Meeting Planners

7 Popular Event Trends We Saw This Summer

By | Audience Engagement, Brand Experience, Engagement, Event Trends, Freeman Audio Visual Employees, Industry News, LED Technology, Lighting, Live Social Media Wall, Media Event Staging, Meeting Planners, Meeting Professionals International, News, Quotes, Room Décor, Scenic Design, Social Media, Staging, Tools & Tips

One part of the hysteria surrounding summer is the excitement that comes with its sun-soaked events – low necklines and cold drinks, dancing outside, and enjoying the hazy days of summer with friends and family.

Everything is better in the summer heat, and every year, event planners aim to make their event the talk of the season. The summer represents a great opportunity to stage an event, with it being one of the most lucrative seasons for professional event planners.

Event attendees – especially those who are accustomed to high-budget corporate events – won’t be wooed by the same gimmicks as last year. It may come as a surprise to those who aren’t in the business of planning amazing events, but there are trends that are ushered in each summer that can take an event from same-old to never-be-the-same-again.

It’s all about differentiation and making your event stand out in the minds of your guests. It’s about finding ways to bring people together, fostering connections, and making everything a bit more efficient to set-up and tear down. Here are seven summer event trends we’ve seen this summer that take events to the next level and impress guests with thoughtful ingenuity.

  1. Technology (Apps, Live Streaming, Live SM Interaction)

It’s hardly news at this point; people are plugged in. Over 90% of North Americans own smartphones and are on them for multiple hours a day. It’s the perfect opportunity to connect with guests and have them put their cell phones to good use.

Specialized event apps are amazing for large events that span a day or more, especially when multiple locations, speakers, and itineraries are involved. For a sprawling corporate event with several types of speakers and seminars, it can help to have an app developed that is specific to your event for widespread download.

Encourage your guests to live tweet and post with personalized event hashtags. Modern weddings often combine the last names of the spouses-to-be, allowing everyone who posts to look up each other’s photos and moments easily. Live streaming your event will let those who couldn’t be there feel included. It’s an extension of hospitality that will truly add a caring and trendy touch.

  1. Drone Videos

We all know someone with a drone, and they’re amazing for capturing aerial video. If your summer event is being held in a beautiful outdoor space, capture its magnificence with drone video. You’ll get a beautiful perspective you never thought you’d see, and it makes for great content in a post-event video for attendees to look back on after your event is over.

  1. Non-Traditional Spaces

Barns, warehouses, factories; don’t limit yourself to traditional event venues. Non-traditional spaces offer different pricing than conference centres or banquet halls, have enormous capacity, and have interesting interior elements. Exposed bricks, metal beams, thirty-foot ceilings – your guests will be wowed by your event as soon as they arrive.

  1. Memorable Bars

One of the best parts of any event is the food and beverage. Go the extra mile and create a memorable bar setting. Great drinks are a given, but the bar area itself is a spot where people gather, laugh a little harder, and find the courage to connect with strangers. Up your hosting game from a traditional bar to make your guests feel like they’re at a truly all-out event.

  1. Food Trends on Point

Next to the drinks is the food. If you have mediocre food, often that’s what people will remember about your event. Amazing food will have your guests on cloud nine, pleasing their inner foodies and appreciating your attention to culinary detail.

Donut walls and live cooking are two food trends that are catching on. People also appreciate plant-based, healthy options as more and more folks develop open minds to different diet preferences.

  1. Bring the Dancers

It isn’t a party until there’s dancing! Exploring entertaining with acrobatic tricks and aerial arts, it’s like having a free show alongside your gathering. Your guests will feel so much more inspired to dance when they see the professionals joyously busting out their moves.

  1. Bold Yet Classic Colours

2018 has been a year of experimentation as well as a year of returning to traditional roots, and colour and design schemes are reflecting this. The need to be modern has fallen away and classically beautiful colour combinations are proving to be classics for a reason. It’s always a good thing to give your colour scheme a slight edge, a personal touch that reflects you.

