Event Planning Trends to Watch 2016

As event planners, it’s our job to stay current with the latest trends and always search for fresh ideas that we can suggest to our clients.  Here's our take on the latest trends that we think will shape 2016. 

(Photo credit: http://www.augmentedrealitytrends.com/)

(Photo credit: http://www.augmentedrealitytrends.com/)

Virtual Reality

With the push of a button, you can now be in another world thanks to the emergence of virtual reality (VR) technology. The benefits for event planners seem obvious. You can throw on a pair of goggles and immediately tour a potential event venue without ever having to leave the office. But how can event planners integrate the technology into actual events?

For trade shows, VR technology can enrich the experience of attendees and potential customers. Audi, for example, recently launched a virtual-reality system that will ultimately change the game for automotive retail. Customers can build and view configurations of every Audi model without ever having to step foot in a show room.

Imagine if exhibitors could do the same for attendees at events? Architects and developers could virtually show potential customers around a completed residential project or international NGOs could virtually take prospective funders and decision makers to the field. The uses for VR are endless and we’re excited to see the emergence of this technology in the event planning space.

(Photo credit: http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/)

(Photo credit: http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/)


Menus catering to local foods are emerging as a trend in the event planning space with increasing popularity in the wedding planning circuit. We’re seeing more and more companies and organizations take the local route and venues offering farm-to-table menus for guests.

The Breakers Palm Beach, a luxury resort in Palm Beach, Florida, commits to sourcing local ingredients as does Elm in New Canaan, Connecticut and Quince in San Francisco, California. Good news is that selecting local food for your event menu doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. Big Bear Café in Washington, DC and New York City's ABC Kitchen and Candle 79, a vegan restaurant, are affordable options if you're looking to take part in the Farm-to-Table movement.

Themed Events

Themed events are all the rage right now as we will discuss in our upcoming blog post. They are great for social events, such as birthday parties, weddings, fundraisers and galas. Time-period themed parties like the Roaring 20s or Downton Abbey are popular as are storybook themed parties, such as James and the Giant Peach, Peter Rabbit or any of the wonderful books by Dr. Seuss. There’s no limit to creativity for themed events – a trend we don't expect to see slowing down anytime soon.

(Photo credit: http://audubonoffloridanews.org/?p=9955)

Audience Engagement

From smartphones and tablets to laptops, it’s nearly impossible to grab the undivided attention of your guests these days. Instead of making your guests sit and listen to hours and hours of lecutres, we’re seeing more workshop and conference organizers making attendees part of their events from automatic polling using texting on phones and hosting interactive workshops to tours related to a particular industry or field.

The Society of Environmental Journalists annual conference, which brings together scientists, journalists, government officials and advocacy leaders, is great at audience engagement. Instead of attending a panel discussion about water pollution, they will take you on a kayaking tour through a polluted water system with experts explaining the issue.  Breaking up long conferences with a mix of panel discussions, breakout groups and tours is a great tool to keep attendees engaged.






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