“It was imperative for us to develop a trend report for the industry, because our clients trust us to create an experience that is memorable for all the right reasons. Keeping a finger on the pulse of current local and international trends gives us the ability to create on-trend productions that meet our clients’ ambitions and objectives,” says Nicole Reitz-Chidrawi, co-founder of Flint & Tinder Events.

Flint & Tinder Events completed the research in partnership with its suppliers, which includes Unicord, The Production Works, EPH Productions, Chillfunk Sound, and Audio & CME Décor.

The key findings across event elements like venue hire, décor, photography, content, and theme are highlighted in the following four overarching trends.

1. Top tech trends

Eventing apps for mobile devices are making planning and organisation quicker, easier, and more interactive – before, during, and after an event.

iBeacons are low-powered transmitters that identify mobile phones nearby that send and receive information. These could be used to stimulate the networking part of an event, for example, or to share information with guests without having to print expensive (and wasteful) information pamphlets.

The digital ‘swag bag’ is on the rise, with guests at an event having digital vouchers for gifts sent to their mobile device, rather than being handed a bag full of goodies. A digital ‘swag bag’ saves time and money, because no packaging or packing is required, and product wastage and negative impacts on the environment are reduced as well.

Exhibitions and concerts often include a retail environment that offers a closed-loop payment system via a payment card, smartphone, or wristband – making payments quick and secure, while avoiding the risks of shrinkage and theft that is associated with time-consuming cash payments.

Perhaps one of the most exciting technology trends entering the eventing space is virtual reality (VR), with well-executed VR content able to offer guests an almost first-hand experience of a product or destination, avoiding the costs or logistics often associated with a real-life encounter.

2. Food is not so fast

Event planners are focusing 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.

Food labelling is increasingly on-trend and in demand, giving guests the nutritional 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.

3. Keep control of costs

Flint & Tinder Events research highlights 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. Various websites, such as Amazing Spaces and Venueseeker, have made venue hunting and building budgets into a less time consuming and expensive task than it used to be.

4. 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 customise them for events.

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

“Every event is a complex collaboration of several specialists – from food and beverage, to sound, production, and décor,” concludes Samantha Ferguson, co-founder of Flint & Tinder Events. “Working with suppliers who keep up with and set trends in the local market means that we can offer our clients access to a support team that really is on top of their game.”

For more information, visit www.flintandtinderevents.co.za.