The world of events is growing rapidly. Weddings, corporate events, private parties, and the like are all growing in both size and numbers. More and more couples are planning destination weddings in unique places, businesses are celebrating a good year by hosting a private off-site conference, and people are just planning their events in more extravagant places than ever before. With the demand for events continuing to grow, the demand for event uniqueness is rapidly increasing as well. People don’t want to attend just any average event; people crave a mind-blowing event experience. Especially when you look at Millennials (who now make up one third of the US population) who are leaning towards valuing experiences over physical belongings, it’s no wonder why events are continuing to pick up so much momentum. Here are the biggest event trends for 2018 that are driving growth in the event industry.

Entertainment Event Trends

Live music isn’t such a new concept to the event industry. What is new is the way that live music is being done. The classic setup of having a live band, DJ, or other musical group on a stage probably isn’t going away anytime soon, but the days of that being the only form of entertainment at events are dwindling. Over the past few years we’ve seen the rise of things like roaming bands and musicians, singing waiters and staff, and flash mob dancers. The big rise in the whole event culture has even brought forms of entertainment like magicians, hypnotists, and beatboxers back from the depths of the late 20th century. Some events we’ve done recently have also included some circus style entertainment like jugglers, stilt walkers, and acrobats!

Staff and Service

We already mentioned that the waiter or waitress serving you at the next wedding you attend might surprise you by breaking out into song, but that’s not where the innovation of event staff ends. Traditionally, food at an event would be found at a huge table where you could go up, grab something, and sit down to enjoy your delicious meal. However, event trends are indicating that this style of service at events is on the decline. More and more events are becoming centered around engagement and interaction; people are on the go from one area to the next, mingling and meeting new people, or just dancing their butts off with their friends. The common theme here? People are spending less time at events with their butt in a chair and more time on their feet.

To accommodate this, the hospitality services at events are starting to adapt to this kind of event-style. We’re seeing more events move away from the formal meal style of food service to serving more hors d’oeuvres and other mobile solutions. That means more staff walking around at events carrying small dishes that people can grab on the go so they can continue with what they’re doing to make the event more of a seamless experience.

Not all events are fortunate enough to be able to serve alcohol, but if you’re going to a fun event like a destination wedding then you probably don’t need to hold your breath. In fact, you might be getting served drinks with some added flair; more and more bartenders are being hired at events to not just serve drinks, but to turn getting a drink into an entertaining experience.

Fun Activities

Outside of actual performers, people are investing in other forms of entertainment for their events as well. We’re seeing things like bounce houses make a glorious nostalgic comeback. Because who wouldn’t want to jump around like a nine-year-old kid in a bounce house after a couple drinks? Photo booths are also making a comeback by striking those “fond childhood memory” chords in many private event planners.

With that, we’re also seeing an increasing amount of modern forms of entertainment popping up at events. For example, virtual graffiti walls are starting to become more and more of a common occurrence. Whether it’s at a corporate event to encourage employee participation, or at a party to draw on a picture of your friend’s face, these graffiti walls and other similar interactive art platforms are starting to gain traction. They even have jumbo interactive floor pianos so you can get your groove on to the very tune you’re creating beneath your feet.

Local Exclusivity

The whole reason destination weddings became a thing in the first place was to have an awesome and unique experience; now that same mentality is extending to all aspects and types of events. We’re now seeing events include unique activities that are exclusive to the local area, like guided tours of nearby attractions or landmarks. With the movement towards valuing experiences over physical belongings, people are becoming increasingly interested in the idea of visiting unique places for events to experience the local cuisine, music, and other cultural aspects.

Technology Event Trends

The interactive graffiti walls and giant floor pianos are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the progression of event trends in technology. An increasing number of events are beginning to include virtual reality experiences – for both productivity and entertainment. Virtual reality is being leveraged by business events for virtual meeting places and networking purposes, while more frivolous events are using the technology to drive race cars, scuba dive, and go on other adventures.

Technology is revolutionizing virtually every aspect of events – not just the fun amenities like giant interactive graffiti walls. From event registration and planning, to ticket sales and marketing, to apps and artificial intelligence; there are innovative solutions popping up all over the place to optimize your event and your attendees experience. For example, chatbots and AI are gaining tons of traction in the event space to provide users with a mind-blowing experience.