As well as working at Event Experts I’m also very happy to be a part time lecturer on an event management degree course at BIMM in Brighton. And last week I had a cracking session with the students looking at event trends for 2017.
Bearing in mind these are the event planners of the future, and highly likely to have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to new technology and developments, I thought it would be fascinating to see what their take on the future of event content would be. Some of it was a total surprise to me, but kind of made sense, and some of the predictions were similar to my own. But anyway, here’s a run-down of the salient points, and thanks to my lovely students for their input!
6 EVENT TRENDS FOR 2017
1. Tech backlash – face to face returns
For the past few years the big buzz has been about tech in events, with emphasis on hybrid and virtual linkups and broadcasts, and online meetings replacing real meetings. There now seems to be a trend towards getting back to basics and meeting people face to face. The change here is in the realness of the experience. The students felt that simple things like a handshake or looking people in the eye was vital for good relationships and that virtual connection could not offer that. And as we become increasingly isolated in our day to day working conditions, the opportunity to meet co-workers or associates in person was really important.
2. Outdoor events – getting back to nature/reconnecting
As overcrowding and urbanisation continues to prevail, outdoor events will become more and more popular. Especially those that offer a chance to ‘get away from it all’. These include events like teambuilding weekends at outdoor adventure centres, personalised festival and outdoor party products, and a chance to camp or eat outdoors. Bear Grylls type survival events could become more popular too, with a chance to forage and make shelters etc.
3. Wellbeing events
‘Mindfulness’ being the key buzzword here, we predicted that events which offer a wellbeing angle are set to grow in popularity over the next few years. The Health & Wellness industry in the UK alone is estimated at a market value of £25 billion and the trend is upwards. Emphasis here is placed on events that support the workplace; mindfulness events such as retreats, or team building that offers wellness options such as yoga or meditation for corporate groups will be popular. Also exhibitions and trade shows with wellness practitioners of all types look set to grow exponentially as desire to attend continues to rise.
4. Even more food events – popups, experiential etc
Ironically, the greater we become distanced from ‘real food’ and the less people cook for themselves, the more popular food-related events and activities seem to become. 2017 is likely to see a continued rise in foodie events such as popup restaurants and temporary party venues, but also experiential food events such as cooking workshops will maintain growth. The evolution of micro businesses such as independent urban gin distilleries and small breweries offer an opportunity for groups to make their own products and this ‘hands on’ approach is appealing to busy people who don’t normally work with food, or even cook meals.
5. Longer or medium term popups and temporary structures
If we had a quid for every client who has asked for ‘something different’ we could probably retire by now. But popups offer an opportunity to give your clients just that. What was an urban wasteland or a grotty railway arch becomes a vibrant party space, for example, and longer term spaces are set to trend. Not just a brief appearance, the longer term popup could be in place for a summer, or a year. Just long enough to be hip, then close again!
6. Less alcohol and even ‘free from’ events
Finally – and I’m going to have to take the word of my twenty-something students – alcohol-free is a trend. There’s growth in ‘clean’ events and products such as alcohol-free spirits to make cocktails with, and a surprising proportion of my two groups thought that alcohol-free events were going to have their day soon. This might also be linked to the growth in religious groups that eschew alcohol. Anyway, I’m putting this out there because a) I think they might be on to something, and b) I’d actually like to see this happen – for health and sanity reasons! Have you ever marshaled a large group of drunk adults?!
So there you go. Hot from the rapier-like minds of my event management students. Do you agree with these trends? Leave a comment below, or if you fancy getting us to do an event for you based on the new trends next year, you can always get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy New Year