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Top eventing trends for 2017: Smart tech, fabulous food, controlled costs and a return to nature

Flint & Tinder Events, a boutique events company based in Johannesburg, has partnered with some of its key suppliers to develop a 2017 trends report for the eventing industry. The release of the trends report coincides with the companies’ first anniversary, celebrating the success of inspired product launches and events for their portfolio of blue-chip clients.

“It was imperative for us to develop a trend report for the industry because our clients trust us to create an experience that is memorable for all the right reasons, and keeping a finger on the pulse of current local and international trends gives us the ability to create on-trend productions that meet our clients’ ambitions and objectives,” says Nicole Reitz-Chidrawi, co-founder of Flint & Tinder Events.

Flint & Tinder Events completed the research in partnership with its suppliers, including Unicord, The Production Works, EPH Productions, Chillfunk Sound and Audio & CME Décor.

The key findings across event elements like venue hire, décor, photography, content and theme highlighted four overarching trends: Technology is making inroads into the eventing industry well beyond the bling and lights of the DJ booth, food will always be under focus, event hosts are continually looking for ways to get more value out of their limited budget, and the environment is a bigger influence than before.

Top tech trends

Technology developments promise to offer the most revolutionary elements to the eventing industry during 2017 by simplifying event co-ordination, enriching guests’ experience, and simplifying payment solutions for events where commerce is part of the experience.

Eventing apps for mobile devices are making planning and organisation quicker, easier and more interactive, before, during and after an event. Guests can respond to an invitation via an app, and engage with organisers at every stage of proceedings, getting the information they need and providing instant feedback. The apps are customisable and secure, and use condensed information so are light on data consumption.

iBeacons are low-powered transmitters that identify mobile phones nearby, and send and receive information. These could be used to stimulate the networking part of an event, for example, or to share information with guests without having to print expensive (and wasteful) information pamphlets.

The digital swag bag is on the rise, with guests at an event having digital vouchers for gifts sent to their mobile device, rather than being handed a bag full of goodies – many of which they don’t ever use. A digital swag bag saves time and money, because no packaging or packing is required, and product wastage and negative impacts on the environment are dramatically reduced too.

Exhibitions and concerts often include a retail environment, and offering a closed loop payment system via a payment card, smartphone or wristband makes payments quick and secure, avoiding the risks of shrinkage and theft associated with time-consuming cash payments.

Perhaps one of the most exciting technology trends entering the eventing space is virtual reality, with well-executed VR content able to offer guests an almost-first-hand experience of a product or destination, avoiding the costs or logistics often associated with a real-life encounter.

Food is not so fast

Guests’ food experience can make or break an event, and smart event planners are growing their focus on offering healthy food from sustainable or artisanal sources. Craft beers and meals from food trucks are popular because guests can engage face to face with the person making their meal, learning more about where the food is sourced and how it is prepared, at source.

Food labelling is increasingly on trend and in demand giving guests the nutrition information that they need to manage their calorie intake, make conscious food choices, or avoid food allergies that may not be obvious at face value.

The focus on food ethics is also seeing veganism grow in popularity, and chefs are embracing the challenge to create tasty, exciting dishes that are just as flavourful and exciting as any other on the menu

Keep control of costs

While myriad events take place every day, Flint & Tinder Events research highlighted that budgets are not as abundant as they were, and many businesses are choosing to ‘double up’ on events to save costs. Businesses are seeking to achieve more than one objective from an event, often scheduling an evening awards event to follow a day-time conference for the same guests at the same venue.

Event organisers have more tools at their fingertips to keep control of their costs too – hunting for a venue no longer entails days of driving around to view potential candidates as the various websites such as Amazing Spaces and Venueseeker have made venue-hunting and building budgets into a less time-consuming and expensive task than it used to be.

Back to natural elements

Nature and sustainability are top of mind among event planners and venues, with many of the latter creating spaces in a neutral or natural palette of colours that requires little change (or budget) to customise them for events.

Décor suppliers are increasingly looking to Mother Nature for their inspiration, with combinations of simple white flowers, woven cane décor and floral fabrics contrasted with monochrome elements being particularly popular at present.

Real plants are making a huge comeback in preference over cut flowers, and are beautifully juxtaposed against industrial design and geometry, with raw brick walls, tin roofs and converted steel sheds providing the hard backdrop for softer and more natural elements.

“Every event is a complex collaboration of several specialists, from food and beverage to sound, production, and décor,” says Samantha Ferguson, co-founder of Flint & Tinder Events. “Working with suppliers who keep up with and set trends in the local market means that we can offer our clients access to a support team that really is on top of their game.”

Keeping its finger on the pulse of eventing trends in South Africa and abroad has seen Flint & Tinder Events create memorable events and experiences for a wide range of South African brands and businesses.

About Flint & Tinder

Flint & Tinder is a boutique events company that provides personal attention to each of its clients and suppliers. Founded by Nicole Reitz-Chidrawi and Samantha Ferguson, the team has extensive experience in creating, producing and managing events of all sizes, across South Africa.

For more information visit or contact Nicole on 084 850 4935 or Samantha on 082 906 0853.