The events industry is constantly evolving—and we’re happy to see a continued shift from boondoggle to intentional and thoughtful. Companies are looking for ways to take more control of their event experiences and proactively search for new and innovative ways to align their company’s mission, goals, and brand to the events they host. We thought we’d share five key trends we’ve seen crop up in 2023 that we think are here to stay—and for a bit of comic relief, five trends we’re happy to see go.
5 event industry trends for 2023
Here are five event industry trends that we’re seeing in 2023.
Event Trend #1: Sustainability & The Triple Bottom Line
We’ve been planning events for 25 years and are ecstatic to see event sustainability at the forefront of event trends this year. More and more clients seek our strategic counsel on the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. Though 100% sustainability in events won’t happen overnight, companies are committing to taking steps in the right direction and doing everything possible to lessen their carbon footprint. Sustainability is the way of the future—and a mindset that is expected from you and your business to succeed. Organizations focusing on event sustainability now will lead the way as this trend becomes our new standard.
Event Trend #2: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
We have seen an incredible shift in organizations prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their corporate missions and cultures—and extending that priority into event strategies—from sourcing diverse event venues and suppliers to selecting speakers. They seek out ways to embrace cultures, ages, genders, physical abilities, religions—and more. It’s now commonplace to accommodate hearing, sight, and mobility impairments by automatically including closed captioning and interpretation services at events and in budgets. This trend is here to stay and quite simply the right way of doing business.
Event Trend #3: Technology
With advances in artificial intelligence and virtual reality, the tech sweeping the world is changing the events industry. Event apps include robust tools such as digital business cards to help facilitate faster networking and post-event follow-up. Virtual reality is used to develop digital maps and walking directions at venues, making wayfinding easier and more economical. Generative AI is on the rise, with chatbots offering personalized support to attendees, and AI facial analysis replacing RFID tracking. It’s exciting to see how AI will enhance future events as it rapidly morphs and changes.
Event Trend #4: Health & Wellness
The trend to incorporate health and wellness into events continues in 2023. There has never been a better time to incorporate health and wellness options for your event attendees. A focus on health and wellness demonstrates your organization’s commitment to event attendees and can add some healthy and fun breaks to your program agenda. Whether it is morning yoga, exercise classes, restorative breaks, or health-conscious snacks, it is exciting to see companies prioritizing health and wellness at events. Be creative, tie your health and wellness activity ideas to the location (e.g., hula dancing in Hawaii) and attendee demographic, or introduce a new company health initiative. The options are endless.
Event Trend #5: Non-alcoholic Beverages
Non-alcoholic beverages have become all the rage. There are plenty of reasons why someone may opt for a mocktail or alcohol-free drink. It’s become clear that serving more than soft drinks and water is important to accommodate this demographic and growing trend. Beverage teams and suppliers are getting more creative with mocktails, and it’s becoming commonplace to see them on menus.
A little comic relief: 5 event industry trends we are happy to see go
Here are a few trends that did not last (and we’re not sad about it).
Past Event Trend #1: Bacon Walls
Can you believe there was a trend to serve multiple varieties of bacon pinned on walls, on a string, or from a cart? It might have been tasty, but it sure made our fingers sticky and got stale quickly. Let’s leave it in 2022.
Past Event Trend #2: Silent Disco
What could be wrong with everyone quietly dancing to the beat of their own drum in the same room? It seemed like a good idea at the time—and helped to overcome late-night noise ordinances—but nobody talked to each other, and everyone looked funny. Let’s leave that one behind, too.
Past Event Trend #3: Goat Yoga
We love animals and will take any chance we can to interact with them. However, let’s leave goats outside where they thrive and stop trying to get them into hotel ballrooms.
Past Event Trend #4: Charcuterie Clipboards
For the same reasons as bacon walls, let’s focus on the quality and sourcing of meat and worry less about getting creative about how it’s served.
Past Event Trend #5: Champagne Skirts
People wearing wired skirts to serve champagne flutes was a fun event element that elevated beverage service, but it’s an event trend gone flat—and we’re happy about it.