Technology Trends Transforming Corporate Events in 2024

Technology Trends Transforming Corporate Events in 2024

As a corporate event planner in the Boston area, I’ve seen firsthand how technology has revolutionized the way we plan and execute events. From virtual attendance options to AI-powered planning tools, technology has become an integral part of the event planning and implementation process.

But what does tech look like for your events? Knowing how to integrate tech into your event is just as important as knowing what options are available for you. In fact, technology is changing the game for event planners and attendees alike.

Virtual Attendance Options

One of the biggest changes we’ve seen in recent years is the rise of virtual attendance options. With the pandemic forcing many events to go online, virtual attendance has become a staple of corporate events. Tools like Zoom have made it easy for attendees to join events from anywhere in the world, and many companies are continuing to offer virtual options even as in-person events resume.

However, virtual attendance is not without its challenges and because of this we’re starting to see more emphasis placed on trying to get attendees in person. One of the biggest issues is engagement. It’s much harder to keep attendees engaged when they’re not in the same room, and many virtual events struggle to achieve the same level of interaction and networking as in-person events.

Another challenge with virtual attendance is that you never know how many people will actually tune in. It’s easy for attendees to register for a virtual event and then forget about it or get distracted by other things. This can make it difficult to plan for the right number of attendees and ensure that everyone has a good experience.

Despite these challenges, we think some form of virtual attendance is here to stay. Many companies are opting for a hybrid approach, offering both in-person and virtual options to accommodate different preferences and needs. As technology continues to improve, we can expect to see even more innovative ways to engage virtual attendees and create a seamless experience for everyone.

Tech for Planning and Venues

Technology is also changing the way we plan and execute events. There are now countless tools and platforms available to help event planners streamline their processes and create better experiences for attendees.

One trend we’re seeing is the use of QR codes for registration and check-in. Instead of waiting in long lines to register or check in, attendees can simply scan a QR code on their phone and be on their way. This not only saves time but also reduces the need for physical contact, which can save venues and organizations in staff time and training.

Another trend is the use of self-check-in stands. These stands allow attendees to check themselves in using a touchscreen or other interface, again reducing the need for physical contact and speeding up the check-in process.

Eventbrite is another popular platform for event planning and ticketing. With Eventbrite, planners can easily create event pages, sell tickets, and manage attendee information all in one place. The platform also allows for easy scanning of tickets using a phone or other device, making check-in a breeze.

Of course, technology is not without its challenges when it comes to event planning. There are still many issues that haven’t been fully figured out, such as connectivity issues and slow response times when something goes wrong. It’s important for event planners to have contingency plans in place and to work with experienced tech teams to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

The Role of AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another technology that is starting to make its way into the world of corporate events. While we haven’t seen a ton of AI-powered tools in use yet, there are some exciting possibilities on the horizon.

One potential use of AI in event planning is for personalization. By analyzing attendee data and preferences, AI could help planners create customized experiences for each attendee, from personalized agendas to tailored networking opportunities.

AI could also be used for real-time translation, making it easier for attendees from different countries and backgrounds to communicate and connect with each other.

Of course, as with any new technology, there are concerns about privacy and data security when it comes to AI. Event planners will need to be transparent about how they’re using attendee data and ensure that they’re taking appropriate measures to protect it.

A Look to the Future

As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more changes in the world of corporate events. While there are certainly challenges to navigate, technology also presents exciting opportunities to create more engaging, personalized, and memorable experiences for attendees.

If you’re planning an event for your own organization, it’s hard to remember all the options available to you. This is where hiring someone to support you through this process is so valuable. It’s an event planner’s job to stay on top of these trends and find ways to incorporate technology in a way that enhances the overall event experience. Whether it’s using QR codes for check-in or exploring the possibilities of AI-powered personalization, there are countless ways to leverage technology to create better events.

Of course, technology is just one piece of the puzzle. At the end of the day, the most successful events are those that prioritize the attendee experience above all else. By combining the latest corporate event and technology trends with a focus on creating meaningful connections and memorable moments, we can create events that truly stand out and leave a lasting impact on attendees.

Innovative Trends in Corporate Events in 2024

Innovative Trends in Corporate Events in 2024

Picture this: you’re attending a corporate event, but instead of the usual stuffy ballroom or generic conference center, you find yourself immersed in a unique and engaging experience. Perhaps you’re exploring a museum exhibit, learning a new skill in a hands-on workshop, or connecting with colleagues over a virtual wine tasting. This is the future of corporate events in 2024 – a world where accessibility, inclusivity, learning, and genuine connections take center stage. Innovative trends in corporate events abound!

