Event Trends

2020 Event Trends To Look Out For

Written By Guest Blogger: Olivia Sundstrom of National Event Pros

The Year 2020

As the leaves begin to turn colors and cover the streets, children prepare to go back to school and calendars are dotted with holiday plans, the year 2019 is beginning its final transitions into the new year. 2020 holds new and exciting prospects in the personal lives of many and for the global community with upcoming elections, launches, and innovations. As the seasons and years change so do celebrations.

Incorporating Mindfulness 

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With the rise of technology and the interconnected world of social media, events have managed to strike a balance between utilizing this technology as well as creating a place of refuge from the online world for attendees to fully embrace the present moment.

The demand for real connection in the iGeneration has only been growing louder and the ways people choose to celebrate have been emphasizing mindfulness. Mindfulness inspired events can be anything from hosting yoga flow and meditation workshops, featuring live artists and speakers that inspire, a phone-free zone at an event, to hands-on creative activities like terrarium buildingpainting, and candle making.

Allowing guests to escape their day to day routines, work with their hands, or engage their minds are all great ways to incorporate mindfulness in small ways no matter the occasion.

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Personalized Touches 

In today’s world where ideas are so interconnected and people are taking in more information than ever before the ability to stick out and hold space in any circumstance is increasingly valuable. This couldn’t be more true for brands looking to make an impact in a marketplace or for organizations to attract the best talent.

Bringing the right message to attendees without the feel of a gimmick is critical in a time where authenticity is the biggest draw and priority for consumers, employees, and the masses.

Delivering that message can be done in a multitude of ways but a trend of personalized rentals and experiences for events has been gaining traction and will be a central strategy for engaging audiences well into 2020 and beyond.

A Focus on Sustainability 

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With the worldwide focus on making shifts towards sustainability in everyday life, so has the focus shifted towards creating sustainable and eco-conscious events.

The idea of a fully sustainable event sounds like a lofty goal but a focus on sustainability can be achieved in the details of the event. One of the keys to achieving sustainability in any setting is focusing on reducing overall waste.

Events have long been notorious for generating large amounts of single-use plastics, single-use dining utensil waste, excess paper waste and everything in between. Changing the essentials over to compostables is a cost-efficient and easy swap that will make a noticeable difference in making strides to a more sustainable event.

There are many ways to interpret a focus on sustainability in events including featuring speakers, sponsors, and opportunities to donate to eco-conscious causes throughout an event. Offering various menus that focus on sustainability by offering locally sourced options, seasonal options, vegan or vegetarian options are also great ways to cater to guest’s tastes mindfully.

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Augmented and Virtual Reality

The virtual and augmented reality boom has been at the forefront of current event trends and will continue to dominate as a central event trend in 2020 and beyond.

Whether it be in marketing campaigns, used to transform expo & tradeshow presences, or as innovative entertainment at events, the mixed reality mediums will continue to expand into all facets of the event industry as well as everyday life.

Event Photography with a Twist

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The importance of capturing moments will never fade but the methods for how events are documented is everchanging. Creating interactive photo ops and photo booths are event trends that will surface throughout 2020. With smartphones and platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, the ability to capture events and share has become second nature.

Creating ways to make capturing moments special again and engaging for attendees has been the latest challenge in the increasingly connected world.

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Futuristic Takes On The Classics 

A trend that has been seen throughout media and fashion recently is the focus on nostalgia. Nostalgia in the form of bringing back fashion from the ’80s and ’90s, retro-inspired shows and movies or remakes. Of course, the trend of bringing back all the best of the decades prior will continue to be reflected in the celebrations of the future.

This goes beyond throwback themed events, but now guests can enjoy re-vamped futuristic editions of well-loved arcade and video games.

With new releases in the gaming and entertainment spheres like the Atari Pong Table, a larger life version of Tomohiro Nishikado’s Space Invaders Arcade Game, and many more re-makes there is plenty to entertain attendees and gaming enthusiasts with for years to come.

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Larger Than Life Giant Games

In addition to the futuristic remakes of well-loved video games making a pop-up in 2020 event trends, larger than life versions of games as a whole are making a come back as well. Expect to see make larger than life versions of favorites like giant twisterhuman billardslife-sized beer ponggiant battleship, and more.

