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2020 Event Trends to Look Out for in the Coming Decade 

By Katy Mullet | 3 min read

The future is coming fast– and the new year is bringing a whole new decade along with it. Staying competitive is key to surviving (and thriving) in the events industry, so we talked to experts from around the industry about the growth opportunities they see heading this way.

2020 Events Trends Theme: Guest-pectations 

The guest experience is currently undergoing a transformation. On the whole, guests expect more options, higher social awareness and easier access to your team– all faster than ever before.

Food-Inclusivity

Invite everyone to the table and be prepared to accommodate a range of needs and preferences, like:  

  • Food allergies and sensitivities
  • Health-conscious choices
  • Religious standards like Kosher or Halal
  • Plant-based meat options
  • Non-alcoholic drinks 

The ability and willingness to meet an array of dietary preferences widens your audience and delights your guests. And these happy guests are more likely to book again– and tell their friends.

Sustainability 

This trend has been on the rise in the mainstream over the past few years, and more and more eco-conscious guests are expecting their venues to uphold those same standards. 

“Guests will ask for no single-use plastics and whether or not you’re using recycled materials. I’ve seen venues switch the products they keep on hand due to demand for more environmentally friendly materials and I expect that to continue throughout the industry in 2020.” – Katie Dyches, Former Event Director, Current Gather Employee

Online, All the Time 

Response time and reachability is crucial when it comes to converting leads into bookings. Kelly Barber, Director of Events at Truluck’s told us, “I feel like the 24 hour response time is no more, it’s within the hour that people want information. It’s important to be able to respond quickly if you want to capture that business.”

In the competitive world of events, the ability to book quickly — or even instantly — helps differentiate your venue. With features like Instant Book, launching in January 2020, Gather ensures that venues never miss a lead.

2020 Events Trends Theme: Growth Mindset

The events industry is expected to grow by 8% in 2020 (CWT M&E) with at least a 1.6% increase in overall spend in North America (Amex). With more dollars being spent on events, you’ll have opportunities to expand your business’ client base and overall sales. As the experience economy continues to grow, we expect the competition, marketing and guest types to shift in that direction as well.

Our Money’s on Corporate 

As more corporations use off-site experiences to bring employees together, venues have  opportunities to earn more repeat business. “We keep hearing about the uptick in corporate events for our clients. With everything from employee happy hours to recruiting events to corporate parties, venues really have the opportunity to become the go-to celebration space. And the more you can offer — like corporate event packages, AV tech or team-building opportunities — the better.” – Kelly Tyndall, Client Success Manager at Gather.

Selling Your Space

Event coordinators are telling us that their jobs are less about responding to leads and more about bringing in business. One event manager told us, “Our biggest opportunity next year is outbound sales. In the past, we’ve relied on our guests coming to us, but in order to maximize event capacity we plan to do more prospecting.” Bouncing between the duties of a coordinator and a sales manager is a lot to juggle, but having a software in place to collect and quickly respond to leads will free up time that can be used to bring in business.

Curated Experiences 

While experiences have been a trend for a few years now, guests don’t necessarily want to do all the planning themselves. By creating packages targeted at different clients, such as corporate groups, birthday parties and  date nights, you can further simplify event planning for both you and your guests. Tamie Rowe, Catering Sales Manager at Il Fornaio told us, “Our company really focuses a lot on experiential events. We do cooking classes with our chefs, we do wine dinners where we bring in wineries to talk about the wines while our chef does a really special menu. We really make it an experience for the guest and that’s what we’re seeing a lot of. People are not interested in just coming in and having dinner, they really want to create an experience.”

Picture Perfect No More

Authenticity is the name of the game when it comes to marketing with photos. You can help potential guests envision themselves in your space by:

  • Using videos and Instagram stories to show events spaces candidly
  • Featuring guests of various ages, genders, etc. 
  • Sharing photos that are of decent quality, but that don’t need to be professionally edited or overly filtered 

Are you seeing these trends in your event space? Stay tuned as we dive in further and share helpful tips on how you can play into  these trends at your venue.

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Katy Mullet
Content Marketing Manager

I'm the Content Marketing Manager here at Gather. Outside of writing and creating campaigns, I love to try new restaurants here in Atlanta or wherever I'm traveling.

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