Some pros in the event industry focus their design energy on personal celebrations, weddings and specific conferences, assuming that corporate events don’t require as much flair or appeal. But this is not true.
Ultimately, a corporate event without engaging design throughout is just an everyday meeting. Clients don’t turn to event pros to pass out another boring agenda! They seek an experience for their guests--something that will capture the imagination, transport guests to another time or place, and focus their energy on the content or message they’ve come to hear.
Here is what’s hot in corporate event design in 2018:
Get That Lighting
Corporate events absolutely must have good lighting. It is very easy to set the mood by changing the color and intensity of the uplighting on the walls, or the focus of the pin-spots. Lighting can be dramatic for an opening event meant to inspire and energize, bright and functional for breakouts and work sessions, and fun or fanciful for a social get-together meant for teambuilding or networking. Manipulating the energy of a corporate crowd is easy with expert lighting design.
Specialize in Seating
Make sure that you set up tables in arrangements that encourage interaction between guests. Creating a lounge area during cocktail periods is a great way to get attendees to drop their guard and start talking to one another.
Corporate events have qualities in common with weddings, but often seating is completely dictated by the style of food service. Buffets do not require assigned tables, for example, and leave opportunities for meeting attendees to mingle and meet with new people. Seated meals, however, are run more efficiently when seats are assigned.
Extend the Experience through the Meal
Experiential catering is going strong in the corporate event world. Guests enjoy the choices at a tater tot bar or macaroni and cheese bar. Even corporate guests want to interact with the chef and enjoy small portions freshly made in front of them. Gone are the days of the seated “fish or chicken” plate, lack of options and zero personalization. Themed stations give corporate meeting attendees more control and more enjoyment at meal time.
Think about Themes
As with catering, just because an event is corporate doesn’t mean the guests don’t appreciate solid theming and the engagement that goes with it. In our market, “Gatsby” is hugely popular right now – everyone loves old Hollywood glam! Carry the theme throughout your next corporate event by incorporating it into everything from your first event announcements and invitations through the décor, menu design and performances.
Engage with Entertainment
Corporate event hosts are more and more interested this year in having performers at their events. Expect requests for magicians, caricature artists or even (G-rated) burlesque dancers – whatever fits the theme and sparks engagement among attendees.
2018 is an exciting year in corporate events. Look for these trends to stand out among others for the rest of this season. Which will you incorporate into your next event?
Kim Sayatovic is the Founder and chief creative officer of Belladeux Event Design, a full-service wedding and event design firm based in New Orleans.