When it comes to corporate event trends, the most significant one is the return of BIG in-person gatherings. Renee Peterson of Swanson Signature Events shares, “Corporations are ready to make up for lost time and get their people together again. Remote work has sent team members into their homes and they are feeling disconnected. They are ready to celebrate business, work, and each other with some fun events.”
Valentina Marianetti of DJ Valentina notes that with these big events comes big budgets. She says, “A larger spending budget is being allotted for events celebrating employees. Although they played it safe and cancelled gatherings of any kind in the past couple of years, companies are most certainly making up for it now.”
We expect to see companies and brands host corporate events that boast meaningful interactions. “As in-person events have made a comeback in 2022, we’ve seen our clients continue to highlight the networking opportunities available as much as they emphasize the educational opportunities. We believe this is a big shift from the lack of in-person events due to the pandemic,” says Tori Soper of Tori Soper Photography.
Additionally, corporate events in 2023 will feature more interactive experiences. “People want something to do and something to interact with, such as immersive décor or shows that include guest participation,” says Remy Connor of Inked Magician.
Tracie Simon of LeFeast adds, “Almost all of my clients want interactive experiences, either through the way food is served or through the entertainment guests will enjoy. As much as attendees are excited to get out, they want to attend an event that offers more than the average cocktail party. My clients are on board and are looking to surprise and delight their guests from beginning to end.”
Learn how to do just that with our list of 21 corporate event trends for 2023.
Corporate Event Technology Trends
Jodi Wolf of Paulette Wolf Events says, “Corporate events are using more branding and technology.”
And when it comes to where branding and technology meet, Ryan Hill of Apotheosis Events says, “Immersive and interactive continue to be the biggest buzz words in corporate entertaining and brand activations. Brands and corporations want a 360-degree experience for the brand and/or the product.”
1. Projection Mapping Transforms Spaces
The ceiling is an oft-forgotten space for projections
Jodi Wolf of Paulette Wolf Events shares, “We have been using specialty lighting effects and projection mapping for events.”
This spring gala from the team featured a projection-mapped tent ceiling that shifted throughout the evening from snowy mountain views to starry skies, underscoring the nature-forward foundation being fêted.
Transport your guests to another locale with projection mapping
Lucky attendees arrived at Nightscape in Nashville — only to find themselves in Italy. The venue transported guests of this dinner party to an Italian villa using their built-in 360° projection mapping. Projections even directed guests to their seats (click below to see how) for themed cocktails and menus at this immersive dining experience.
2. Audio-Visual Teams Are Elevating Event Experiences
Lighting can transform an outdoor space
Los Angeles, CA
HBO celebrated the premiere of “Game of Thrones” with an icy blue event, photographed by Gabor Ekecs Photography. The party featured electric blue lighting and a wow-worthy projection design that helped the display of show costumes really stand out, while creating a moody vibe (fit for the show).
An A/V team can help create a surprise moment
Michael Kuntz of Media West Events says, “Regardless of the event being virtual, in-person, or hybrid, companies need highly experienced event production partners who can support these hallmark events.” He also notes the importance of production quality to ensure that all participants can see and hear the presentations and performances.
We appreciate how an experienced audio-visual team can create a spectacle, like their team did at this corporate summit.
3. Conference Apps & QR Codes Offer Connection
QR codes allow for quick connections
Tori Soper of Tori Soper Photography has photographed many corporate events, and shares what she’s seeing: “Many events use an app to help attendees navigate the conference or trade show. We’re also seeing the use of QR codes and digital business cards that allow attendees to connect easily.”
The pictured conference was filled with educational and networking opportunities, augmented by digital connections and information.
Corporate Event Design & Décor Trends
4. Theme-Centered Design
Renee Peterson of Swanson Signature Events shares, “We are working on a 50th anniversary for a local plant for more than 2,000 people. Our theme will be ‘Party like it’s 1973.’ They are excited about throwing it back to simpler times and groovier music. We see themes returning to create a cohesive aesthetic as well as an overall vibe for activities, décor, entertainment, refreshments, and swag in the new year.”
