Demand For Casual Events Growing

 

The biggest shift we are seeing in corporate events – and our strong prediction for the evolution of event design in the future – is a demand for more casual, authentic conversations, thoughtful content design, comfortable spaces and lots of opportunities for conversations and interaction.

Gone are the days where people dress up in stiff business attire, travel far to a boring venue and sit in rows listening to some “sage on the stage” for content or for a stuffy gala dinner in the same old format. Don’t get me wrong, people are still craving live events and connecting with other humans. They are even more thirsty than ever for good content, flowing conversation and high end experiences. But they want to experience it differently. They want content to be delivered in different formats and in short bursts that allow them to choose how they consume it.

As a result, we are seeing a general “casualization” of the overall business event attendee experience, without losing the quality of the content and key event components. We have all become casually-luxe in our demands. Just think of how many people, of all genders and ages, you see at galas and business events in designer sneakers paired with blazers, dresses or ‘work jeans’. We want caviar and grilled cheese. We want champagne and craft beer. We want healthy and non-alcoholic options but in beautiful packaging. Luxe but not formal. We also want events to provide us with fodder for good, open, meaningful dialogue and we want to have those conversations in comfortable seating, from multiple small stages and the freedom to move freely at events vs being forced to sit all together squinting at someone’s powerpoint presentation.

The emergence of “casual culture” is especially noticeable post-pandemic. Not “casual” in the “nonchalant” sense. But casual in terms of flow and comfort: physically, mentally and emotionally. With the work-from-home movement that still dominates in a hybrid-work model, and as millennials make their way into leadership roles, people don’t only want to wear comfortable clothes, but they want comfortable seating, comfort foods and some kind of unique activation that gives them another compelling reason to attend a business event. It has to be interesting, provide content in bite sized pieces and offer unique shareable moments for content creation.

So, we recommend designing future events with this in mind. Create mini-stages with unique content vs one plenary. Create lounges and whiteboard spaces with different types of seating for curated conversations. Let people choose their content and deliver business messages in more interactive and experience-based formats. Edutainment is expected.

It takes a bit of creativity, discussion, work and trips back to the drawing-board to design events that have a little something for everyone, to avoid losing anyone. But the payoff is better attendance, retention of messages, enhanced content, message amplification through discussion, content sharing and an overall enhanced ROI for both organizers and attendees. Go forth and get casually creative!

 

Grail Noble is the CEO of Yellow House Events. She is a leader in the events industry and founder of one of the country’s top event agencies. Grail has more than 25 years of experience designing events for global brands and has been named to several national top business growth and leadership lists, including as one of Canada’s top female entrepreneurs and most recently as a “Top 50 Most Admired Women Leaders in Toronto”.

 

 

Venue & Supplier Profiles