Entertainment Trends for Corporate Events in 2018

This post was originally published on September 8, 2017, and has been updated to reflect new imagery and statistics. Thanks to ECE DC agent, Jenny Langer, for contributing to this post.

What will be the next big thing in corporate entertainment this year? With almost 3,000 booked dates already on ECE’s books for 2018, we are seeing trends emerge.

From conference general and closing sessions to product launches to employee recognition events and more, in 2018 it is about the experience. Corporate event planners and DMCs are looking for entertainment that is engaging. It’s not enough to simply draw people to the event. The goal is for attendees to stay at the event completely engaged and consumed, and leave the event changed or inspired by the objective or messaging.  Entertainment plays a key role in achieving this goal. Following are the top five trends we are seeing for 2018.

Nothing is more wow-factor than having a nationally-recognized artist or celebrity entertainer at your corporate event.  Depending on the type of event, audience, and budget, attendees can feel like VIPs with a private performance from artists like One Republic, Darius Rucker, Bon Jovi and countless others. Trending for 2018 is mixing a national artist with a high-end dance band. Planners and DMCs are booking bands like Party On The Moon or Simply Irresistible and adding on a national artist to perform as a special guest vocalist for 3-5 songs. This arrangement gives companies and organizations with more modest budgets the ability to have that awe-inspiring national talent experience.

Tech is trending! 3D projection mapping is all the rage for 2018 with clients and planners using it for stage design, specialty shows, large-scale projection (think entire buildings!) and even as an accompaniment to dance or performing arts shows. Custom designs and performances can be created to align with any event theme, messaging or goal.

Also trending for 2018 are drone shows and 3D floating imagery.

Any seasoned event pro knows that creating a cohesive environment is imperative to the success of the event. A major trend we saw in 2017 and continues strong for 2018 is the use of multiple specialty entertainers intentionally created and strategically placed throughout the event. Think lollipop aerialists, stilt walkers, sway pole artists and strolling living art characters decked out in custom costumes cohesive with the client’s branding or conference messaging. The overall effect is innovative, engaging and practically guarantees attendees will share their experiences on social media. And, let’s be honest, if attendees don’t post about the event on social media, did it even really happen?

Elevate the DJ experience with the addition of live drums, electric violins, singers, brass and more! This is a huge trend for 2018 and creates an interactive atmosphere that is fun and unexpected. Hey DJ! and DJ Shelly are two ECE exclusive artists who are paving the way for this hot trend.

Creative food and beverage elements have been trending for years, but hip events in 2018 are presenting the sips and noshes in unique and interactive ways.  From champagne aerialists, cirque buffets, tank-torched sandwiches, hot air balloon servers, food drones, living tables, napkin ladies and more, the options for adding playful entertainment to your food and beverage offerings are limitless.

There is no denying that 2018 corporate events will be creative and experiential. For more ideas or to learn how ECE can take the trends above and curate a custom experience for whatever type of event you are planning, reach out to an ECE entertainment consultant by completing this form or calling 855-323-4386.

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