As a seasoned corporate event planner in Boston, I’ve witnessed firsthand the rapid evolution of the event industry. Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all gatherings; today’s employees crave experiences that cater to their diverse needs, interests, and preferences. They want events that not only inform and entertain but also leave a lasting impact on their personal and professional lives.

And if you’re looking to plan an event in the next 12-18 months, it’s vital that you understand the trends that are reshaping the corporate event world so you can make decisions that positively impact your employees and organization as a whole.

From prioritizing accessibility and neurodiversity to creating immersive experiences in unique venues, these trends reflect the changing expectations and values of the modern workforce. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out on these game-changing trends that are set to revolutionize the way we come together, learn, and connect in the workplace.

Accessibility & Neurodiversity

Accessibility has become a crucial consideration for any event. Beyond ensuring handicap accessibility, event planners are incorporating sign language interpreters, captions, and smaller stages next to the main stage to accommodate diverse needs. And for hybrid events, captioning is essential to ensure that remote attendees can fully participate.

While there’s still room for improvement in addressing neurodiversity, we’re seeing a growing focus on creating environments that cater to different attention spans and needs. Musical breaks, such as a 15-minute violinist performance, and yoga breaks (even chair yoga) are becoming popular ways to break up long sessions and keep attendees engaged. These breaks indirectly benefit everyone, as we all need to get up and move around from time to time.

Flexible attendance is another key trend. When planning events, it’s important to consider extra space at the venue to accommodate different formats and attendance based on the needs of the invitees.

Learning & Development Opportunities

Corporate events are no longer just about networking and socializing; they’re also becoming valuable opportunities for learning and professional development. Many companies are incorporating workshops, seminars, and training sessions into their events to help employees acquire new skills and knowledge.

These learning opportunities can take many forms, from keynote speeches by industry experts to interactive workshops on topics like leadership, communication, or technology. By providing employees with the chance to learn and grow, companies can demonstrate their commitment to employee development and help foster a culture of continuous learning.

Moreover, learning and development opportunities can be tailored to the specific needs and interests of the attendees. For example, a tech company might offer coding workshops or sessions on the latest industry trends, while a healthcare organization might focus on patient care or medical innovations. By aligning the learning content with the company’s goals and the attendees’ roles, event planners can create a more engaging and relevant experience.

Creating Connection

In an era where remote work has become the norm, creating experiences and ways to bring people together is more important than ever. It’s not enough to just have people in the same room; there needs to be a compelling reason for them to attend, though remote employees who feel isolated are often eager for any opportunity to connect with their colleagues.

One solution is to tie social events to other reasons for being in town, such as sales meetings. This approach is more cost-effective for the organization and encourages attendance by the employees. For remote employees who can’t attend in person, sending them the same materials that in-person attendees receive and including them in virtual activities, such as wine and cheese pairings or mixology classes, helps them feel included and appreciated.

Another way to create connection is through team-building activities. These can range from simple icebreakers to more elaborate experiences like escape rooms or scavenger hunts. The key is to choose activities that encourage collaboration, communication, and problem-solving, while also being fun and engaging.

In addition to structured activities, it’s important to provide opportunities for informal networking and socializing. This can be as simple as providing comfortable lounge areas or organizing social hours where attendees can mingle and chat. By creating spaces and opportunities for genuine connection, event planners can help build a sense of community and belonging among attendees.

Experience-First Venues

Gone are stuffy conference spaces, like those you find in a hotel. Instead, venues that offer built-in experiences are becoming increasingly popular. Museums, aquariums, and even activity-based spaces like paint splatter rooms, ax-throwing venues, and bowling alleys with private event spaces are in high demand. These venues provide a unique and engaging experience for attendees, making the event more memorable and enjoyable.

For example, hosting an event at the Museum of Science or the New England Aquarium in Boston allows attendees to explore the exhibits and engage in interactive experiences while also attending the corporate event and presentations. These unique settings can spark conversations, inspire creativity, and create a sense of excitement and novelty that traditional event spaces may lack.

