Going up, going down: Event trends in 2024

Lauren Hayward, managing director of Sydney-based Forum Group Events & Marketing, runs the rule over what’s in and what’s out for the year ahead.

Going up

Personalised experiences

Event attendees can now choose how they attend events: virtually or physically, and live or on-demand. This is going to be further curated to attendees’ personal needs and interests. Technology and AI is allowing for tailored content, networking opportunities and personalised agendas.

Non-alcoholic beverages and health-conscious food

Tying in with the sustainability ethos that’s trending, delegates are becoming increasingly conscious of their food and beverage choices. With statistics indicating Gen Z consumes 20 per cent less alcohol than previous generations, and an increase in plant-based and cruelty free dietary preferences, we will see more diverse offerings that cater to these needs. For example, sophisticated mocktails as standard, as opposed to regular alcohol-free beer.

Nostalgic party themes

With physical events back at the forefront and an emphasis on networking and shared experiences over content, we are seeing clients revisiting nostalgic party themes such as the ’90s and early 2000s. It provides a feeling of nostalgia and belonging, helping to bring people back together again.

Vibrant colours

Conservative and subdued colours are being replaced with vibrant and playful shades. Bright teal and metallics are in so we are going bold and confident this year!

Going down

Short lead times

We are finally seeing more forward planning for events, with companies feeling less hesitation, and planning their year in advance. This 365-day approach helps foster a sense of community and build momentum and engagement.

Getting maximum bums on seats

Focus is now on quality over quantity. Holding smaller, more niche and specialised events allows for deeper engagement and meaningful connections within targeted communities, as opposed to holding large-scale events that lack a personal touch and sense of real belonging.

Fixed seating and rigid event environments

Gone are the days of inflexible event spaces and fixed seating. Event spaces need to adapt to the needs and preferences of attendees in real time to create tailored experiences for different moments within an event.

Lack of cross-promotion across marketing and sales teams

It’s more important than ever that marketing and sales teams are unified in promoting their events to make the most of limited budgets and create maximum value for customers.

This story appears in the Autumn issue of Spice, which is out now.

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