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Light Up The Night with LEDs

The use of LED’s are not only effective when it comes to scaling back an electricity bill but they have become a simple way to elevate any piece of decor, venue, rental item, or trade show booth. More flexible than traditional lighting fixtures, and more versatile than neon, LEDs have taken over.

Team Building

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Throughout the years’ organizations have been evaluating the idea of company culture and ways to organically increase employee retention, and attract the most valuable candidates on the market. Teambuilding events have taken the corporate events of the past and given them a makeover.

Team building events in themselves are an event trend that will only become more a part of organization’s strategies and due to the ability to customize any event to fulfill the needs and desires of each organization, teambuilding events are a solution that works across all industries.

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National Event Pros is a full-service event planning, production, and rental company headquartered in Seattle with accomplished partners worldwide.

For over 30 years, our network of event professionals and extensive equipment inventory have provided our clients with services for more than 50,000 private parties, public gatherings, school picnics, and corporate special events.

How to Convince Your Boss & Get the Most Out of NWES

Written By NWES Team Member: Victoria Blasich

The Northwest Event Show is the largest and most prominent tradeshow for event and business professionals in the Pacific Northwest. This year we are expanding to two full days and are including advanced education workshops and a VIP keynote breakfast in addition to the amazing companies you can network with on the Showfloor. That said, we know that purchasing a pass and taking time off work to attend can be a concern. You’re convinced it’s worth it, but what about your boss?

That is why we are here to help you justify your attendance at this year’s Northwest Event Show to your manager or higher-ups. Here are some tips and talking points for how to convince your boss and to make the most out of your trip to the Northwest Event Show!

Looking to network and discover new partnerships?

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Building a great baseline of like-minded business associates is instrumental as you share best practices within your community of peers facing similar event-related opportunities and challenges. At NWES, you’ll have endless opportunities to connect with local subject matter experts, including corporate marketers, event technology professionals, social media gurus, and event vendors of all kinds – all under one roof. With two full days, there are more experts to talk with and more time to truly connect.

 

Interested in what’s next, new and amazing in event trends?

Staying ahead of the trends is paramount. The NWES is positioned to help you navigate through leading edge event solutions, technologies and interactive experiences in the expo. Go even deeper and advance your education of the event industry through immersive workshops, inspiring keynotes, engaging panels and more.

Any event professional would benefit from an Advanced EDU pass and the opportunity to speak and learn from some of the top creative and technology minds. From what technology can do for your business to how to design a booth to attract attendees, you’ll walk away with actionable items to bring back to your own office.

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If you’re ready to dive in and get hands-on training with fact-based insights from one of the industry’s most driven minds, then the VIP All Access Pass is your ticket! All VIP tickets come with admission into the keynote breakfast with Julius Solaris from EventMB.com and the exclusive opportunity to apply for his Event Innovation Lab. The lab is custom designed around its attendees, nothing generic here, Julius makes sure to cover what exactly what you need.

 

Make it a team outing!

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Attending a tradeshow can be a time-consuming task, unless you have your team by your side! The NWES is now two full days, with more educational sessions than ever before. Make it a team building event! By letting your team experience what’s most important to them as individuals, we’ll gain our best solutions through idea sharing and collaboration of what’s next. NWES is the perfect setting to divide and conquer. Having the opportunity to mix and match the various NWES experiences amongst your team is the perfect way to ensure you’ve heard from the valuable speakers that matter to your business, chatted with all the vendors in the expo that can provide the right solutions, and built relationships through targeted networking that can expand your services and knowledge of the industry.

Set yourself and your business up for success in 2020 by taking full advantage of what the NWES has to offer. Two full days of event and business focused education workshops, networking opportunities with potential partners and future clients and more. Get the most out of your time at the show with an Advanced EDU or VIP All Access Pass!

Still not exactly sure how to ask your boss? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Click HERE to download your custom email template to ask your boss today!

 

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. A boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways.

Design Trends: Can I get a Hygge?

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Robin Denny of CORT Party Rental

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish concept encompassing all things comfort and snug, with a focus on the simple pleasures of life. It reflects a feeling or a moment, whether alone or with friends, that is cozy, charming and special.

Fashion and home trends have often foreshadowed event trends, and the events industry has trended towards elements that transform a blank slate into an area of comfort and relaxation. Color and pattern trends include blue hues in seating, complemented by warm brown tones and vibrant metallics. Nature- and tropical-inspired motifs are also prominent.

