Look Out for These 6 Event Trends in 2020

Brittany Chaffee

12 December 2019

britt-gaiser-hSAlu33padA-unsplashPhoto by britt gaiser on Unsplash

In 2019, events were all about intimacy, event apps, artificial intelligence, wearables, cybersecurity, and personalization. Not much has shifted as we look towards 2020 – people still want to feel moved and a part of the experience. People want to be connected. Audiences still crave smaller, curated experiences. As we roll into 2020, events are still a core opportunity to build ongoing personable relationships with key audiences.

So, how are things looking for the new year? Below are a few trends we’re seeing in the event world:

Be Transparent about Sustainability

The world is (quite literally and figuratively) heating up on this topic. When brands create an experience for people, it’s important to be sure an eco-friendly approach is top-of-mind.

Some sustainable options for your event: switch to digital ticketing systems, use biodegradable options when it comes to (anything) plastic, plan more localized events, or have online events like a webinar or augmented reality. Soon, people will demand events, from top to bottom, are executed with sustainability at the core. It’s where the world is moving. Most importantly, sustainability should line up with your companies’ values, especially if you’re hosting an event that pushes the message. 

Interactivity is the New Black

Installations should be artful and interactive. Participants should feel fully immersed in an experience and be supported by high level meaning. Strong messages push the envelope and make things more meaningful.

We love the Refinery29 “29Rooms” event. It’s an interactive fun house of culture, technology, and style. Rooms are created by brand partners that blow out artistry in colorful, innovative ways. Attendees enter the various rooms and are encouraged to use the surroundings to create something.

Immersive, interactive experiences are also crucial for sharing. “Videos are the next level for events,” says Hana April Chugtai, founder of Hana April Inc. “People won’t just see photos of the event after it happened, they will be guided through it online.”

Make Things Imaginative with Augmented Reality

According to the Marketing Insider Group, the AR and VR industry is forecast to grow by over 25% in the next two years, with AR leading the charge.

Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 9.44.28 AM

Photo by eMarketer, sourced here

Augmented reality has always been a buzzing trend for a while now, however, it’s becoming more accessible and flexible to use. Brands are using it for interactive product demonstrations, to provide a new kind of entertainment, help attendees learn more about each other and communicate in a shiny, fresh way.

Consider the new Dallas Cowboys photo booth. At AT&T Stadium, video boards allow game attendees to pose for realistic photos with Dallas Cowboys players.


Self-Care Takes the Throne from “The Hustle”

Hustle and grind no more! Now, we’re all about wellness. Do you hear us? Stop doing so much! Working long hours and valuing a personal life has exploded into a millennial workforce value. So, how does this blend with events? No one wants to sit through a day-long conference anymore. Brands are including meditations, tech-free zones, outdoor activities, and breaks dedicated to inspiring creativity and mindfulness.

Personalization 2.0

Personalization was a thing in 2019, but now it’s getting serious. For example, Big Data and AI are creating super enhanced personalization by creating unique schedules for each attendee or personalized maps of venues with points of interest catered for them. Certain data can be collected from the event to personalize follow-ups and future marketing messages.

Marketers are encouraged to think of an event life cycle in three phases: pre-event, during event, and post-event. If they are able to capture behavioral context along each phase of the process, marketers can use data intelligently. Especially when it comes to enhancing personalization. According to AdWeek, “It’s time marketers also tap into richer intent data, whether it’s interest by product line, pain point or where a prospect is in the buying cycle.” Understanding an audience is all about the next step. Always pose the question: here's what they want, now what can we do with it?

Venues are Getting Weird (and cool)

Say “so long” to the conference room. Companies are encouraged to crawl out of the box when thinking of effective event spaces. Places like barns, warehouses, museums, co-working spaces, abandoned buildings (anywhere!) are spiking in popularity. Rideshare options have made it increasingly easier for companies to host events outside of the city.

We latched onto this trend years and years ago when working with JCP during their Analyst Meeting and Brand Relaunch event in New York City. In six short weeks, we transformed an 100,000 square foot abandoned Pier 57, formally used as a bus depot, into an unrecognizable venue fit for 1,600 Wall Street analysts, vendors, media, and celebrities.





At STAR, we're always up for the challenge to showcase brands in a unique way. Experiences are all about the stories we tell and how we remember them.

How will you inspire people through experiences in 2020? 

Have questions about what we do at STAR? Want to talk experiential marketing? We're happy to chat. Contact us here.

Brittany Chaffee


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