Summer Filippopoulos
Freeman Audio Visual Canada, Sales Manager

Heidi Welker Elected 2018 Board Chair for Meetings Mean Business Canada

By | Freeman, Freeman Audio Visual Employees, Meeting Planners, Press Releases

Contact:  Madeleine Bart

Toronto, ON – December 7, 2017 – Freeman Audio Visual Canada is proud to announce that Heidi Welker, Senior VP, Business Development & Industry Partnerships has been elected as 2018 Chair for Meetings Mean Business Canada (MMBC). MMBC relaunched in January 2017 to advocate on behalf of the Canadian Business Events Industry and has since grown rapidly cross-country with over 100 senior executives signing on to show support and raising over $100,000 CAD in initial funding.

“It has been a pleasure being part of the board this past year. I am honoured to have been elected as the 2018 Chair and look forward to continuing the excellent work of the 2017 Executive Team” said Welker speaking about her appointment. “We need to keep the momentum going and gain support cross-Canada for our unified voice to be heard”.

Welker brings to the role an extensive track record of leadership within the Canadian Business Events Industry. An active member of various industry associations, she has served as President for the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Canada East Chapter and was instrumental in launching the Events for Communities and Sustainability (ECOS) project with Meeting Professionals International (MPI). In addition to her involvement with MMBC, Heidi currently sits on the PCMA Board of Trustees and the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP) Advisory Council.

Alongside Welker’s appointment, the following individuals have also been elected onto the 2018 MMBC Executive Team: Clark Grue, President & CEO of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, will serve as Vice Chair, Reggie Lang, Manager, Business Development Groups, Conventions & Incentive Travel at WestJet will serve as Secretary/Treasurer and Grant Snider, CEO of Meeting Escrow Inc. will serve as Past Chair.

About Freeman Audio Visual

As part of the world’s largest brand experience organization, Freeman Audio Visual uses the power of technology to make meaningful connections with a multitude of audiences through the production of meetings, conventions, special events and trade shows. Freeman invests heavily in maintaining and growing its stable of state-of-the-art technology around the world. Freeman Audio Visual provides a full range of services to support the way audiences engage with content as the landscape continues to change.

Freeman Audio Visual has a deep, rich history of success and has received numerous awards recognizing its outstanding performance in technical, staging, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, customer service excellence and partnerships. Together with its customers and partners, Freeman Audio Visual will continue to serve clients throughout North America and the rest of the world through its growing global network. For more information, visit

About Freeman

Recognized by Advertising Age as the world’s largest brand experience company, Freeman uses the power of integrated digital and live brand experiences to move markets, connect markets, connect people, support growth and generate revenues for the world’s leading companies and associations. Freeman derives insights that help define program strategies, target key audiences, deliver meaningful messages and drive revenues and results. Through its expansive network of offices, talent and global partnerships, Freeman has the reach and access that is unmatched in the industry. A family- and employee-owned company, Freeman is known for its stability, strength, customer service mentality and its success over its 90-year history. A values-driven company with a strong and purpose-built culture, Freeman is dedicated to making meaningful connections with audiences. This is accomplished through a process of continuous innovation and improvement. Freeman produces more than 4,300 expositions annually and 11,000 other events worldwide. Freeman has been awarded multiple consecutive J. D. Power awards for its Customer Call Center. For more information, visit

Metro Toronto Convention Centre Announces Meeting Room Enhancement

By | Convention Centres, Industry News, Meeting Planners, Partner Announcement, Projection


In partnership with Freeman Audio Visual, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) now has 50 new permanently installed projectors and screens in its meeting rooms. This feature was implemented to enhance the guest experience at the Centre.

State-of-the-art Sony projectors and Da-lite screens will allow your attendees to experience high image quality in 16:9 format for a wide range of business, education, and entertainment applications. Should you choose to make arrangements to use the new screens, you will also benefit from on-site technical service from Freeman Audio Visual, ensuring smooth and hassle-free operation on the day of your event.