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Comfort and relaxation don’t have to sacrifice luxury and glamour. Art deco-inspired furnishings boast channel stitching, curved edges, lush fabrics and soft colorful hues. Textured fabrics and velvets lend balance to the metallic bronzes and marble surfaces. Danish modern silhouettes take center stage on soft seating, updated with rounded edges and unexpected details, such as black metal frames.

These modern industrial frames paired with faux wood or marble laminates bring the mixed materials trends to life. And while gray has been a consistent neutral in seating, blues are also catching on. Luckily, these hues play well together, as well as with emerging browns.

CORT Party Rental’s Heritage Coffee and End Table, and CORT Event’s luxurious Wentworth chair, represent this trend toward rich browns mixed with hard black finishes for a balanced design aesthetic. Infuse elements of marble, velvet and bronze metallic furnishings for an eclectic design that incorporates the on-trend art deco, Danish modern and rustic themes.

For an elevated look that won’t overwhelm an aesthetic, CORT experts recommend faux fur. Natural fur looks are on the move for this winter season, and also reflect the hygge movement. Both CORT Events and CORT Party Rental have a new selection of pillows and rugs designed to bring another layer of coziness to your lounge area.

As we move into the second half of the year, event planners can embrace two different color stories: the warm earth tones, reminiscent of the 1970s, and more vibrant colors like rich cranberry reds, pinks and salmon. These are colors that bring life and vitality to a space, while still maintaining a sophisticated sense of calm.

Have you designed an event using hygge aesthetics? We would love to see your photos and hear more about your experience. Share in the comments below!  

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About CORT Party Rental

CORT Party Rental is the leading special event rental company in the Pacific Northwest, featuring the largest selection of party rental inventory in the region and an experienced team of experts skilled at bringing event visions to life. With more than 50 years of experience, CORT Party Rental specializes in tenting, seating, tableware, décor and more. It has locations in Everett and Fife, Washington, serving the Pacific Northwest. To learn more, visit www.CORTpartyrental.com.

About CORT Events

CORT Events is the leading provider of rental furnishings for the meeting, exhibition, and events industries with an extensive selection of high-quality furnishings available nationwide. Having a partner like CORT Events can make almost anything possible. CORT’s team of skilled professionals understands the vision and helps transform any event into an engaging and memorable experience. To learn more about CORT’s exhibit and event rental collections and its free online 2D and 3D planning tool, visit www.CORTevents.com.

All About Swag: The Good, The Bad & The Useless

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SWAG, it’s the Stuff We All Get…the best part of any event in some opinions! Free gifts for attendees are a huge draw and is something that is bound to get attention. But not all SWAG is created equal…we’ve all been at an event and received some tchotchkes that we instantly toss in the trash. The item is either poor quality, not interesting or not relevant. And what may have been a hit at one event, could be a terrible choice for another event or client. Choosing the right items for each event is a crucial part of any event planning process. 

We like to think of SWAG as belonging in three separate categories. Good, Bad & Useless.

The Three Types of SWAG

Good SWAG

Items that your attendees see value in. It doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy or over the top. It simply must be interesting and desirable to the audience!  

For example, at the 2019 Seattle Wedding Show, Freemind Seattle’s sister company, Element 79 Seattle, handed out bottle openers in the shape of the word “Love” and boxes with a heart shaped soap. Each bottle opener and box of soap also had a tag that was good for a special discount at the venue. These was quite the hit! Both were items of value that attendees could use in their daily lives, but also reinforced the services and what Element 79 Seattle offers.


Bad SWAG

Items that don’t fit the event or the attendees. Your items may be wonderful, well designed and thought out. But if you’re giving away something that has no value in the eyes of your attendees, you might as well have not done anything.  

This could even be things that are played out, or overdone in an industry. Like giving out empty tote bags at a trade show that is already supplying attendees with a (better, and full of goodies) bag. 

Useless SWAG

No one wants this. It’s a glorified business card that is going straight in the trash (or as Melissa calls it: ‘round filing’), sometimes before the attendee even gets home. All this will do is waste your money, create more trash in our landfills and it could even harm your reputation. You don’t want to be useless, you want to be useful!

How to pick the best SWAG

Picking swag can sometimes be a daunting process and scary, especially if you are a small business and you are spending your hard earned money on giveaways in hopes of a return in business. 

