2014 Preview: Predicting the Most Overrated and Underrated Event Trends

From live Twitter feeds and corporate social responsibility to Pantone's Radiant Orchid and gimmicky photo booths, here's a look at concepts industry professionals want to see more—and less—of in the coming 12 months.

Will Pantone's color of 2014—Radiant Orchid—be the most overrated trend? Are industry professionals underestimating the value of live Twitter feeds?
Will Pantone's color of 2014—Radiant Orchid—be the most overrated trend? Are industry professionals underestimating the value of live Twitter feeds?
Photos: Allan Zepeda Photography (left), Mitra Sorrells/BizBash (right)

With the new year right around the corner, we asked event professionals from across the country to predict the most anticipated industry trends of 2014. In plain terms, they told us which concepts they think are overrated, and which are underrated with plenty of potential. Here’s what they had to say.

What do you think will be most overrated event trends of 2014?
“An overrated food trend is small bites or small plates. People want to eat, not just taste something.”
Rita Gutekanst, principal, Limelight

“Overrated is the photo booth—yet everyone still does it.”
Kimberly Krouse, partner, Toast

Gatsby-themed events are played out. It's been done so many times that even the Great Gatsby himself would want to toss the invitation.”
Justin Jacobson, C.E.O.,
 Platinum Strategic Marketing & Events

“Social sharing at events has become a more prevalent activity over the last few years, often completely without encouragement from event hosts. It's no doubt a tremendous vehicle for brands to get the word out organically, and I am certain that there will be new and inventive ways of connecting event guests to their social circles not in attendance, thereby helping the three-hour event to gain viral legs in the time and space after. But I would love to see less of guests experiencing entire events through the camera lens of their mobile. The constant documenting and pressing send to the outside world can dampen the rich world the guest is in. Nonstop selfies at events: overrated.”
Jessie Rubin, event producer, Spotify

“The Pantone color of the year. Although I am a huge fan of the upcoming year’s color, Radiant Orchid, I think we need to challenge each other to mix it up and mix it in with some other vibrant colors. There were a lot of emerald green parties in 2013, but we did our best to use it in moderation.”
Jaime Geffen, co-owner, YourBash

“Music festivals that are really just old-school raves disguised as something more significant. And they seem to be increasing in number.”
Blume Bauer, co-owner, Siren Song Productions

“I think the industry’s push to [reimagine the traditional] photo booth from a video booth to slow motion, etc., is somewhat overrated. The photo booth works and guests love it. But we’ve stopped trying to recreate it [with new technologies] and have simply just found ways to make it different each and every time from backdrops to props. It’s still rather versatile and truly loved by all.”
Alexandra Rembac, principal and creative director, Sterling Engagements Inc.

“I feel that structured events, such as sit-down plated dinners, are overrated in the corporate atmosphere. An interactive, networking style [of dining] has more R.O.I. Also, I feel that having guests leave a meeting, run to their room, change, and go to an event is overrated. We see our clients giving the option for the guests to be very casual throughout the conference, including the event, so they can leave the conference and run right to the event.”
Jeff Davis, partner, Access Destination Services

What do you think will be the most underrated event trends of 2014?
“I look for technology to keep exploding, such as gesture-based interaction used on tabletop and bar displays, dance floors, and even gifting lounges. I think sponsors don't quite get how effective this is in getting their product out there at events. Everyone looks at it and interacts.”
Kimberly Krouse, partner, Toast

“The power of Facebook and Facebook ads to promote events.”
Sierra Brown, social media manager, Kinetic Fin

“One of the most underrated trends is live Twitter feeds broadcasted at events. Many event organizers fail to understand the impact of feedback on events while the event is going on, enhancement of the attendee experience, and the impact of word of mouth for future events. Nominal expense for great impact.”
Ebony Grimsley, owner, Above Promotions Company

“Thought-provoking activities at events. Reading, storytelling, and opportunities to explore deep thoughts.”
Blume Bauer, co-owner, Siren Song Productions

“I believe we will continue to see the merging of technology and the instant sharing [and discussion] of what has been created, and the visceral and immediate responses our guests have to our events. This should continue to inspire designers to examine how their event looks but as importantly how it makes people feel—through soundscaping, lighting choices, seating environments, and social mapping that build comfort and connections, and the more traditional elements such as food and beverage options available. We are truly only beginning to embrace the opportunities that are widely available."
Tahira Endean, director of creative and production, Cantrav

“The cotton candy trend is fabulous. Take us back to childhood favorite sweets, please—but in 2014 spun from all-natural, organic single-malt whiskey, bacon chocolate, salted caramel, and more. Also, late-night food: keep it coming. End-of-night bites are always hot.

As for Radiant Orchid, I am neutral here. Not a big purple person, but mixed with platinums and ombred lilac shades, I am going to work it.”
Debi Lilly, founder and president, A Perfect Event

“Internationally inspired weddings. I think you will see couples having weddings that celebrate either their own nationalities or include elements from places they love. For example, Spain-inspired, Ireland-inspired, Mexico-inspired.”
Tanya Costigan, wedding and event planner and coordinator, Bowties and Butterflies Event Planning

“Community outreach and checking in for good. Hosts should have their guests check in at an event and at the same time, their check-in is benefitting a good cause—for instance, through this app.”
Jaime Geffen, co-owner, YourBash

“Vegan and vegetarian will be elevated again, especially in the vein of what has happened with Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's cookbooks and London and New York restaurants. Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods will heavily influence menus. Flavor profiles get elevated, global flavors will influence menu design. Diners will pay more and more for quality foods, local foods. They care where their food comes from.”
Rita Gutekanst, principal, Limelight

“Corporate social responsibility in both event planning and teambuilding tends to be underrated in that some clients flippantly dismiss it as being passé or trendy, but it really does make an impact on both the attendees and the community in which they are meeting.”
Rachel Bishop, senior sales manager, Access Destination Services

“Design-wise, the industrial style has continued to emerge and I believe will soar even more next year. The industrial look as a whole could be considered underrated as there is still so much the event industry is going to do, see, design and execute with it. What’s so beneficial for designers is its versatility: You can choose to embrace the raw exposed look and it works so well for a tighter budget, or you can go wild and completely transform when you have the means to do so. I just love it and look forward to continuing to work with it and see where it takes us.”
Alexandra Rembac, principal and creative director, Sterling Engagements Inc.

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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