2020 is going to be an interesting year for the events industry. We’ve identified 5 growing 2020 trends that venues should know about now to get the most out of the coming year.

1. Sustainability

In 2013 the events industry began working towards a vision led by WRAP, a catalyst for positive environmental action, to become totally waste-free by 2020. With 2020 upon us there is still some way to go. Sustainability is going to be under the microscope in 2020 more than ever before. If you haven’t already put initiatives in place to become a waste-free venue, this should be your number one priority as we head into 2020.

WRAP UK Events Roadmap

Green corporate events

At HeadBox, we work with some of the biggest global brands in the UK on their meetings and events programmes. In 2019, many of our corporate clients began to request that our Account Managers ensure their event proposals are filled with sustainable venue options. This is a real turn in the tide when it comes to large corporates and the attention they are paying to their supply chains.
Many of the UK’s biggest brands are making sustainability a part of their mission. If you hope to increase or maintain the number of corporate bookings you host at your venue, you will need to make some changes. This could be working with suppliers and caterers to provide sustainable food packages, updating your lighting, or investing in non-plastic kitchenware.

Green consumer events

It’s not just businesses that are worried about the environment. Even weddings are going green. Some of the biggest trends among wedding planners indicate sustainability is at the front of mind when it comes to planning celebrations. While you will not be able to help wedding planners find the perfect vintage gown, there are other things you can do to help create the perfect sustainable wedding.

If your venue offers weddings or similar private celebrations, consider your own supply chain. Do your caterers offer sustainable feast options? Does your florist encourage locally-grown wildflower arrangements, or even the dried flower arrangements we are seeing more and more of amongst high-profile wedding planners?
Your venue’s efforts to be sustainable will be of crucial importance when it comes to closing bookings in 2020. Your venue’s sustainability policy could be the thing that sets you apart from your competition. Make sustainability a part of your story and you can align your mission and purpose with that of potential client companies.

2. Catering

According to BBC News, the percentage of Britons who adhere to a vegan diet has increased by around four times in the last four years. Other diets on the rise for health reasons include gluten-free diets and low-carb high-protein diets. Ignoring alternative diets will become more problematic this year as this events industry trend continues to grow in significance.

In the past, event attendees with alternative diets might expect to attend an event which does not cater for them, but 2019 marked a turning in the tide. Event bookers can and will expect to see a range of items available at event venues which cater to their alternative diets.
If your venue has an in-house catering team, now is the time to build vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and high-protein options into your offering. Inclusive catering could be the edge that wins your next booking. If you work with caterers, they should be able to offer you options like this. If not, it may be time to reassess your catering partners. Are they going to keep up with changing times?

3. Festivalisation

With some corporate companies facing dwindling engagement with events, many are choosing to consolidate smaller events into one large showcase event. How do you create a large event that the modern workforce will love? Festivalisation.
Festivalisation has some key components across the board, and they can be applied to small venues just as much as larger or outdoor venues. Those key components are; opportunities for professional development, entertainment, high-quality casual dining, and immersive experiences.

How can venues of all sizes get on board with festival-style events?

In its large-scale form, a festivalised event will feel just like the festival experiences younger working generations know and love. Music, street food, bars, speakers, fairground rides, and shopping.

On a smaller scale, this might look like a communal area for buffet dining, or a street food vendor outside your venue. Venues of all sizes can explore hosting music and speaking events, even office buildings. Venues like The Office Group regularly host events with professional speakers, laid-back music, games and trending finger food.
Festivalisation is a trend that venues of any size can get involved in. The key is to design experiences, using tech or features in your venues, to create experiences that people want to share and show off.

4. Bleisure

Many of your bookers may be coming to your venue because they are travelling for work, whether they are booking your meeting room, your hotel room, a dining room in your restaurant, or a ping pong table in your bar.

What is ‘bleisure’?

If you’re reading up on 2020 events industry trends then you must surely have heard of ‘bleisure’ by now. No? Well, bleisure refers to business travellers extending their stays when they travel for work, adding a day or several of leisure time at the end of their trip, and it’s on the rise. Bleisure travel gives business travellers the opportunity to explore the place they have been staying and to invite loved ones to join the adventure.
This goes some way to negating the perceived negative impact that regular business travel has on personal relationships. Changing a business trip into a travel trip gives employees time to switch off and can help to prevent burn out. This trend is set to rise as millennials continue to enter the workforce, due to their huge focus on wellbeing and work-life balance.

What does this mean for venues?

Firstly, it means that all venues can benefit from business travel, not just hotels and offsite venues. Larger venues with plenty of space and resource might consider adding some new products or services to their offering.

For instance, offering leisure activities in-house at a corporate venue could be a great way to attract bleisure travellers to your venue. This might be exercise classes, food and beverage masterclasses, interesting thought-leadership event programmes, music nights, film screenings, or artistic workshops.
If your venue is smaller or lacking in resource, are there any non-competing suppliers you could partner with that could help you provide this offering to international clients?

5. Non-traditional Spaces

Data from Bizzabo’s 2019 Event Marketing Report indicates that businesses in 2020 will dedicate at least a quarter of their marketing budgets on events. Businesses fully understand the power of building relationships face-to-face, and that means venues like yours can expect plenty more corporate bookings in 2020.

What are businesses looking for in their event venues? Our data on the 2020 events industry trends indicates it’s providing unique experiences to their attendees, like always. With the rise of pop-ups, street food markets, and mini festivals experiences, events are being hosted in less traditional Spaces. This applies to corporate events just as much as consumer events.
Venues should consider promoting their Spaces in more inventive ways. We are seeing more of our clients booking kitchens, warehouses, cinemas, car parks, and other non-traditional Spaces for events. But it’s not just unusual venues who will benefit. Traditional Spaces can be used to host unusual event types, creating truly unexpected experiences.
2020 looks set to be an exciting year for the events industry, with real focus being placed on improving the lives and experiences of venue teams and event bookers. Whether you do that by doubling efforts in sustainability, festivalisation, bleisure or catering options, we have no doubt that 2020 will be a year to remember.

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