Your décor should tie to, and further, your theme
This 007-themed holiday party from the expert corporate planners,, offered several special-ops photo ops, interactive opportunities, and loads of Bond-themed décor and entertainment.
Get creative with themed fare
San Francisco, CA
Foxtail Catering & Events curated the perfect gathering for a medical board advisory summit. The on-point catering team brought cheeky flair to themed fare such as a medical clipboard tray and sushi served with soy sauce in syringes instead of the usual pipettes.
Incorporate your theme into the service of your dishes
New York, NY
“Many of my clients place culinary experiences at the top of their priority list, and they want their guests to be wowed by the flavors and the presentation. Incorporating catering into the flow and theme is important to them,” says Tracie Simon of experienced planning firm, LeFeast.
She adds, “For example, one of my clients hosted a ‘Through the Looking Glass’ tasting event where soup was served from tea pots. Food and beverage is art, and more and more, I see it being incorporated into the design and overall feel of the event.”
5. Monochromatic Décor
6. Attendee Comfort
Noelle McInerney of Ladidadi Events & Incentives shares, “A recent client engaged their team with a half-day offsite meeting in the North Shore of Oahu.” She notes that instead of a ballroom, “They opted for an open air pavilion with floor cushions and soft seating” — a much more pleasant experience in every way.
Comfortable seating is a thoughtful touch
Tori Soper of Tori Soper Photography shares, “The trend that stands out to us the most is that many of our event clients are transitioning their keynote and plenary session seating from rows of chairs with tables to a set-up that resembles a living room, with comfortable lounge chairs and couches. This may only work for small to mid-size events, but for attendees, it surely seems like a more comfortable and appealing experience.”
Luxe lounge seating allows guests to connect with each other
Anna Crelia of Loot Rentals, who supplies corporate and social events with signature style, shares, “We have seen a rise in clients requesting more lounge areas with a focus on allowing more space for the guests to breathe. Long gone are the days of cramming hundreds of people into a room at boring tables. Large corporate events and parties are moving outside; and for the ballroom-type events, they make sure to have plenty of seating and tables so that people have ample room to move around and stretch out.”
7. Custom Branding
“We are finding that corporate clients love to include their products whenever possible into the menu items and the overall design,” says Jodi Wolf of Paulette Wolf Events.
Kristin Atlas of Live Nation agrees, saying, “Branding is a big focus! From tabletops to floor decals, stairways, entrances, and tv’s throughout, the more branding opportunities, the better.”
Evoke the brand by using its iconic shape
New York, NY
When it comes to making a memorable brand statement, B Floral Event Design and Production never disappoints. The team evoked Victoria’s Secret’s new scent in larger-than-life installations at every turn at this immersive pop-up. Guests enjoyed peony bouquet giveaways, perfume bottle engraving, digital photo booths, and more.
Create photo-worthy branded spaces
Daughter of Design evoked the chic brand, Beautyblender, at every turn (literally as the event included a roller rink) with this experiential activation. The 80s disco-glam party featured immersive projection mapping that kept the brand front and center all evening for the celebrity make-up bloggers and influencer guests. Partygoers danced, rollerskated, and tested new products while 80s retro music and dance performances kept them entertained.
Every element can be tastefully branded
Emma Roberts of Capers Catering says, “Signature custom bars and lounge furniture are hot right now. Branded, vinyl-wrapped dance floors are an effective, and popular, way to stand out.”
Our very own recent PartySlate Boston gathering included creative fare from the Capers team, as well as branded moments galore — from the custom napkins by MY DRAP to the custom dance floor wrap from PEAK Event Services — all in the breathtaking rooftop space at 9OFS.
…and we do mean EVERY element
“I love a subtle nod to a company logo. Muddling Memories is a company that specializes in beverage experiences, and I love working with them on unique drinks where logos can be incorporated. We recently did an event where they branded a company logo into ice cubes, onto a lemon peel, and through a stencil with cinnamon,” shares Tracie Simon of LeFeast.
