From time to time, experts like to break out their crystal balls to predict the future of event planning, meetings, and corporate events. According to BizBash, the industry has already undergone notable changes with the rapid introduction of technology to the scene, but the question remains: What’s next?
Creating a real, authentic event experience
One recent trend that is spreading like wildfire through a wide range of industries is the demand for unique and obscure venues. Take a look at real estate and the restaurant industries alone. These days, it’s all about old factory lofts and converted industrial spaces, and the same applies to event planning. It’s a simple concept, really—reusing the old in new and unique ways. There are more and more requests for unknown venues or throwback spaces.
Many event hosts have also eliminated the rented event space altogether, and instead, they are opting for holding more bashes in the intimacy of their own homes, creating a more authentic experience. Although this could limit the size of an event, it shouldn’t be an issue based on the next trend.
Guests lists are shrinking
Large over-the-top soireés are quickly becoming old news, with smaller affairs replacing them as a preferred alternative. “I think that the sit-down, black-tie dinner is going to become less and less of a standard,” Brian Worley of YourBash explained to BizBash. “I think that galas and balls will become more of an opportunity for networking and socializing rather than just an hour cocktail party at the beginning of the evening, then sit down, eat, see a presentation, and leave.” Although some might think that an exclusive guest list might limit the potential of an event, it’s actually a savvy marketing maneuver. Take, for example, a Hollywood movie premiere. Few guests actually look forward to the movie premiere, while all the buzz is normally focused on the afterparty—when the guest list is whittled down and the fun really starts. With this in mind, cutting out the middleman and going straight for the small, intimate experience seems to be the way to go.
You may think that smaller events mean less recognition, press, and interest around your event. However, with the introduction of digital technology, that’s no longer true. Social media and online spaces allow for many more people than ever before to be a part of any event with a digital presence, even just as a spectator. According to BizBash, Veuve Clicquot hosted a dinner for a small group of influencers last October, where they debuted new vintage wines. “Hosting a small event makes guests feel like they are part of a special, personal experience,” Vanessa Kay, vice president of Veuve Clicquot U.S., told BizBash. But while the small guest list allowed each guest to fully immerse themselves into the experience, the host encouraged social sharing during the event. By choosing a guest list of key influencers, each with his or her own large social media and online following, Veuve Clicquot both accomplished the intimate experience and generated the buzz they were hoping for.
Relationship building is the new networking
For hosts and guests alike, one of the biggest draws of small, authentic experiences is community and relationship building. Think of attending a meeting or a professional event—a small guest list and comfortable setting encourages attendees to have longer and more natural conversations, rather than attempting to network with a large number of people. Or at a more formal event, like a meet and greet with a celebrity guest, a more intimate experience will allow guests to feel like they’ve connected with the featured guest, more than just being a face in the crowd. Whatever the event, attendees want to leave feeling like they’ve formed deeper relationships and gotten to know someone else a bit better. Community building is key to an authentic experience.
All of these pieces come together to create the experience. The space first sets the tone and feeling for the event. Comfortable, intimate spaces, like one’s own home, will direct how guests feel during the event—it creates the physical and emotional backdrop for the experience. A small guest list makes people feel important, elite, and part of a special group, and who doesn’t want their guests to come away feeling good? Together, an intimate space and small guest list create a perfect setting for guests to form relationships and build communities, which will leave them with new contacts, genuine conversation, and positive memories.
Interested in making your next event a small, intimate affair? Reach out to us at 212-316-0052. We’d love to help you get started!