07 Nov Mobile and Experiential Event Outlook
As we get to the end of the year, many of our clients are in 2020 and beyond planning mode. Looking at what is new and different in the industry, staying ahead of trends, looking for new products and services that are available and just how to do things a bit differently. We suggest that all of our clients take that bigger picture view, to step back from the laser focus of their specific event plans and really look at what is happening in the industry as a whole.
I had the pleasure of having this exact conversation recently with one of our long term partners, Bill Kurinsky of CGS Premier. They handle much of our fabrication for mobile tours, experiential builds, and vehicle sourcing at Decibel Event Management, and are one of our longest vendor-partners. When they talk about industry trends, we listen.
The first insight that we have both noticed over the last 24 months is in the tour format itself. We have noticed a move away from traditional touring. Brands are not spending against longer-format marketing tours. It looks like this has been replaced with shorter term/single location activations. We are seeing 1-3 day activations take the lead for a lot of brands that used to have longer programs.
These brands are going for higher dollar spends on build out to maximize their footprint- so instead of keeping a truck on the road for weeks or months, the budget is compressed for a larger presence at a festival or sponsored event.
We are also seeing larger footprint requests, and builds that can roll up in a trailer, but not “look” like a trailer. The refinement is important and finished product is becoming more important as social and photography continue to grow in importance and influence.
It also looks like many of the brands want their target consumers to interact with the brand, and to have a great experience, feel great interacting in the space, and to have that connection. From where we sit we see it less transactional (gathering emails for lists, etc) and providing that experience. Now the social and digital connections may happen on the front end (to get into the vip experience, or to get on the list), but it seems that this exchange is migrating so its not necessarily a barrier to entry. It’s more a push to provide an experience the guest WANTS to share, rather than a pull to extract their info.
This is the space where Decibel Event Management loves to execute. We are seeing a move to more structures and refined spaces at these events. Brands have done the rental tents, they have done the food trucks and mobile trailers, they have done the fold down stages, and we are seeing saturation with the containers- it’s been done. We are looking at multi-level enclosed and branded extrusion structures move to the forefront of the activation space.
Currently, these can usually be done with about a 2-day setup in ideal conditions and the right ground prep. In the next 6 months, look to some new construction methods to be able to get these built within 24 hours. The next goal is to travel this with a trailer that unfolds for the floor and the extrusion above. That will also streamline permits as this would be a truck/trailer rather than full building construction as well.
In terms of costs, these start solidly in the $350k+ range for a short term rental based on options. It is definitely a budget line item, but is a great statement piece for any event. Smaller box options and open air options are a much lower price point and accessible for brands that need a smaller footprint. Photos are from the install and event from a recent CGS event build.
While these structures seem to be the way some of the trendsetting brands are going, there are still a lot of requests for more traditional builds like Airstreams and other style vehicles. They are coming with additional and more intricate fabrication requests and quicker turn times every season.
It also seems that fabrication and build complexity is going up. More connectivity, more software and hardware integration and customization, and with that more power needs. That is always something to consider- there always seems to be a larger power need at the end of a project than what is spec’d at the beginning, so something to consider.
One last thought- a few years back both Decibel Event Management and CGS Premier were involved with the DoubleTree By Hilton team on their mobile activations. This week, they took their chocolate chip cookie to space. It’s so incredible to see where on earth (and outside of earth) they have taken the project! Turns out, it will be the first food baked in space.
With that, good luck on your 2020 activations, and reach out if you have questions or need support!