2020 Event Trends – How Will the Industry Evolve?

By Kaitlin Colston


Just like that, we blinked and it’s time to talk about the 2020 event trends. You might be asking yourself, what will be shaking up the industry this year? How will the industry evolve? We have some predictions! This year we stepped it up and surveyed hundreds of #Eventprofs to weigh in on the hottest trends for 2020. We could list out hundreds of trends but at that point is it even a trend? We don’t think so. Instead, we’re bringing you a curated list of the top event trends for 2020. Buckle up it’s going to be an exciting ride!

Personalization for Attendees
Not everyone at your event will be in the same place in their journey. Personalization allows each attendee to get exactly what they need. This will be one of the biggest trends in 2020. Personalization for attendees leads to a more successful event. When personalizing your event will feel custom and well thought out. Your attendees will feel they got much more value out of attending when their needs are met. There are many ways you can personalize your event but here are a few of our favorite ways.

Tailored Break Out Session Paths
In our 2020 event trends survey, 47% of event planners believed tailored break out session paths would be the biggest personalization trend for events in 2020. It’s not really a surprise, breakout sessions are a staple at conferences across the world. Giving attendees a chance to personalize the breakout session path they take is much more satisfying than assigning them where to go.

Data-Driven Activity Suggestions
Using data will be at the forefront of planning events in 2020. Using that data to personalize an attendee’s experience will delight your guests. Choosing what to do at an event especially larger scale events with hundreds of sessions, networking events, keynotes and more can feel very overwhelming. Solution? Having data-driven activity suggestions in your event app. Apps are getting smarter. They have the ability to make activity suggestions using algorithms based on attendees’ profiles and networks. For example, an event app might suggest an event marketer go to a content creation workshop.

Sending Personalized Content and Resources
In a world with an abundance of content it is critical you personalize your content to stand out. Without question, personalized content is more effective a Demand Metric Study from 2016 found that 80% of people found personalized content more effective than content that hasn’t been personalized.”

Receiving personalized content improves attendees’ overall opinion of your event. It is a fantastic way to stand out and increase engagement. In a recent report, The Content Marketing Personalization Imperative, “88% of consumers say that personally, relevant content improves how they feel about a brand.”

Unique Venue Experiences
53% of planners surveyed said moving away from hotel venues and to more unique venues was the biggest location trend of 2020. Let’s face it ballrooms can be boring. Choosing a unique venue allows you to push your creativity and talents to the extremes. You can think outside the box and truly create a one-of-a-kind event experience.

Unique venue experiences also open up a world of options for event planners, think studios, industrial lofts, farms, museums and more. Just be sure when choosing an exciting new location that matches your brand, event goals, and overall event mood.

Plan Events Virtually
We believe the industry will continue to move forward with planning events virtually and cutting down on in-person site visits. The technology is already there to plan remotely.

Site Visits
You can do a lot of pre-planning by just going to venues sites. Most venues have floorplans, videos, and most basic information such as capacities and catering options right on their site. Taking it a step further, site-visits are now going virtual. From video meetings to VR venue tours planners can now utilize technology to plan an event at a venue they have never even stepped foot in. Not only can this save planners time but also is more sustainable. But it doesn’t just stop at site visits!

Collaborating in a Virtual World
With today’s technology, collaborating with team members near and far is simple. You can virtually hold staff and vendor meetings virtually with tools like Zoom and handle daily communications through Slack. Collaboration tools such as Trello and GDrive make staying organized and sharing documents a cinch!

Wearable Tech
Wearable technology is transforming events. From planning to improving attendee experience wearable tech is here to shake things up. We have covered how wearable tech can improve event planning by using the data. But let’s take a minute to discuss the power wearable tech can have to create a seamless user experience.

How Wearable Tech Improves Experiences
If you know me, you know I’m a huge Disney fan. So not surprisingly, today, we’ll be using Disney’s Magic Bands as an example of how wearable technology can greatly improve and simplify attendees’ experiences. If you aren’t familiar Magic Bands are bracelets that contain RFID technology. When you are a guest on Disney resort each member of your family receives one.

The band contains everything you need for your stay, it is your hotel key, your payment, it holds your reservation information, tickets and more. Magic bands create an easy experience where guests can put them on and forget the rest. No need to worry about fumbling for your wallet to pay when your hands are full, just scan your band and keep moving! Have a sleeping kid in your arms when you get back to the hotel? No problem just scan the band!

The Future of Wearable Tech
I see this being the future for events as well. Every event will have its own version of a magic band. This will make for a more seamless attendee experience. On top of being an attendee’s wallet, hotel key, and badge with technology like kilk attendees will be able to tap badges and exchange networking information which allows people to focus on the conversation instead of awkwardly exchanging info. Perhaps taking it further into the future events will use tech data to add in wait times and more.

2020 Event Trends: It’s a Wrap!
These 2020 event trends will take over the industry in 2020. We hope you find this useful and can implement the trends that suit your event best. Which trends are you planning on using in the coming year? Did we miss any trends you think are going to be emerging? Let us know!