Trend Report 2016

This year is all about big Idea’s, immersive experiences, authenticity, connecting through technology, audience centricity and physical experiences. Creating a user experience, is the foundation of an event, conference, trade show, product launch, party, gala and everything in between. As a planner, unless you are willing to take a risk and try something new, you will be left in the dust.

 Here are 4 new trends to look out for in 2016

1.   Connecting People Through Art “Do something that sparks surprise and inspires personal connections”. This is the biggest trend for conference and meeting planners to consider.  How do you bring people together in a fun, creative way and take them out of their comfort zone?  A mega trend today is colouring.  Call it paint by numbers, content capture or graphic facilitation. These are just some of the terms that are popping up in 2016. Examples?  What do they mean?  Having a graphic artist on site during a meeting, who captures the essence of the speakers, the subject matter and creates a piece of art from spoken words and ideas.   Why is it so popular? Combining images with text or speech increases retention by 40%, it creates conversation, which connects people and it inspires creativity.

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2.   Real Authentic

The more we have been exposed to live talent shows like America’s Got Talent, and The Voice over the last decade, the more people crave authentic live experiences. This trend for organic, real time, and genuine talent is not slowing down and will only get stronger in 2016. Traditional events will be replaced with pop up entertainment that is interactive, immersive and fascinating. For example, the classic cocktail party will turn into a hands-on class with chefs and mixologists. Other interactive experiences include group sushi rolling, ping-pong tournaments and wood burning classes. Another example is having an urban band with original music playing rather than a Top 40’s DJ. Introduce a live act during the evening instead of piped in music over dinner. There are many ways to engage real authenticity if you partner with those in the industry who have the same vision. When I think about authenticity, I also think about ways to add more meaning to a meeting, tradeshow, or event. I was witness to a very meaningful idea during my recent trip to The Special Event show in Orlando. While exploring the trade show floor I was amazed to see that the entire back of the room was dedicated to a charity called, Feeding the Children.  Whether you had 5 minutes or 10 minutes, who could stop in to help pack a box and give back.

3.   Classic Music Meets The 21st Century

Over the past couple of years I have been on the hunt for classically trained musicians who want to break through the mold. The trend that I see moving forward is musicians who crossover into electro, pop and Indie styles are leading the way in entertainment. Examples of this include electric violinists combining their performance with hip hop dancers, electric harpists joining forces with DJ’s, pop opera and pop acoustical string quartets to name a few.  

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4.   Technology & Entertainment

Over the last 5 years, digital entertainment has been playing a greater role with the experience we want our audiences to have. Enhancing the environment around the talent is as important as the talent itself. My favorite ideas that I saw at the 2016 Special Event show in Orlando are:

 1. 3D DJ Booth – Creates a visual experience through projected images and branding.
2. LED lit costumes on larger than life characters (i.e. stilt walkers)
3. Digital photo experiences that are socially connected and capture every moment on screen and in print. From Selfie mirror photo booths to underwater camera experiences this category of entertainment is exploding.

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Beyond just the talent, savvy event planners are using apps to enhance their production from start to end. My favourite new found app is called periscope. It allows me to live stream video content back to my team from every event. How am I using this to build my business? I can check in on every event through my staff, and share video content with perspective clients. I feel that we have only scratched the surface in Canada on connecting technology with entertainment. As someone who is passionate about the entertainment industry, it is my goal to bring technology together with our immensely talented artists, performers and entertainers. Just a few thoughts until the next time to help you th
ink about how you can come out of your comfort zone and stay relevant in 2016.

  • Everything we hear is an opinion and everything we know is a fact.
  • Uncover what the hot buttons are with your client
  • Take a walk on the wild side
  • Create intrigue and mystery.
  • Collect experiences, observe reactions, boldly apply your opinion, and do it all with integrity.


Janice Cardinale is an Editor at Large to Canadian Special Events online – you can find her ar

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