5 Future Event Planning Industry Trends You Need to Know About

Our day to day lives are saturated with technology — and that means that live conferences, meetings, and events are more important than ever to establish an in-person touch point. As a result, an event planner’s role is more critical than ever. Every event is a unique live event experience for all attendees.

To find out more about what’s coming up in the events industry, we talked to futurist Sheryl Connelly, an expert on identifying future global and consumer trends. Here, she connects some of the year’s mega cultural trends to the attendee live event experience — all so that you can think like a futurist.

1. Value-added, multifunction versatility

The trend

From smartphones to tiny homes, people are intent on getting the most purpose and utility out of everything these days.

What it means for events

Consider how every aspect of the event can provide additional benefits. Think about every part of the event, from the content to the activities to how you create connections between attendees.

Here are just a few ideas:

  • Print an overview of the schedule on the back of name tags,
  • If you give away a swag bag, include a “save the date” for next year’s event.

This is not only “trendy,” but it’s cost-conscious, eco-conscious, and respectful of your attendees. Business leaders are choosy with how they spend their time and with who. Taking a step back to look at every moment of the experience will ensure your event is worth their time. This way, you can make sure you’re providing takeaways that attendees will appreciate while leaving a lasting impact on personal learning, growth, and inspiration.

19 Trends Shacking Up Events in 2019

2. Celebrate diverse voices

The trend

Broadly speaking, society has become much more open to diverse opinions and interests. People are interested in hearing ideas that differ from their own.

What it means for events

Outside-the-box thinking will always be a hot topic for events — but we don’t always think about this when it comes to choosing event speakers.

One of the best ways to deliver a fresh perspective that can truly spark creative thinking? Bring in keynote speakers from outside your industry. In many cases, it might even be a speaker who questions popular opinion or common practice.

If that sounds risky, don’t worry — nearly 70 percent of attendees say contrarian ideas are critical to shaping great ideas! Ensure attendees are being stimulated by bringing in speakers who challenge audiences to think bigger and broader.

3. Bring mindfulness to your event

The trend

In case you missed it, mindfulness and wellness are the biggest buzzwords this year. Leading experts agree that “brain breaks” are crucial to rejuvenating the mind and actually foster elevated levels of creativity.

What it means for events

Back-to-back sessions, countless vendor booths, notes to take and people to meet into two or three days — sounds exhausting right? A jam-packed schedule can be quite demanding for conference attendees.

While you do want to provide as much value as possible, don’t discount the benefits of attendees being mindful as well. Give attendees time and space to breathe, reflect, and regroup with hands-on workshops, outdoor activities, art exhibits or wellness activities.

4. Customized personalization

The trend

With targeted ads, customized emails, and all kinds of personalization on the web, consumers expect tailored experiences — both digitally and in real life.

What it means for events

Personalizing an experience is more than just using an attendee’s name in conference communications. But customization doesn’t have to be difficult. Consider these simple ideas:

  • Before the event, ask attendees to weigh in on which sessions will be offered. (This way, you can be sure that you’re giving attendees want they want, while also helping them feel more invested in the event.
  • Create a conference app that provides personalized suggestions for activities in real-time using pre-loaded information.
  • In that same app, add a customized map of the area that pinpoints popular restaurants and attractions outside of the conference.
Future Event Trends

5. Thoughtful sustainability

The trend

While going green is nothing new, the latest trend in sustainability promises to push the boundaries of both imagination and resourcefulness.

What it means for events

As an event planner, a keen awareness of society’s heightened interest in reusing, repurposing and recycling can help you develop a thoughtful approach that demonstrates your event’s commitment to the environment.

Today, the majority of adults globally favoring products made from recyclable content (versus those that aren’t). And that means that attendees will notice and appreciate when you choose items made from biodegradable or recycled materials. It could be as simple as choosing sustainable name tags, registration bags, or food cartons.

Other trends in this space include offering sustainable, fair-trade food options. Donate anything leftover or unused — food, flowers, beverages — to community organizations like homeless shelters or senior living facilities.


The experiential value for attendees starts with unforgettable events. Creating original and unexpected on-site experiences fortifies individuals’ ROI for attending. Thinking like a futurist and incorporating some of the cultural trends outlined will no doubt leave a lasting impression and result in both future record attendance and a successful renewal rate for next year’s conference.

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Looking for even more trends? Check out our post on hospitality trends for 2018.

A version of this post was originally published by Keppler Speakers, one of the world’s leading speakers bureaus that provides keynote speakers who inspire, inform and captivate event audiences with expertise spanning across business, world affairs, politics, entertainment, education, literature, sports and leadership.