Event planners and DMCs are constantly challenged with creating events that exceed expectations. Moreover, our industry is challenged with executing events that are stimulating, impactful, memorable, interactive and anything but stale. Clients are seeking what’s new and unique, and are turning to us to deliver the unexpected.

Trends on the horizon for 2014 include taking previous trends to a whole new level. For instance, entertainment has always played a large role in events, but it’s time to kick it up a notch and consider a holographic performance for your event. Talk about unexpected and memorable!

Think beyond the traditional venue. If you’re hosting a corporate retreat or annual conference, shake things up. Sporting venues such as baseball parks and motor speedways are out-of-the-box venues that will create conversation and stimulate a group beyond the boardroom.

With technology consuming our lives in every way imaginable, it’s not something we should shy away from, but something we should embrace. More than ever, we are integrating social media into our personal and professional lives, so it’s only natural that it finds its way into events. Consider featuring a live Twitter feed of attendees using a dedicated hashtag. Add a photo booth that uploads photos directly to Instagram or Facebook with a branded logo.

Don’t forget to tie in the locale. Attendees-especially those who have traveled for an event-want to experience local flavors. They want to eat local cuisine, taste local beers and sip local wine. As planners, we need to offer them what they can’t have back home. To feed all the senses, consider creating a multisensory event. Incorporate event components that your attendees can touch, taste, feel, see and hear.

The "been there, done that" era of events is gone. As planners, it’s our job to truly and genuinely bring the wow factor!


Patty Phelps, vice president of sales, ACCESS Destination Services of Texas, is a member of MPI, SITE, PCMA and ADME. She is an MPI DFW Chapter board member and is active in PCMA Gulf Chapters. accessdmc.com

Born and raised in Bryan, about 90 miles east of Village of Salado, Chadley Hollas, Village of Salado’s director of tourism, says he came to the town with one goal: to help Salado become Texas’ best small destination. His favorite thing about his adopted hometown is the people. “They are quirky, creative and hospitable—a neat combination that makes for many good conversations,” says Hollas.


Question: What is your one must-have for business travel?

"My Mophie power station so I don’t have to compete for outlets during a flight delay or have that awkward moment of leaning into my neighbor’s lap while trying to find an outlet on the plane."

India Rhodes, CSEP Dallas Partner | Wilkinson Rhodes