It’s that time of the year. The season of joy and celebration, or as event planners know it as overtime work.

You get busy arranging flowers and throwing glitters throughout the year-end.

But after the confetti settles, you find yourself staring at your event playbook and wondering “What now? What has not been done in 2018? What could make 2019 lit?” Well, great minds think ahead, and we’ve got these pointers to get you started.

Event trend watch 

Spoiler alert: technology is going to be a bigger buzzword in event marketing and planning.

A survey with 400 mid and senior level event marketers from around the globe indicated that 86 percent of event marketers bet on technology to create a major impact in the success of their events.

But, more technology doesn’t mean less interaction.

The same survey showed that 91 percent of over-performing businesses place a greater emphasis on live events as a marketing channel than under-performing businesses or businesses that are performing as expected.

The big quest for 2019 is set on harnessing the power of technology to create more buzz and interaction during events.

3 Trends We Need to Say Goodbye to

As our target audience gets more comfortable with the speed and convenience of using tech to do just about anything, from grocery shopping to finding future spouse to confirming appointments, it’s time for you to purge that playbook and swipe left to these practices:

01) One-for-all marketing

You’re always pressed for time leading up to the event and during the event, so setting everything up for auto-posting, and using the same caption and pictures for all platforms seems to make sense.

While this tactic is easier to execute, it isn’t as effective in reaching out to your audience.

Here’s why…

Each social media platform serves different functions and has different user demographics. Facebook, for instance, is perfect for photo sharing and pushing longer, corporate messages.

But, when you move to Instagram, where the crowd craves for aesthetics and speaks the language of #candid #blessed #goals, your corporate message can be a #bummer.

The point of tuning into social media is to find out what’s happening right now. Posting generic, pre-event messages will not be as eye-catching as letting people know what’s happening on the fly.

You can keep your corporate messages and publish pre-approved posts on social media, but they should not be your main content.

Have some room for more candid posts. They don’t always come out perfect and that’s okay, because what could better capture the hype of the event than a shaky Instagram story taken in the middle of cheering crowd during a performance or prize announcement?

02) Perfectly manicured events

Receiving a booklet containing minute-by-minute itinerary and seating arrangement is enough of a buzzkill.

Now, top it off with museum-like venue set-up with hanging chandelier and ice sculpture on the dessert table complete with ‘do not touch’ stickers all over, you may have turned your event into a snooze fest before it even begins.

We get it, agenda is important, and a beautifully decorated space is necessary to convey class and professionalism.

But, it’s easy to go overboard with these things. You may be obsessing over the little details in the décor or ensuring that every segment of the event starts and ends on the dot, you forget the number one rule of event organising: letting the attendees enjoy the moment instead of finding a moment to leave.

03) Not-so-candid photo booth

It started out fun and novel, but quickly became old and predictable when you keep seeing it in every event you attend from career fair to wedding.

This is not to discount the power of photo booth.

Memories captured with friends celebrating certain milestones in their lives or those you have just met in the conference are great souvenirs.

It’s the lack of surprise elements that takes some points off, unless you are willing to splurge on multiple photo booths with different backdrops.

It doesn’t do much to capture the zest of your event when every photo posted by guests is taken from the same angle, with the same backdrop, using the same mustache, speech bubble or unicorn horns props.

 

What’s up 2019?

Some of the things listed above may be a staple in your game and you’re thinking “What choice do I have?”

Well, keep scrolling, because you’re about to up your game in 2019.

AR (Augmented Reality)

Most people are familiar with Augmented Reality from Snapchat’s popular filters that innovated the selfie world. We also saw this same technology used in the massive hit Pokémon GO app. We’re still only witnessing the very beginning of AR in technology and the roles it will play in event engagement and marketing.

Event planners should care because it’s about augmenting the experience of attendees and increase engagement on a deeper level. For example, by adding directions or rich contextual data across the event space. Virtual display of products, such as cars or machinery can decrease the need for large event spaces.

Impressius is bringing Snapchat-like “face filters” to their popular instant photo printing service. The advantage is that the filters can be customized to the brand environment, integrating custom objects such as hats with the company logo, sunglasses or whatever the company’s product is about. The approach combines the power of memories shared online and offline with the effectiveness of integrated branding in photo filters.

Brands that reach prospects in new ways tend to receive larger returns on investment from the excitement of new technology.

Be apt. Bring out the app.

Event apps are not so much a bandwagon as it is a jet plane that will carry you event planning and marketing game through the roof.

There are various event apps with wicked functions that you can choose to incorporate into your event.

There’s an app that facilitates networking by allowing all attendees to receive limited information on who is attending the event, requesting meeting, and connecting without having to carry stacks of business cards around.

You can also include sponsors in the app and with one click, event participants can explore the brand.

Also, gone are the days when event organisers must wake up with sore throats from screaming too much into the microphone making announcement. Now, there is an app for that.

You can send notifications to attendees and collate their feedback in real time.

Event apps are not just about business, it can be used to have fun too.

Revamping event photography, companies like Impressius allow event participants to snap a photo and print it in real time simply by tagging on social media – no app download required. Instead of queuing at photo booths to get one photo with your friends or colleagues, you can know take the photo anytime, anywhere, and as many times as you want to.

To top it off, you will be able to accurately measure the online buzz generated from your attendees after the event.

Free and easy

Having an open-floor plan for the office may be debatable, but for an event, it is perfect. Professional event planners are starting to opt for venues that will allow more collaboration and networking during the event.

They are replacing lecture hall style seating with ‘fireside chat’ seating arrangement and movable walls.

The goal is to allow attendees to chat and exchange ideas comfortably. Think more of a meetup with a bunch of like-minded individuals over coffee and less of a presentation to your boss when it comes to organizing conference of the future.

About 87 percent of planners agreed on the importance of collaborative meeting spaces, up 7% from last year. 2019 expects to see networking be the event instead of part of an event.

A venue like no other

More companies are seeking unique venues and ways to make their meetings or conferences more memorable. The reason is simple: having your attendants coming to the event uninspired and jaded will defeat your event before it starts.

So, many companies start to include more surprises in their otherwise routine meeting to keep their employees engaged.

Conducting meetings in a fitness club where participants can then join classes and binge on smoothies is gaining popularity. There are even more out-of-the box method, such as keeping the venue secret, giving only clues and dress codes to attendees.

Venuerific is one place you can look to rent memorable venues and event spaces that are such a visual delight.

The theme of 2019 is breaking the rules. With advanced technology and apps at our disposal, it is a great time for event marketers and planners to explore ideas. Things that you may consider non-doable before could be possible today.