Three Key Event Trends You Need to Implement in 2020

Daniel Hilbert

Trends in Event Engagement and Design

It’s easy to throw the word “trend” around and declare the next big thing. As event marketers and evangelists, we must continuously evolve and adapt so that our guests, clients, and partners take away exactly what we intend from the experience. Trends create avenues we can take to make a bigger impact on our audience, which gives them a certain amount of value. So, what is top of mind for event marketers looking at the next year of planning?


  1. Inclusion

There’s a powerful Benjamin Franklin quote that says, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Involve the audience – that’s the most powerful action we can take for our event guests when we think about planning and design. Events tell guests all about the brand, the message and the products, but active engagement incorporates inclusion, which changes the event from something you simply attend to an immersive experience. It takes little action on the part of the attendee to enter a space which rises up to welcome them, and then guides them naturally along the rest of the intended journey.



  1. Vignettes

VignettesIn content design, how do you craft a memorable yet short encounter for your attendees? Consider vignettes, defined as brief, evocative descriptions, accounts or episodes. When you are working through design elements, craft the attendee journey purposefully, so it’s progressive, and your visitors can move effectively through your content sequence. Don’t make them have to figure it out or try to put it together themselves.


  • What elements will facilitate active learning?
  • Can you create a space to play?
  • Ways to encourage networking and sharing with other guests?
  • How about interaction with your team?


  1. Elegant Pauses

Elegant PauseIt’s good to remember that an event isn’t an all-nighter. Don’t attempt to crush 20,000 pieces of information in all at once. We aren’t cramming for a test here. The most effective approach is to incorporate “elegant pauses.” Create time for attendees to digest your content, share with other guests and work through solutions for their business needs. This also gives your team time to talk to visitors and help them with next steps. Ultimately, if you are doing it right, you set up the opportunity for JOMO – or the Joy Of Missing Out. Try these tricks to create elegant pauses:

  • Build in more agenda time for attendees to network
  • Carve out locations where networking can happen with little distraction
  • Ensure flexible time in the agenda for attendees to choose their own activities.

If they are actively engaged and engrossed in your content, space and team, then there is nowhere else they would rather be. They are fulfilling all of their needs in one place, and learning about ways your products and services can help them with their business issues. That’s a winning formula.


Every event is different, but the one thing that stays true is that attendee engagement is of paramount importance. We must continue to evolve as providers as our visitors’ needs change. An immersive experience is more impactful, and something that your guests will not only remember, but also look forward to visiting at your next event. You are intrinsically creating brand ambassadors when their event experience is impactful, educational and enjoyable.


For some assistance in planning your next event, download the Essential Event Marketer’s Planning Guide here.


About the Author

Daniel Hilbert

Dan Hilbert is EVP GES Events. With more than 30 years’ experience in the event, agency and entertainment business, Dan has a deep understanding of true experiential marketing and what it takes to make clients successful. Having also worked on the client side managing brands for Fortune 50 companies, he knows the power of face-to-face activation as a strategic growth imperative within the entire marketing mix. As EVP of GES Events, Dan and his team bring brands to life by creating and producing some of the world’s most impactful and immersive brand experiences.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Linkedin Visit Website
Previous Article
How Early is Too Early? Your Event Timeline [Infographic]
How Early is Too Early? Your Event Timeline [Infographic]

Have you ever wondered when is the right time to start planning your next event? The answer is... it's nev...

Next Article
How to Make a Branded Event Feel Personal
How to Make a Branded Event Feel Personal

Whether you’re running a large conference, have a single booth, or are touring a branded product launch, it...