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2015 Preview: Which Event Trends Will Sink and Which Will Swim?

Event pros weigh in on what they consider to be passing fads and what they think will be lasting strategies in the new year.

By Alesandra Dubin December 22, 2014, 7:00 AM EST

Social media displays are a controversial event trend: Some industry pros say they're likely to fall out of fashion, and others say they're here to stay.

Photo: Cornelia Stiles/BizBash

As a new year draws closer, industry professionals are taking stock of prevailing event trends, separating the passing fads from the substantial strategies and concepts as they make their plans for 2015. According to event pros, here are the fads that have seen their day, versus the trends that are here to stay.

Long-Term Trends
“Marquee lights are here to stay. Artfully crafted cocktails are also here to stay—mixology still lives on. Paper flowers are hotter than ever. Café lights are still happening. Mini bottles of champagne with straws are ever-popular. Food is still very important as a giveaway—and the self-serve candy bar will always be king.”
Jes Gordon, creative director and owner, Jes Gordon/Proper Fun

“Gamification is here to stay. Another [enduring] trend is having fun with a purpose. Meetings don't have to be completely serious—they can incorporate some fun, but it should be fun that has a charitable organization or mission taken into consideration.”
Arthur Backal, C.E.O. of Backal Management Group

“Social media display and interaction via aggregation sites like Tint.”
Toni Short, event director, BBC Worldwide

“Photo booths. As with most event-related social medial platforms, I see too many of this type of technology being way underused. Just because you have an Instagram hashtag for an event, does not make your event a social media darling. I think 2015 is the year that folks actually figure out how to leverage true authentic R.O.I. out of these services instead of the goal being just a picture at a party.”
Mark Yumkas, president, Angel City Designs

“Cable-free, wireless fixtures for LED event lighting. The clean, uncluttered look is increasing in popularity for 2015.”
Rachel Miller, lighting designer, Kinetic Lighting

“Opportunities for people to meet face-to-face and have conversations about challenges and solutions or just plain think-tanking and collaborating and getting creative. Speakers who give solid information and education versus motivators who just motivate with very little content.”
Andrea Michaels, president, Extraordinary Events

Short-Term Fads
“Branding on things that go straight in the bin—napkins, wrappers, et cetera.”
Toni Short, event director, BBC Worldwide

“The social media wall is overrated. All those texts and tweets... Who really is reading them, what do they mean, and what is the lasting effect of them?”
Andrea Michaels, president, Extraordinary Events

“High-tech solutions to meet clients. It will always be face-to-face that will sell something or not. Apps are a tool instead of a solution.”
Steven Wickel, sales director, MICE Recruitment

“There was a time when it was predicted that videoconferencing would take over the meeting world. Although there is still a need for this type of technology, videoconferencing will never completely replace meetings. Nothing replaces a face-to-face meeting.”
Arthur Backal, C.E.O., Backal Management Group

Editor's note: Some of these comments were shared by readers on our social media networks. Join our discussions on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

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