Corporate Event Catering Trends
8. Vegetarian & Vegan Offerings
Heidi Hiller of Innovative Party Planners shares, “Hosts are paying attention to guests’ dietary preferences, offering vegetarian and or vegan options, as well as non-soda beverages.” Make sure to check out PartySlate’s latest catering trend predictions for 2023. We’ll give you a hint: Vegan treats have never been sweeter.
Offer options for all guests
“In addition to more grab-and-go options, including food trucks, catering has also upscaled with more diverse options that appeal to vegetarians/vegans and those with dietary restrictions,” says Tori Soper of Tori Soper Photography.
Hyatt Regency Chicago hosted their annual management meeting (pictured here) with well-considered menu options to please all palates.
Make it unique to get guests talking
It’s fitting that this wellness luncheon featured thoughtful, healthy catering options from the talented team at ONTHEMARC Events. Guests were delighted by the chef’s market table, green smoothies, and gazpacho bar with fresh toppings that proved that good-for-you can also be really good.
9. Liquor-Free Curated Mocktails
Kristin Atlas of Live Nation says, “Mocktails are a popular offering right now! Not all guests drink, so it’s important to have a fun alternative for everyone. There are so many creative mocktails that we can always name specifically for the client as a specialty mocktail for an event.”
“Ending the evening with a variety of bite-sized desserts with a decaf coffee rather than another shot of whisky is a positive trend that we like to see,” adds Renee Peterson of Swanson Signature Events.
Go with curated flavors & thoughtful accoutrement
San Francisco, CA
Just as curated signature cocktails have been trending for a while, now mocktails are too. We’re not talking about a glass of juice, but rather a thoughtful experience created by a team of talented mixologists like those at Tonic Beverage Catering. They combine flavors and accoutrement for the perfect non-alcoholic sip.
10. Creative & Interactive Service
Make service an experience that gets guests talking
“Unique and interactive beverage services are on point these days with aerial bartenders and mixologists,” shares Debbie Meyers of creative performance company, BRAVO Entertainment.
At this corporate event, the BRAVO team provided on-theme performers, from aerial and pole acts to pop dancers and a ballerina in a bubble. One suspended performer served wine to guests for a fun photographable moment.
When design & entertainment work together, they wow guests
At one of PartySlate’s Chicago corporate events, NewMoon Chicago engaged guests with creative food and beverage service devices. An acrobat suspended on silks poured wine, a “kegway” (a segway with a craft beer keg) glided throughout serving beer, and floating trays featuring TAO’s signature cocktails surprised and delighted guests.
11. Live Preparation
Marry live prep and a fresh display
New York, NY
Frederique Henriot of shares that his team is seeing, “cocktail receptions with fun stations, where food is being made in front of clients. They are ‘food activations’ rather than just buffets.”
The venue plays hosts to corporate gatherings of all kinds, including PartySlate’s own seasons-themed celebration, at which Thomas Preti Events to Savor wowed with delectable handmade corn and mushroom tortelloni. The team prepared the savory bites in front of guests against a display of fresh mushrooms which underscored their commitment to quality ingredients.
Draw interest with an opportunity to learn by watching
New York, NY
Rhubarb Hospitality Collection hosted a launch party for the beautiful new venue, Chelsea Square, located in the heart of Manhattan. The catering company brought attention-getting fare with live activations like a homemade mozzarella station where chefs pulled mozzarella for the freshest possible dish — and buzzed-about station.
Corporate Event Entertainment Trends
“I think that corporate planners have a huge influence in getting their clients to understand that the WOW factor is a major piece of the puzzle — providing guests with a jaw-dropping experience from the moment they walk in. From lighting and music to food and interactive stations, it has been a whole different scene,” shares Valentina Marianetti of DJ Valentina, an entertainment provider who can frequently be found filling dance floors at corporate events.
12. Headshot Lounge
Offering a helpful service can capture leads
Tori Soper of Tori Soper Photography shares, “Our corporate event clients are doing their best to deliver offerings from which all attendees can benefit. We’ve seen increased interest in and bookings of our Headshot Lounge, where we offer high-volume, corporate headshots with instant image delivery.”
