Outlook 2018: Experts Predict Changes in Many Areas of Corporate Event Planning

January 4, 2018

Corporate event planners are looking ahead to what the new year may hold—focusing on the dates saved on their calendars. How can they make these events pop? What trends will impact how they plan memorable experiences for their clients? 

Corporate Event News spoke to expert planners to see what trends they predict will impact the industry in the coming year. 

Karen Shackman of Shackman Associates New York predicts last minute events will demand more luxury.

“This will require more choices: whether it is choices of venues, choices within the venue, choices at multiple venues, and timing choices,” said Shackman.

She continued,“This is really where urban meetings have the ability to accommodate planners that need to wow attendees with very little lead time, especially when we are seeing new venues opening throughout the year.”

Shackman also thinks experiential venues will create more attendee engagement both during and after the event.

“For example, we’re a preferred event partner for National Geographic's Ocean Odyssey in Times Square. This venue provides audiences with immersive undersea experiences, including deep sea dives where attendees can 'engage' with sea life. With an Academy, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning team of designers and leaders in video and sound at the helm, the private function space is the perfect backdrop for corporate events, dinners, receptions and more,” she explained.

Shackman went on,”These kinds of venues are transforming event décor while incorporating entertainment and attendee interaction in one unique location. The Grand Ole Opry has also opened a similar venue where major talent can perform live for event attendees in HD from the flagship venue in Nashville. Event venues like these are also including interactive gaming challenges to encourage attendees, in the case of NatGeo Odyssey, to clean up their own areas of the ocean, and a CSR-driven pledge to help ocean-saving initiatives.”

Christy Lamagna, CMP, CMM, CTSM, master strategist at Strategic Meetings and Events believes the industry is going to start moving towards a strategic mindset.

“Planners are integral parts of businesses. We continue to evolve and enhance the offerings we bring to both internal and external clients and their attendees,” explained Lamagna.

“In 2018, we are going to start focusing our attention inward and take the steps required to be seen as the business partners we are,” she continued.

Lamagna also predicts it will continue to be a seller’s market which means more competition for space, new fees, longer wait times for answers to RFPs.

“This means planners need to qualify the value of their programs to get the space they want, and need to negotiate contracts with more precision than ever as rising costs will continue to outpace budgets,” she added.

Parul Shah, strategy director at FreemanXP, recently predicted more emphasis placed on effective storytelling in corporate events in a blog post on FreemanXP’s website.

“Stories are the vehicles we use to remember experiences and make sense of the information around us," said Shah.

She added, "And yet, live events often lack structured storytelling. A proper story has a beginning, middle, and end. This is critical to connect with attendees to not only drive action, but also to generate the emotion necessary to take action. Expect to see more brands get storytelling right in 2018.”

These predicted industry changes would have far-reaching impacts on how corporate event planners do their jobs. In the coming year, they will be required to think more strategically and make decisions that are outside of the status quo. The results of these changes have the opportunity to bring about exciting new experiences to those that attend corporate events.

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