Sign In Sign Up Get Listed
NEWS

57 Predictions for 2010: Event Pros on Budgets, Social Media, Catering, Decor Trends, and More

In preparation for the new year, we asked event professionals to do some thinking about what the coming months hold for the event industry, and to send their predictions in Twitter-friendly 140-character bites. Many agreed on certain points: Budgets will come back, but slowly; social media will continue to influence how events are planned and marketed. Here’s a selection of their comments:

On Budgets
“Budgets will ease a bit. High-end clientele will look for impeccable taste in decor.”
Bill Heffernan, creative director, Heffernan Morgan Designs, Chicago

“Events are going back to the basics, the ABCs: Authenticity, brilliance, and cost effectiveness. Be real, be creative, and be affordable.”
Erick Weiss, president, Honeysweet Productions, Los Angeles

“Budgets will be ‘earned budgets.’ There is now always someone cheaper who is a contender, so one needs to win the client’s budget.”
Peter Callahan, owner, Callahan Catering, New York

“In the interest of getting more bang for their buck, we’ll see more triple-threat events—a traditional stunt or event coupled with a street-level initiative along with a strong online viral component.”
Jonathan Margolis, president and C.E.O., the Michael Alan Group, New York

“For 2010, I see advertisers taking a deep look at the R.O.I. of their spending and trying to get the biggest bang for their buck. I envision that experiential brand events will be a key foundation to everyone’s media mix.”
Kris Kowal, director of brand development, TH Outdoor and Events, New York

“While lavish spending on corporate events is not likely to return until late 2010 or early 2011, executives will embrace highly targeted consumer events designed to promote product awareness.”
Fred Seidler, owner, the Fred Seidler Group/Terminal 5, New York

On Social Media
“Brands should integrate user-generated content into events. Include Twitter posts and Web video. Guests like feeling they're part of experience.”
Lauren Burack, vice president of marketing, IFC, New York

“There are new types of V.I.P.s in 2010. With the growth of new media, celebrity attendance will be just as coveted as the attendance of an entrepreneur with 100,000 Twitter followers.”
Ben Hindman, national events manager, Thrillist, New York

“Social-media friendly events, including on-site tweeting and advance notice on event #hashtag policy.”
Tatiana Read, director, Knot PR, Toronto

“In 2010 the referral method will be stronger than ever in garnering new business, as social networks are now second nature to so many people.”
Marcy Manley, C.E.O./executive producer, WPI Event Partners, Chicago

“Twitter will be a new resource used at fund-raisers with silent auctions. Live video broadcasts will increase a bidder’s awareness and dollars bid.”
Julie Addario, event designer, Unforeseen Events, Toronto

“Wishful thinking on security trends: Guests now arrive armed with cameras and video and tweets…oh my! Please check your handheld at the door.”
David Bowen, owner, Bowen and Company, New York

On the Tone of Events
“You will see an increase in choices based on comfort and feeling good—where it won’t be about the newest or shiniest space, but rather the relationship and feelings that an experience, event, or establishment incites. People want to feel good and smile again.”
Charles Khabouth, C.E.O., INK Entertainment, Toronto

“Emphasis on interactive events—salsa dance lessons, mixology classes, Wii games, Iron Chef-style competitions.”
Lisa Jebb, partner, Cream of the Crop Events & Logistics L.L.C., Dania Beach, Florida

“A huge factor in an event's success is its guests' experience with each other. I think we will see smaller salon-style events that serve as a forum for ideas and more personal interaction.”
Jennifer Blumin, president, the Skylight Group, New York

“Gen X is no longer ‘Generation Whatever.’ They’ve become nostalgic. Requests abound for environments that tap into our ’70s childhood through music, television sitcoms, and retro games.”
Ron Bracco, creative director, events, Hargrove Inc., Washington

