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

League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry. 


There aren’t enough dysphemisms in the English language for 2020. The good news is that the light at the end of the tunnel is coming in 2021, but we still expect to see conferences continue in virtual or hybrid environments. I can safely say that we miss the human element, such as socializing and networking, but I want to acknowledge that there are benefits to virtual.

According to a recent survey by Bizzabo, nearly two-thirds of event marketers believe tools to engage virtual attendees will play a key role in 2021.


With restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including natureinspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help calm attendees.