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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 – as the new year approaches, so does a new decade. Staying competitive in the events industry is table stakes so we talked to experts from all sides of the events industry about where they see growth opportunities. 

2020 Events Trends Theme: Guest-pectations 

The guest experience is undergoing a transformation. Guests expect more options, everyone to be socially-aware, and all-access to your team, faster than ever before. 

Food-Inclusive 

Invite everyone to the table and be prepared to accommodate all types of preferences like: 

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

Accommodating different types of guest preferences widens your audience while satisfying guests. And these happy guests are more likely to book repeat business and tell their friends. 

Sustainability 

It’s been a trend in the mainstream, but guests expect their venues to hold the same standard they do. 

“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 continue throughout the industry in 2020.”Katie Dyches, Former Event Director, Current Gather Employee 

Online, All the Time 

Response time is important when it comes to leads and planning. 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 enables venues to 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). As more dollars are being spent on events, these trends will help your events programs see new heights. As experiences continue to grow, we expect the competition, marketing, and guest types to continue to shift to support this. 

Our Money’s on Corporate 

As corporations use experiences to bring employees together, venues have the opportunity to bring in 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 job is less responding to leads and more 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.” Flexing from coordinator to sales manager can be a lot to juggle so you need to make sure you have software in place to collect and quickly respond to leads so you can spend more of your time actively bringing 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. By creating packages targeted at different group types, such as corporate, birthday or date nights, you can further simplify event planning. 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. Guests want to see themselves in your space. You can do this by:

  • Using video and Instagram stories to show events spaces
  • Show diverse groups of multiple ages, genders, etc. 
  • Share nice photos, but they don’t need to professionally edited and overly filtered 

Are you seeing the same trends? Stay tuned as we dive in further and share helpful tips on how you can use 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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