13 Sizzling Event Trends for 2016

2016 Event Trends Cheers to the New Year. When the confetti settles, you’ve swallowed the last sip of champagne and the tux or little black dress is off to the dry cleaners, it’s time to look forward.

We don’t make claims to be clairvoyant, but with swiftly changing technology, geek culture going mainstream and two Pantone colors, 2016 is going to be a pivotal year in events.

Let’s get to our top 13 trends:

1. The Social Scape is Changing

Social media is here to stay, but the traditional status update about dogs and brunch may be put out of its misery.

More and more users are adopting messenger apps, such as WhatsApp or iMessage because they offer private communication and of course, the ability to send hilarious gifs.

According to the Pew Research Center, “half (49%) of smartphone owners ages 18 to 29 use messaging apps, while 41% use apps that automatically delete sent messages.”

There’s no getting around it. Organizers have to make social part of their events. Which brings us to:

2. “Your Audience has an Audience”

Snapchat is on the rise. No longer just for the vanishing selfie, the service offers live event feeds and is even hiring reporters to cover the 2016 election.

At the 2015 Seattle Interactive Conference, David Shing, venerated digital prophet relayed that brands should consider the experience of their audience’s audience—fans at home in their pjs watching their friends’ videos of a distant festival.

Bleak, weird, incredibly cool? We’ll let you make up your own mind about that.

Just don’t worry, because…

3. Happiness is Live Events 

It’s not just your live-event-lovin’ imagination. Research shows that shared experiences make people happier than things and that millenials are definitely into not-owning things, aka “nownership.” (They’re also into portmanteaus.)

What does this mean? Well, good news for you, because the event industry is booming. But it may also mean more competition as brands try to reach consumers through experiences.

Speaking of…

4. The Whole Experience

Remember the olden days, in 2012 when you would go out to dinner and then to a show? Or you would go to a show and then go out for drinks? Or you would go to dinner and then just go home?

That’s O-V-E-R. (O.K., slight hyperbole.) Food events are incorporating more performance elements and performances are including more food elements. And many of these dinner theater events are taking place in intimate venues, like a person’s home.

Event attendees want new sights, tastes and experiences. Bringing us to…

5. The Pop-Up Explosion

We reported on pop-up restaurants in last year’s trend list, but in 2016, pop-up will take all forms, from pop-up dinners, to flea markets to workshops, concerts and even the occasional dance off.

You’ve may have already noticed the pop-up phenomenon this past holiday season. Many creatives can’t front the hefty rents of a full-time store, so they’re showing their stuff at pop-up holiday craft fairs and bazaars.

These small-time markets definitely draw as the higher appreciation for handmade still stands.

Just don’t expect a lot of heavy drinking at them because…

BPT_NewYear_sq6. Mocktail Madness

Mmm. Welcome the rise of the mocktail: drinks that have all the ice-clinking, lemon-garnished delight of a cocktail with none of the spirits. Or regrets.

Studies like this one indicate drinking—especially among young people—may be in decline. Mocktails cater to the late-twenty or thirty-somethings looking to go out and socialize without getting sloppy.

The 2016 mocktails just might be pink and blue. Bringing in…

7. The 2016 Color(s) of the Year

You’ll see a lot of pink and blue this coming year (excuse us… Rose Quartz and Serenity). And not just at baby showers.

For the first time ever, color expert Pantone selected a duo palette for the “color of the year.” Like every year, the color (er… colors) will influence event décor.

But probably not at…

8. Geeky Events

mario-1 copy-bpt

Retro video games emerged from wood-paneled basements awhile back. But in 2016, they’ll move on up again from the barcade to the big time arenas. eSports viewership continues to rise dramatically with the first eSports arena opening in Santa Ana in October.

Live video game music is already a thing and there will be more shows in 2016. Musicians shred on instruments while an expert player battles the big bosses in real time level after level.

Intense.

Speaking of battles, we’re stoked about this prediction—in 2016, the U.S. will catch on to giant robot battles, already big in Japan. Hot tip. Start working on your giant robots now.

9. Art Shows Become Immersive 

2016 will make average gallery goers part of the show. No more standing around, sipping wine, pontificating about a piece. It’s all about interactive, motion-based artwork that changes rapidly and is controlled by the observer.

