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Event Planning: See What's Hot for 2016

Posted on February 09, 2016

Who doesn’t want to be ahead of the curve and have the latest and greatest ideas in planning their next event? Whether you are planning a fun social event like a birthday party or wedding, or you are in charge of planning your next corporate outing or board meeting, industry experts say these are some of the hot trends for 2016 to incoporate into your special event.

CORPORATE EVENTS

1. Digital Swag Bags
Apps like Virtual Event Bags and Event Baxx are bringing to life gift bags in the virtual world. Event hosts can send all of their attendees a goody bag of promotions and discounts after their event, while gathering valuable lead generating information.
- “Top 10 Event Trends for 2016”, Star Events

2. Shift from "Stuff" to Experiences.
The larger consumer trend towards valuing experiences over “stuff” continues to increase and permeate our culture. As a result, brands are starting to put more money towards experiences rather than swag that will clutter an attendee's desk or closet.
- “8 Trends for Event Marketing in 2016 and Beyond”, Event Farm

3. Don’t Forget About Mobile!
When nearly 90% of Internet users access the web from a mobile device, it’s fair to say that mobile is not the future, it is the norm. Therefore, you need to make sure your registration process is fully responsive across multiple devices and that you are offering the same brand experience on desktops, smartphones, tablets, etc.
- “The 4 REAL Event Trends of 2016 You Should be Focusing On”, genioso Event Magazine

4. Attendee Engagement
Attendee engagement is among the most significant corporate event trends. When organizing corporate events in 2016, think about making participants a bigger part of the function. Encourage attendees to participate in the event or meeting. Ideas include making workshops part of your event, include group activities or games, give more time for Q&A after a session and more.
- “Corporate Event Trends That Will Be Big in 2016”, The Grable Group

5. Using 2016 Pantone Color in Your Event
For the first time, Pantone selected two “colors of the year.” For 2016, the selected hues are Rose Quartz and Serenity (a baby blue). Though the hues obviously lend themselves to traditional baby showers, there are also plenty of creative ways to use pink and blue in corporate gatherings. Here are 12 ideas for using the pastel shades at events.
- “Pantone's Color of the Year 2016: 12 Ideas for Using Rose Quartz and Serenity Hues in Events”, BizBash

WEDDINGS

1. Satellite Bars
Sometimes one bar just isn't enough! Brides and grooms are setting up secondary "satellite" bars at the reception that feature a special cocktail, spirit or wine tasting.
- “14 Out-Of-The-Box Weddings Trends You'll Soon Be Seeing Everywhere”, Huffington Post

2. Wooden Details
Wood, wood, wood! We think couples will move in the direction of more natural elements in their wedding, a stark departure from shiny sparkly things. —Jove, Jove Meyer Events
- “27 Wedding Trends We Have to Look Forward to In 2016”, GLAMOUR

3. Stylish Grooms
The bride isn't the only doing a mid-wedding wardrobe change these days. In 2016, some fashion-forward grooms are changing jackets for the reception, or freshening up their big day look with a different bow tie or pocket square.
- “14 Out-Of-The-Box Weddings Trends You'll Soon Be Seeing Everywhere”, Huffington Post

4. Desserts Other than Cake
Who can argue with too much dessert? Couples opting out of cake are replacing it with a variety of sweets and treats. Our favorite? Anything with ice cream. —Amrit Bains, Anais Event Planning & Design
- “27 Wedding Trends We Have to Look Forward to In 2016”, GLAMOUR

EVENT TECH TRENDS

1. Improved Networking
Organic networking gets a push by relying on technology such as apps and social media to improve how attendants meet and connect before, during and after events.
- “Top Trends for Event Planning and Design in 2016”, RVL Event Design & Planning

2. Periscope
Periscoping, Periscoping…and more Periscoping!! This is the only one trend I’m predicting that will take over in a huge way for live events. It’s such a great social media tool that is still in its early stages but I can see this being the savior of live events for those who are unable to attend….way better than TV!
- “Event Tech Trends That Will Shape 2016”, Eventbrite

3. Tech Wearables
Wearables (including smart watches, smart bracelets, smart name badges, and wearable beacons) will see increasing use at exhibitions and events. In the way that smartphones are already transforming the attendee experience at tradeshows and events, other wearable smart devices will bring a new level of convenience.
- "Nine Amazing Meetings Technology Trends to Watch in 2016", Corbin Ball Associates

FOOD & DRINK

1. Cocktail-Appetizer Pairings
Tacos and tequila, hot dogs and beer—providing sips and bites together create a unique culinary experience for cocktail hour.
- "What’s Hot for 2016: Top Wedding Trends", WeddingWire

2. Protein Alternatives
Proteins such as quinoa, amaranth, tofu and beans are increasingly popular with attendees who are vegetarian or just simply looking to avoid fatty meats.
- “5 Food and Beverage Trends for 2016”, Prevue Meetings

3. Burned
Smoke and fire are showing up everywhere on the menu: in charred or roasted vegetable sides; in desserts with charred fruits or burnt-sugar toppings; in cocktails featuring smoked salt, smoked ice or smoky syrups.
- “Technomic’s Take: 2016 Food Trends”, Technomic

4. 2016 Food Trends According to Pinterest
Social media giant Pinterest revealed its top food trends predictions for 2016 in The Pinterest 100, an annual list of trending Pins. Here, a glimpse into the rising food and drink trends that the site thinks will take over the food world in the next year. Beertails, pour-over coffees and avocado oil are three that made the list.
- “Top 10 Food Trends in 2016 According to Pinterest”, Today Show

OTHER

1. Pre-Birthday Photo Shoot
Capturing the moments and the milestones are one of the most important parts of our celebrations. Portrait sessions, just like the parties themselves, have come a long way from the white walls of a studio. Pre-birthday pictorials are tailor fit according to your party’s theme.
- “10 Hottest Kiddie Party Trends for 2015-2016”, Smart Parenting

BONUS: TRAVEL TRENDS

1. The Rise of “Bleisure” Travel
You could blame rule-bending millennials or the increasing importance workers are putting on a work-life balance. But these days, business travelers are combining more leisure into their business trips. Consumers are extending trips over the weekend, often bringing the family along. The trend of mixing business and pleasure is really taking off, and marketers would do well to recognize how to cater to those who want more “life” out of work.
- “4 Travel Trends to Watch in 2016”, FORTUNE

2. More Hotels Will Offer Flexible or No Check Out Times
After decades of travelers getting fed-up with rigid check-in and check-out times, hotels are finally getting the memo. Hotel groups like Peninsula, Patina and Yotel are experimenting with flexible checkout policies to allow guests more wiggle room in their travel itineraries. Some charge a fee depending on how late you want to stay but we predict many will soon offer the amenity free of charge.
- “10 Travel Trends and Predictions for 2016”, Fox News

3. Try Before You Buy
Travel companies have begun experimenting with Virtual Reality in many creative ways. 2016 will see an increased number of travel companies and tour operators using Virtual Reality to give prospective guests a true taste of what to expect, with big players like Google making this “accessible as well as consumable.”
- “10 Radical Travel Trends to Watch for in 2016”, Road Warrior Voices