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Top Seven Event Trends to Expect in 2018

Top Seven Event Trends to Expect in 2018 - 2

Top Seven Event Trends to Expect in 2018

People are tired of event hype and want to be part of something authentic which adds value to their lives; or in the words of Julian Solaris from the Event Manager Blog, "There is no more time for fluff, sales talk and over-promising." Budgets are tight and corporate events will need to have strategy and substance behind them in 2018. Here are five event trends we predict seeing more of this year.

In House Venues

While seeing the value of outsourcing events to an event company, using an in house venue for niche meetings is becoming more common with clients. Most businesses have a space which can be transformed into a conference venue with some technical help or for a celebration with the right décor and props. We also recommend  looking for quirky places which are cost effective and not boring!

Pop Ups

Pop ups are the new flash mobs. These temporary experiences can be highly effective for anything from a one- off restaurant to a corporate launch. According to Pop Up Republic the pop-up shop industry in the US was valued at $50 billion in 2016, so South Africa has some catching up to do. We love a pop up and experimented with our flash in the pan restaurant last year which was a success. TheSQUAD are playing with the idea of doing some unplugged pop ups – watch this space.


Having a green event will no longer be an annual occurrence with a particular client. Well see change towards sustainability from within the events industry as its now a reputation imperative as well as an ecological one. Having a sustainable event requires a less is more approach, looking at everything from name tags to venue, transport, accommodation, speakers, entertainment, food and gifts.  But as David Wann says, Reducing our levels of consumption will not be a sacrifice but a bonus if we simply redefine the meaning of the word success. The no more straws campaign restaurants and areas are adopting is just the beginning in the sustainability trend.

Real Experiences

As TJ Leonard predicts, "Consumers and creatives alike will begin tossing out the old romantic jet-set and beautiful ideal, and instead demand content that is a more authentic reflection of our lives." Looking at marketing trends for 2018, the demand for real-life content will continue to increase. Storytelling remains aspirational; but what we aspire to is more genuine. This is good news for event planners who can showcase their client’s brand authenticity via real storytelling and creative experiences.  The bottom line is when you leave an event you need to feel something.

Digital Detox

The weight of the digital world is growing heavier and we’re seeing the need for events which include a few hours of digital-free time; if not an entire weekend. Last year’s American Psychological Association (APA) survey noted that “constant checkers” - people who are always connected- experience more stress than those who aren’t. The long term effects  to health can be chronic. Hopefully in 2018 we’ll realise the harder we work the more deeply we need to rest.  Inspired by theSQUAD Leader, Kelly McGillivray, we’re going to have a social media blackout in February to make the point during the month of love to find time 

Good news for event professionals, in 2018 virtual meetings will not replace face-to-face engagement. Webinars and other virtual get togethers are great for short information exchange. But in today’s multi- tasking and often distracting work environment, attention spans are short... theSQUAD is committed to having more face to face meetings. For internal communications we have the Eat Out magazine and each of us is choosing one restaurant a month to meet at.


Seeing the red carpet awash with black at the Golden Globes 2018 in solidarity against sexual harassment has tapped into a trend we’ll be seeing more of this year – causes.  In terms of corporate events we’ll be seeing more change management and business strategy workshops. With regards social causes, there’ll be marches for political, social, health and education change - the time has come to actively engage if we want to make a difference.

Kelly McGillivray, theSQUAD Leader

Editorial Note:

About: theSQUAD Creative Events

Incredible challenges are what take us to the moon and back. theSQUAD work to outdo themselves with bigger, more authentic, lump-in-your-throat, goose-bump-inducing, pulse-raising, smile-widening, can't-believe-that-just-happened experiences. We look forward to you joining us for the ride.

Contact: Kelly McGillivray


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