Corporate Incentives, Meetings & Charters

Event Industry Trends: What To Expect In 2021


The event industry is changing at a rapid pace. From more exclusive travel destinations to stricter sanitation guidelines and entry protocols, there are a number of event industry trends to look for in 2021.

Incentive travel is a great way to motivate individuals and celebrate exceptional performance. And while the global pandemic might have slowed things down, there’s no reason to believe that by 2021, you shouldn’t be able to book incentive travel rewards for employees that went above and beyond—just as long as you prepare thoughtfully and thoroughly.

Event trends also seem promising for 2021. With strict guidelines and a little creativity, companies should once again be able to host successful events that foster teamwork and build loyalty.

If you’re looking for guidance on how to host your next corporate event or ideas for incentive travel rewards, we outline some of the biggest event industry trends that are emerging for 2021.

Whale jumping out of the ocean in Alaska

Staying Closer to Home

Corporate events that took place in far away and exotic locations used to be considered a treat, but now that people are more reluctant to travel lengthy distances, companies are focusing their event destinations on local and regional destinations that are closer to their headquarters.

If your company is based on the West Coast, consider organizing a meeting in nearby Alaska. Alaska is a fantastic option because it will feel like another world, even though it is still located within the United States. Host your event outside and enjoy the beautiful outdoors of the Last Frontier. Organize a day trip out to one of Alaska’s stunning glaciers, or spend an afternoon on a whale-watching tour. There’s no shortage of adventure and wildlife in Alaska that will make your corporate event one for the books.

New England-based companies might want to look into a corporate event in Bermuda, the island of pink sand and turquoise waters. What better way to reward your employees’ exceptional performance than an escape to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches?

Meanwhile, if your company is headquartered down south, head out to Charleston, South Carolina, a destination consistently voted one of the most beautiful cities in the country. The easily walkable downtown quarter will make coordinating events and transportation easy and hassle-free.

If you’re looking for a sunnier meeting locale, the Caribbean is always a good idea and relatively close to Florida-based companies.

More Individual Travel Incentives

Incentive travel programs are a fantastic way to help motivate people and celebrate their achievements within the company, whether they exceeded their annual goals or demonstrated excellent leadership skills during a crisis.

In 2021, event industry trends indicate that group incentive travel might take a back seat and individual travel incentives will become even more popular since people will feel more comfortable traveling solo or with a plus one.

Therefore, instead of organizing an incentive trip for a large team or group of people, offer incentive trips for employees on an individual basis during different times of the year.

Private Destinations

If travel is required for events or meetings, expect to see an increase in the demand of private and ultra-exclusive destinations where the amount of people who can enter is easily enforced.

Private islands in the Caribbean are one luxurious and alluring option to consider as a travel incentive or event destination. Private islands can limit the number of people who can visit at the same time, and are available to exclusively rent out for a company event or gathering.

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Revised Seating and Capacity

With restaurants and sporting events operating at limited capacity, expect the same restrictions to apply for meetings and large gatherings in 2021.

If you’re planning on holding an event indoors, most venues are likely to space out attendees by organizing one or two empty seats in between people. Some event planners also suggest organizing tables six feet apart or using tape marks on the floor to indicate proper social distancing.

Aside from adding space between attendees, there’s also the option of hosting several small group gatherings over the span of a week rather than one large meeting on the same day. This way, your company will be able to limit the number of attendees in each gathering while offering a more intimate event experience.

Hybrid Events

Once live meetings and events resume, expect a hybrid of in-person and virtual attendance to become the norm.

Since many workers already have ample experience with video conferencing apps and virtual meetings, offer them the option of attending your company’s event in person or via a virtual platform. Hosting a hybrid meeting will not only help limit the number of attendees, but offering the option of in-person attendance is sure to promote satisfaction and well-being within the company, as people will feel like their personal boundaries are being respected and valued.

More Outdoor Events

Another great option for a team or company meeting is to consider planning your event in an outdoor area such as a terrace, garden, or outdoor theater.

Outdoor events will be able to accommodate a larger group of people and easily provide a comfortable distance between attendees.

Even so, for outdoor meetings or events, consider using tape marks or other indicators to clearly delineate standard social distancing protocols.

Outdoor events can also last a little longer than indoor meetings—current recommendations ask to limit indoor meetings to 30-minute intervals—but should also include several breaks throughout to give people a chance to stretch their legs.

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Increased Sanitation Procedures

The global pandemic has increased awareness of sanitation practices worldwide. For the comfort and safety of your meeting or event attendees, it’s important to practice strict and visible sanitation procedures.

Before, during, and after your event, rigorously clean and disinfect all surfaces, bathrooms, and high-touch areas such as microphones, doorknobs, handrails, speaking lecterns, and elevator buttons.

Have face masks at hand, and offer one for attendees to use if they prefer to wear one indoors. Set up hand sanitizing stations in multiple areas of your meeting or event. At entrances, require attendees to make use of the hand sanitizing station before entering the venue.

Discourage handshakes or physical touching between attendees. Instead, provide name tags for people to wear in order to make introductions easier.

Work with a catering company that applies strict sanitation guidelines when preparing food. Skip the practical buffet table, and instead offer pre-packaged meals or snacks. Individual disposable cutlery and beverage containers should be available in order to minimize the chances of people sharing food containers.

Pre-Entry Testing

While widespread rapid COVID-19 testing isn’t available just yet, all signs indicate that it will be in the near future. If a quick testing kit rolls out by 2021, consider requiring all people to take the test in order to be able to attend the meeting or event. This will help keep the risk of transmission to a minimum and will also provide a feeling of safety and security for all of your event’s attendees.

If a quick COVID-19 test isn’t widely available, then require temperature checks for all attendees prior to entering the event or meeting. Many large venues, such as airports and arenas, are starting to implement thermal scanning upon entry. Again, this is an easy way to create an atmosphere that highlights safety and caution, while also minimizing the threat of transmission during your company’s big meeting or event.

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Learn More About Celebrity Cruises Events and Incentive Travel

It’s never too early to start preparing for the upcoming year’s events. 2021 event trends indicate that with proper sanitation and social distancing protocols, companies should be able to host meetings and offer incentive travel rewards once again.

Maximize motivation and excitement within your company with the help of Celebrity Cruises. Our award-winning cruises are the ideal incentive travel reward for your company. Reward people’s performance and loyalty by treating them to a vacation with stunning accommodations, world-class cuisine, and excellent service that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Learn all about our corporate event venues at sea on our website. Our ships are the perfect destination for luxury corporate retreats, conferences, product launches, trade shows, and fundraisers.

By sailing to over 300 destinations worldwide, we offer an array of exciting destinations (both near and far) that are sure to appeal to every one of your guests.

It’s never too early to start preparing for your company’s next unforgettable event. Contact us for more information.