As an event producer in Los Angeles, where the competition is beyond fierce, we must stay on top of the trends or we’d lose our competitive edge. However, trends don’t normally come from the celebrity and showbiz events we organize. Most of the cutting-edge creative ideas that are making their way into the special events industry are born elsewhere, where money allows experimentation.

I pay close attention to what is happening in Hollywood movies, live theatre and interior design.


Both the movie business and interior design industry have large budget spends, so out of the box thinking is encouraged and promoted. Most of the special effects, lighting tricks, curtain and drapery designs used in our events were born from live theater and the movies in Hollywood. It’s from these ideas that creative trends trickle into, not only the “celebrity events”, but also corporate and then social events. A lot of event layout and design comes from the Interior Design industry before making their way to a practical application in our world.

The mantra of AOOEvents is to stay on top of all creativity and trends happening within the special events business. I speak about it all over the world and it is the major “value proposition” that I bring to my clients. While I’m away on speaking assignments, I am constantly in research, and I have a team that keeps all new content flowing into our consciousness all the time. 

Emerging Trends
I will give you a couple of broad strokes trends that we see emerging at the moment.


From the world of technology, augmented reality and virtual reality are finally finding more practical applications. Simple things like and augmented reality tape measures, that you can easily download on your phone, is a simple example. How many times have we gone to a site inspection and forgotten to take a tape measure or laser pointer?  Now you have the solution through augmented reality technology on your phone.

On a broader scale, I believe that virtual and augmented reality will be the future of how we present our designs and concepts to our clients and potential clients. There is a company called AllSeated which, through 3D design programmes and floor plans for events, is now beginning to introduce Virtual Reality as a sales tools. Imagine being able to send a set of goggles to your client that enable them to experience being in the event space you are proposing.

Surely this is the way sales will be driven in the future world!

Food & Drink

In food and beverage, it’s now about immersive experiences. It is no longer so much about the food or beverages that are being served, it is the display or theatre that is created in how they are delivered to the guests – we’re using food and beverage to create experiences around guests. This can be as subtle as adding a sushi conveyor platform to deliver fresh sushi or creating an instagrammable-moment with the delivery of gourmet donuts hanging from umbrellas.

Another way to create an experience is to bring a local sommelier or beer maestro to produce “edutainment” around those items.


There isn’t much of a difference in how you design and organize the logistics for a celebrity event during the Oscars or a corporate event, it is all driven by the budget, the message and the extent a brand wants to extend itself.

The biggest difference seems to be with event security. Undoubtedly, more attention is now given to many aspects of security. Yet, while the violence of the world, especially the increase we have seen just in the US alone, has become a concern, it can also be an opportunity for the special events and hospitality industry to enroll in conversations around event security. It isn’t just about more expedient and less obtrusive screen checks, but just as much about social media strategy and guest list generation which play a big role in controlling and keeping events safe.

Politics (staying away from)
I make it a policy for my company to remain uninvolved in any events that are perceived as having a political agenda. You can isolate half of your clients and fans based on who you are performing for, so in the current political environment many production companies, entertainment companies and especially entertainers themselves avoid doing anything that is political.

The same practice that I follow with my family is the practice we follow in business. . . avoid anything confrontational. . . and political, the world of events is the absolute definition of that.

David E Merrell and AOO EVENTS
AOO Events is a multi-faceted creative company, specialising in event design and show production.  Since its inception in 1989, CEO & Creative Director, David E. Merrell, has taken the event industry by storm, creating a business synonymous with cutting-edge and innovative event design and production concepts.


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