October 24, 2019
By Madison Howard

The new year has begun, which can only mean one thing – time to round up the biggest event technology trends of 2020! While some trends change over time (virtual reality for one), it’s always surprising how many of trends stay the same, evolving over the years in sometimes very subtle ways. When it comes to technology, the biggest difference in trends is accessibility. As event technology continues to develop and be refined,  it becomes easier to implement, making accessibility better than ever. That's good news for everyone.

Virtual Reality and Artificial Reality

After making a dramatic splash on the scene, virtual reality, and artificial reality are still relevant and becoming more dynamic with each passing year. It’s easier and cheaper than it has been – therefore more accessible for those with smaller budgets. Use these tools for branding, engagement, and more. They always add a wow factor. 

Virtual Events

Travel costs and time off continue to be a major deterrent when it comes to attending events. While they are less effective than in-person events, virtual events are becoming increasingly popular. From livestreaming on Facebook or other social media channels or twitch streaming, the concept of virtual events has grown. There are now more options for interaction including chat. While some may believe that offering a virtual option will cannibalize ticket sales and lower return on investment, in most cases adding a virtual event option in addition to a live event can increase attendance. They’re also a great alternative to a live event for those with tighter budgets.

Chatbots – Artificial Intelligence

Chatbots have been around for a while now, but they’re only getting smarter From recommendations, to answering attendee questions, they serve as another point of communication with attendees. Done well, chatbots can reinforce the brand and serve a necessary purpose. Are they right for you? Are mobile event apps, the industry standard, a better option? It'll be interesting to see how further chatbots develop in the coming year.

Mobile Event Apps

Speaking of event apps. Once upon a time, mobile event apps were unique, challenging to create, and expensive. Now? They’re practically ubiquitous. It’s no longer a selling point if your event has a mobile event app, rather a negative if it doesn’t. Trending in 2019 are new ways to engage and facilitate more individualized experiences with attendees. Mobile event apps are a gateway to capturing new attendee data to use for future instances of personalization. 


Beacons have been around several years, but are now emerging as a bigger player -- a perfect companion to your event's mobile app. Event tech trends aren’t just about showstoppers for attendees. Some trends help the planner. Beacons help both. Use beacons to track attendees to create a better event flow. The tracking will help you identify movement patterns that will allow you to adjust the location of certain booths or be certain that you put the coffee in the right spot. Beacons can also be used for proximity marketing and check-in.

Facial recognition – Biometric Authentication

While still facing some privacy hurdles (among other challenges) facial recognition is yet another way to track attendees and make the check-in process easier. A bonus, it’s more secure than other methods of check-in. Security is always a worry at events and making sure you know who’s attending yours is key. This is another trend worth keeping an eye on as privacy laws tighten around the globe.

Event Diagramming

Event diagramming tools are constantly improving. They give you the ability to lay out your event in any way you want. That allows for better planning and better control. Diagramming tools are becoming more accessible to teams of all sizes.

Event Automation

If you've been waiting to take the plunge, the good news is: event technology is improving by leaps-and-bounds. If you’re still doing most event planning tasks manually, 2019 might be the time to change things up. There are easier ways. From automation to data gathering, push notifications to event insights, event management technology gives you the ability to improve the attendee experience and prove the ROI of your event. This is the year to prove your success. 

Event Gamification

Whether through mobile event apps or the use of beacons (even facial recognition!), gamification is all the rage. Attendees love a little competition and adding in a way to engage makes the event more unique. As the tech advances, the challenges and games will follow suit.

Event Technology Trends

If you have yet to implement any of the above tech trends, make 2019 the year to try something new! While some are more adventurous than others, don’t be afraid to start small. Switching tasks from sticky notes and Excel to event management technology can make a huge difference in your event planning process and cut down on the time you spend doing monotonous tasks.

Check out Event Technology Upgrades You'll Need in 2018 to find out how this year's trends stack up.


Madison Howard

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, my passion for writing began before I could read, with a nightly verbal diary dictation transcribed by my obliging parents. When I'm not writing, you can find me binge-watching TV shows, baking elaborate desserts, and memorizing pop culture facts.
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