Photographer : Hazel Photo
The Best of | National | Corporate Events

Our 4 Favorite Experiential Marketing Trends You’ll See Everywhere in 2020

When it comes to creating interactive experiences, big brands and companies are turning more and more to the same event teams that conjure creative galas and memorable milestone celebrations, as well as to event agencies who devote their time to over-the-top installations. We’ve scoured the thousands of events on PartySlate to bring you stand-out event marketing trends that we predict we will all be seeing a lot more of in the coming year.

We also spoke with Chef John Silva, Founder, Sherpa, and Chief Visionary, for San Francisco-based Culinary Eye Catering & Events to find out how they create branded events that engage and inspire. “We want guests to walk away with ‘wow’ moments,” he says. That means delectable food delivered in an interesting way, like pretzel stations with cheese fountains, roaming beer-on-tap dispensers, and our favorite — the opportunity to play with food. “For a recent color-inspired event, I wondered, ‘What if you could eat your art?’ Why not? How do you get people to play with their food in a fun and engaging way?” Read on to see how his team did just that and how forward-thinking event planners, design teams, caterers, and more are defining how experiential events can actually be.

1. Interactive Catering: Encourage Guests to Play With Their Food

photographer: Henry + Mac Photo Co.

Branded Conveyor Belt With Beverages & Bites

At the PartySlate Boston launch party — as planned by Mavinhouse — the team at TYGER Event Design + Production created a catering station and photo op all in one with this PartySlate-branded conveyor belt, filled with cocktails and bites from Hojoko for guests to grab.

photographer: TagPrints Digital

A Warm Welcome — Complete With Cocktails

Total Event Resources planned this corporate event in Chicago for nonprofit, Beauty Changes Lives, hosted at The Geraghty. Custom décor from Kehoe Designs helped them create this interactive cocktail wall that welcomed guests to the event with a surprise and a sip.

photographer: Hazel Photo

Flavored “Paint” for Artistic Appetizers

This inspired corporate event, hosted at Blueprint Studios in San Francisco, had multiple experiential catering elements from Culinary Eye Catering & Events, but one of our favorites was a flavored “paint” station (in which the pigments were actually dips and spreads) that guests used to decorate their handmade crackers

photo courtesy of Studio 525 NYC

3D-Printed Branded Cocktails 

Bulleit Frontier Whiskey worked with Proof Media to host an event in partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival at Studio 525 NYC, complete with 3D-printed cocktails. Guests could watch as a bar-top robot inscribed each cocktail with the spirit’s logo.

2. Activities & Activations: Keep Guests Engaged

photographer: Ross Daniels Photography

Bumble-Branded Oxygen Bar

Branding was everywhere at this Bumble corporate event, hosted at Shlomo’s Aspen. Our favorite element was a branded oxygen bar activation provided by Pink Monkey Solutions, where guests could recover from the high elevation and high-energy networking.

photographer: Allegro Photo Boston

Floral Crowns to Evoke Woodstock

In celebration of Apollo’s 1969 launch, Flou(‑e)r Specialty Floral Events and The Prism House created a Woodstock-themed corporate event in Boston. Guests got involved with the festivities by creating their own floral crowns and getting custom airbrushed tattoos.

photographer: ZaraAleksPhoto

Levi’s Custom Denim Jacket Activation

Geffen Events planned this Halloween party in Los Angeles to benefit the Good+Foundation. Brand showcases and activations were placed throughout Sony Pictures Studios, like a Levi’s activation where guests could customize their very own denim jackets.

photography: Scott Clark Photo

Interactive Welcome Booth With Branded Swag

Twenty Three Layers took swag from Brand Activation Services to the next level with this digital swag finder, complete with Adyen branding at the Retail Now + Next event. Wittig Design Co created incredible designs for the Brand Activation Services custom build. Rental furniture from Taylor Creative Inc. and Patina Rentals added to the sleek vibe.

photographer: AP Images for LG Electronics USA

The Ultimate Dance Party With Daybreaker

ASPIRE at One World Observatory was the perfect venue for the Daybreaker NYC event, which included yoga followed by an interactive dance party. LG’s Experience Happiness initiative created an incredible early-morning experience, where all guests participated in energetic workouts.

3. Immersive Experiences: Transport Guests Somewhere New

photographer: Picture This! Hawaii

Hermès-Everything Corporate Event

This immersive corporate event, perfectly executed by Jessica Fels Event Production & Design, featured all Hermès, all over. From an Hermès-printed tent displaying the iconic scarves to an interactive Hermès maze, guests loved every second at this Hawaiian event.

photo courtesy of LadidadiXM

WNDR Museum Grand Re-Opening

LadidadiXM produced the grand re-opening of the immersive WNDR Museum in Chicago — working with artists to take the interactive space into its next chapter. Guests who visited the museum had the opportunity to experience various rooms with 50 different and unique elements, including sound immersions, live art, and more that engaged all five senses. 

photo courtesy of Vox Productions

Baby Dove Lounge & Style Bar

Vox Productions produced an incredible event for Dove’s #hourwithher self-esteem boosting project. The production agency transformed The Langham Huntington Hotel into a Dove-branded lounge and style bar, which hosted moms who had the chance to experience the Baby Dove product line.

photo courtesy of ATOMIC

Changing Room Pop-Up for T.J.Maxx

ATOMIC’s talented set production team transformed 111 Grand Street in NYC into an experiential pop-up for T.J.Maxx. Design from Radical Media and rentals from Smart Source helped the team create immersive changing rooms with various interactive elements.

photo courtesy of Gravel Experiential

Las Vegas Distributor Conference & Showcase

Gravel Experiential customized 21 interactive event spaces at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for this brand-specific distributor conference. Each beer brand had the chance to showcase their brews in an immersive way with rentals from CORT Event Furnishings, Chicago to attract guests’ attention with music, fun photo ops, and more.

4. Unique Photo Ops: Everything Should (Still) Be Instagrammable

photographer: Steve Weinik

Custom Message Board Backdrop

The Wall Ball gala in Philadelphia was planned by the team at Eventsful, who included multiple photo-worthy spots throughout The Fillmore Philadelphia. The standout photo op was a colorful message board, which guests could customize with their favorite phrases or sayings before snapping a photo.

photo courtesy of B Floral Event Design and Production

A British Photo Op for a British Beauty Brand

B Floral Event Design and Production is known for creating stunning activations and installations, and this launch event for British beauty brand, Dr. Organic Beauty, is a standout. Just outside the Moxy Chelsea Hotel, B Floral created a British-themed, floral-adorned installation that served as the perfect photo op for passers-by.

photographer: Derek Wear

Aviation Photo Ops at the Museum of Flying

Alfred House Productions produced an engaging corporate event at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica. The planning team chose aviation-themed photo ops where guests could snap photos, including the cockpit of an airplane and other transportation-style settings.

photographer: Sheri Whitko Photography

Chalk Art Installation & Photo Backdrop

The Millennium Park Rooftop Terrace provided the perfect blank canvas for this chalk art installation from Tracy Lee Stum, displaying the FlexPod logo and custom 3-D design. Paulette Wolf Events worked with Kehoe Designs, KISHBAUGH + PARTNERS, and New Moon to create other engaging décor elements, including a living red carpet.

PartySlate is the place where leading event professionals share their work with the world. Find new ideas by viewing and saving hundreds of thousands of beautiful event photos from weddings to birthday parties, corporate events to galas. Easily connect with the best local event professionals and find stunning venues. Sign up now »

Featured event professionals and venues receive additional links within articles. Learn about membership plans »