Event Planning 2024: Exciting Trends for Unforgettable Experiences

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As we put a bow on 2023 let’s take a look back on the trends and surprises in the planning industry – AI and mobile technologies are two that stand out the most. Who would have thought AI would be such a buzz word for the planning industry, but it really did revolutionize personalization and take a strong hold on marketing concepts. Mobile technology has brought attendees together and created platforms of communication that connected people during, pre and post events. Let’s not fail to mention the convenience of agendas, maps and off site options right at your fingertips. If you were at a conference or convention in 2023 you now know there is an app for that! From where I stand there are no brakes on those two technologies, and we will be seeing how they evolve for us this year.

Reviewing those moments begs the question; what else is in store? As we enter 2024 and all the wonderful functions we are planning, it is exciting to know what attendees are valuing and how they want to spend their time away from home. Here is our planning watch list:

Drive To Destinations

They are easy on the budget and the traveler. Somewhere that is only a few hours away ensures attendees’ logistics are simple, it removes the drama of air travel and takes a lot of stress out of the trip. Our favorite part, they are better for expense reports. Less out of your travel budget means more opportunity to enrich your program with food and beverage experiences, add on events like team bonding, or off-site adventures.

Health Conscious

More often we hear people want healthy food options and wellness movement additions like yoga or kayaking in their meeting programs. Building in a lifestyle aspect of great food and some fun mocktails embraces the person your attendee is outside of work and gives them the ability to be comfortable in the event and travel environment.  This also bodes well for the caliber of your company as you have included their wellbeing in the footprint. Health is dominating conversations and decision making in our culture right now, plus it’s a fun way to take your event to the next level.

Local Experiences

Travel is about connection and experiencing an authentic area for what it is. Finding unique options celebrates the local community, while also immersing your team in the full experience of a destination. This can be as simple as a menu of regional food and beverages, or activities that celebrate the locals’ pastimes – for example, in Ocean City this would be boating, fishing, hiking, and just in general taking in the natural beauty that surrounds the area. Hidden gems are what gives communities personality and keeps your attendees captivated.

Human Connection

Covid was terrible because we missed each other! Bringing the gang back together and hosting off-site events is one of the many pleasures we didn’t know we were taking for granted before the pandemic. And it’s pretty obvious to us that people are thrilled to be back at it again. We say fully embrace it, ditch the virtual as much as you can and get people connecting face to face at your events. Receptions, ice breakers, activities that make you move around and have a physical component brings so many elements together. This provides ample time to learn from one another, which is of course, why you have an in person event to begin with. If you could gain understanding and empathy for your team members through an email, you wouldn’t be hosting the event.

So, will technology continue to elevate us and rein supreme in the world of trends? Absolutely, but so will slowing it down, really honing in company culture, leaning into wellbeing initiatives, and embracing work life balance for team members.

We are looking forward to seeing all the wonderful progress we make in hospitality and events in 2024!

Upcoming Events

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8th Annual Ocean City Film Festival

Mar 7, 2024 - Mar 10, 2024

Watch 100+ independent films from all over the world. Featuring in-person screenings in local theaters and special events all weekend long.

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Anime Ocean City

Apr 27, 2024 - Apr 28, 2024

Anime lovers rejoice, Ocean City's newest annual event returns in April!

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Springfest

May 4, 2024 - May 7, 2024

Celebrate Spring and the upcoming Summer season at Springfest's 33rd Anniversary!

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Jay Leno Live at the Performing Arts Center

May 16, 2024

Jay Leno performs live at the Ocean City Convention Center on May 16th, 2024!

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33rd Annual Cruisin’ Ocean City

May 16, 2024 - May 19, 2024

A 20+ year car show that will feature over 3,000 Hot Rods, Customs, Classics, and Trucks participating in events at the OC Convention Center, Inlet Parking Lot, and various car shows throughout town.

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Ocean City Grand Prix 2024

Jun 7, 2024 - Jun 9, 2024

High speed boat racing along the Ocean City coast!

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Ocean City Jeep Week

Aug 22, 2024 - Aug 25, 2024

The biggest, most popular Jeep event in the mid-Atlantic returns to the Ocean City beaches on August 22nd!

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Ocean City Air Show 2024

Aug 24, 2024 - Aug 25, 2024

The Ocean City Air Show returns in August!

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Ocean’s Calling Music Festival

Sep 27, 2024 - Sep 29, 2024

A three day festival in partnership with musicians O.A.R. featuring over 30 performances on 3 stages, all on the classic Ocean City Boardwalk.

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Endless Summer Cruisin’

Oct 10, 2024 - Oct 13, 2024

If you miss Cruisin' OC in May, you get another chance to see more hot rod action in October!

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