“2010 is the year of the picnic: guerrilla picnics, high-in-the-sky transatlantic airplane picnics, picnic tables, and, of course, picnics for lovers.”
Josh Hickey, owner, Hickey Shields Design, New York

“Coming-out parties to celebrate events on the rise with unexpected color combinations, era music battles (the ’80s vs. ’90s) and lots of food infused with alcohol. (Hint, hint.) And we’ll have to continue to get a little dirty. I have equipment like a multi-CD burner to produce promo items in-house.”
Shannon Johnson, special events and promotions director, Reader's Digest Association, New York

“‘Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends.’ —Coco Chanel. In 2010, let luxury events be a priority, not a necessity.”
Thomas Serrano, president, Luxe Events, New York

“Email invites are here to stay. It’s very rare now to see formal invites. And more events tied to charity. There needs to be a cause.”
Pam Dzierzanowski, director of events, Patron Spirits Company, New York

On Technology
“One word: interactive. Projected decorative elements will move and shimmer as a result of guests’ actions. Corporate presentations and launches will feature technology you see on iPhones and CNN.”
Ira Levy, owner, Levy Lighting NYC, New York

“We will see some innovative design advances for the electronic invitation, which will make the printed piece less mainstream, even for formal affairs.”
Holly Doran, event director, Bloomberg Link, New York

“2010 will be the year of hybrid events—every physical event has a virtual component.”
Cece Salomon-Lee, director of marketing, InXpo, San Francisco

“2010 brings added technology to events: Evites, cheaper LED lighting, and combo live/DJ entertainment. So get yourself tech-savvy, yo!”
Jes Gordon, owner and creative director, Jes Gordon/Proper Fun, New York

“Event lighting will become more content driven with more custom digital (video) projections.”
Robert Stortz, creative director, Frost Lighting, New York

“Biometrics! Eyeball/retina scanners become standard door policy security measure for invited guests.”
Jon Migdal, general manager, Production Glue L.L.C., New York

On Style & Decor
“Fewer linens. Rental companies offering stylish tables that don't require extraneous linens.”
Linsey A. Foster, director of constituent relations, the Art Institute of Chicago

“As the effects of the recession lessen, we will see a trend towards shiny metallic gold and silvers.”
Francine Socket, principal, Francine Socket & Associates, Toronto

“Event design is trending towards sophisticated elegance versus furniture that’s overly opulent and gilded.”
Bobby Taylor, principal, Taylor Creative Inc., New York

“Fabric trends: Use dramatic texture and high volume to create dimension and movement. Add sheer graphic overlays and burn-through fabrics for more visual interest.”
Mark Addison, director, experience design, EventStyle, New York

“Whether it be flowers, themes, or venue designs, we feel the direction should be, and will be, to go back to the basics—natural, raw, simple, and true to form and function.”
Avissa Mojtahedi and Erin Perri, owners, Petals, Toronto

“2010 is going glam. Fabulous, luxurious design, lots of sparkle, chic spaces, and of course, the perfect ingredient—your guest list!”
Stacey Cynamon, co-owner, Lounge Rentals, Toronto

“2010 will see the increase of all things lavish: food, decor, and venues. Recession-chic is out and luxury is back in a big way to escape daily life.”
Bruce Starr, talent and branding maestro, the BMF Media Group, New York

“Event trends will be toward a ‘less is more’ feel. Make a statement with a few things and don't overdo it.”
Brooke Palmer, president and CEO, r.s.b.p. Events, Tampa, Florida

“Trade shows: repurposed booths, new graphics, more pre/post-show marketing, R.O.I. tracking tools, smaller booth spaces used better—think outside the booth!”
Whitney Melchiori, marketing coordinator, Nimlok Chicago

On Reaching the Right Audience
“2010: the year of experience brands. Instead of just spending on disconnected experiences, smart companies will invest in ways to pull all those experiences together.”
Liz Bigham, senior vice president/director of marketing, Jack Morton Worldwide, New York