That’s kind-of cool, isn’t it? So are…

10. Chef-Driven Dinners

Perhaps fatigued with walk-around tasting events, foodies are requesting a more intimate experience. Our food event specialists report a rise in chef-driven tasting menus in both restaurants and as an event format. Event Marketer reports that patrons want to know everything about their food and trying to learn from chefs and servers.

And also, in Instagram Age, every dish must be picture perfect. But you might not be allowed to snap that photo because…

11. Phone Bans

We’ve all been there. Your favorite live performer blocked by a sea of tablet and phone screens and you just watch them on the tiny screen in front of you. Like you could be doing at home.

To ban or not to ban is a hot-button topic for event organizers. On one hand, social media promotes your performers and events. On the other, event attendees aren’t immersed in the whole experience as they’re counting likes and updating statuses. If you’re going to ban mobile use, take the high road and focus on the positive with your message.

“Please refrain from using your phone as we want you to be immersed in the experience.”

Speaking of the high road…

12. More Cannabis Gatherings

In 2014 and 15 in the wake of legalization in some states, marijuana shed its stoner image and went all upscale. Interest in herb will grow in 2016 with more marijuana events that cater to a crowd that wants to learn. Expect more cannabis events that emphasize healing (like cannabis and yoga), as well as workshops and food pairings.

Bringing us to our favorite trend:

13. Educational Events

School is cool again in 2016–there’s an uptick in workshops, symposiums and learning retreats. It’s no surprise, as DIY and handcrafting is hot, hot, hot. Our food and farm outreach specialist reports more forestry, farming and water conservation classes than in previous years.

What do you think 2016 will bring? Comment below or add your favorite event trend.

 

Event Tips >

How to Build Intensity with Your Event Playlist

Music2_SqAs a producer and organizer of live music and cabaret events, nothing irks me more than going to a show and hearing house music that has zero to do with the event.

Know what I’m talking about? Sure you do. Ever been to hear your friend’s indie rock band and the sound person blares loud death metal over the system? Or you’re at a reggae show and they’re bumping 90’s techno?

Always Ask 

Most venues give very little thought to the house music. They usually just let the sound person pick something and that’s it. However if you ask (nicely), venues will let you provide your own.

Leave Expensive Stuff at Home

I don’t recommend smart phones for event music as they sometimes transmit static or you can forget that the ringer was turned on and it goes off at an inopportune time. Doh.

Burned CDs are the thing to bring. It won’t break your music-loving heart if they get lost, stolen or forgotten about. You’ll have enough to remember at the end of the night—thanking performers, equipment, paying people, merchandise. You might forget your iPod or $300 phone.

Also, every venue will be able to play a CD, but not every venue will have inputs for smart phones and iPods.

Start Mellow

Curate the experience starting the minute the crowd walks into the venue. If you’re doing a night with multiple acts, start out with mellow music. Folks are starting to arrive and socialize and haven’t even had time to get a drink yet. Maybe they’re still feeling a little insecure. Don’t assault them with loud music from the get-go. Let them adjust and feel comfortable.

Increase the Volume with Each Act

Gently increase the volume with each act to build tension.

For the headlining act, consult with the band or performer and see what kind of music gets them pumped, what artists were big influences and whether or not that music would translate to their audience. Many times, in the case of a music event, the music they’ll pick won’t be of the same genre but will complement the music that’s about to happen on stage. I like to pick something that has a driving beat but is fairly simple chordally, so that it builds tension and creates a sort of hypnotic effect.

Turn the lights down and immerse the audience. I encourage up to 10 minutes of dark lighting and loud house music. It may seem like forever, but all you’re doing is priming the audience, so that the minute the headliner hits the stage, they’re ready and focused. I usually tell the band to grab a drink or do some stretching during this build-up time. All performers could use a little extra time to get centered.

Curate the Experience

This technique works best for music events, but can also be a great build up for a burlesque show or comedy sets. For theatrical performances, keep the volume down and don’t choose something as driving. Most organizers know their audiences well and what kinds of music will stir their emotions.

Just remember to influence the audience’s experience from the minute they walk through the door. A lot of entertainment involves subtly helping the crowd to react in a certain way. House music is an important tool in that process and sadly ignored too often.

How do you create playlists for your events? Ring in with your tips in the comments.