At this National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) conference, Soper’s team provided headshots for 450 attendees, complete with hair and make-up styling, white and grey backdrops, a lead capture database, and a sponsor-branded slideshow with the best headshots from each day.
Theme your station to fit your event motif
PartySlate’s own most recent Dallas gathering featured a unique “Back to School” theme from Pop Parties. The event included learning panels followed by a party with a “teacher’s lounge” and “yearbook photos.” The “Picture Day” station from the photography team at Grant Daniels provided direction and encouragement to event professionals looking to refresh their headshots against a styled backdrop.
13. Participative Activities
“Whether it is gathering the team from across the country for a one day conference and party, or hosting a wellness day, corporate clients are taking care of their teams. They are looking for meaningful interactions and unusual event experiences for their staff,” says Heidi Hiller of Innovative Party Planners.
Renee Peterson of Swanson Signature adds, “Now that teams are together again, they want to be entertained and DO something. Corporate groups enjoy ATV trekking, skeet shooting, axe throwing, zip lining, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and glass blowing. If we are limited to a hotel ballroom or event space, casino and carnival games can be a fun addition to a traditional evening of dinner and dancing.”
Emma Roberts of Capers Catering concurs, saying, “Corporate clients are excited to include more fun, entertaining elements. Mini golf, casinos, photo booths, food trucks, DJs, and so on have been very popular.”
The best events engage to create lasting memories
Navarre Beach, a relaxing vacation spot in Florida that’s far from the theme parks, hosted their Nashville activation at Nightscape to encourage residents to visit their beautiful city. The venue’s projection mapping allowed for use of real-life content from the destination to immerse guests in the experience while they participated in rejuvenating activities like yoga and “paddle-boarding.”
Allow attendees to have unique location-centered experiences
Noelle McInerney of Ladidadi Events & Incentives shares of a recent client offsite in Oahu, “We offered multiple activities including yoga, shark cage diving, stargazing, and even make-your-own bleach dye t-shirt station.” Attendees appreciated the opportunity to learn as well as unwind.
Combine interactivity & education for a memorable experience
New York, NY
Patrick Clayton of Patrick J Clayton Productions says, “I think experiences over more traditional meeting content are preferred. There are more things to take pictures and especially video with. These interactive elements that incorporate the educational message are a home run — and they’re more fun than a traditional meeting.”
14. Big Name Performers
Debbie Meyers of BRAVO Entertainment shared the following trend for corporate events: “Intimate performances by headline entertainers are all the rage — from backyard parties with Green Day to up-close-and-personal performances with Clint Black!”
Kristin Atlas of Live Nation (a company that knows a thing or two about big name performers) agrees, saying, “National entertainment and big name performers are in high demand! It’s such a great WOW moment for guests.”
A grand opening is perfect for grand entertainment
New York, NY
Ryan Hill of Apotheosis Events shares, “The goal of corporate entertainment, I find, is to reinforce the feeling of the brand through activity and entertainment. Clients want alignment across the board.”
The grand opening of Manhattan West, a new mixed-use property featuring living, shopping, eating, and working spaces, was the perfect opportunity for over-the-top entertainment with The Roots and Questlove.
Kick it old-school with classic acts
Las Vegas, NV
“There is much more of a focus on big name entertainment than ever before,” says Jodi Wolf of Paulette Wolf Events.
The team planned a jaw-dropping experience for a Mercer-hosted event for 800 people. The party included special performances by the Village People & Salt-N-Pepa. Exciting lights, fog, and confetti added to the unforgettable night.
15. Unique Entertainment
“With guests excited about being out and celebrating, I am finding that more of my clients are focused on the right entertainment for their party. Often, that is going beyond a standard band,” shares Tracie Simon of LeFeast.
