Heralding in a new decade means major changes in what’s trending for corporate events. What demographic is mostly setting these trends? The Millennials! The Millennial demographic places value on socially conscious, wellness-based, sophisticated professional events that creatively incorporate memorable, novelty-based experiences, whether they be entertainment or “bleisure” activities. So when planning your event this year, keep these top trends in mind.
1. The Festivalization of Corporate Events. With more music festivals happening each year cumulatively attracting millions upon millions of attendees - most of them Millennials - it’s wise to consider having major entertainment attractions at your event.
Take for example Forbes’ Under 30 Summit that gathered over 7000 young entrepreneurs. It was a genius move to make the summit a music festival plus a networking event, the message being that work and play don’t have to be different things. Even if you’re hosting a smaller-scale event, adding live performance to the agenda goes far in ensuring attendee satisfaction.
2. Sustainability Initiations. Millennials are notably wellness-conscious and eco-conscious. In North America, the percent of consumers under the age of 49 who are vegan or vegetarian are more than double that of consumers over 50. Plant-based diets are more popular than ever. Take for example the most recent Golden Globes: for the first time, the entire menu was vegetarian with a message about animal farming being responsible for most of the world’s carbon emissions. Going plant-based is a good look for your event, as well as collaborating with local, independent economies who have a low environmental impact.
Speaking of environmental impacts, look to incorporate innovative sustainability initiations in other ways such as ride-sharing services, avoiding single-use plastics by asking attendees to bring their own reusable cups (and let them know how many thousands of plastic or paper cups that’ll save from going to landfills), or ban plastic straws and stirring sticks. Showing that your event is socially and environmentally aware will only go over well.
3. Wellness and “Blesisure” Based Events. Eco-consciousness and “wellness” go hand in hand with the Millennial spirit. Venues that book massage rooms, offer group yoga and meditation classes, “unplugged” areas, ecologically friendly merch (local and sustainable? Yes please), fresh-pressed juices on offer and access to good private gyms are all incentives your events should be considering. Much like the festivalization of events to blur the lines of work and play, events with strong wellness components blur the line between business and leisure.
4. Nontraditional Spaces/Venues. Millennials are prone to seeing the typical carpeted hotel conference event as stuffy, stodgy and outdated. Instead, look for rooftop locations, outdoor spaces, boutique stores (for smaller-scale events), or “minimalist-chic” lofts or warehouses. A lot of millennials are adopting a “less is more” ethos (think of the popularity of #vanlife YouTubers, tiny house dwellers, and minimalist lifestylists) in reaction to overconsumption and world pollution levels. Minimal decor means that your event’s costs will go down, the environment will have a more sophisticated and Instagram-ready aesthetic, and the overall effect is a clean, clutter-free and more content-focused event.
5. Branded Apps. Most Millennials grew up with the internet, app use is second nature to them, and mobile app use only increases every year. Event apps offer a one-stop station to inform, personalize and connect. Event apps can offer agendas, tools for increased engagement, essential information such as local attractions and activities, real-time feedback and more. Relating to the sustainability trend, branded apps also mean a significant decrease in paper and other material consumption that would be used for information.
Finally, because our work and personal lives are more screen-saturated than ever, Millennials consider face-to-face time a more treasured commodity. So staffing your event with bright, beautiful, kind, cream of the crop people is - as ever - a huge asset to your event’s overall success.