + Leisure = “Bleisure”

Many people don’t think of events simply in business terms: they also think about the destination, and what else they might like to do while they are at the destination besides attend the event.

This combination of business and leisure, known as “bleisure”, is partly driven by business concerns and partly driven by a desire for recreation.

The key takeaway here is that it’s important to consider your destination: choose something that will appeal to your attendees as well as be a good location for the practical aspects of your business meeting.

You might also provide information and guidance to help them make the most of their destination. Major hotels could be your friends here: sometimes they have apps or other resources to help guests explore the cities in which they are located.

4). Personalization Beyond Personas

The event planning landscape of today and tomorrow is increasingly personalized. This means the more options you can offer your guests for personalization, the better.

At the 2019 C2 event in Montreal, Canada, attendees could choose 11 different options for experiencing the event, hour by hour, for the whole three days of the event.

You don’t have to go that far, fortunately – most of us don’t have those kinds of resources. What you can do is offer things like live polling, better seating, and guest management technology, and even silent conferences – multiple speakers in the same space, with attendees given special headphones to listen to one or the other at will.

5). Listen to the Music

Another trend is a very intentional blurring of the lines between consumer festivals on the one hand, and corporate events on the other – and this includes music festivals.

If incorporating a music festival into your event sounds far-fetched, consider Forbes’ Under 30 Summit, which does exactly this: attendees can network during performances by the likes of Marshmello or Wiz Khalifa.


Event planning is evolving rapidly in 2019, and the future is one of increasing personalization, business and leisure, demand for face-to-face time, and music.

In essence, the events of tomorrow will be more personalized and more fun. That could be something to celebrate as you plan your next event.

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