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What Event Industry Advancements Are You Most Thankful For?
David Adler -- BizBash.com -- Party Planning Experts David Adler -- BizBash.com -- Party Planning Experts
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Tuesday, November 21, 2023

It's easy to get bogged down by the negative—timelines that are too short, budgets that are too small, world events that are too upsetting. So this Thanksgiving season, we wanted to inject some positivity by asking event professionals what industry advancements they're most thankful for right now. Their answers offer a glimpse into current and future trends, including sustainability, accessibility, and cutting-edge technology; check out 14 of our favorite responses, below. 
Jennifer Best, vice president of marketing, AAE Speakers Bureau, Durham, N.C.
"What I'm most thankful for is that we've expanded what belonging means at our events to go beyond our visible differences (like race, age, and gender) and into those that are not as visible: neurodiversity and accessibility. It's exciting to see so many innovative and creative ways to bring events to everyone, and vice versa." 
Lauren Austin, chief creative officer, MKG, New York City
"While I'm still slightly scared of it, I'm thankful for generative AI, as it's really helped us with effective and efficient visual communication in our client work this year. We're excited to see the technology develop and see all the new ways we can integrate it into our operations and processes."
Katie Sacco, event marketing consultant, Sacco Consulting, San Francisco
"The end of buying thousands upon thousands of plastic water bottles at every event—not only because of the environmental impact, but also seeing half-drunk bottles strewn across the show floors.."
Elizabeth Giron, director of business development, Terramar DMC, Scottsdale, Ariz.
"I am most thankful for technology! I remember a time I used to cart around huge portfolios with large photos, and now I can use hi-def pics and video to showcase designs. But with every great invention, there is also a feeling of loss, like sending emails or texts instead of picking up the phone and having a real conversation. But today I had a call with a client in Germany, and while we were not in person to give each other a hug, Zoom felt pretty close—especially when her 6-year-old popped in the picture to say hi!"
Jessica Foster, managing director, BMF, New York City
"I am most thankful for file-sharing software. The ability to collaborate, edit, and approve documents in real time with our internal team and clients has streamlined our workflow exponentially."
Donna Collins, sustainability champion, Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, Chicago
"I'm thankful for Marley Finnegan and [her company] Purpose Sustainability Strategy, who has provided invaluable guidance to M&IW as we spearhead our sustainability strategies. She takes the language of sustainability and breaks it down into easy-to-understand terms and actionable items that can be put into place immediately. Her knowledge elevated M&IW’s expertise to our position as the industry leader in sustainable responsibility for events. We utilize the Purpose Net Zero calculator to measure the emissions of the travel aspect of events for our clients."
Jordan Kaye, founder and CEO, Analog Events & Marketing, Los Angeles
"The increased demand for creative skills in our field is truly exciting. We are witnessing a heightened need for innovative and engaging event experiences, creating abundant opportunities for freelancers and professionals with expertise in design, content creation, and multimedia production. This shift toward embracing creativity is revitalizing our industry.
Additionally, I am immensely grateful for the advancements in digital communication, which have revolutionized how we network and collaborate. These technological strides have enabled freelancers and remote employees to connect and collaborate more efficiently, leveraging online platforms to foster valuable connections, leading to new projects and partnerships.
Lastly, I am thankful for the shift toward more project-based work. This evolution has empowered freelancers and entrepreneurial-minded individuals, granting them greater autonomy and the ability to manage diverse projects, flexibly schedule their work, and build their own brands. These changes are not merely trends; they represent a fundamental and positive transformation of our industry, creating a more dynamic, inclusive, and opportunity-rich environment for everyone involved in the world of events."
Chris Tardiff, executive director, Hit Play, Los Angeles
"I appreciate the embrace of hybrid meetings, where the incorporation of streaming—once an afterthought—has evolved into a successful and efficient means of amplifying our clients’ messages to a broader audience." 
Meredith Flanagan, workplace experience manager, Gensler, Washington, D.C.
"I’m most thankful for our industry’s enthusiasm to embrace what makes us each unique, ensuring that all feel welcomed and seen. Event professionals are going all in to elevate industry meetings and events in new and profound ways to foster inclusion, accessibility, and a sense of belonging."
David Grass, senior director of client strategy, Wilson Dow Group, Chicago
"In our journey to redefine event experiences, there is a new beginning point to experience design: persona data. More specifically, understanding and validating attendee expectations, desires, and their view of event success as related to client KPIs. AI has emerged as a pivotal ally. By crafting intelligent, adaptive, real-time journey designs, AI enables us to 'actualize intention' and transform events into the emotional feeling of a personalized journey at the intersection of the physical and virtual world." 
Kelly Truitt, director of sales, Terramar DMC, San Diego
"Unlike a lot of people, I love that we now have video calls/meetings with clients and partners. Pre-COVID, so much was on the phone or waited till in-person meetings—but now we get to build a relationship with the client so much sooner."
Jeff Kaplan, experiential marketing executive, Washington, D.C.
"As customization and personalization have become the norm—and almost the expectation—the advancements for live screen printing, embroidery, heat press, etc., have really taken event merchandise/swag to a new level. Additionally, it provides the attendee with a more meaningful memory of their experience."
Laurel Wilke, global events director, Quantiphi, Huntington Beach, Calif.
"This holiday season, I'm thankful for the notable progress and elevated significance of immersive experiential marketing, coupled with a substantial augmentation in ROI within the domain of event programming. At Quantiphi, we are witnessing a restoration to pre-pandemic levels of engagement, and the impact is promising. Much of this is owed to our authentic strategic partnerships, which have proven instrumental in navigating the challenges our industry has faced over the past few tumultuous years." 
Al Mercuro, senior account director, Genesis Exhibits, New York City
"What I am thankful for first in our industry is that we are almost back to pre-COVID levels. However, I am also thankful for the renewed effort to get the live event industry back to planning for and producing events more sustainably. I am very proud of the growth of Members United for Sustainable Events (MUSE), which was founded by Michele Fox; I have been involved as an adviser, and see the increased number of vendors that are now offering sustainable solutions.
But most of all, I am thankful for the work of the sustainability committee of the Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), which I am on. I had proposed in January that all exhibits be built with set sustainability standards by the year 2035. It passed, and we have been working tirelessly since then on these standards to be presented at the EDPA ACCESS 2023 on Nov. 28 in Florida. I am very thankful for the work of the entire committee on this—and very thankful we are not just talking, but taking action to do our part to save the planet."
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Name: David Adler
Group: BizBash, Inc.
Dateline: New York, NY United States
Direct Phone: 646.638.3600
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