“Because the media space is so cluttered, marketing through events, and creating an experiential impact, will really take a mainstream position as a replacement for traditional advertising.”
Bentley Meeker, owner, Bentley Meeker Lighting & Staging Inc., New York

“National tours are the best way to get the bang from your buck. You can recycle the decor and engage multiple markets with one consistent message—and a green one at that.”
Drew Elliott, vice president, Extra Extra, New York

“Events will join forces cooperatively and combine shared interests to incorporate a new mix of people and energies.”
Joan Horton, president, the Horton Group, New York

“Pick up and move! Pop-ups, mobile tours, and events on the go will help you take your message to the streets and bring your buyers to your brand!”
Hunter Haas, business development manager, Event Architects, Chicago

“People are on the go, and brands need to keep up. Mobile units and pop-up stores are ways to capture the attention of consumers wherever they go.”
Heather Umen, vice president of partnership marketing and public affairs, WE TV and Wedding Central, New York

“Destination events: Party throwers and -goers will be venturing outside of their hometowns in 2010.”
Christina Matteucci, senior client services manager, David Beahm Design, New York

“Pre-event revenue enhancers, like working with retailers who want to host kickoff events and offer a percent of sales, will be boosting our fund-raising effort.”
Lee Kite, director of distinguished events, American Cancer Society, Illinois Division, Inc., Chicago

On Catering
“The flavors of Eastern Europe. Austrian food is appearing on plates all across the country. Gulasch, spaetzle, linzer torte, yum.”
Terri Smith, executive director, creative services, Bon Appétit, New York

“Food of future events: Kill the buffets and pass all food in mini versions to increase variety and lessen waste.”
Michele Pokowicz, executive director of sales, Mary Giuliani Catering & Events Inc., New York

“Food direction: Yin-yang inspired food presentations. A pair of contrasting/complimentary appetizers affords additional opportunities to experience the expertise of the brand.”
Mark Musters, creative director, Studio Mamu, New York

“While guest lists will continue to shrink, details will remain important. Wine, food, and invitations will be ‘old world elegant.’”
Marcy Blum, event planner, New York

“2010 will be the year for charcuterie to go mainstream on the menus for our customers, making everyone's favorite vegetable—pork!!!”
Ben Lewis, executive chef, Presidential Gourmet Fine Catering, Toronto

“The industry will kiss ‘comfort food’ classification goodbye. We're all serving it in some shape or form and if you aren't, then you're about to.”
Michael Scelfo, executive chef, Temple Bar, Boston


On Social Responsibility

“Centerpieces will be eco-friendly and something you can use later. Example: a tree, which you can plant or donate post-event.”
Miranda Wulfing, exhibit and marketing consultant, Nimlok Chicago

“The local and sustainable food movement has now fully blossomed and is the direction for all dialed-in caterers to be engaging!”
Peter Carruthers, president, Presidential Gourmet Fine Catering, Toronto

“Eco-conscious businesses will be more involved in post-event waste management; looking for composting capabilities.”
Michael Baker, owner, Bakers’ Best Catering, Boston

“Quiet parties are over—people are celebrating, but in an environmentally conscious way.”
Mindy Weiss, event planner, Mindy Weiss Party Consultants, Los Angeles

“Green is not a trend, but standard operating procedure—not an option, but a responsibility.”
Eric Tetuan, chief operations officer, Production Glue L.L.C., New York

On How the Industry Works
“The amount of time for everything will shrink. From time to produce a project to the length of a general session—everything will tend to be shorter, faster, and more cut and dry.”
Chris Gasbarro, chief creative officer, Creative Community Connections, Boston

“Clients will be savvier about the event industry. (Blame all those TLC shows!)”
Jeffery Foster, director of sales, EventCreative, Chicago

“2010: the year we start talking about what goals our events accomplished, instead of what they looked like.”
Howard Givner, C.E.O., North America, Global Events Group, New York


Report a problem