Event Tips >

Goodbye Turtle, Hello Hare: New Scanner App

BPT_ScannerApp_SquareGraphic-BigAllow us to proudly introduce the new Brown Paper Tickets Scanner app. Designed for use with our box office tools, the scanner app allows event organizers to scan tickets and check-in guests right from mobile devices.

Download new scanner app in Google Play 

Download new scanner app in Apple

Use the app to improve your event’s entry process and bid adieu to box office chaos. Scan and unscan tickets as guests come and go during your event. View tickets admitted and tickets remaining at a tap.

Freshly enhanced with a fluid, dare we say stunning interface, a faster performance, and now compatible with iOS9.

Ready, set, scan. Features you’ll love:

  • Manually enter barcode information
  • Unscan tickets to manage guests exiting and re-entering the event
  • Use camera flash to scan tickets in the dark
  • View guests admitted/tickets remaining at a tap
  • Intuitive and elegant design

Note: Designed for use with Brown Paper Tickets box office tools. Activate barcodes for mobile scanning for your event before using the app. Step-by-step instructions.

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11 Essential Items for a Worry-Free Box Office

Box Office TipsYou planned for months and the big day is finally here. You fully anticipate a packed house. The nerves are setting in and you envision a line of yelling, frustrated patrons all the way around the block. Don’t worry; you got this.

Make sure your box office is equipped with these 11 essential items and enjoy a stress-free, organized opening night.

1. Will call. To get all of your attendees on a single list, enter all your comps and promotional tickets as box office transactions. Bring multiple copies of your will call as backup. Alphabetize the list and break it up into manageable segments (A-H in one line, I-P in another, Q-Z in the third).

2. Signage for will call + ticket sales. Hang signs high above the table so shorties in the back don’t have to stand on their toes just to see their places in line.

3. Guest list/seating chart. Print a copy of your guest list and seating chart in case you need them.

4. Barcodes for scanner app. If you will be using the (newly updated) Brown Paper Tickets’ Scanner App, activate the barcodes ahead of time in box office tools. Test out the app ahead of time so you’re ready to scan and comfortable with it.

5. Office supplies. You’ll need pens and paper to take notes, rubber bands and envelopes to sort your money, masking tape for signs and posters. Keep markers on hand so you can write on the tickets. Bring more than what you think you’ll need so you don’t run out.

6. Cash box. Carry enough cash to make change for people who pay with larger bills. Two hundred dollars in increments of mostly $1s and $5s is typically more than enough, but always round up. Put a sign up that asks for small bills—most will be happy to oblige.

7. 2-Way radios. Bring walkie-talkies so that you can easily communicate with staff and security. Test the radios so you’re positive they work.

8. Emergency protocol + first aid kit. Have the venue’s floor plan on hand along with your emergency protocol, evacuation plan and first aid kit.

9. Handstamps or wristbands (optional). Don’t forget handstamps or wristbands if you’re using them to identify who has paid.

10. Breath mints. Stinky bathrooms and floors in a dive bar are expected, welcome even. Stinky breath is not. Bring mints and gum for those up-close encounters. Always have enough to share when someone else’s breath is kicking.

11. Hand sanitizer. When scanning tickets, making change and greeting guests, you’ll touch hundreds of hands. We know you’re tough, but keep those nasty germs at bay, so that you don’t catch a cold before your next event.

What do you bring to ensure a successful box office? Share your ideas below.

Here’s our list in a printable format, so you can take it with you.

Event Tips >

5 Social Media Best Practices for 2015

Social media continues to evolve and morph into our daily lives personally and professionally. Real-time sharing of photos, updates (tweets, posts, etc.) happen at all types of events. Here’s to using social media more strategically before, during and after events.

socialmedia-SS1. Instagram Dominates Visual Engagement

The visual revolution is driven by mobile smart phones and social media channels such as Pinterest and Instagram. They’ve turned browsing the web into a visual experience unlike any we’ve seen in web history. Photography and graphics drive engagement in these channels (and others). Twitter also allows photos to be added to posts and stats show tweets with photos often yield higher engagement than those without.

People love sharing selfies while they attend theater shows, parties, festivals or are exploring town. Instagram, like Facebook and Twitter before it, is now a must use social channel.

2. Video Content Explodes

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all now show preferences for videos uploaded and hosted on their platforms, cutting into YouTube’s market share of video engagement and views. Facebook recently surpassed YouTube for most video views on desktops, according to comScore in 2014.

