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Event Planning & Management
22 December 2017 

The Biggest Event Trends of 2018

Stephen Kim
The Biggest Event Trends of 2018

What will 2018 have in store for the events industry? Check out our latest ebook on the biggest event trends of 2018 and learn how to stay ahead of the competition!

It seems like it was only yesterday that we were discussing all of the ways that 2017 would bring new technology, methods, and best practices to the events industry. But just as an events team begins to prep for the following year’s event as soon as possible, event professaionals should be anticipating and preparing for the changes that the new year will bring. 2018 event trends will surely propel the industry to new heights as well as shape the strategy of all event markters.

In The Biggest Event Trends of 2018 ebook you will find a thorough breakdown of the trends that will shape the future of events. The content is divided into three sections: technology trends, business trends, and attendee experience trends.

You can watch the below video for quick preview of what to expect.

Once your done watching the video, continue on reading for a more in-depth sneak-peek into this definitive 40+ page ebook.

Technology Trends 

Some of the most important 2018 event trends will be surrounding event technology. With each new year, technological advances are expected to occur in any professional industry. However, staying on top of these trends is particularly important for the events industry because technology holds a pervasive influence over all aspects of the event experience, for both organizers and attendees.

As 2017 has shown, one simple change could have massive ripple effects throughout the industry. This part of the ebook will explore the changing landscape of the event app, tips on increasing event app adoption, the growing importance of data integration, and the global implications of the increased importance in data security.

Data Security

With so much data to analyze from a variety of sources, ranging from event apps to event management software backend platforms, there is a growing voice of concern over consumer protection and privacy. 

As society collectively becomes more tech-savvy, the desire to use products that have their best interest at heart will be the ones that it remains loyal to. This is no different from event attendees and other stakeholders.

The events that will have the most consistent success in the long run are the ones that will have a clear and transparent data policy. Fortunately, it is very much possible to create data-driven strategies while being responsible with the information that event professionals have access to.

“Increasing data and privacy protection will be needed. As a planner, make sure your registration company is PCI compliant and take other steps to guard attendee information captured. Also, be aware of the coming GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) a sweeping set of privacy regulations that will affect any event with European attendees or members regardless of where the event takes place.”

– Corbin Ball, Corbin Ball & Co., Founder corbin-ball-min.png

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

One clear sign that evinces the increasing significance of consumer data protection on a global scale is the General Data Protection Regulation, the wide-sweeping European Union regulation that will come into full effect on May 25th, 2018. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all companies handle data through secure and transparent methods.

While this regulation was passed by the EU, it is imperative to keep in mind that this applies to all companies who sell to, hire, or engage with EU citizens. In other words, GDPR is relevant to all companies who strive to achieve a global presence, which is essentially all corporations. And because the business of live events is such a global industry, GDPR is especially relevant to event professionals who leverage data in their event strategies.

In The Biggest Event Trends of 2018, we explore GDPR and what it means for event professionals.


Business Trends 

If 2018 event trends are to bring about waves of change in the sphere of event tools, event professionals msut explore how these new tools will affect the ways in which business is conducted within the events industry.

Technology is only a tool until it is applied in tangible ways to produce certain results. This section will dive into the main business trends that have already begun to make ripples in the events industry and further explore how each will create its own massive wave by the end of 2018. 

Event Attribution 

One way of understanding event attribution is to calculate the return on investment of a specific events strategy. Among the event trends of 2018, we will see a greater emphasis placed on calculating event ROI as improved technology and software integrations make it possible for a more accurate measurement.

There are several different models for measuring ROI. Each presents its own strengths, weaknesses and levels of complexity.

1) Simple: Return/Investment 

Formula for simple return on investment

The simplest model is the return/investment model mentioned near the top of this piece. It’s ROI in its purest form. How much did you get out of the event? How much did the event cost? Simple. 

2) Complex: Incremental Margin 

Formula to calculate incremental margin

For an even more complex break-down, try the incremental margin model. This takes into account the gross margin instead of event revenue. The gross margin can be found by subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS) from the revenue of event. The result is a much bigger picture of event ROI.

COGS may vary depending on the type of event that you are holding or on whether you are holding an event or attending one. It could include various line items such as swag, design collateral, food, dinners and drinks. If this sounds very similar to event expenses, that’s because it is. More often than not, COGS will be smaller than your event expense. It’s also thought of as something that is absolutely necessary for making a sale happen.

In The Biggest Event Trends of 2018, we explore additional models for measuring event ROI and event attribution. 



Attendee Experience Trends 

Another key event trend in 2018 will be the drastic shift in attendee experience. Given both the technological and business trends that will shape the upcoming year, the combination of both will result in an experience that is new and novel for a majority of attendees.

Some of the ways this will happen is through enhanced artificial intelligence, virtual reality technology, and innovative experiential strategies.


The use of event chatbots at events has already begun but given its growing popularity and improved capabilities, 2018 will surely be seeing more examples of chatbot usage. They can be applied in a variety of situations.

For the 2017 SXSW festival, the events team offered a fully capable chatbot, named “Abby” to help attendees with FAQ’s. Over the course of the week, over 56,000 questions were asked to Abby through the event app, assisting attendees with venue maps, schedules, and other quick-to-answer questions. The bot was designed to be conversational and casual, aligning with the tone and event brand of SXSW. You can see it in action below:

Chabot demo that was used for SXSW
(Source: sxsw.com)

Interactive Experiences

Both event VR and AR technologies allow for much more engaging and interactive experiences for attendees. For example, AR can provide attendees with heads-up, turn-by-turn event directions. They can also immediately know who they’re speaking to by donning a headset equipped with facial recognition software.

Companies are already taking advantage of AR technology to transform the automobile industry. VNTANA is an interactive hologram technology company that is building a hologram car configurator that will allow consumers to actually see themselves inside their dream car.

Hologram product display innovated by VNTANA(Source: vntana.com)

Wrapping Up: A Bigger Bang

Throughout 2018, we hope that this blog post and The Biggest Event Trends of 2018 ebook that it derives from will prove to be a useful resource for event professionals.

We strongly believe that—while the trends covered in this ebook are not exhaustive—these event trends will be among the most significant and influential over the course of the year. The 2018 event trends will continue to evolve as time passes just as the industry will continue to evolve with each passing year. The key is to properly anticipate the industry shifts and to embrace the changes that are to come. 

What are you waiting for? Download the ebook and put yourself light years ahead of the competition.

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