Shifting consumer habits, advancements in technology, and even changes in government regulations can all have a significant impact on the events industry. If these factors aren’t dictating the event trends we’ll be seeing in 2019, then the preferences of our millennial and generation Z customers certainly will! As a festival or event organizer, it’s important to remain aware of event industry trends. While not every trend will pertain to every event, some may have implications for your specific audience. Perhaps more importantly, changing trends provide us with inspiration and an opportunity to breathe new life into our events.
To help navigate the ever-changing event landscape, we invited Vancouver’s Eugenia Gorkowa of EG Event Productions to share some predictions for 2019 in a guest blog post. Though there may be many changes on the horizon, Eugenia was able to narrow them down to 8 top event industry trends for this year.
Before we jump into 2019 event trends, let’s get to know our guest author a little better.
Born in Russia and raised in Germany, Eugenia is an accomplished event planner/producer who has built a name for herself and her company EG Event Productions in Canada. Eugenia has over ten years experience engineering large scale events. In the past Eugenia has worked with the CFL (BC Lions), Live Nation (AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses), Marketplace Events (Vancouver Home + Design Show), Contact Music Festival, FIFA, and the Vancouver Film industry.
Eugenia’s past experience with hospitality and promotion at the Bell MTS Centre in Winnipeg and BC Place Stadium in Vancouver has fuelled her passion for events and people, resulting in close relationships with vendors and venue contacts across Canada. Her organizational abilities, attention to detail, concept design expertise, and ceaseless enthusiasm have earned her a reputation for unparalleled excellence as an event planner and producer.
In her spare time, Eugenia loves to read, travel, watch hockey and hike.
“In an era of shifting technologies and increased automation, the ever-changing industry of event management is not immune. With crowds looking to be wowed, the pressure for marketing tools to hit multiple platforms – getting the most bang for your buck – is on.
While there are some evergreens in the event marketing toolbox – such as the behavioural analysis of event attendees, meticulous budgeting, and planning in advance – 2019 brings with it the promise of ambitious communication, in-depth data exploration, and smoother mechanization.
This trend will be the use of technologies such as apps, beacons and smart mats to measure traffic data. This action is cost-effective, allowing to better determine users’ interests, pick out the most popular exhibitors and optimize the floor plan. With this information, you can invite those partners and exhibitors who will attract crowds most consistent with your data. You can also negotiate a higher cost for this custom tailored service based on hard facts.
Facial recognition technology gets more and more accurate by the year. It’s convenient for the end-user, allowing easy and seamless integration with your event registration. Thanks to new smartphones, people are now familiar and more comfortable with the technology since it’s a part of their everyday lives.
This year we’ll see further integration between facial recognition software and AI. Chatbots, for example, could “look” at a face and customize its responses based on that person’s data. For example, it can take on a more comforting tone for distressed users or wait to respond if the person looks like they are thinking.
Facial recognition technology can also measure the temperament and behaviour of entire crowds, using software to identify emotions that track facial expression. This ties into your real-time metrics, another 2019 trend, allowing you to control the mood of your event as it unfolds.
Aside from scanning crowds, you can equip survey kiosks and apps so they can evaluate a user’s facial expression as it takes answers, adding context to the entries. Analysts can then confirm trends in the survey answers versus the moods exhibited by the users, whether they were satisfied with the event or not.
We continuously emphasize event safety, as larger crowds can at times be a target. When planning an event, take a lot of time to plan the event security. It should be strengthened without being alarming for the participants. Give up dressing security guards in uniforms and putting them near the door. Instead, dress them up like normal event guests and put them in the lecture halls and the main hall so that they get mixed up in the crowd. This requires a bit more planning, but it will ensure a good night’s sleep for you and your team.
Another good practice is communicating the safety risks before the event, so the participants can make proper preparations. Use multiple channels, such as email and event apps, so everybody gets the notice, and send regular updates if anything changes. Also, make sure they know what procedures they should follow if things go sideways. Keep this information always up to date with a real-time communication tool such as walkie-talkies or cell phones.
Augmented reality allows each smartphone owner to enter a new dimension of experiencing the world around them. One of the hottest event trends in 2019 will be the adaptation of this technology during events. It will not only attract interested participants, but also encourage sponsors to reach deeper into their pockets. Augmented reality will allow you to entangle the sponsor’s offer in an event story in an interesting way.
For example, check how Google uses AR in the Maps app. The app can show places where users can interact with sponsors, or display their products in action.
The industry has spoiled attendees with more pretentious and exotic venues. Currently, participants expect an unusual twist when it comes to the location of the event. The use of unconventional venues is beginning to be one of the most important current trends in event planning. Salt cathedrals, closed metro stations, and museums make for stunning backdrops for your marketing activities. The more a venue draws awareness by participants and sponsors, the greater the chance that you achieve your marketing goal. Regardless of your choice, make sure that the attendees can easily navigate through the venue. Choose a mobile application that will give everyone access to the venue map, preferably interactive.
What’s the first thing that really holds your attendees’ attention while in your event? The stage, of course! Modern imagery techniques such as 3D projection and the creative use of lighting will remain in the spotlight this 2019. But this doesn’t mean old staples will be nudged out. Foam letters and cardboard backdrops are still effective when you want something eye-popping on the cheap.
Expect more clear-cut themes, which will in turn influence stage design. The ideal stage design is one that engages the senses, not just the eyes. Of course, the design should clearly reflect your stated goals for the event.
For example, you can incorporate modular stages into your event, mixing and matching them to match the mood or theme of the presentation. Aside from this, you can also use colour and lighting to reinforce themes, changing the lighting to match the topic of the session.
We all fell in love with sushi and buddha bowls, but now comes the time of local flavours. Seasonal food, bred and provided by local farmers and entrepreneurs, will be the trendiest ‘accessory’ for your event.
The event industry has been hyping AI for years, but now it’s part of many people’s everyday lives. While most of us still don’t have robot dogs or fully conversant refrigerators, we are familiar with digital assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Now. Using a type of AI called “machine learning”, these smartphone helpers only get better and better at serving you over time.
Progressive event organizers are now starting to use AI for things like chatbots, which can answer basic attendee questions swiftly through an event app, or even before your event through platforms like Facebook Messenger.
Similarly, an AI matchmaking engine can interpret data that attendees have already synced with your event app from social media profiles like LinkedIn and Facebook. Using that data, it can make recommendations that would best suit an attendee’s interests. This application might be interesting if you’re planning a speed dating night!”
– Eugenia Gorkowa
If there’s one clear takeaway from Eugenia’s predictions, it’s that event tech will be king in 2019. Whether it’s improving accuracy of event data, creating next-level sponsorship opportunities, or helping us tailor the event experience, technology is quickly becoming integral to the events industry.
Though some of these technologies have existed for some time, attendees are becoming increasingly comfortable with the convergence of technology and live events. This makes implementation more viable than ever before. Event organizers are also finding new and creative applications for technology. We’re seeing more of them leveraging tech to create unique and personalized experiences for their attendees. What a great way to build a loyal audience!
Looking for more inspiration? Check out our recent 2019 Event Trends blog post, which features predictions from other Canadian festival and event experts.
We’re here to answer any questions you may have.