Tailor your entertainment to your theme
“I recently had a client that launched a new publication of The Secret Garden; and while thinking through the flow of the event, we concluded that we needed a host — someone outside of the executives to guide our guests through the night. We created “Lord Frances” who greeted and joked with guests during cocktail hour, invited them to dinner, and gave an opening speech before introducing the CEO. His enthusiasm and character organically encouraged guests to explore and purchase the product,” says Tracie Simon of LeFeast.
Surprise and delight with an entertaining entrance
“We did a grand opening event for a new Porsche Dealership and featured our new Sway Poles highlighting the company’s brand on the outside of the building! Sway Poles tower 20′ in the air and are completely customizable. They offer a great ground-supported alternative to typical aerial acts,” says Debbie Meyers of BRAVO Entertainment. We appreciate this option for stunning outdoor entertainment.
Combine a DJ and band for next-level sound
“This year I have performed with bands more than ever before. Corporate entertainment has definitely upped their game by including services they never considered. Aside from a band/DJ combo, there are stilt walkers, performers, talented musicians on lollipop stands, and more!” says Valentina Marianetti of DJ Valentina.
Actively involve guests to create memories
Remy Connor of Inked Magician says, “I believe the trend is curving towards those who are providing interactive entertainment. It’s not enough to just see something anymore, people actively want to be involved. That’s where I thrive as a magician: creating illusions that require guest participation.”
At this employee event, The Inked Magician performed everything from magic and illusions to mind reading and the infamous straitjacket escape.
Art as entertainment and a photo spot is a unique branding opportunity
Playa Flamingo, Provincia de Guanacaste
Noelle McInerney of Entertainment doesn’t have to live on a stage! We’re seeing clients divvy up their entertainment budgets in order to have multiple (often surprise) entertaining experiences.”shares, “
Live event painting has been popular at weddings for a while now, but this twist has us excited about this unique entertainment at corporate events: a picture-perfect neon logo.
Corporate Event Venue Trends
Noelle McInerney of Ladidadi Events & Incentives says, “We have seen a trend in corporate off-sites to involve a much more balanced split of time between meetings and content, with time for team-building and socialization. Clients are looking for locations that really help pull their teams out of the normal day-to-day so that they can become totally present and go deep with their teams.”
16. On-Site Celebrations Are Being Made Opulent
Gathering on-site can add meaning to an affair
Heidi Hiller of Innovative Party Planners says of their corporate clients, “They are using their own spaces and transforming them with lighting, themed backdrops, draping, and even a fireworks show. This allows their guests to see their operations and host the event at home.”
Their “Across Africa Evening in the Stacks” at the Howard County Library provided not only the opportunity to celebrate culture and tradition, but also to gather joyfully in their meaningful space.
Create new memories in a familiar space
Ambre Vailes-Macarie of Deborah Miller Catering & Events says, “Corporations are using venues less and less and using their own spaces to allow for more high-end décor and catering.”
The team provided contemporary small dishes that delighted at this corporate event held in the company’s own space.
17. Venues With Adaptable Technology Make Events Immersive
Tori Soper of Tori Soper Photography says she’s seeing a “shift toward venues with more inspiring spaces and hybrid technology that elevate the attendees’ experience.”
Hybrid events mean more attendees can be included
New York, NY
Frederique Henriot of The Altman Building shares, “Several of our corporate clients are planning to come back to NYC for their event, and we are very excited about it! But with inflation, the cost of traveling, and a forecasted economic slowdown, most companies will plan to keep a digital component in their conferences and plan for ‘hybrid’ events.
“Broadcasting and Livestreaming will be incorporated into event budgets. For event venues, it means smaller-sized corporate events that are tightly curated with rigorous programing. We are certainly prepared to answer this demand as over 30% of our 2022 corporate events fell into this format.”
18. Landmark & Cultural Venues Make a Statement
Noelle McInerney of experienced corporate planning team, Ladidadi Events & Incentives, shares, “We are seeing clients love spaces that offers multiple vibes or environments in one.” Cultural venues often feature many spaces and experiences to choose from.
A cultural venue can add beauty and art to an event
New York, NY
New-York Historical Society provided an artistic and historic backdrop for Google’s Ad Partner Summit. A perk of a venue with multiple spaces is the ability to combine spaces. See how this event featured separate chic spots for meals, breaks, meetings, and a networking cocktail reception.
