Whether you’re planning your company’s end-of-financial-year celebration, Christmas party (no, it’s never too early to start!) or your complete team social events agenda for 2017, one thing’s certain - you want to make it one to remember. But with so many different corporate event ideas and options available, how do you plan an event agenda that’s remembered for all the right reasons?
It all starts with making sure your event is fresh, exciting, and takes advantage of the latest trends in events planning. And with the world’s biggest trendsetting events breaking all the rules this year, 2017 is definitely shaping up to be the year of the unexpected.
Let’s take a look at the hottest trends in themes, venues, entertainment and catering for the year ahead, to help you plan events that delight, surprise and engage your staff like never before.
Event Themes: Expect the Unexpected.
Every year, the world’s most iconic fashion events - the Met Gala, New York Fashion Week, and the Oscars – heavily influence the theme and tone for events to follow. This year, all of these events have broken away from tradition to deliver experiences that are designed to truly astound and amaze.
The Met Gala is arguably the biggest fashion event of the year, with designers, models and celebrities gathering at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to showcase designs inspired by the event’s theme. In recent years, themes have included futuristic fashion, punk, superheroes and Chinese-inspired designs.
This year however, the event will be exclusively themed around the work of Rei Kawakubo, founder of fashion label Comme des Garçons. Kawakubo’s designs are renowned for being eccentric, bizarre and experimental, and are often described as ‘anti-fashion’. This year’s event will showcase contrasting concepts of East and West, male and female, and past and present.
It makes for a very different and unconventional choice of theme, but it’s one that already has the fashion industry buzzing, with many expecting this year’s Met Gala to feature the most fascinating red carpet designs yet.
Likewise, the upcoming Oscars will experience a huge revamp, with new producers appointed to create a show that promises to be both entertaining and unexpected. February’s New York Fashion Week will also see some unprecedented changes, with many top designers opting to hold their shows not in New York, but in Los Angeles instead. Events planned include beachside runway shows, and luxury all-day shopping experiences.
What does this mean for you when planning your corporate function 2017? The key is to think outside the box, and focus on creative and inspirational event themes that can really get your staff excited. Do away with the predictable themes, decor and gimmicks (goodbye Instagram frames and chalkboard signs!). Focus instead on mixing and combining bold, contrasting styles, and you’ll throw a corporate party that will be visually spectacular, and truly unforgettable.
Unconventional Venue Spaces: Make it Fresh and Exciting.
In 2017, we expect to see a lot more events being held in unconventional spaces. With traditional function spaces now the norm, many companies are choosing more unpredictable, offbeat venues to generate buzz around their events, and create more thrilling experiences for staff.
This includes locations such as wineries, house boats, art studios and lofts, as well as venues that have been transformed from their day-to-day use, such as restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. Companies are also taking this concept further and hosting surprise ‘pop up’ events, where venue locations and themes are kept secret and revealed to staff only on the day.
The benefit of using non-traditional spaces over more mainstream, upscale venues is that they are often a blank canvas for creativity. Plus some venues will consider reduced venue hire costs for utilisation of the space outside of normal day trading hours. And, by throwing in the surprise element, you’ll be able to spark the interest of your team and increase their enthusiasm for the event.
Guest Interaction: Plan Activities and Entertainment that can Deliver a Meaningful, Memorable Experience.
Recently, we’ve seen a move towards events that incorporate ‘off-the-shelf’ experiences - bespoke, unique activities designed to entertain and engage staff. This trend is set to continue in 2017, with many events incorporating an experiential element. These include:
- Creative activities such as mixology classes, cooking classes and art workshops
- Fun, high-energy activities such as outdoor sports, fitness classes and music concerts
- Activities focused on health and wellness, such as yoga and meditation classes, and luxury spa visits
- Socially-conscious activities, include volunteering initiatives and charity fundraisers
Incorporating varied activities into your events agenda not only helps to create meaningful and revitalising experiences for staff, but also help to achieve business objectives such as increasing motivation and promoting team building - all of which help to create a more dynamic, cohesive working environment on return to the office.
Experimental Catering: Variety is key.
Diversity is the keyword this year when it comes to event catering in 2017. Varied dietary requirements and preferences means that it’s essential to cater to different tastes, We’re seeing a big uptake in food trucks, immersive food stations, and tapas-style dining. In-demand cuisines include street food, healthy and organic food, vegan dishes, local farm-to-table produce, slow food, hot and spicy dishes, and mediterranean flavours. The focus here is on exciting the palate, and delivering a fun and unique culinary experience for staff to really enjoy.
Immersive Technologies: Experiment with Event Technology.
Smartphones are often perceived as a distraction to events, but event planners are now leveraging them to create a more collaborative and engaging guest experience. For example, social media can help connect staff members and create more hype around an event. Live video streaming can encourage staff to share updates, and serve as a great company marketing tool after the event.
Virtual and augmented reality is another trend that’s expected to grow in 2017. A mainstay at big technology events, we’re seeing companies start to incorporate virtual reality into their own functions, whether for education and training purposes, or simply to provide a fun and novel experience to their staff.
It’s clear that 2017 provides some extraordinary opportunities to breathe fresh life into your corporate events calendar, making it a rich, melting pot of surprising and memorable experiences for your team and valued clients. If you’d like some ideas about how to plan your on-trend corporate function for 2017, get in touch.
Dan Udall, MD, OzParty Events
1800 OZ PARTY (697 278)