Top 5 Event Trends Of 2018

Amazing events aren’t about setting up a stage, perfecting the seating arrangement and getting different vendors and technicians to come together to set up installations. Amazing events are about experiences. There must be a compelling story you want to tell. It takes a lot of nuanced planning. You must craft ways to engage with your audience. Only then can you hope to have the desired impact from an event.

While we meet with some of the best minds in the industry and pick their brains on what they think the state of events will be like this year, here are a few trends we seek to explore and analyze this month.

1. Live Entertainment Starts Getting Due Respect

Bieber, his fans and a whole lot of excitement. Photo courtesy: Bridge Clubbers
Bieber, his fans and a whole lot of excitement. Photo courtesy: Bridge Clubbers

Why did people pay INR 76,000 to watch Justin Bieber perform live in Mumbai last year? Why does the Indian Derby carry a purse of INR 3 crore? It is the lure of mass entertainment! While people will pay to sit at home and watch events on their big-screen televisions that display high-definition videos, they will place an even greater premium on live events.

Music festivals, theme parks, pop-ups at malls on different occasions – they all attract whopping crowds, thundering applause, laughing adults and kids. And with all these, people start giving due respect to live events.

How are you incorporating live events into your marketing strategy?

2. Venues Are Getting Inspiring

To work, play or party here @ Flyp Cafe, Mumbai Photo courtesy: Dineout
To work, play or party here? Flyp Cafe, Mumbai. Photo courtesy: Dineout

Are you a minimalist who believes in maintaining a small ecological footprint? Or are you artistically inclined, with an aesthetically designed office headquarters? Your personality and the personality of your business needs to spill over in the venues you choose to launch new products, conduct annual sales meetings and customer workshops. For instance, if you are a bank, you could host your event at the iconic BSE building. As an automobile company, you could bring your event to life at a race course. Let the entire event, nay, experience, be designed to match your brand’s personality in a way that people continue to remember it even years later.

This year brands will start investing in spaces. There’ve been Hard Rock Cafes since forever. Now there’s the MTV’s Flyp Cafe. Yes, it’s a cafe, but it creates fusions of local flavour with global recipes. Yes, it has great music, but it also features Coke Studio sessions, becoming an MTV museum of sorts. And, the cafe also doubles up as a co-working space, a talent recording room and impeccably designed gigs. The brand that stands for entertainment takes it to a whole new level by making enjoyment meet an immersive experience.

Have you thought about how your venue will inspire?

3. Engaging Technology Gets More Eyeballs and Footfalls

A “Discovery Portal” at the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel. Photo courtesy: Marriott International

Engagement is a huge part of an experience. How will you woo and wow your delegates? Should you set up a Tweet Wall? Or have interactive screens to demo your products? How can you use AR and VR to amplify engagement? What about games and live polling to hook the passersby?

Technology lets you deliver personalized experiences to the attendees. Not only that, you can also gather more in-depth customer insights from live events. For instance, you can discover what searches originate during a live event, or use NFC technology to test live marketing tactics and drive future engagements and purchases.

How are you going to incorporate technology into your next event and increase your event’s ROI?

4. Social Media and Event Agencies are Working in Tandem

Events don't just stand alone anymore. They got social media for company. Photo courtesy: Everwall
Events don’t just stand alone anymore. They got social media for company. Photo courtesy: Everwall

It should hardly come as a surprise that people discover upcoming events via social media. Facebook Events is an example of how well this is done – What event is running close to me this weekend? Which of my friends are interested in going? What are people saying about the event?

C4E has already had brands come to it to recommend social media agencies to go alongside the event they are planning. And vice versa, social media agencies have approached C4E to do events to generate traction on the internet. And with time, the trend is catching up fast. While social media and events have been meeting each other in bits and pieces over the years, this year, they will come together to create a unified brand experience.

Is your event tightly coupled with a social media campaign to generate traffic, content and engagement on the digital medium as well?

5. More Personalised Experiences Are Being Designed

Whatever your reason to walk, this will get your blood pumping @ Adidas Runway, Bandra. Photo courtesy: Sanskriti Nagar
Whatever your reason to walk, this will get your blood pumping @ Adidas Runway, Bandra.
Photo courtesy: Sanskriti Nagar

The vast majority of event attendees, especially the millennials, seek out events to express their personality. What they look for is a novelty that gives them a break from their existing routine. Take a cue from uniquely designed events. For instance, “Urban Feet – Night Run for Women’s Safety” conducted by UACTIV, is a lot more than an athletic event. It is designed to build awareness about a social issue. The Adidas Runway at Carter Road, is filled with motivational quotes, hoping to give runners, joggers, and even leisure walkers, a leg up.

Knowing who you are designing the experience for is a critical part of event design. As an event manager, your aim must be to create a community of a highly engaged audience, not run a mere transaction-based event. Whether you bring out the artsy or playful side of your attendees or extend the “wow” experience beyond the event itself, you must deliver a personalised, intriguing experience to make an event unforgettable.

Are you still designing mere events or are personalised experiences becoming a part of your marketing strategy? 

While we will opine on these (and a few more) trends related to experiences and live event management this month, we’d love to hear from you about the trends in events that you anticipate will be huge this year.

Curious to know what the Podium thinkers think? Meet Saurabh Garg to talk to him about the emerging trends and how you can design events that leave an audience cheering. You can reach Saurabh at

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