Trend Statement 2020

News 15 MIN READ

Big changes are taking place in the events industry. In this piece the senior team at SXS Events looks at what the trends of 2020 will be and what SXS will be doing in its biggest year yet.

ROI from our Business Development Manager

In 2020, we are going to see more focus on event ROI and employee engagement. Stakeholders are looking for tangible results and are beginning to ask ‘why’ they are holding an event. Event Planners will move away from thinking “what’s it going to look like?” to setting measurable objectives and then looking at how the creative can support and deliver the message.

At SXS we have an advanced online platform that gathers and aggregates guest, participant and client feedback into rich data sets which can be used to establish effectiveness of events.


Sustainability from our Business Development Manager and Johnny Palmer (SXS Founder)

How can planners make their event more sustainable? More clients are already moving away from the tradition of print graphics and replacing this with signage and digital. They are also looking at how they can offset the carbon impact of their event, with the trend for offering live streams and recorded sessions online set to continue.

Guests are expecting to see real integrity with sustainability. Paying lip-service and making token gestures simply is not good enough in 2020. Guests need to see that event organisers are reviewing the food sources, energy sources, material uses, online event experience options, and carbon offset actions surrounding events. This has to be approached with a clear intention, and changes implemented with transparency and integrity.

At SXS we have a world-leading sustainability policy. We now also include sustainability actions in every proposal we do.

Finally, we are the UK’s first AV company with the ability to power considerable elements of your event off-grid with our SolCell systems.



Social media from our Business Development Manager

Live-tweeting and audience participation will continue to be a key part of large-scale conferences. Clients will look for new creative ways in which information can be shared and content distributed during their events and cutting down on the requirement for print. The immediacy of sharing content live from the event around the globe has never been more important.


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Expanding the experience beyond the event from Johnny Palmer (SXS Founder)

In 2020 we will consider more than ever the ‘second audience’ in all of our productions. An event audience is finite and defined by the number of people in attendance at the event - this could be 100 for a small conference or 2000 for a major awards show. However there is a much larger audience beyond this.  The content produced from our events often reaches tens of thousands of people online, and this must be considered fully when planning the event. Valuable online content can take the form of a highlights video or snappy hyperlapse, to a fully produced video of the entire event.

At SXS we have developed efficient ways of getting social-media friendly content online fast. We have invested heavily in sophisticated online streaming technology which allows multi-track conferences to be sent online in a live format.



Is attendance a requirement anymore? By Jordan Tomkins (Account Director)

As the world becomes increasingly sustainability and budget-conscious, many people are choosing to reduce their carbon footprint by travelling less and staying at home. With political instability also playing on people’s minds in the UK, we are already seeing a downward trend in event attendances. However people are spending more than ever on experiences and personal development, so how can we reconcile these two seemingly contradictory movements? Well there is the often cited argument that event producers need to continuously improve their event to engage their audiences and drive them to attend, which is of course true. However in 2020, event managers must think outside the box and explore using live-streaming to give their delegates an event experience without needing to leave their desks. This is where we may finally see VR move from the realm of ‘gimmick’ to having real valuable application in giving guests a full event experience, allowing them to walk through the event and pick their sessions as if they were actually in attendance on-site. 



Exciting event spaces will be central to engaging events from Lucy Payne (Project Handler)

Many online trend statements this year are setting the pace for alternative venues to be at the forefront of the events industry for 2020. Gone are the days when a conference space or ballroom is seen as impressive to clients and guests. Whether you are a fledgling delegate keen to immerse yourself in new ideas or a matured expert in the field of conference networking, a quirky and different space is going to attract and impress across the board.

A lot of alternative venue spaces – whilst seemingly striking to a client wanting to mix things up for their annual event – can present challenges such as a lack of power or rigging points. These issues could seem minor to some but when planning an event from a technical production viewpoint, if not managed correctly can be catastrophic.

At SXS, we are well accustomed to working in non-traditional event spaces. In the past our teams have worked in caves, forests, car parks, rooftops, beaches, shipping containers, mines, onboard aircraft, on tree houses, fields and warehouses – even working under water to create stages on swimming pools. The diverse group of people we employ allows us to critically approach our client’s initial concepts from all angles, and instigate new ideas that will allow us to work in different spaces, as well as help realise our clients’ vision for an event. As well as this, we hold a vast amount of kit which allows us to build different systems from scratch to meet the requirements dictated by the venue’s circumstances. In 2019 we even created our own solar-powered battery system to help combat the lack of power on some alternative event sites.

So if you are looking for new venue concepts, or finding operational ways to work in them, speak to us at SXS as we can definitely help!



More Motion Graphics, Everywhere - from David Gray (Creative Director)

We made this prediction last year and we foresee it continuing for a good few years.

With more screen there is of course a need for high quality motion graphics content. However, in 2020 this will go beyond the screen. With UX design becoming more a part of our everyday lives through mobile applications and web design, we will start to see more animations everywhere. Starting with your event website, social media channels and through to digital signage around the venue. Brands are becoming more and more animated.



Event management workflow from Johnny Palmer (SXS Founder)

One of the key challenges our clients are facing is devleoping an efficient workflow and auditing process of their multi-event projects. 2020 will see slicker and more professional management processes underpin all events. The days of scruffy spreadsheets, disparate word documents and reliance on people’s memory are over. Event organisers now need to have reliable, clear and efficient adminstrative processes to make their lives easier.

At SXS we have developed a software that supports this including:

1. The XPo Platform which manages multiple orders from exhibitors.  Learn more here 

2. The XHire platform which allows clients to see all the projects they have on, the logistics, technical specs and budget information - much like how an account works 


Moving back to the physical world from David Gray (Creative Director)

As per our prediction last year, LED screen technology has become a common sight at events across the globe. We predicted that people would start to use it in new interesting ways to deliver digital sets that went beyond just a screen with a cool background and presentation content placed over the top. We’ve seen presentations really take over the whole screen and set designs deliver digital worlds.

The next step will be breaking these displays up and delivering them in more interesting formats; particularly utilising them alongside theatrical design. We’ll see screens moving out into the room, physical set pieces and digital screens blending. Ultimately people will be moving away from the large slab of screen.



Real World Experiences from David Gray (Creative Director)

The current conference and awards show format has been with us for over a decade (maybe two? Maybe three!?). We’ve seen incremental changes delivered by technology, which have delivered greater impact, wow moments and much greater value overall. However, people are starting to tire of these traditional formats.


Alternative, real world, immersive experiences are going to be the next big step change in the industry. People want to enjoy an experience which involves them and doesn’t pass them by. We’ll see gamification in conferences and storylines taking place at shows, with characters and sub-plots taking place in the universe of the event. Guests will be able to engage, view or ignore this to suit their personal preferences. 

We have developed an amazing workflow whereby we produce stories that run through event experiences and have been having amazing results from our recruitment of performers and actors in recent months.