Check out this MTCC blog post for more information on the features and benefits of the room enhancements. For more details on the new screens, please contact your designated MTCC Event Manager or a Freeman Audio Visual Sales Representative at 416-585-8110.


Top Six Holiday Event Budgeting Tips

By | Fun & Facts, Meeting Planners, Room Décor, Tools & Tips

*La version française suit le message anglais.

The weeks leading up to the holidays can be stressful. On top of family obligations, manic mall madness, and the pile of gifts still left to be wrapped in your closet, you’ve now been tasked with coordinating your organization’s holiday party with just the right balance of thrift and thrill.

Does the pressure have you feeling less than festive? Let us check that last task off your knotty list with our Top Six Holiday Event Budgeting Tips.

1. Make a Budget & Check it Twice. First things first, determine how much you have to spend and what your event objectives are, and then allocate your funds accordingly. Be sure to document your budget and check it often to make sure you’re fulfilling the priorities you set.

2. Use Digital Party Invites. The days of paper invitations are long gone—not only are they costly for your pocketbook; they’re bad for the environment. Search online for a number of free e-vite templates.

3. Trim the Excess with an Accurate Headcount. Send invites out early, give several reminders and set a definitive RSVP date. Once you know how many people are attending, you can properly plan all other details, like venue size and meal requirements.

4. Abandon the Band & Ditch the DJ. Create a playlist of the most rockin’ holiday tunes and top 40 hits on your mobile device and connect it the sound system for free, toe-tappin’ entertainment.

5. Consider Holding Your Event in the Offseason. Delay the festivities just a few weeks, call it a New Year’s Kick Off party, and save some cash. It’s cheaper to rent space in most venues just after the holidays, in January and February.

6. Consult Your AV Partner at the Beginning of Your Planning Process. Lighting, audio, projection, video services and internet access will make a huge impact on you event experience, but if you’re not careful, they can also make a sizable impact on your wallet. Involve your technology provider in the early planning stages, be realistic about the environment you hope to achieve and the funds you have to work with, and your technologist will collaborate with you to customize an experience design based on your needs.

For a free, no-commitment consultation to customize our event services to your holiday party objectives and budget, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Les semaines avant la période des fêtes sont synonymes de stress. En plus de vos obligations familiales, du marathon de magasinage et de la pile de cadeaux que vous aurez à emballer, voici que le patron vous demande d’organiser les célébrations en trouvant le juste milieu entre bombance et bon sens.

La pression fait baisser votre envie de fêter ? Laissez-nous vous remonter le moral avec nos six astuces pour budgéter une fête de fin d’année.

1. Faites un budget et vérifiez-le deux fois. Tout d’abord, déterminez combien vous pouvez dépenser et quels sont les objectifs de l’événement, puis répartissez les sommes en conséquence. Assurez-vous de valider votre budget et d’y revenir souvent pour vérifier que vous respectez vos priorités.

2. Envoyez des invitations électroniques. Les invitations imprimées sont dépassées. Non seulement elles sont coûteuses, mais elles ne sont pas écologiques. Faites une recherche en ligne pour trouver des modèles d’invitations électroniques gratuits.

3. Évitez les débordements en faisant un décompte précis. Envoyez vos invitations tôt, faites plusieurs rappels et donnez une date limite de réservation très ferme. Lorsque vous saurez combien de personnes participeront, vous pourrez finaliser le reste, comme la grandeur de la salle et le traiteur.

4. Oubliez l’orchestre et le DJ. Créez une liste de lecture des meilleures chansons de Noël et des plus récents succès sur votre appareil mobile et branchez-le sur la chaîne audio pour faire lever la soirée.

5. Envisagez de tenir votre événement après la saison des fêtes. Retardez les festivités de quelques semaines, appelez ça une fête du Nouvel An et économisez. La location de salle sera moins chère en basse saison, en janvier ou en février.