We have a very simple 2-step method we use when going about picking items to give away:

  1. First we decide on a budget. How much can we spend? How many items will we need to have? Remember, you should have enough for everyone who comes.

  2. Next, we define the goal of giving away items. Is it to generate leads and have the potential client call you? To encourage others to market your business organically by wearing or using something with your branding? To showcase your creativity and attract people who want to work with you?

Once you have answered those two questions, (budget and outcome goals) you can start shopping!

Honesty time….while these are rules that Freemind Seattle always follows and starts with, even we sometimes have surprises. It’s ok! You can use that experience to learn more about the audience and what things to ask yourself (or your client) for next time. 

Case in Point: We were managing a business group during a technology conference and we had so many great choices of swag; Traceable luggage tags, travel blankets, universal travel outlets, Eco friendly water bottles, etc.  After looking over all the options and providing the options to our client, We decided to go with a smart bulb because they are a fun technology item that isn’t a typical giveaway item.

Little did we know is that there are different watts of light bulbs used around the world! These were only useful in the U.S. so attendees were less than thrilled. A good portion of them, close to half, were from outside of the U.S. Thankfully our client did not seem to mind and wasn’t phased in the slightest. It was more embarrassing that we didn’t even think to ask the question to the light bulb supplier.

SWAG We Love

Now that we’ve gone over what we consider the 3 types of SWAG and how to pick the good stuff…Here are some of our favorite SWAG items from the last year. From shows we ran, shows we attended, and just some options we’ve found in general:

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Lets breakdown WHY these were some of our favorites:

Matchboxes– You may think, “who even uses matches anymore?” But they are in fact perfectly on brand for Vintage Ambiance and Hummingbird & Holly One being a vintage furniture renter and the other being a custom gift box creator. Plus, between people’s obsession with candles (or is that just us?) and the fact that it is a consumable product that will be hanging around for a while, they are a great way to put your brand front and center to a customer for significantly longer than the average attempt. These are great for vendors, clients, event attendees.

Mini Hot Sauce Bottles– Specifically Melissa & Victoria LOVED these. Tradeshow food can sometimes be a bit bland, so these were a hit. We kept these in our bags all week and look for them at every event now. Event attendees may not love them as much as your clients and vendors, but still worth it!

Key Chain Bottle OpenerParty On The Rocks is a bartending and event staffing company, so a bottle opener is the perfect reminder of their services. It’s small, it’s branded, it’s super useful, clean & simple. Perfect!

Emergency Kit– Our friends at Cort Party Rentals dropped this off for us at the Seattle Wedding Show. AMAZING! The concept of an Emergency Kit isn’t new, but you can do so much with it. We’ve seen “hangover kits” , “spring break kits”, “back to school”, “wedding day”, “flu season” and more. So get creative!

Plush Toys & Branded Cups: The cups you can see are Freemind, and are filled with chocolate mint candy. Another empty water bottle may not be exciting…but with a snack? We will always take that! And putting your logo on something that people will use daily is an easy way to market yourself. As for the Chunk plush toy, Victoria displays this proudly in the office. Given out at a “Visit Astoria Oregon” booth, it is a (very) cute reminder that much of The Goonies was filmed there. Next vacation idea?

Light Box– move over felt boards….we’ve been seeing light boxes everywhere! Fun, bright, simple to brand, fairly compact (key for events where attendees will be flying in and out) and easy for people to customize in order to be used time and time again.

Final Thoughts from Freemind

Look at your demographic and what kind of reaction past SWAG as gotten (bonus points if you have data via a post event survey on how well the SWAG preformed). If you would appreciate the item, that is a good indicator. If you yourself aren’t thrilled, then your attendees may not be either. The rules are always changing, and what may have been Bad SWAG last year could be Good SWAG this time around. Remember, it’s not about how much you spend, it’s about how much value there is in the item to the attendee.  

Need help picking out SWAG for your next event or show? Let us know! Email Hello@FreemindSeattle.com to set up a meeting.

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Freemind Seattle is a boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways. We’ve managed events from small corporate seminars from 100 people to vast industry tradeshows with over 30,000 attendees. We craft our approach in-house and can work with any team of vendors to build a cohesive and effective event.

Melissa Bathum & Kori Monson – Partners at Freemind Seattle

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager