2020 Event Trends: 7 Predictions For Next Year

If you compare major business events and conferences from history to the modern-day, you’ll notice some pretty obvious changes in the way things are done.

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If you compare major business events and conferences from history to the modern-day, you’ll notice some pretty obvious changes in the way things are done.


2020 Event Trends: 7 Predictions For Next Year

If you compare major business events and conferences from history to the modern-day, you’ll notice some pretty obvious changes in the way things are done.

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The World Fair of the industrial era, for example, featured very different exhibitions and showcases to the modern iteration. And when you think about legendary events like the unveiling of the original iPhone by Steve Jobs, it conjures a very different image to Microsoft's first-ever TechEd conference back in 1993, which announced the now-primitive Windows 3.1.

To put it simply, events like these always change the way material is presented and audiences are engaged. They adapt to developments in both society and culture, as well as business and technology. But why invest in such change? 

Well, it’s because business events aren't recreational — they have a goal. It doesn’t matter whether it is to sell, educate or inspire — there is a purpose to their existence. As a result, organisers are always looking to optimise success rates and get the most out of events and conferences.

This means moving with the times and taking advantage of new ideas. In 2020, this will be no different. Effective event management needs to be all about meeting current trends. But what are these trends? 

  1. Sustainable Practice

Environmentalism is starting to have a huge impact on the way people interact with businesses and organisations. 86% of people expect brands to take action on environmental issues and support sustainable practices, and that includes event organisers.

The result is that people are not willing to attend events that aren't working towards a brighter future for our planet. At the very least, they are far more driven and excited to participate in those that do. 

Event organisers are going to have to adapt to expectations in 2020, to encourage better attendance rates and avoid backlash from sustainable practices. They will move towards more sustainable management practices at conferences and shows.

Next year's trends will see changes like reduction in plastics used on-site, resources for events obtained from renewable and sustainable sources and reductions in carbon footprints. 2020’s events will also involve bigger and more substantial collaborations with environmentally-friendly brands.

  1. Hands-on Experience

In 2020, immersion is going to be key to successful events. Delegates have higher standards for events than they used to. They want to take as much away from their attendance at shows and conferences as possible.

Delegates are looking to get hands-on with what’s on offer. Interactive experiences are going to dominate the event landscape next year. So making sure attendees are engaging with the information offered is something organisers will be focusing on in 2020. 

So, we can expect to see more direct involvement from delegates, with hands-on demonstrations, workshops, live events and 1-2-1 sessions increasing in demand. A push towards interactivity will also mean we’ll see changes in the types of event spaces organisers use.

Venues that offer the support of integrated technology, private rooms and broken up areas allowing for more personal and immersive experiences are likely to become much more prevalent in 2020.

  1. Digitisation of Events

It’s impossible to ignore the rise of digital media in the event industry. Innovations in technology are transforming the way people interacted with shows and conferences. Of particular note is live streaming.

Many of the biggest events are seeing massive drives in interest now speakers and demonstrators can be watched live from anywhere in the world. This increased accessibility not only introduces the ability to get more eyes on events but boosts marketing efforts and supports new opportunities for organisers to secure revenue

Other technological advances, like virtual and augmented reality, are also providing new ways for delegates to interact with events, and businesses to engage with their audience. With digital technology providing so many benefits for conferences and shows, we’re all but guaranteed to see its use increasing in 2020.

  1. Popular Locations Will Start to Shift

Location has always been an important factor when it comes to events. Major cities like London, New York and Singapore often dominate the world conference scene. However, times are changing. New economies are developing rapidly, especially on continents like Africa and Asia.

Locally, there are also big shifts as cities such as Birmingham and Bristol begin to rival London for business opportunities. 

Whether it’s domestic or global, it doesn’t matter. In 2020 event locations will see change as dynamic new venues start to pop up in economic hubs previously not considered strong contenders.

As the landscape develops, new opportunities open up for shows and conferences, leading us to changes in where we’ll be seeing events take place.

  1. Drive Towards Social Elements

There is a strange contradiction currently affecting the modern workplace. We live in the age of connectivity, where almost everyone on the planet is just one tap away.

Yet most workers are feeling more disengaged from the social elements of working than ever before. The rise of digital technology and remote work has left many feeling disconnected from their colleagues and clients. 

As a result, conferences and events have become an important social aspect within the working environment. For many, this becomes not only a crucial time to engage with other businesses, clients and peers, but also to socialise with them and build relationships.

With a drive towards social interaction at events comes an increase in popularity in the elements and features that enable such connections. Expect to see more social engagement factors involved in events in 2020, such as aftershow gatherings, meeting rooms and recreational activities.

  1. Diversification of Opinions

A recent survey seeking insight from conference attendees discovered that variance in speech execution is currently the most engaging aspect of any event.

The survey results show a shift towards a desire to absorb new ideas and ways of thinking. Conference attendees seek enrichment and discovery when it comes to talks, seminars and keynotes. Their ultimate goal is to walk away with a newfound understanding of something, or a piece of knowledge they couldn’t have obtained elsewhere. 

2020 is set to be the year of new opinions and voices on the conference circuit, to accommodate this increased drive for outside-the-box thinking. Attendees want to hear differing viewpoints, ideas that contrast with their way of thinking, and even controversial concepts. They aren't attending events to sit through talks on subjects they already fully understand. Attendees want to attend thought-provoking talks. 

  1. Non-Traditional Event Space

Business events are nothing new; they’ve been a staple of many industries for decades. With that in mind, delegates are becoming used to the typical conference venue settings that are being offered up by brands and organisers.

Generic venues, however, do not support the optimal experience for attendees. They don’t inspire a sense of excitement, interest or engagement. Nor are they memorable or worth creating a buzz about. Essentially, we’re experiencing venue fatigue. 

To combat the problem, many of the most hotly anticipated 2020 events are moving away from typical settings. Unusual venues like outdoor spaces, castles, museums and boats are all becoming highly sought after spaces for conferences events.

Organisers hope to create a more enthralling and captivating experience for event delegates by bringing personality to shows and conferences. Ultimately, they want to provide an experience that is more rewarding and beneficial for all. 

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2020 Event Trends: 7 Predictions For Next Year

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