Event Trends You Need to Know for 2020

ITA Group
ITA Group


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The global pandemic has radically upended the trends that shape the current and future event industry. While we wrote about some of these trends at the end of 2019, many have been drastically shifted by coronavirus disruption while others are brand new. Take a look at what we see trending in events as we near the end of the year.

Virtual & Hybrid Events Are Here to Stay

Perhaps the biggest shift the event industry has seen over the past few months is the shift from in-person events to virtual ones. As cities and countries begin to open up their economies, events are being re-scheduled. While most face-to-face events won’t likely return until 2021, a lasting trend of COVID-19 will be an increasing popularity in hybrid events. When those who can’t attend physically have the option to participate virtually, that results in greater outreach and more attendees at lower costs.

Custom Kits Delivered Straight to Attendees’ Door

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Health Risk Mitigation More Important Than Ever

Health and wellness have been major trends in the event industry for some time now. From an increase in physical activities available to a focus on healthy food options, mindfulness and getting good sleep, health has been an important factor at events for years. COVID-19 amplified this focus on mitigating health risks as much as possible. Sanitation practices have become standard, venues are limiting capacity, food is pre-packaged and masks are worn to ensure the health and safety of staff and guests alike. There has also been a surge in mindfulness practices and exercises as people try to cope with the stress and anxiety caused by COVID-19.

Spread Out Your Event & Attendees

The best practice is to keep people apart, but events exist to bring people together.

The way to reconcile this is by concentrating on density. Whether you achieve this by lowering your headcount or scaling up your venue, you need to keep attendee density down to avoid the risk of spreading the virus.

This focus on intimate experiences lines up for what the future of events might look like, including more small- and mid-size events structured as a ‘tour’ of a continent, country or geographical region. Having a variety of smaller group events rather than one large one would also allow you deliver impactful and intimate events.

Sustainability Is Still Important

Sustainability has been trending as an important issue for years and planners have historically incorporated sustainable practices into almost every meeting. While the need for pre-packaged food, disposable gloves and plastic water bottles may be higher on the checklist right now, the negative environmental impact of single-use plastic is still real.

And the green focus doesn’t stop at the recycle bin. As event planners, we have a responsibility to pay attention to how tourism is impacts local, national and global environments. It’s important to take action now to ensure travel to these destinations can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Creativity Leads to Successful Adaptation

The innovation we’re seeing today is a testament to the creativity of event and meeting planners and industry leaders as they continue to adapt. Meeting professionals are resilient and resourceful. Innovation in virtual events and creativity in how to move forward with in-person events will drive the industry’s path forward through this crisis.

Another important thing to keep in mind as we look to in-person events in the future? Contracting. Continue on to learn about the four focus areas critical to creating a strong contract that protects client interests to every extent possible.