You don’t have to be a pro to shoot or publish video now. Use your smart phone, select apps and simply share what’s happening at your shop, in your local area and with your products. Polished videos are less necessary with the rise of social video sharing tools such as Vine, Instagram’s video tool and smart phone capabilities. Authentic interviews, previews of products, welcoming words from entrepreneurs, backstage clips. Content is ready for filming and an increasing number of social site welcome it.

Ask a vlogger how important video is.

3. SlideShare Ideal for B2B Sharing

Content is king and SlideShare makes sharing content easier than ever, especially for businesses who service other businesses and don’t necessarily have loads of consumer-rich, delicious photos. Think of it as a simplified PowerPoint tool. Use SlideShare to distill benefits of using your service or company and allow your sales crew to share the presentation online, via email or even use for presentations.

Since SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn, which has made major strides to ramp up content publishing for all, new features and functionality have made SlideShare a necessary part of business marketing, thought leadership and relevancy.

4. Hashtags Focused on Tribes

Hashtags are officially ubiquitous sliced and diced methods of searching and finding across all social media platforms (except LinkedIn, bless its heart). They’ve become the norm (thanks to Twitter for introducing us to these utilitarian beauties).

Use too general of a hashtag and you’ll lose your audience. Instead, focus on highly targeted, localized or temporary hashtags that a niche tribe cares about and focus a conversation around relevant topics. Forget #food #socialmedia #events. I attended Seattle Interactive Conference and they annually use #sic2014 (etc) so attendees can hone in and join conversations or follow threads more easily.

Host an annual festival or conference? Use an acronym or abbreviation and possibly the year. BottleRock Napa Valley could use #bottlerock15 this year.

Want to search hashtags across all social platforms? Use a hashtag aggregator like Tagboard.

5. Paid Facebook Posts Become Norm

socialmedia2-SSYes, Facebook mucked with their algorithm much to the chagrin of marketers, small businesses and nonprofits. Gone are the days of your post reaching 50% of your fans instantly. Now you have to work for it. Or pay for it.

Facebook, after going public, monetized their news feed incrementally. Luckily, a little money goes a long way. Test boosting posts, one of the most cost-effective paid placements available. Write a post, include an eye-catching photo and promote it to your followers and their friends. Then do another post and target new users by geography, age and interest(s) and see which attracts most engagement, views or drives traffic to your site. I’d recommend setting aside $20/month to boost select content. You basically have to pay to play more and more. Other social channels are following suit and offer options to pay to expand reach of your content or offer.

What other trends or tactics are you planning to tap or try in 2015?

Event Tips >

Share Mobile Tickets with Friends via SMS

sxswWe just made it easier to share tickets with friends and family. Our patent-pending Transfer-to-a-Friend™ feature offers easy, personalized SMS text message ticket delivery on mobile devices. Brown Paper Tickets is the only major ticketing and event registration company to use SMS text messaging for ticket sharing.

This is a modern alternative to will call when meeting friends at concerts, classes, shows or other events. Skip waiting at will call or standing around to hand deliver printed tickets to your friends.

Transfer-to-a-Friend™ is faster and easier than app-enabled digital transfer technology, and a higher percentage of fans can send the 100-percent authenticated mobile tickets to their friends, because it works on any web-enabled mobile device.

How Mobile Sharing Works

Fans who purchase mobile tickets can view them on any web-enabled device, and touch Transfer-to-a-Friend™ to be prompted to enter a destination country and mobile phone number. Transfer-to-a-Friend™ sends a text message, including the name of the original ticket buyer, inviting the recipient to collect their ticket. With one touch the transfer is complete, if the recipient is logged into their Brown Paper Tickets account. If not, the receiving fan can log in or create an account, and the ticket is transferred.

Fans can also re-transfer their ticket, or organize a group to attend any event together by purchasing several tickets, and using Transfer-to-a-Friend™ to text message them to as many friends as they wish. Tickets are automatically distributed to friends as they claim them, on a first-come, first-served basis.

How Event Organizers Scan and Verify Tickets

Transfer-to-a-Friend™ leverages Brown Paper Tickets’ technology to simplify the transfer process, and scannable bar codes are issued immediately. The Brown Paper Tickets scanner app for iPhone and Android transforms smartphones into electronic readers for scanning mailed physical tickets, print at home, or mobile tickets at the door. How to use Brown Paper Tickets scanner app.

Event Tips >