When planning a business event, there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. You want to ensure that the event itself is productive, but you also want your guests and attendees to be invigorated and excited by the day’s activities. In the past, corporate events fell into a rather staid and predictable pattern. Meetings and presentations by day, a break for a rather routine dinner service (“are you having the chicken or the beef, sir?’), and an evening of lite entertainment as a cursory reward for the day’s work. But like anything in life or business, trends come and go, and corporate events today are looking nothing like the one’s our parents attended. For one thing, there is a greater reliance on technology than ever before. There are also new and exciting approaches to the event spaces themselves, as well as to the refreshments served and the entertainment provided. Let’s look at a few up and coming trends that are changing the face of business events in 2014.
New technology permeates every level of society – from our schools to the workplace, from our homes to our boardrooms. That same new technology is also changing the way business events are staged and executed. The following tech savvy trends are helping to bring corporate event planning into the 21st century.
- Electronic Registering – Paper registration has always been problematical. It’s plagued with mistakes and misspellings, and difficult to update quickly and efficiently. Using electronic registration, via iPad, laptop, or smartphone, keeps the process much more streamlined and allows event planners to update information quickly and efficiently. It also makes it much easier for attendees to register for you event, pay any necessary fees, and finalize their travel plans.
- Social Media – Social media makes it easier to promote your event, and allows guests and attendee to communicate freely before and after the function. This will help to keep your corporate event alive, and active, in the minds of your staff and guests. I also opens a direct line of communication with all of your attendees.
- Wi-Fi Enabled Devices – Gone are the days of pens and notebooks for corporate presentations. They have been replaced by iPads and laptops, making it easier for your guests to take notes, share information, and stay connected to their offices in real time. Ensure that your next event provides wi-fi access and charging stations for all of your attendees.
No business event is complete without refreshments. But the stuffy old sit down dinners that have become a standing joke on sitcoms throughout the years are a thing of the past. New trends in food and food service are changing the way that corporate events are catered.
- Think Healthier – Everyone is trying to eat healthier these days, and that extends to special events. Instead of donuts and danishes in the morning, provide your guests with smart alternatives like granola, fresh fruit, and other healthy snacks. This will provide the fuel they need for the day’s activities, and allow them to feel good about their food choices.
- Think Smaller – The rubber chicken dinner of the past gave way to the buffet, and the buffet is making way for the sampling stations. Smaller portions allow your guests to enjoy a wide range of culinary delights, all while maintaining a degree of self control. Tasting stations also help to create a lively atmosphere, keeping attendees alert and networking throughout the dinner break. For the cost conscious, and that’s pretty much everyone these days, tasting stations also help to stretch the catering budget while providing an ample assortment of food and drinks.
Creating the Right Atmosphere
Business events tend to be rather staid and restricting, with attendees seated in rows of straight backed chairs. This can lead to mental and physical fatigue. The latest trend is to create a more lively atmosphere by arranging guests in clusters, either in groups or around tables. This type of social seating helps to keep attendees alert and interactive, while allowing them a fair degree of comfort. Decor also plays an important part in creating the right atmosphere. Uplighting can help to enliven a room, transforming from a plain function hall into a comfortable lounge. Incorporate your company’s logo and color schemes into the decorations to brighten the room, and to avoid an a static and unproductive environment.
Business event planning, like anything else in life, is subject to the fashions and trends or the moment. While chasing fashion is rarely productive, the few topics discussed here are well worth any business event planner’s attention. These new trends in business event planning are helping to make corporate events more interesting, memorable and productive.