Keep control of costs

In recent research, it was highlighted that budgets are not as abundant as they were and many businesses are choosing to ‘double up’ on events to save costs. Businesses are seeking to achieve more than one objective from an event, often scheduling an evening awards event to follow a daytime conference for the same guests at the same venue.

Event organisers have more tools at their fingertips to keep control of their costs too – hunting for a venue no longer entails days of driving around to view potential candidates as the various websites, have made venue-hunting and building budgets into a less time-consuming and expensive task than it used to be.

Back to natural elements

Nature and sustainability are top of mind among event planners and venues, with many of the latter creating spaces in a neutral or natural palette of colours that requires little change (or budget) to customize them for events.

Décor suppliers are increasingly looking to nature for their inspiration, with combinations of simple white flowers, woven cane décor and floral fabrics contrasted with monochrome elements being particularly popular at present.

Real plants are making a comeback in preference over cut flowers and are beautifully juxtaposed against industrial design and geometry, with raw brick walls, tin roofs and converted steel sheds providing the hard backdrop for softer and more natural elements.

“Every event is a complex collaboration of several specialists, from food and beverage to sound, production, and décor,”

“Working with suppliers that keep up with and set trends in the local market means that we can offer our clients access to a support team that is on top of its game.”

“We still have clients coming up to us with mood boards and pictures they find on social media. However, now, more than ever before, planners are focusing on the features and unique characteristics of venues in order to harmoniously align the decor to the location.”

For example, if you’re holding an event or off-site activity in an exceptionally unique venue. ideally the design should complement existing flooring, wall colours and the inherent vibe of the location. “This does not mean that you can’t get creative and opt for contrasts, such as giving a modern twist to a historic venue,”.

“But planners should talk to their local decor specialists who know what works—and what could be considered gaudy or overkill.”

While “Boho” and “new-rustic” decors were all the rage in 2016, 2017 is all about an eclectic, yet well-balanced, mix between natural vegetation and textures, and industrial design and geometry.

 “We’re using a lot of organic matter in our decors. We’ll add vines to chandeliers and walls with exotic greenery.”

“Many of our events are using foliage to evoke exceptionally natural atmospheres in which participants can relax and feel invigorated,”.

Other popular items: leather, marble, bronze, brass and black steel, for an added industrial look to a natural setting. “It’s the ultimate juxtaposition between something very clean, such as white marble, and industrial components, like steel or brass, and textures like wool, scaly leather and cork,”.

“This year is synonymous with escapism,”. “With busy attendees that are constantly on the go and bombarded by work, event decor will be less of a noisy distraction, so to speak, and more about providing a haven of calm.”

“Minimalism and industrial aesthetics are already making a waves in the event design sector, offering muted decor to improve attendees’ mindset.”

2017 has only just begun, we’re already seeing creative executions based on these design trends. Your key takeaway: it’s all about putting together natural settings that foster attendee well-being and focus on your event’s program.

Food and beverage

Move over taste buds. There’s a new sheriff in food town: attendees’ brains. With today’s glut of nutritional information and discoveries, attendees, now more than ever before, are dissecting the dizzying array of protein, fibre, fat and vitamin percentages of each meal and snack.

“Event F&B partners can no longer ‘simply’ concoct amazing dishes; now, we must become nutritional specialists to cater to our clients’ growing concern for healthy fare,”.

“Many of our clients are no longer looking for ‘light’ food, which removes the fat but adds sugar. They are focused on fibre and protein. They want more well-balanced breakfasts and coffee breaks.” What does that mean? Ditch the bacon for quinoa. Say goodbye to croissants and hello to fruit.

With the ever increasing popularity of TV channels dedicated to cooking, food blogs, social media and the likes of YouTube, everyone who is anyone can access amazing recipes and techniques that tap into their inner chefs.

Food storytelling rules

Simple menu descriptions have gone the way of the dodo bird. Event participants want to know exactly what they’re eating.

“We’re not just talking about attendees learning more about the event menus and how they relate to their food restrictions, allergies and religion. We’re talking about culinary stories, whereby the histories, awards and unique characteristics of specific producers and and products are highlighted. Food marketing is huge; from coffees to cheeses to meats, attendees want the nitty gritty details of everything they are tasting,”

Food is not so fast

Guests’ food experience can make or break an event and smart event planners are growing their focus on offering healthy food from sustainable or artisanal sources. Craft beers and meals from food trucks are popular because guests can engage face to face with the person making their meal, learning more about where the food is sourced and how it is prepared, at source.

Food labelling is increasingly on trend and in demand, giving guests the nutrition information that they need to manage their calorie intake, make conscious food choices or avoid food allergies that may not be obvious at face value.

The focus on food ethics is also seeing veganism grow in popularity and chefs are embracing the challenge to create tasty, exciting dishes that are just as flavourful and exciting as any other on the menu.