9 Trends that Will Shape the Events Industry in 2020

January 10, 2020
2020 trends

What lies ahead for 2020 and the new decade? We talked with a few experts to find out. Take a look at their 2020 trend predictions below. Then, connect with us on Twitter to let us know your take!

Food & Beverage

Dana Pellicano, Marriott’s vice president of food and beverage experience for the Americas, says we’ll see:

Plant-based proteins everywhere.

Products from brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger will continue to grow in popularity and appear more frequently on meeting and event menus. For example, the San Francisco Marriott Marquis offers a Beyond Meat pasta Bolognese and “meatloaf.”

Alternative milks go mainstream.

Rather than a special request, milks such as soy, almond and oat will become standard offerings for lattes and other drinks at events.

Zero-waste and zero-proof cocktails.

Hotel and venue bars, restaurants and banquet kitchens are moving toward incorporating kitchen “scraps” in cocktails (such as The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne using leftover rinds and peels from whole pineapples). Similarly, with attendees growing more health conscious, mocktails (without alcohol) will become more common at event happy hours.


Event Technology

Dawn Archambault-Perry, vice president of brand experience at Freeman, sees these trends:

Creating mindful moments.

Being present allows us to fully connect with others. It will become increasingly important this year to design activities that allow for mindful interaction. This is a powerful way to disrupt our always-on mode by pausing distractions and plugging into the present. Whether it’s an oxygen bar, yoga session or guided meditation, these moments offer the chance to reflect and recharge.

High-return sponsorships.

Traditional banner sponsorships are out. Tech-based experiential activations that hook attendees, deliver trackable ROI and create an engaging, memorable moment are in. With options like chatbots, AR/VR, digital signage and more, these high-return activations drive awareness before, during and after an event.

Data action.

Not long ago, event professionals struggled to get access to data. Now, it seems there’s more data than we can comprehend. This year, event professionals will turn data into action with a solid framework and real-time analytic dashboards to monitor what’s working and what’s not — including ROI, year-over-year benchmarks and other relevant insights. The result? Adjustments in the moment and actions that deliver results.



Meetings will get greener this year, according to Mariela McIlwraith, director of sustainability for Events Industry Council and president of Meeting Change:

Going all in.

In 2020, sustainability is going to be all about bigger, bolder, action by more events and organizations in our industry. It used to be that there were a few champions for sustainability, and now we see a social movement for greater adoption. EIC’s new Centre for Sustainable Events and updated Sustainable Event Standards can help.

Change reflected in menus.

While vegan and vegetarian selections are now consistently offered, there are certain events where they are the only option being provided. Expect to see more plant-forward menus emphasizing greater biodiversity this year.

Evolving approach to materials resource management.

Previously, the industry simply focused on avoiding landfills with recycling. Now we're beginning to fully embrace a circular economy approach that has us being much more thoughtful about the materials we choose, as well as what will happen post-event.


Add new comment

Enter the characters shown in the image.

Partner Voices

Weaving local flavors into your event can help attendees experience and enjoy the destination even more. Happily, Seattle is known for its array of regional selections, with most hotels, venues, and restaurants offering a wealth of locally sourced bites and sips. Keep the tasty times going with these other delicious starting points. OYSTERS