The events industry is always evolving, and with it comes new and exciting opportunities for growth. Yet, business owners often miss the curve and adopt innovative trends after their moment in the spotlight.
In a creative industry, innovation is vital for sparking new ideas, building smarter workflows, and attracting clients. So if you’re lagging behind on the trends, it can prevent you from progressing toward your goals, and can even damage your market reputation.
While that’s not to say event pros must try every fleeting trend that passes by, but rather to look outside the industry to identify what clients experience and expect from brand relationships and service providers. Don’t be afraid to borrow from other industries, either. See what is making waves elsewhere and find ways to incorporate those ideas into your offerings and customer experiences.
Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when assessing up-and-coming trends.
Know which trends are here to stay.
You can often determine an innovative trend’s staying power by looking at who starts using it. If you see older, more established brands jumping onto the trend, it will likely have some sticking power. Those with a large amount of influence in the industry can set a trend in motion for years as it’s replicated in various ways. Less impactful trends, on the other hand, won’t get the benefit of big-name recognition, so they tend to fizzle out.
Invest in innovation wisely.
Diving headfirst into the latest trend can be risky, no matter how long you think it will stay around. If the trend passes or a better alternative is created, you could be stuck with equipment, software, or even products that are no longer relevant to your clientele. So instead, start small, watch the market, and track your business data before going all-in on new innovations.
Be sure it makes sense in your business.
Not every innovative trend is a fit for your business, so be discerning when it comes to adopting new ideas and updating your offerings. Some trends can be incredibly time-consuming, such as TikTok and Reels, so it’s important to know what is worthwhile. While social media video marketing may be right for others, you may discover that even the most high-quality, value-driven content doesn’t move the needle toward your goals.
Get in as early as possible.
Maximizing a trend is all about timing, so when something catches your attention, try to jump on it before it catches too much traction and becomes mainstream. You can still start small to test the waters, but getting a head start will put you leagues ahead of your competitors if the trend becomes an industry mainstay.
Lets get experiential: Forget the classic buffet barbecue setup–trade it for a savory sundae. Grab a pail and feast your eyes on your choice of base, from mashed potatoes to mac and cheese, before picking your protein, whether its smoked pork shoulder, roasted pulled chicken or smoked beef brisket. Get lost in the sauce, with options from honey brown sugar and North Carolina vinegar to mango chipotle, and top with coleslaw, cheese, pickled or fresh jalapenos or corn–or all of it. Like a true sundae, it’s not complete without a moonshine-soaked cherry on top. Photo courtesy Bold Catering & Design
Here are a couple of ideas to get on board before 2023:
- Hybrid Events: The return from the pandemic brought hybrid events to the forefront, but many still are not interactive for the attendees watching remotely. Curating engaging and innovative experiences will put your event top-of-mind for all guests, regardless of whether they’re in-person or virtual.
- Unique Experiences: Guests want one-of-a-kind event experiences, especially as we shift to a new “normal” for social gatherings. While some may be apprehensive about attending, an enticing experience draws in people from near and far.
As we lean into the second half of the year, keep your innovation lenses on to identify, evaluate, and embrace the emerging trends that fit your business’s needs. You know what they say: The early bird catches the worm!