Hosting a corporate event, whether it’s one for customers to attend or something fun to show appreciation for your employees, is no small endeavor. But when an event is successful, the payoff can make it all worthwhile. The last thing you want is to go through all the effort of planning an event only for it to end up being forgettable – or even worse, leave a negative impression on your attendees.

On top of all the logistics that go into organizing an event, planning an event also gives you so many opportunities to get creative with things like decor and activities – the sorts of things that help give an event its character. If you’ve never organized an event before, or even if you have, it can be hard to know where to begin.

What’s Trending in Corporate Events

If you’re in need of some inspiration for your event, consider some of these trends in corporate event planning.

Unique Venues for Events

A venue can make or break an event, and finding the perfect one takes a lot of research and careful planning. Banquet halls and hotel ballrooms will always be great places to host an event, but you definitely shouldn’t feel like those are your only options. Recently, there has been a big trend toward getting creative with venue types, and this is an excellent way to make a lasting impression on anyone who attends your event.

No matter where you choose to host your event, you’ll need to consider things like your expected attendance and general location. You should also think about things like your company’s personality and the kind of atmosphere you’d like your event to have. That will help give you a little direction when it comes to selecting the location.

Some popular non-traditional event venue choices include farms, vineyards, art galleries, museums, warehouses, lofts, parking lots/garages, theaters, nightclubs during off-hours, arcades, and college/university campuses. Rooftop locations are another type of grassroots marketing choice.

Sustainability & Social Responsibility

When companies decide to host corporate events, they have a wide range of reasons for doing so. But who says an event can only serve one purpose? Right now, many companies are interested in finding ways for their events to benefit the community and the world as a whole.

Sustainability has become a major concern for lots of companies, and that’s coming through in the types of events they host. If you’ll be working with an event planning company, be sure to ask them about how they can help reduce the environmental impact of your event. According to Rick Portwood, president of Display Group,

“Recycling stations are commonly used at major events, and many companies will opt for bamboo and other sustainable, disposable tableware.”

But there are plenty of other ways to make an event more environmentally friendly, such as going paperless, using energy-efficient lighting, serving locally-sourced food, and looking for venues that have green certifications.

One of the most effective ways to make an event more sustainable is to minimize travel for vendors and attendees alike. A study of events from the University of British Columbia found that travel is responsible for an average of 73% of a sporting event’s carbon footprint:

carbon footprint events

There are plenty of other ways you can use your event to help make a greater contribution to the community. If there are any charities or organizations your company supports, you could do something like collect donations at your event to help benefit them. Another popular idea is to donate any leftover food from your event to a local food bank.

Embracing Minimalism in Events

When it comes to event decor, there are so many different directions you can potentially go. So much so, it can be hard to know where to begin. Big and bold will always make a statement, but recently, a growing number of people are choosing to go for a “less is more” approach.

The concept of valuing experiences over material objects has become more widely embraced in recent years, and this trend is definitely a reflection of that. Consider choosing things like small succulents instead of huge floral arrangements, venues with exposed or whitewashed brick instead of walls with lots of decorative embellishments, or using an understated color palette instead of lots of bold colors. As non-traditional event venues become more popular destinations, the minimalist trend goes hand-in-hand with it by allowing the unique character of the venue to stand out.

Incorporating Technology into Events

Technology plays a vital role in our lives, so it should go without saying that people often expect it to be part of the events they attend. WiFi and charging stations are some of the most basic features an event can have to help attendees stay connected during an event. But there are endless possibilities to bring technology to your event.

For events intended to raise brand awareness, branded hashtags and photo ops are highly effective and relatively simple ways to encourage people to post about your event on social media. Certain types of events might benefit from having a mobile app available for attendees to download and use to interact with the event.

Another idea is to find ways to make it possible for people to participate in your event virtually, such as live streaming the event. If you want to get really creative, a growing number of people are incorporating virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence technologies into their events.

Perhaps one thing all of these trends have in common is that there are lots of ways you can make them completely your own. Even though they’re things a lot of companies are doing, they’re flexible enough that you can embrace them and still stand out. Use your imagination and have fun with your event!

Angela-Petteys200Angela Petteys is a Michigan-based writer who spends her time working with a wide range of companies in the Metro Detroit area, such as Display Group. You can find her on Twitter @AngelaPetteys. Follow @DisplayGroup for more event planning ideas and tips.

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Staff Writer