Clare Ruby – Trends for 2019

Leading Event Consultant CLARE RUBY looks into her crystal “event” ball and shares with meetingsclub her 2019 hot trends for both venues and event bookers.  From events where you get your own private loo, venues offering hair and make-up stations to meetings held in cohabited spaces, Clare looks into the future and highlights why some event organisers are no longer likely to be APPY!


As with all trends, I believe what we will see in 2019 is a continuation of developments we saw last year, with one or two notable exceptions – possibly in the tech field. Events will continue to become more experiential with the focus on well-being, creating positive emotions and bringing people together for a common purpose. Venues will continue to be pressurised to have open and flexible spaces and contracts that work for the client with no hidden costs. Venues that thrive will be the ones that can really adapt to client needs and enhance the event experience. Venues providing tight security that work with event planners without compromising the attendee experience will have a definite advantage.  


Technology and its’ various applications will still be a central consideration for event planners – although I’ve seen some interesting changes in this area. The number of event app companies seems to continue to increase.  But I heard recently on the grapevine that one large international event company has decided to stop using apps for all of their events. They used them for a variety of reasons for their guests – from online registrations to onsite check in, pre event & onsite networking, setting up meetings with other attendees and exhibitors and post event analysis. They also provided data for the organiser. However, they have not seen a tangible ROI and taking into consideration the amount of development time, opportunity costs and the feedback from guests they’ve decided to invest their resources elsewhere and return to standardised websites and CRM systems. However, I believe the types of technology deployed throughout the event journey (from first to last touchpoint) will continue to be at the forefront of event design. The focus on using live data to inform real time activity onsite will continue.  For example, using tracking systems and heat maps such as ibeacons or RFID technology to understand where crowds are congregating such as registration areas and resourcing/ redistributing as necessary.  


Advancements in technology are presenting new frontiers for event experiences, but it’s not all about futuristic applications like Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Let’s get the basics right in ALL event spaces and then look at the smart application of technologies to truly work for the attendee and the organiser. I am still hearing from too many of our clients that basic venue IT infrastructure is still not up to scratch. High quality, high bandwidth, reliable and cost-effective internet services has to be a basic offering in 2019. Live streaming such as Facebook Live and Periscope also needs to be supported through sound venue infrastructure. 


More events are taking place in cohabited spaces, such as WeWork that has a global network of work spaces and apartments. This makes financial sense for the venues and the organisers. WeWork acquired Meetup at the end of 2017 (an event platform) to enable this expansion. Shared work spaces usually have empty space in the evenings and at the weekends and it’s also a great chance for entrepreneurial event organisers to get free/low value venues, new sponsors and attendees. And, for companies, this is a cost-effective, authentic and powerful way to plug-into the outside world and turn the work-place into somewhere people want to spend time. 


Surely in 2019 environmental considerations have to be paramount given the slew of global reports warning us of the impact of our actions on the environment? But how can we truly reduce our carbon footprint? So many venues and planners still pay lip service to this aspect of event designing.  I hope that events will continue to become more sustainable with venues being pressurised to be more transparent and open about their environmental policies and practices. Practical efforts can include venues offering sustainable, fair-trade food options and donating anything leftover or unused (ranging from food to flower arrangements, carpet, furniture and bottled water) to community organisations like food banks or homeless companies. Venues can also honestly demonstrate how they recycle or reuse resources throughout the year.  


I would like to think events this year will develop more socially responsible programmes and have a wider purpose. A lot more thought will go into the planning stages, with people trying to deliver an underlying message and maybe make a social or environmental statement. Venues will be examined more closely for their practices. One of our clients seeking a venue for an event has asked all prospective venues to tell them if they are paying their staff the living London wage. This is another example of the pressure event planners are placing on venues to prove they are “worthy” of planner’s business in a time of still limited budgets.   


The most memorable events will still be those that truly take their guests on a journey to create a series of memorable moments, not just one, and that customise and personalise the individual event experience. These create a lasting link with the planners and venues. In the USA places like the Museum of Ice Cream and Color Factory to Meow Wolf and 29Rooms all encourage social sharing, providing photo-worthy backdrops, unusual props, and strategically placed cameras to help you liven up your feed. Other examples are the Secret Cinema and the many, many pop up events and venues such as the lego Brick Bar which all work to evoke powerful and lasting experiences. At a recent National Theatre event they set up hair and make-up stations hosted by the National Theatre’s talented Wigs Hair and Make-up Department to give guests a few minutes of pampering and get them selfie-ready.  It proved to be very popular.  

Tats, Graffiti and VIP Loos! 

Without doubt, interactive experiences will definitely be big in 2019, including personalised vending machines, social media ready photo booths, temporary tattoos and graffiti walls. Venues can add to these memorable experiences by capitalising on the story of their venues for planners to pass onto their guests. If venues can dig dip into the history of their venues or the local area this also adds interest to the story we tell our attendees to get their attention. Specialist companies such as are leading the way and thriving in this area of the “insta-event”. VIP experiences will carry on trying to outdo everyone else’s… In the Netherlands in 2018 they one event sold tickets for your own private toilet! For a small fee you received keys to your own private space!  

Happy Eventing 

So that’s my look into 2019 event trending.  It’s going to be an interesting year.  But one thing will remain the same and that is all event bookers will continue to create the best possible events in the best venues!  


Clare Ruby is an Event Consultant and Founder of RubyBlosse Events