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Top Event Trends for 2018: A Relevé Roundup

These first couple weeks after the New Year’s holiday offer a perfect time to roundup the Top Event Trends for 2018 — and Relevé Unlimited’s got you covered with this quick review.

  1. Respect Your Attendees with Engaging Events that change the way they think, feel, or act. While providing experiences that touch the mind and hearts of attendees is a pillar of effective event design, our increasingly fast-moving and complex lives pull our focus in a hundred different ways.

“Holding an audience’s attention is hard in a world of constant distraction. Just for starters, the event needs to be more interesting than their social media feeds.”

— Jack Marfleet, Head of Events, UK & Ireland, CWT Meetings & Events

  1. Stretch the Imagination with Unique Venues and “Raw” Buildings.

    Take your guests someplace they might not be able to access on their own: Relevé Unlimited has long embraced the “raw” building trend of “dressing” an empty building (warehouses, studios, airplane hangars, galleries, etc.) specifically for client events.

  2. “Experiential” Extends to Event Catering. One of this year’s top event trends is that guests want to know more about how their food is made, with experiential catering stations becoming more popular, for example, flour-to-finished pasta stations and fresh-pulled mozzarella stations.
  3. Everything Old Is New Again in Event Design… but with fresh, almost tongue-in-cheek treatments. From 70’s Retro (velvet, structural glass and big, knotty macramé) to 80s Drama and Flair, “Reverse Retro” uses architectural designs from vintage eras while integrating contemporary components of entertainment, technology, and social media. Retro Event Design in 2018 includes warm 70’s and bold 80’s palettes via the use of statement hues like yellow, orange, and lime accented by berry-inspired purples (like Pantone’s Ultra Violet, the 2018 Color of the Year) and metallic tones, particularly gold.
  4. “Hyperlocal” Culinary Occasions. More than including local and seasonal produce in event menus, consider partnering with local brands like wineries, food producers, distilleries, confectioners, and chefs to provide “hyperlocal” experiences with opportunities for hand-on food prep, chef demonstrations, or conversations with resident thought leaders.
  5. Drink Your Vegetables. The 4th Annual Culinary & Cocktails Trend Forecast by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants says that 91% of Kimpton bartenders plan to use nontraditional vegetables like beets, carrots, green beans, butternut squash, corn and radishes in their cocktail recipes this year.
  6. Encourage Interactivity:
  • Encourage social media interaction via the use of hashtags and imagery throughout the event cycle of announcement, marketing, registration, attendance, and post event wrap-up.
  • Use real-time polling and gamification
  • Provide prizes for most active attendees
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality tools are becoming less expensive and easier-to-implement (check out Relevé Unlimited’s recent review of Augmented and Virtual Reality options HERE).
  • When considering top event trends in technology options, ask yourself if it the technology aids interaction and conversation, or does it get in the way?
  • Venue Wi-Fi should be capable of managing the crowd of attendee devices (phones, tablets, computers) — and an ample supply of power sockets should be available, preferably one per seat for meetings.
  1. Plan for Safety and Security with safe venues that are physically comfortable and minimize attendee inconvenience; providing visible security measures will enhance attendee well-being. And Security extends to the cyber world: While Wi-Fi should be easy-to-access, that access must be protected and limited to your attendees.


Relevé Unlimited has been ahead of the curve with top event trends as Southern California’s ultimate Planner’s Partner since 1992 — contact President Diane Hamilton to find out how we can support your next event in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Orange County (including Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Ojai, Huntington Beach, Anaheim, Newport Beach, and Dana Point).

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