9 Trends that Will Shape the Events Industry in 2020

January 8, 2020
2020 trends

What lies ahead for 2020 and the new decade? We talked with a few experts to find out. Take a look at their 2020 trend predictions below. Then, connect with us on Twitter to let us know your take!

Trade Shows

Arjun Chakravarti, senior vice president of analytics and insights at GES, predicts the following:

Measuring and selling experiential sponsorships.

Although traditional sponsorship activities will remain a core part of the brand portfolio at trade shows, brands need to return to the C-suite with ROI metrics of shows. Sponsorship opportunities that measurably impact brand perceptions in the eyes of attendees will become increasingly important — but executing sales still matters.

More community-driven education and buzz sessions.

Attendees are increasingly weary of the “call for papers” approach to generating event content. They want to learn from credible peers who they trust within a community. Event professionals will need to provide content in formats that give attendees more in shorter periods of time and allow them to interact with individuals.

More organization and sophistication with data.

As the event technology market begins to shake out, organizers are settling more on vendors that generate data from their shows. This will put them in a better position to organize systems that allow them to ask sophisticated questions from data and eventually integrate into CRM strategies.


Event Technology

Dawn Archambault-Perry, vice president of brand experience at Freeman, sees these trends:

Creating mindful moments.

Being present allows us to fully connect with others. It will become increasingly important this year to design activities that allow for mindful interaction. This is a powerful way to disrupt our always-on mode by pausing distractions and plugging into the present. Whether it’s an oxygen bar, yoga session or guided meditation, these moments offer the chance to reflect and recharge.

High-return sponsorships.

Traditional banner sponsorships are out. Tech-based experiential activations that hook attendees, deliver trackable ROI and create an engaging, memorable moment are in. With options like chatbots, AR/VR, digital signage and more, these high-return activations drive awareness before, during and after an event.

Data action.

Not long ago, event professionals struggled to get access to data. Now, it seems there’s more data than we can comprehend. This year, event professionals will turn data into action with a solid framework and real-time analytic dashboards to monitor what’s working and what’s not — including ROI, year-over-year benchmarks and other relevant insights. The result? Adjustments in the moment and actions that deliver results.



Meetings will get greener this year, according to Mariela McIlwraith, director of sustainability for Events Industry Council and president of Meeting Change:

Going all in.

In 2020, sustainability is going to be all about bigger, bolder, action by more events and organizations in our industry. It used to be that there were a few champions for sustainability, and now we see a social movement for greater adoption. EIC’s new Centre for Sustainable Events and updated Sustainable Event Standards can help.

Change reflected in menus.

While vegan and vegetarian selections are now consistently offered, there are certain events where they are the only option being provided. Expect to see more plant-forward menus emphasizing greater biodiversity this year.

Evolving approach to materials resource management.

Previously, the industry simply focused on avoiding landfills with recycling. Now we're beginning to fully embrace a circular economy approach that has us being much more thoughtful about the materials we choose, as well as what will happen post-event.

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