Event Trends

2016 Meeting and Event Trends for Event Planners

By December 9, 2015 5 Comments

Whoa, whoa, whoa! What are you doing looking at trends from 2016?! That time has already passed! Be sure to look at our guide to 2017 Event Trends right here!

The events and meeting planning industry is constantly changing. As planners it is our job to know what are the newest trends so we can provide the most ideal attendee and client experience possible. Each year, we cover the top trends that are affecting the events industry and share our predictions for the next year. Want to see what our predictions were for 2015? Read our blog post from last year which we cover the top meeting and event trends. You didn’t come here for last year’s predictions though, so without any delay, here are our top predictions for 2016.

1. Attendee Engagement

Marketing teams and product managers have long bought into the engagement game. They have keenly implemented technologies such as Eventinterface to engage attendees and create community pre-, during and post-event around their brand, cause or product. It is no longer just about the event; it is about creating community and engagement from the moment a participant signs up.

Event planners have traditionally cared more about getting the logistics right. However, with events becoming more experienced-based, planners are now playing an important role alongside the marketing department and the product development team around engaging attendees through the full lifecycle of the event.  Events will no longer be judged on revenues alone. Benchmarks will be set for engagement levels and increased overall participation by onsite and at home participants.

2. Security

Attending an event should be fun. Participants should not have to worry about their safety. Planners however will need an increased awareness of security best practices to prevent and prepare for any eventuality. In the age of increased treat of terrorism, it is no longer enough to have a first-aid kit hidden under the registration table. Professional planners will have to become well versed in understanding event security in 2016.  For more on event security and emergencies read this article.

3. Participant Matchmaking

Events are The Dating Game. Hundreds or thousands of people getting together, all selling, buying, learning and networking. It is impossible to connect with all attendees in person. Participant matchmaking will become more common. Stand-alone apps and end-to-end planning tools are available to facilitate this. To stand out, planners must integrate these tools to provide additional ROI for attendees, sponsors and exhibitors, and participant matchmaking leads to increased engagement and attendance.

4. Streamlined Tools

Is your head spinning yet? There is an app for almost everything you want to accomplish at your event. Every blog tells you that mobile is the next big thing; the reality however is that few planners ask what attendees want. Only a relatively small number of attendees download and actively use the multiple apps that are made available for an event. At Eventinterface we have seen more planners move away from the multiple tools approach and opting in to one tool to accomplish all aspects of registration, engagement, program and community building. We believe we’ll see a merging of tools in the near future, offering more streamlined experiences for attendees.

5. Bespoke event locations

Ballrooms and event venues serve a purpose, but they are just a bit boring. In the past few years, many caterers and retail stores have successfully opened pop-up locations, creating amazing temporary culinary and shopping experiences. We believe the same could be done for events. Bringing the creativity of the pop-up concept to events, creating one of a kind event experiences in empty lots, warehouses and rooftops. It’s not a full-blown trend yet, but it is gaining steam and we love it!

Be sure to subscribe to the blog to get updates on how our predictions are going and if any new event trends pop up!

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Avatar for Al Wynant

Author Al Wynant

Al Wynant, CEO of Eventinterface has 25 years of international meeting and event management experience. He has managed events from 50 to 125,000 on two continents. He intimately understands the many aspects of planning well, and how technology can make the complicated process of planning, managing and engaging easier, a definite plus in his position at Eventinterface. Al studied in Europe and traveled with the international educational program Up with People. He has worked as a Marketing and Public Relations Representative working concert tours in the United States, Switzerland, Belgium and the United Kingdom. He ran event management firm A6 where he was responsible for the management of a large variety of conferences and events in the Southwest and in Atlanta, High Point and New York City.

More posts by Al Wynant
  • Whova

    Agreed that pop-up concepts are super creative. They’ll pack a punch at events. Great point and awesome article.

  • Eventdex Apps

    Completely agree with you on several points especially the one made on having a single application for streamlining events instead of using multiple apps each for a diff purpose. We @eventdexapps:disqus have just done that this year and relaunched Eventdex with a family of apps serving Registration/ticketing, badge printing, business matchmaking, scanning and also using iBeacon technology for finding Leads during an event/conference.

  • drp

    Events are becoming more and more experiential, delegates want an experience, and they expect to be entertained in ways that events never used to be able to offer (back in the era of powerpoint presentations). I do agree with venues having to be more original or ‘bespoke’, however, often these types of venues cannot facilitate high numbers of delegates. This means having to be more creative with the spaces that you CAN use, and really push the boundaries of your events, and the entire event experience. Staying original, and on brand is always key to attendee engagement.

  • Paromita Das

    Hello Wynant,

    I am a research analyst in a procurement firm Infiniti Research. I am conducting a study on event logistics services in US, UK, and Switzerland. Can you please let me know if i can speak to you as your expertise in the field is very vast and deep.


  • Carrie Bab

    We have a small firm, and this time we are planning to organise our annual function is a grand way. We are looking for a good Event Organiser, who can help us. Some one suggested us about The Bandit Production. Thinking to consult them.

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