event planning audience
September 9, 2019

Seven Trends That Are Pushing the Boundaries of Corporate Events

Everyone wants their event to leave a positive lasting impression on their attendees. But with tools like augmented reality, creative event staging, and influencer involvement, companies that strive to make their corporate event stand out may risk losing their message.

Whether you’re about to open your 2019 event or you’re already looking ahead to 2020, these trends are shaking up how companies are interacting with attendees and can show off their focus on innovation while also staying on brand.

Create Engaging Event Staging

The easiest way to grab attendees’ attention is to disrupt their expectations with innovative event staging. How many times have you been to a conference or corporate event where check-in is located in the hallway outside a hotel ballroom and then you all sit facing a square screen? With the use of innovative event staging, you can offer interactive break-out sessions and unique design for networking events that inspire conversation and interaction.

Great event staging naturally encourages people to come together, whether it’s in a corporate event space or an unexpected venue. More and more, companies are seeking out venues beyond the ballroom to host leadership customer conferences, sales kickoffs, and other corporate events. Communal workspaces, private lofts, and other non-traditional business settings are getting employees out of the office, out of their comfort zone, and thinking about their company in a new way.

This could include staging your event’s breakout sessions in pods of couches or providing lunch at large communal tables to foster conversation. Whatever the venue, don’t forget to create a space for fun. Gaming stations, pool tables, and idea walls encourage the kind of impromptu team building and informal conversations that are valuable to your company.

Make It an Event With Meaning

Companies today understand that to attract and encourage millennial workers, they need to foster an environment where employees feel they can make a difference. There’s no better place to make this a focus than during a corporate event. Employees will inevitably be inspired when they come together aligned under one goal, and giving them a chance to be part of the solution, whether by signing up for future volunteer opportunities or engaging directly with a global humanitarian initiative, will leave them with a positive impression of the event and your company. A great example of how to empower employees to give back at your event is the Samsung Global Goals app. Through this app attendees can learn about and donate to 17 goals aimed at eliminating hunger, fighting inequality, and cleaning up the planet.

Unique Virtual Experiences for Remote Guests

Despite your best efforts to schedule an event that’s well-timed, scheduling conflicts, funds, and other issues can prevent team members from attending in person. Why not offer some engaging opportunities to attend online?

Companies are using tools like virtual meet-ups and 360-degree video to create a truly interactive experience for people attending remotely. Get people more involved in between sessions by enlisting industry influencers to provide commentary and prompt online conversation. Offer virtual-only tracks where remote attendees can access exclusive meetups and roundtable discussions. By offering innovative, original content to those who are attending remotely, they’re not just passively watching sessions, but are involved in a higher level of engagement

Offer a Place to Recharge

And we don’t just mean your laptop or iPhone. Between the team-building exercises, networking, and learning sessions, corporate event attendees can get burnt out fast. Companies are finding that attendees are staying later and engaging longer when they have a quiet place to enjoy a cup of coffee, send some emails back home, or even meditate.

When planning your event floor plan, carve out quiet spaces, whether a separate room or a low-traffic area on the conference floor, to allow attendees a place to sit quietly, stretch, and mentally regroup.

Rethink Your Menu

Let’s be honest. You are far more likely to get people excited about your event if attendees know there will be something tasty to eat there. , event planners are heeding the call and clean eating and grain-free diets are making the pastries and coffee breakfast buffet a thing of the past. A survey by the Professional Convention Management Association’s magazine “Convene” found that 86% said dietary requests are “growing” or “growing significantly,” while 8% categorized the growth as “explosive.” For today’s event attendees, fresh fruits and vegetables are expected, as are gluten-free, vegetarian, and low-carb options.

Make the most of the eat-local trend by sourcing food from nearby farms, bakeries, and breweries. Create a sense of place by offering culinary specialties of the city you’re in, and stage the dining areas to foster mingling and snacking instead of parking in one place for the entire meal.

Facial Recognition Tools Are Here

Apple blew the doors off of the mobile device industry with its iPhone facial recognition software, and companies are now experimenting with that tech in a wide range of business and consumer applications.

Facial recognition software is already being used to check people into hotels in China, and companies in the United States are already seeing the potential for increased security and a more personalized user experience. When it comes to events and registration, companies like Expo Logic allow attendees to check in simply by looking into a tablet.

This emerging technology has immense potential to customize and personalize your corporate event experience, from improving social media reach by tagging attendees to spotting people who may be on a security list.

Let Attendees Use Their Voice

Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s Siri, and other voice recognition tech is not only changing the way consumers use home appliances and gadgets, it’s also making events easier to navigate.

Companies are now able to create voice-activated chatbots people can use to go over their event schedule, sign up for break-out sessions, or complete an exit survey. They can be used to address common questions, like “where’s the bathroom?” or become a fun interface for planning next steps, finding a vendor on the conference floor, and making the most out of your event.

High-tech tools like virtual meet-up and voice and facial recognition are just some of the innovations companies are using to increase engagement at their next corporate event. Not only are they relying on tech, but by setting the event stage to encourage engagement and new ways of thinking, companies are able to leave a positive, lasting impression on those who attend.

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