However, it’s important to ensure that the chosen activities are inclusive and don’t alienate any group of attendees. For example, a relay race at Gillette Stadium should be designed so that athleticism isn’t a requirement for participation. Similarly, a comedy show should avoid targeting or humiliating specific demographics, as people don’t want to be embarrassed in front of their coworkers.

When selecting an experience-first venue, event planners should also consider the logistics and practicalities. Factors like accessibility, transportation, and amenities should be carefully evaluated to ensure that the venue can accommodate the needs of all attendees.

Focus on ROI

Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of corporate events can be challenging, but it’s a critical aspect of event planning in 2024. Though it may not look like you’d expect it to, with hard numbers and growth statistics.

The best way to gather ROI data for a corporate employee event is by sending surveys to employees after the event. These surveys should ask about expectations, highlights, areas for improvement, and speaker ratings. For annual events, this feedback is invaluable for shaping the next year’s event.

If there’s pushback from the C-suite on the value of corporate events, it’s important to highlight the importance of employee engagement and team building. Employee engagement surveys often reveal a need for more recognition and events to foster a sense of belonging and connection to the company culture. Historical feedback from employees can also be used to support the case for corporate events.

To demonstrate ROI, event planners should set clear objectives and metrics for each event. These might include employee satisfaction scores, attendance rates, or even business outcomes like increased sales or improved collaboration. By tracking these metrics over time, event planners can build a compelling case for the value of corporate events and justify the investment to stakeholders.

In some cases, there may be pushback on the cost or scale of corporate events. In these situations, event planners can propose a compromise, such as starting with smaller events and gradually scaling up based on feedback and results. By taking a data-driven approach and being willing to adapt and iterate, event planners can create events that deliver measurable value to the company and its employees.

What’s Next?

The corporate event landscape in 2024 is all about creating inclusive, engaging, and memorable experiences that bring people together and demonstrate a clear ROI. By focusing on accessibility, learning opportunities, connection, unique venues, and employee feedback, event planners can create events that not only meet the needs of a diverse workforce but also contribute to a strong company culture.

As we move forward, it’s important to stay attuned to the changing needs and preferences of employees and to be willing to experiment with new formats and approaches. By embracing innovation (and technology!) and putting the attendee experience first, corporate event planners can create events that truly make a difference and leave a lasting impact on the company and its people.

Event Signage: How to Elevate Your Next Event

Event Signage: How to Elevate Your Next Event

Events have many moving parts, and getting your attendees to smoothly locate and move throughout your venue is vital. Swank Events can help your company create impactful signage that can offer more than just directional value!

This summer we were apart of IntelyCare’s Summer Outing at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Larger venues like this can be tricky to navigate and can lead to your participants getting lost. Signage is the most overlooked and forgotten ingredient in a successful event because of their plain nature. Corporate events especially, have the ability to form employee comradery and lose the formality of the work environment. An easy way to do this is with décor, and it is easy to include your signage in that vision.

Allegro Photography

Create a Welcome Sign to help the attendees know they have found the correct location and are not wandering around the property. The Welcome Sign is the first touch point that guests will interact with, and it is important to make a good impression. Include eye-catching colors and branded material to ensure that your guests can easily find it. At this event we added company colored balloons next to each sign, keeping the overall theme in contact.

 

Allegro Photography

 

Swank Events created the concept of using different sports quotes on each sign leading the guests to the main event. Using these signs as touch points rather than arrows was our way of promoting the company’s core values and also carrying through the theme of “We are the Champions.” Signage can look and represent anything you want!

 

Event Planning Tip: After determining the placement of your signs, be sure to walk through the venue as if you were a guest. You’ll want to ensure that the location of your signage provides the most benefit for your attendees and serves it’s purpose, whether that be wayfinding or decorative.

 

10 Years of Disruptive Innovation Celebrated at Sea

10 Years of Disruptive Innovation Celebrated at Sea

We had a great experience celebrating Acacia’s 10th Anniversary of “disruptive innovation”. Their team members traveled from offices all over to board the Spirit of Boston and enjoy a night at sea to commemorate the many achievements of the optical communications company.

Upon boarding the ship, guests were welcomed with their choice of wine, beer and delicious hors d’oeuvres, after snapping a nautical photo with the Spirit of Boston buoy, of course. 

 

Spirit of Boston employees welcoming guests with champagne and beer.Employees wearing orange socks with the Acacia 10-year logos on it

 

On board, there was so much to see between the stunning city views, the top deck lounge, and the indoor dining space that was so thoughtfully designed with the help of our wonderful vendors: Lotus Floral Events, Your Love in Lights, the Party Lab, Print House and CCR Solutions. And, we can’t forget the breathtaking sunset that took over the Boston Harbor that night.