Landmark venues have built-in style
New York, NY
Frederique Henriot of The Altman Building says, “Companies are looking for authenticity by sourcing landmarks, cultural venues, and unconventional industrial spaces with a lot of character and personality.”
This corporate cocktail party had it all: unique entertainment, stunning décor, rich and textured lighting, memorable fare, and one gorgeous venue.
Historic venues were built for the future
New York, NY
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts was the perfect historic venue to host the fourth season premier of HBO’s futuristic series, Westworld. A mix of spaces provided a black-carpet entrance photo op and a creatively lit spot for mixing and mingling.
19. Raw & Customizable Spaces Offer Flexibility
“Clients are flocking to raw and customizable venues like distilleries and warehouses that can truly be transformed into a space of their own,” shares Emma Roberts of Capers Catering.
Towering ceilings & industrial elements are hallmarks of chic raw spaces
San Francisco, CA
Pier 27 hosted a showcase that featured how its open and flexible spaces, located on the iconic Embarcadero, might be utilized. When we talk about usability, this is what we mean: towering industrial ceilings, large roll-up doors, and an open space comprised of steel, concrete, and glass.
A blank canvas allows for an elaborate event vision
Jodi Wolf of top planning team, Paulette Wolf Events, says, “Our clients are always looking to use unique spaces that feature a blank canvas to best showcase their theme and design.”
Their team completely transformed the sport courts at the Windy City Fieldhouse into a NASCAR-themed corporate anniversary for 600 people, featuring authentic and on-point activities, racing-motif décor by KEHOE DESIGNS, and playful food stations from J&L Catering.
Large venues allow for varied gathering spaces
Kristin Atlas of Live Nation says, “Many clients are looking for larger spaces for guests to flow throughout: different rooms for guests to explore that may be quieter so they can network or be a part of the main event where the dancing and entertainment is.”
Corporate Event Print & Gifting Trends
“Branding is still king! From simple to complex, from swag to immersive and interactive moments, we have been seeing brand messaging stay as a top trend,” says Debbie Meyers of BRAVO Entertainment.
20. Luxe Digital Invitations
“We have been seeing more digital invitations for corporate events,” says Jodi Wolf of Paulette Wolf Events.
Digital can be luxurious
Guests were invited to PartySlate’s Charleston celebration via a luxe digital invitation, custom-designed for the gathering by The Luxe & Co.. The rental company offered a nod to the gathering’s theme with a beautifully understated chic composition that included the pale blue accent hue as well as botanical line prints that hinted at the garden inspiration.
21. Experiential Gifting
Connect guests to the brand in a creative way
New York, NY
Keren Precel Events produced this inspired womenswear collection launch for Black Iris. The planning team connected the product to the select list of style-forward attendees with illustrations of each guest, wearing one of the dresses in the collection, by talented illustrator Katherine Moffett. The custom art acted as place cards and delightful take-home gifts.
Offer an experience & gift in one
Miami Beach, FL
Noelle McInerney of says that experiential gifting is popular. She shares, “We recently helped a client with a custom branded shoe experience at their sales incentive trip in Miami. Guests could visit the brand’s hospitality lounge anytime during the program to choose between custom Converse or All Birds!”
People Also Ask…
How can I find the right team to hire for my corporate event?
We always recommend starting by hiring an experienced corporate event planner or event agency. Your planning team will guide you in all of your other decisions, from choosing your venue to selecting a designer, rentals company, staffing team, photographer, and additional vendors.
On PartySlate, you can use our guides to find all of your vendors and your perfect venue. Choose your desired location, then apply more filters to narrow down your best matches. Click through to visit the PartySlate profiles of your favorite vendors to see real examples of their work and look at their network of partners. All of this information will guide you to the best vendors for your specific needs.
Our Esteemed Corporate Event Trend Panel
These experienced corporate vendors and venues are worth considering for your upcoming events:
Design & Floral