3 Big Meeting Trends from 2018—and How They’ll Change in 2019

Here’s what you can expect from the meeting industry this year

2018 has come and gone, which means it’s time to look back on the trends that dominated the meeting industry over the past year—and how they’ll affect events for the coming year. Here are our top three picks:

Wellness-Inspired Meetings

Be it through yoga, local menus or activities to make events stress-free, this past year brought a renewed focus on health and wellness.

How it’ll change in 2019: Events are just beginning to tap into the wellness space, so expect a boom in health-conscious initiatives across the planning spectrum. Yes, serving healthy food is important, but sustainable practices, like reducing one’s carbon footprint, are also on attendees’ minds. 

What this means for planners: Develop new strategies to show attendees that you’re keeping their health top of mind. Think open setups with an outdoor view, mindful breakout sessions and socially conscious initiatives that give back to the community. 

Experience-Focused Meetings

Attendees no longer want to just sit and listen—they want to be involved. 2018 saw planners tackle events with an experience-first focus that cultivated exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime meeting moments.

How it’ll change in 2019: At their core, meetings are—and always have been—about presenting guests with a unique live experience. As planners saw in 2018, what delineates a good experience from a great one is next-level ideas and attention to detail. In 2019, experiences will only continue to grow, resulting in better, more immersive events.

What this means for planners: No idea is too big or off limits. Challenge yourself to use new brainstorming strategies that change your perspective and lead to the kind of extraordinary ideas that will leave guests speechless. That said, it’s important to keep budget in mind, as always. If you have a great idea that’s too grandiose for your checkbook, find a way to scale back a few elements without compromising its overall intention.

Advanced Event Technology

Augmented reality, livestreaming and all-encompassing event apps, oh my! This past year brought more tech to events than ever before, and tech innovations aren’t slowing down anytime soon. 

How it’ll change in 2019: As technology continues to evolve, so will the techniques planners use for events. Yes, event apps and augmented reality will still be mainstream strategies, but other tools, including facial recognition software, holograms and more in-depth data reporting, will steal the spotlight.

What this means for planners: Brush up on your tech speak, and think more broadly about how event tech can influence events. For example, if you’re looking to hire a photographer for a meeting, consider using drone technology alongside traditional photographers to capture the full extent of the fanfare. And if you’re not tech-minded, don’t worry: Pairing up with an event tech partner can ensure that the technical aspects are handled properly so that you can act on your vision.