Back in March, we spoke about event trends that we were loving. Previously novel ideas have become more mainstream. Crowdsourcing has become the rule, resulting in highly engaging events. Venues have moved away from stadiums and convention centers, and into pop-up spaces and other non-traditional locations.

Now, we talk about event trends we’ve seen spring up time and again in 2018. Here are 5 event trends that are dominating.

Event Engagement

1. Going All Out with Engagement

Of course, the core of any event still lies with the message it delivers. It all depends on how well the event engages its audience in order to drive its message home.

While we’re definitely still seeing some high-definition mixed reality experiences, we’re also seeing more events that deliver a holistic experience by engaging all the five senses. Audio and video are staples when it comes to this, but have you ever been to an event that really engaged your sense of smell or taste? In fact, a well-crafted multi-sensory event can provoke interest before, during, and even after an event.

These are just some of the creative possibilities that can help activate all of your senses during an event:

  • Immerse the participants in the smell of the products being endorsed, using scent-generating machines or simply by amplifying the scent of the product.
  • Add more hands-on displays that encourage the sense of touch.
  • Promote audience alertness by creating multi-sensory recreation in between sessions.
  • Take time to select and integrate textures, scents, mood-setting soundtracks, and visual techniques when planning events.
  • Integrate creative spaces within event venues to better engage the senses and stimulate discussion during an event.
Virtual Reality

2. Virtual Attendees Get More Love

Virtual reality is here to stay but that doesn’t just mean taking event goers to other dimensions. It also means taking others outside the event and getting them to engage as if they were actually part of it in person.

First off, it’s important to define what virtual reality (VR) is in comparison with augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality. Virtual reality is a simulation of a real-life environment, focusing on stimulating the vision and hearing. Augmented reality, on the other hand, anchors these computer-generated images on a real-life object, allowing one to experience the two simultaneously (think Snapchat filters). Finally, mixed reality combines both VR and AR for maximum impact.

Of the three, VR is the easiest to implement. Virtual reality is something anyone with a mobile device can experience. You can use it for marketing and promotions like virtual tours, or product demos, to using it to create an entire virtual experience such as a game.

But one of the most powerful uses of VR is letting people, both speakers, and attendees, to break the barriers of time and distance.

Some VR trends we’re seeing an increasing of in 2018:

  • Allow virtual speakers to take the stage. While we already do this to some extent with screens, a 3D visualization adds a certain depth to the speaker’s virtual presence.
  • Create virtual meeting places and let virtual attendees actively participate in discussions and the event journey.
  • Host digital hangouts that add a new dimension to networking and interaction. These hangouts can be accessed at any time during the event to engage other participants, speakers, and virtual audiences right from your device.
Event Space

3. Unique Venues Make Bold and Memorable Statements

Forever gone are the days when events were confined to four walls. Conventional layouts still do exist, such as theaters and ballrooms, and they’re still great for lecture-heavy conferences and workshops. However, these aren’t what you would want for your upcoming events if you don’t want to give your audience a single opportunity to get bored.

Instead, take advantage of unique event layouts and venues, such as cabaret-style locations that foster interaction while giving everyone the space they need. If you need everyone to be close to both each other and a central demo or entertainment, you can also arrange the seats in a herringbone arrangement. Different layouts can serve different purposes as needed by your event.

The 2018 event trends also dictate that the venue itself should reflect the personality, values, and statements of the event. A company with an eco-friendly image would not want to hold an event in an industrial setting, for example. In the same way, a fashion-forward brand would not want to use a common convention center as its event locale.

Ideally, venues should also make an impression immediately, even before one sets foot in the location. These are those venues that integrate an experiential aspect to events. These include unique places like castles and museums.

Custom Events

4. Customization Creates Personalized Event Experiences

Events now use tech to gather attendee preferences and discern patterns in activity, letting organizers create a curated experience that ensures maximum impact and engagement for each participant.

Customization also means allowing event participants to direct not just their own journey but also change the event as a whole. Event apps can be used to send questions and prompts, giving the audience the power to influence what happens next.

Here are a few things we are seeing:

  • Venues contain more interactive items, from the basic photo walls to digital displays that are influenced by attendee participation. Look forward to more Tweet walls, LED displays, crowd-responsive lighting, and so on.
  • Customization also gives way to comfort, with lounges and various amenities that offer a myriad of activities becoming a common sight in future events.

5. Drone Video On The Rise

With drone and high-quality video technologies getting cheaper, savvy properties and planners are adding drone video to the experiences. You might say it’s an event trend that’s really taking off.

Wow attendees by streaming live feeds of outdoor events on the screens they’re watching. Nothing excites a crowd more than seeing itself! Plus, after the event, you’ll have the perfect footage to create an amazing post-event video or sizzle reel you can use as an engaging marketing asset.

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