Brand Connection

The Hottest Event Trends for 2029

/ Mar 13, 2019 (Getty Images)

Using ideas for the future to improve our events today.

By Beth Surmont CAE, CMP

A search for “event trends 2019” brings up more than 657,000,000 results. We’ve got 2019 handled; let’s talk about 2029 instead. Futurist Brian David Johnson created a fun method called Science Fiction Prototyping: it’s a way of taking current research and trends and imagining how they could grow and affect the world.

So, let’s have a little fun.

RegBots—The Next Level of Registration

RegBots use deep learning combined with chatbots to create a customized registration experience for each attendee. The bots pull from thousands of questions in real time, serving up the questions that need to be answered. With predictive models, RegBots can complete 95% of the questions for the attendee, saving them a tremendous amount of time, and ensuring you get all of the data you need. Most RegBots integrate with standard registration systems. Be sure to ask your provider about the options.

Networking in the Neural Network

The IoB (Internet of Brains) revolutionized intelligence. The ability to increase cognition instantly and immediately share ideas in the neural network have truly advanced science. But what good is a thought share without iteration? Isn’t face-to-face conversation really where new ideas actually come from? By adding dedicated thought-share time to their events, planners can create a space that attracts the thinkers who are missing the human connection. Consider adding a ThinkSpace lounge, with the requirements that all IoB devices be set to “silent” upon entry, and attendees must actually talk and interact.

The New Bio Break

It used to be that vegan requests and allergies were the hardest things a planner had to deal with. Now, with the rise of microbiome requests, the buffet meal is almost extinct. Here are some tips for your next event:

  1. Don’t provide food. It sounds crazy, but there are a number of microbiome caterers willing to deliver. And you can set up a conference code where you cover a portion of the cost.
  2. Plan menus based on attendee’s city of origin. Try to accommodate as many as possible by tailoring your items to the regional areas your attendees are coming from, and then offer probiotics to make up the difference.
  3. Ask for pre-analysis, and ship in what is needed. Privacy laws had all but outlawed the ability to ask about microbiome in registration; however, if you are creating a carefully curated diet program, attendees can opt-in to share their results. Be prepared: you will need someone on your team to deal with the collection of daily elimination bags required to plan for the next day’s menu.

If you’re now a fan of Science Fiction Prototyping, be sure to join us at XDP for a full session of this fun way of using fiction as a way to imagine our future.


Interested in more? Subscribe to”Otter Talk,”a bi-monthly newsletter, which highlights trends, ideas, and actionable takeaways for your association events, from an experienced member of the planning community who has lived the “planning life.”

Beth Surmont, the Director of Experience Design for 360 Live Media, has nearly 20 years of professional planning experience. A Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) since 2008 and Certified Association Executive (CAE) since 2016, Beth has worked in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors and has a wide range of knowledge, with experience in almost every aspect of meeting planning from registration, to logistics, to program management and production.