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Event Trends to Watch Out for in 2019

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Part 1 and Part 2 originally featured on MPI Toronto Chapter December 2018.


It’s hard to believe that 2019 is here. I mean, didn’t it just turn 2018? Regardless of how fast time seems to be moving, as event professionals it’s our job to stay on top of the trends and matters that effect how we plan, manage, and execute events for our clients. In this two-part blog series, find out what event trends you should be keeping up with in 2019:

Technology Integration

Of course, technology is nothing new to events. Over the past several years we have witnessed new technologies pushing their way into every aspect of meetings and events. However, one thing attendees are getting increasingly critical of is the integration of technology in the events they attend and how they interact with it. Attendees expect technology to enhance their event experience at every step; from the ease of registration, to navigating the venue, to consuming content and sessions, all the way to the end of the event.

Facial recognition check-in systems, such as zenus, are the “hot” new way to run registration at events. With this technology now being used by airports and on the new Apple iPhone, people are becoming more comfortable with the idea of using this type of technology. Not only does it set a “wow” factor for your event, but it makes registration a breeze by eliminating the need for numerous on-site event staff to dig through registrations lists and locate a name badge among hundreds of others and allows your guests more time at your event, networking and talking with sponsors. Chatbots are also a great way to enhance your attendee’s experience, while also decreasing the amount of time that staff spend answering questions. Chatbots can be programmed to answer a variety of questions about every stage of the event, creating a seamless experience for your attendees.

Embracing new technologies is crucial to remaining competitive in such a saturated event industry and can help make your event run more efficiently.

Security Measures

With more and more security breaches and attacks happening almost on the daily, it is more important than ever for event organizers to make security measures a calculated part of their event plan rather than an after-thought. Security is more than just having security guards and the right insurance documents. Other things to consider for your next event are to:

  • Implement increased cyber security measures to protect your attendees’ private information from being illegally hacked or distributed;
  • Coordinate with local law enforcement to properly monitor and respond to any incidents that may happen;
  • Have medical staff and supplies on-site or on call;
  • Use technology such as remote security solutions that can provide a 360-degree view of events of all sizes, as well as real-time alerts of potential problems; and
  • Develop a comprehensive risk and security plan that all event staff are briefed on to minimize risk.

With so many people in one place at your event, you can never be too careful. Minimize risk wherever and whenever possible at your event and have safety top-of-mind from the planning stage all the way to execution.

Sustainable Events

While creating more sustainable events is usually driven by event planners, more and more attendees are becoming increasingly conscious of the impact that events have on the environment and expect organizations who are hosting these events to be environmentally friendly. Making your event “green” does not to be a huge feat; start with a few of these basics below.

The science of event planning is determining the right amount of food. Having too much, or not enough, is every event planner’s nightmare. A place like Second Harvest is a great service to utilize when you over estimate the amount of food your event needed. It is the largest food rescue organization in Canada and their mission is to rescue and deliver fresh, surplus food to feed people experiencing hunger. It’s quite simple: at no cost to you Second Harvest manages the logistics of transporting and redistributing the surplus food. And in considering risk, every customer is protected by provincial legislation, such as Ontario’s Donation of Food Act, 1994, when food is donated in good faith. Check out their Food Donor Package here to learn more.

Another great way to reduce your event’s carbon footprint is to use compostable cutlery and dinnerware in replace of plastic or paper materials, which will inevitably end up in a landfill. A company that can help with this is Greenmunch whose compostable cutlery is strong, heat tolerant, is made from a plant based plastic, and meets standards for composting. Your event attendees will appreciate the lengths you are willing to go to ensure a healthier planet.

Other small ways to increasingly make your event “greener” can include making a concerted effort to limit the amount of printed materials you provide and utilize during the event. Use digital signage instead of poster boards and really lean into your event app (if you have one) to build out your schedule and program to move away from the redundant printed program. And of course, reuse and recycle by providing recycling bins in numerous locations of the venue and reusing the name badges.

Unique Venues

As event professionals, not only can it be – dare I say “boring” – to plan events at the same old venues year after year, but attendees also want to experience new spaces. Long gone are the days of automatically considering hosting your event at a convention centre or hotel venue. What makes attending events so special is that it is an experience and there is no better canvas to utilize to create this great experience than a unique venue. So, next time you can switch up the venue of your event, consider moving it to a non-conventional event space and allow your creative juices to flow with all the new possibilities it opens for you. From decorating, to unique sponsor activations, to food stations, to room configurations, the list goes on. Of course, there is no shortage of unique venue spaces in Toronto, with new ones popping up frequently, but just to name a few check out the below venues to take your event to the next level:

No matter what industry you operate in, it is surely greatly impacted by many social, political, and economic events. Each year we must learn to be flexible and adapt to the many challenges and issues that arise. If you are proactive and not reactive in mitigating these changes, you and your event will be just fine. I mean, they don’t call us “planners” for nothing. Use our comment box below to share other event trends we should look out for in 2019!

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