By Sherrif Karamat, PCMA President and CEO 

Business events professionals must reliably deliver the most innovative ideas to engage delegates and delight clients, or they risk being outdone by more pioneering competitors.

Most of us in the industry find inspiration from trends or expanding on the vision of what others have produced. The challenge is identifying the right trends at the best time. Other creative industries from movies, theatre or even interior design can serve as creative models. Here are industries that can serve as muses:

Augmented and virtual reality. Consider using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to present event designs and concepts. AllSeated, an event-planning platform, offers a VR “look around” of a 3D-designed floorplan enabling viewers to experience being within an event space just by using a mobile phone and special goggles. AR can also have practical applications such as a tape measure mobile phone app to replace tape measures and laser pointers during site visits.


Theatre. The underlying fundamentals of how theatre provides an engaging, immersive, visual and transferable experience is another outlet for business events inspiration. Theatrics are playing a role in food and beverage where conveyor belts, elaborately dressed performers or miniature Ferris wheels are delivery vehicles creating a unique experience that is ideal for social media.

Robots. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2020 Dubai World Expo will both include robots at their events. Robots will shuttle luggage, hail taxis and provide translation services at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Authenticity. Using “edu-tainment” is another popular way to enhance experiences. Approaches have included wine sommeliers, beer cicerones or have food producers provide a presentation about an event’s food and beverage offering.

Evolution is paramount to the business events industry. Still, business events professionals must not lose sight of the message and keep that at the forefront. Focus on the content’s value and the characteristics of the audience you are sharing it with, then create an amazingly innovative way to deliver it.

Learn more about the latest trends affecting business events during 2019 PCMA Convening Leaders’ “Disrupt & Deliver” event Jan. 6-9 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The influential industry event includes a “Trending Now” education session track. Other tracks include innovation; diversity and inclusion; the business of events; event strategy and design; leadership; lifestyle; and audience engagement and acquisition.

For more information on other sessions, visit

Adam is the co-founder and editor of Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.