The dining setup with centerpieces on the Spirit of Boston.Guests posing in front of the picturesque sunset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the evening kicked off, CEO, Raj Shanmugaraj, reflected on the growth, success, and future of the company with a brief speech that left guests laughing, excited, and ready to enjoy the evening while honoring their accomplishments. Then the Spirit of Boston crew took over, serving a delectable dinner buffet and providing entertainment with their in-house DJ. By the end of the night, guests were dancing, enjoying each other’s company, and admiring the view of Boston from the water.

 

Guests enjoying the brief speaker session.The CEO addressing his employees on the Spirit of Boston.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We transformed the top deck with creative uplighting and glow orbs that added a touch of whimsy under the summer sky. Indoors, guests enjoyed company trivia at each table with florals designed around the teal and orange company colors, and an impressive balloon garland that wrapped around the staircase, contributing to the fun, festive atmosphere. With a custom 10-year gobo shining on the dance floor, this event encompassed the heart & soul of Acacia.

Guests departed the ship with their custom-printed photos from the Spirit of Boston, and freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies that were graciously passed from their staff. It was a night to remember for everyone, from Acacia to the team at Swank. Photos by the talented David Fox.

We’d love to plan your next company anniversary party, contact us today.

 

Guests enjoying their dinner.Custom pictures taken with staff as they entered with the Spirit of Boston life ring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glow orbs set to match the company logo colors

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Brand Your Event

5 Ways to Brand Your Event

PERKS Convention

Wow! We’re still getting over how amazing the New York and Boston PERKS events were! From a planning perspective, one major focus this year was on branding the PERKS Conventions and we’re sharing some ideas here on the different components that came together to create this cohesive look.

What is PERKS? PERKS Conventions are interactive showcases of the best and most innovative services available to employers, for their employees. This experience-based trade show allows attendees the opportunity to experience all the services being offered (massages, manicures, meditation, etc.) as well as participate in additional classes and workshops that pertain to these services.  

The branding of the PERKS event took on some very different forms and all of it gave off a fun, colorful, laid back vibe, which is exactly what PERKS is all about! Here are examples of some of the different branding ideas you can utilize at your next event.

Signage and Wayfinding Decals

Large-scale floor and wall decals showcasing important event information (think logos, directional, #hashtags, upcoming event dates and locations) are all great branding opportunities. The decals on the walls and floors of the PERKS venues helped attendees navigate the multi-level event and continue to promote the next stops of the convention.

PERKS Boston

Take-home items

There are always the traditional stress balls, pens and reusable shopping bags that can be branded for your event, but you should also consider items specific to your industry that your event attendees will really use; custom power banks, high-end branded promotional products, reusable stainless steel water bottles, popsockets, card holders that attach to your phone and our personal favorite – SOCKS – all items that will be appreciated and utilized.

These fun, branded yoga mats were not only unique and useful, but they added a splash of color and provided yet another avenue to display the PERKS brand at the event.

Décor

Always use your brand colors when determining linen, table arrangements, lighting and other event décor. In this case, the PERKS logo was used in over-sized blocks, smaller blocks on the tables and throughout the space. Additionally, the color scheme was carried throughout the space with the uplighting in the stage area and customized stage backdrop.

PERKS Boston

Creating “Instagrammable” Opportunities

Giving guests an opportunity to take a photo with your logo and then post it on social media using a branded hashtag is always a great way to get your brand noticed. Whether it is a photo booth or a step and repeat (like below) – give attendees the opportunity to take a selfie to mark the occasion while using a branded hashtag.

Catering

Use your event theme to help with food choices, order customized cocktail napkins with your logo on it, develop a company signature beverage or even use your logo colors to highlight certain foods within your color scheme!

Utilizing your brand at an event can have a very different look and feel depending on who your audience is; if it is an external audience or potential clients, using your logo and company colors throughout an event to help solidify your brand identity in the minds of attendees is important. If your audience is internal, you can take a more subtle approach with colors and the use of your company logo – unless it is a launch or a re-branding event – in which your new logo would be highlighted. The possibilities are seemingly endless when using your logo!

Contact Swank for your next company event!

Photo credit to Bosse Studios.