The year 2020 is nearly upon us, kicking off a new calendar year in the trade show circuit.

You’re probably already knee-deep in planning — circling dates in the coming year, checking in with vendors, scanning to-do lists and letting out a heavy sigh as you realize just how much work you still have to do.

For us, the coming of a new year — particularly the start of a new decade — is a good time for us to take a hard look at where event planning trends are going and how those trends can be applied to exhibit design.

We’ve already done a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to this, as you can see in our free guide The Exhibitor's Guide To Trade Show Success In 2020. But for this post, we want to highlight key trends from a particular article from G2 titled, “The Event Trends You Need to Know in 2020.”

Combining Tech with Human Elements


In the G2 article, writer Hannah Tow chronicles insights from a number of CEOs, marketing experts, and others on what’s coming down the events pipeline.

Number one on the list is Augmented Reality (AR), which has increased in popularity due to its impressive effect on attendee eyeballs and relatively low-cost (as in, not needing a lot of hardware) compared to Virtual Reality (VR).

Other trends include an emphasis on greenery and natural lighting in design, an increase in more elaborate signage due to a decrease in costs from modern digital printers, and a growing use of live music and non-traditional venues for meetings.

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In other words, although technology is becoming more prevalent and accessible to trade show exhibitors, that doesn’t mean you should just throw out tried-and-true techniques, such as incorporating natural elements and printed signage.

Speaking of exhibit designs, there are a couple more trends we’re personally excited about.

One of these is the increase of shareable, VIP experiences. We’ve seen some of our clients put together a powerful combination of both traditional exhibiting on the tradeshow floor and VIP offsite hosting, a tactic that provides both brand exposure and more intimate one-on-one time with important prospects and clients.

The second trend, which is near and dear to our own hearts, is sustainability.

Greening Up the Show Floor


The trade show industry unfortunately has a well-earned reputation for being wasteful. Many companies routinely invest in large exhibits that use a lot of materials but are only used a handful of times, if more than once.

As a custom rental provider of exhibit spaces, we aim to become more environmentally friendly than the historic model of ownership. As such, it’s encouraging to see companies putting more pressure on the idea of “greening up” their practices. While there’s plenty of room for improvement in the industry — including in our own shop, where we’re always striving to leave behind a smaller footprint — we hope this trend continues.

For more thoughts on trade show trends, download our free guide The Exhibitor's Guide To Trade Show Success In 2020.

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