Large-Scale Event Trends That Will Wow Guests in 2020

Posted by Jon Young on Feb 26, 2020 11:05:00 AM

No one wants to attend an event that feels like it should have been called “Been There, Done That.” Of course, every event expert wants guests to keep coming back. But, that’s not going to happen if attendees feel like it’s the same old event year after year. 

Panel Discussion at Large Event

So, as we kick off the new year and embark on a new decade, there’s no better time to step up your event game. Here are just a few of the hottest large scale event trends you’ll want to consider to elevate your event in 2020.

Techy Trends Are Here to Stay

It should come as no surprise that technology trends rise to the top of the list – people are more plugged in than ever before! This doesn’t mean going all gadget heavy and blowing your budget either, it’s more important to fine-tune the simplest of technologies first to improve the overall event experience for attendees. 

Mobile Apps, Alerts and Wearable Tech

Large scale events are trending away from paper handouts and onto mobile apps. We know this one takes some effort up front, and if you do it you’ve got to do it right. One of the biggest complaints you’ll hear from post-event surveys is that the app wasn’t user-friendly. 

Before rolling out your event’s mobile app, work out the kinks (don’t let a 2020 Iowa Caucus app rollout happen to you and your event!). Make sure the schedule is easy to access, maps are easy to follow and the information is helpful.

If your event has breakout sessions, give attendees descriptions so they can personalize their experience. Did something change in the schedule? No problem. You can set up the app so it sends an alert to its users. Click here for instant access to a list of some of our favorite event apps. 


Another technology worth tapping into in 2020 is geofencing. These virtual borders can trigger a phone alert the minute an attendee steps outside of the meeting room. Encourage them to check out an info station, speaking event or after-party at the perfect moment simply by using their location.

Wearable Tech

If you want to take it a step further than smartphones, consider wearable tech for your event. A good example of this is Disney’s Magic Bands, an all-in-one wristband device that connects all of your needs; hotel key, event pass, online reservation, you name it. Want to purchase food or merchandise? There’s no need to bring a wallet! You get the idea.

Convenience is key with wearable tech and it’s going to be all the rage this decade. (And it’s safe to say wearable tech has come a long way since the Fyre Festival, right?)

Think Beyond Borders 

In a world where we’re more connected than ever, there’s no reason your event needs to be confined to one space. Including remote audiences can extend your event’s reach and benefits.

Live streaming and 360-degree video not only deliver content but can link virtual and in-person attendees digitally to facilitate everyone’s participation. This is great for group discussions and networking. It does require a reliable WiFi connection, however. The best option is always to have a dedicated hardwire connection for anything that’s streaming or being posted to the web (but that should already be high on your list of must-haves for obvious reasons).

With all this cool, new technology comes the need for security. Not the sexiest trend, but very important. Attendees want to know you have their back when it comes to protecting their personal safety, their data and devices.

Sustainability is Where It’s At

This admirable trend is one you’ll want to rally behind. More and more large-scale events are taking extra measures to ensure their events are environmentally friendly. Not only can you feel good knowing that you’re making a difference, but your guests will give kudos to your brand for being conscientious!

You likely won't be able to tackle everything at once. Choose an element of your event that has the greatest impact and set realistic goals for how to reduce this. One of the most prominent is to reduce the use of plastics. Consider cutting back on plastic packaging, plastic straws, and water bottles and replace them with reusable and compostable alternatives that are kinder to the planet. 

Sustainability can come in many different forms, so look up, down, and all-around when finding ways to make your event more sustainable. LED lighting can reduce energy and waste from traditional bulbs, and there are endless varieties of energy-efficient battery options. 

Zero Landfill

Many events are getting rid of trash cans altogether. It seems impossible, but if the Waste Management Phoenix Open can pull off a zero-waste event for 700,000 people, you can too! A good place to start is removing trash bins as an option. Just about everything attendees are going to toss is either recyclable or compostable, so try having designated bins for each.

You can even get creative with your AV partner to incorporate sustainable options on that front. Have a look at this blog where we talk about some of the “green” things we do (and recommend!) as part of our regular process: Wow Factor at a Zero Waste Event? It Can Be Done!

Unique Venues and Purposeful Decor

What’s the first thing you do when you hear of an event coming up? Look where it’s located, of course! A great venue is good, but an interesting location will draw more attendees. Combining a day or two of leisure with business trips is what people want, so pick a location with lots to see and do before or after your event. Can you schedule around a local happening or weekend? Promote the "bleisure" opportunities along with your event agenda.

What’s the point of traveling to a fascinating city if you’re going to spend all of your days cooped up in a conference room? If a boring ballroom is all you’ve got to work with, ask your AV partner what else can be done to make your event exciting. They may be able to help you find creative ways to get your guests seamlessly moving from space to space.

Make it Look Good but Functional 

Going where no event has gone before instantly sparks interest. You can repurpose almost any space, from a sports complex concourse to a museum, into an event venue without losing its innate ambiance. Go wild with a pop-up venue, head outdoors, or up to the roof, the sky's the limit. 

Surroundings within the venue should be immersive; projection mapping, LED entrance arches, whatever it takes to set the tone from the first step in the door through closing remarks. Instead of tons of tiny decorations, go bold with just a few larger-than-life statement pieces. With social sharing, a top goal of every event, think “photo op” at every turn. Then your decor not only looks awesome, but you’ve also got free marketing!

Exclusive Spaces

Large events can feel overwhelming and hinder connection, so intimate or exclusive spaces will be big in 2020: rooms set aside for quiet time; invitation-only small group activities; roped-off VIP areas; niche networking lounges. These are all ways to personalize the experience for guests and to make them feel like more than just a number. 

Large-scale events that wow in 2020 will be filled with user-friendly tech, eco-friendly initiatives and interesting venues designed to stimulate the imagination. With all that, no one will want to miss out. Let the party begin!

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Topics: Trends, Event Planning

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