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Event Space Innovation in 2018

It’s 2018 and the event landscape is evolving yet again. The days of the traditional event where 200 people gather and you feed them are numbered. Today, the expectations are much higher. From mind-blowing keynote speakers, showcasing life-altering innovation projects to exciting uses of technology. What this means is that even though the end goal stays the same, events are being delivered in different ways. According to the Bizzabo events blog, the motto for planners this year should be “think outside the hotel” and “so long stadium.” Amex Global Meeting Forecast reported a 4% increase in interest around non-traditional event spaces in 2017 with a forecast of a further 3.8% increase expected in 2018. From the venue to the approach, we see these engagements taking place differently in 2018. Event planners can’t ignore social and technological developments that accelerate at an ever-increasing pace.

Let’s take a look at some of the trends to look out for in 2018:

  1. The Digital Approach
With the increase in availability of fibre networks and bandwidth capacity, venues can now offer something that was never before possible – virtual attendees. Attendees that otherwise wouldn’t make it to the event can now join in the conversation with video and audio being delivered directly from the event. That and the ability to take part in the conversation through live chat, gives event planners the edge they never previously had. Venues should make sure their internet bandwidth capabilities and speeds match the needs of these factors. Attendees are also much savvier regarding data speeds – and will let event planners know when things aren’t up to scratch.
  1. Think Local. Think Authentic.
Over the last few years the trend has been to focus on local, authentic and quality crafted products and services. And this trend is going from strength to strength in 2018. Serving the usual mass produced foods and beverages won’t do it and this spills into the entertainment and aesthetic side of things too. Think craft beverages, locally sourced produce, local entertainment, relevant food trucks and an aesthetic that tells the local story. Venues can partner with local artisans to make the event process easy on event planners. And don’t forget to tell people about it! Wear your authenticity on your sleeve and post all the details to social media leading up to the event – every bit makes the world of difference.
  1. Green Is The New Gold!
Sustainability continues to be the talk-of-the-town in 2018. Having an all-out extravaganza of an event is one thing but if it’s not sustainable then you lose those ever-important ‘green points’. Attendees are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the events they attend. A planner could incorporate charitable activities into the framework of their event while venues can consider factors like recycling. The use of plastic straws for example is taboo in 2018. But don’t stop there! Consider conserving water, limiting carbon emissions and using power saving bulbs. International events can consider offering their attendees a way to offset their travel carbon emissions. Attendees are more aware of these details than ever before.  
  1. Encourage Engagement
Information is disseminated faster than ever before and as bandwidth becomes more available we are seeing a higher adoption of social media locally with each year. Give attendees an incentive to post your event on social media. An event planner could create Twitter and Instagram walls with excellent lighting and a set that encourages visitors to get that perfect shot. These walls or sets could be utilised by planners to incorporate branding and therefore raise the profile of the event. Always keep this one thing in mind – If it’s not on the ‘Gram’, it didn’t happen!
  1. Allow for Downtime
A well thought out event plan will always put attendees first. Retaining your audience is at the core of a successful event. Oftentimes event planners will focus on the entertainment, gimmicks and guest speakers but forget to consider the fact that an average attendee has their limit in terms of energy, which affects concentration. You want your audience to walk away having gained something from the event. A basic canteen or catering service with seating areas is a given. The wise event planner would consider areas designed for real relaxation. Tranquil areas, designed to calm the senses and allow for some proper R&R. Venues should consider facilitating these needs, whether it’s an outdoor area or a semi-soundproofed lounge.

At The Canvas Riversands, we allow event managers to use their imaginations and create their most elaborate events, be it corporate, private or open to the public. With a choice of seven different venue types, event managers are spoilt for choice. Our amphitheatre can host up to 10 000 people and is ideal for outdoor concerts, while our main auditorium is slightly more intimate, hosting up to 480 people. For those that are looking to host a smaller number of attendees, our lecture halls can seat up to 98 people, while our conference rooms vary between 35 and 200 capacity and our boardrooms vary between 4 and 16 seats. With all of these spaces and all amenities included within these spaces, you can be sure that when you are planning your next event, you cover every aspect of the client brief. Ensure you can accommodate every creative request and innovative display.