6. Consultez votre fournisseur de technologies au début du processus. L’éclairage, le son, les services de vidéo et de projection, l’accès Internet auront beaucoup d’impact sur votre soirée, mais si vous n’êtes pas prudent, ils auront aussi un gros impact sur votre budget. En consultant votre fournisseur dès le début, vous pourrez concevoir de manière réaliste l’environnement que vous désirez tout en tenant compte des moyens dont vous disposez. Votre technologue collaborera avec vous pour adapter un concept expérientiel à vos besoins.

N’hésitez pas à nous contacter pour obtenir une consultation gratuite et sans engagement pour voir comment nos services d’événement peuvent personnaliser votre fête de fin d’année tout en respectant vos objectifs ainsi que votre budget. .

Freeman Techno Chat #eventtech for #eventprofs with The Howes Group

By | Convention Centres, Hotels, Internet Services, Meeting Planners, Technology Update
 *La version française suit le message anglais. 
Teamwork and collaboration are absolute necessities for a successful conference. One of the key players on your team is the AV provider. In the spirit of collaboration and, given the many recent exciting advances in the AV world, The Howes Group has partnered with Freeman Audio Visual on a five-part technology blog series to help meeting planners navigate the myriad of event AV details.“During the hotel contract review process, we often include AV requirements and have become familiar with the spectrum of details and issues involved,” said Brenda Howes, Founder & CEO of The Howes Group. “We compiled a list of FAQs, and the folks at Freeman were kind enough to respond and share their valuable insights.”

Check out Part 1 of The Howes Group’s new column, Techno Chat #eventtech for #eventprofs, focusing this month on determining your event’s bandwidth requirements and profile.


Le travail d’équipe et la collaboration sont des conditions sine qua non pour assurer le succès d’une conférence. Et l’un des joueurs clés dans l’équipe est le fournisseur de services audiovisuels. Dans un esprit de collaboration et en raison des nombreuses avancées spectaculaires qu’a récemment connues le monde de l’audiovisuel, The Howes Group a travaillé avec Freeman audiovisuel sur un blogue technologique en cinq temps afin d’aider les planificateurs d’événements à naviguer la mer de détails qui entoure l’audiovisuel événementiel.

« Au cours de la revue du contrat de l’hôtel, nous précisons souvent les demandes en audiovisuel et nous nous sommes familiarisés avec toute la gamme de détails et de questions que cela implique », raconte Brenda Howes, fondatrice et chef de la direction de The Howes Group. « Nous avons compilé une FAQ et les gens de Freeman ont eu la gentillesse de nous répondre et de partager leur expertise. »

Consultez la section 1 de la nouvelle rubrique de The Howes Group, Techno Chat #eventtech for #eventprofs, qui traite ce mois-ci de comment déterminer les besoins et le profil de bande passante de votre événement.

Transform Your Event With One Simple Word…

By | FreemanXP, Interesting Articles, Meeting Planners

By: Anne Houghton, VP, Experience Design,

How experience design generates meaning and real business results

Truly engaging a customer is magical. It’s transformative. It’s how you go from like to love and from “nice to have” to “must have” in the eyes of the customer. So how do you create an experience that is magical?

Start with one simple word: Why?

Why would someone attend your event? Experience design begins and ends with an intimate understanding of the attendee’s needs and expectations for the event. Make sure you know your audience inside and out. What will make them feel that they have been heard? Which of your tools and services set them up for success? What information do they already have?

These insights inform your business and event strategy. Strategy informs the message flow, and ultimately how to deliver each piece of the message along the journey. Every element of your experience (event, tradeshow booth, etc.) must ladder up to the event’s overarching message and ultimately your organization’s business objectives.

By translating business and marketing strategies into the three-dimensional elements of your event, you can intrinsically tell a story that revolves around your audience. How the actual physicality of the environment – from structures, space, and lighting to objects, color, and textures – comes together sends a message. And how the audience actually moves throughout the space does as well. The practice of experience design guides the attendee down a well-cultivated pathway and ultimately determines exactly what the audience will feel, know, and do.

And that is when the magic happens.

Learn more about experience design and event strategy. Download FreemanXP’s Insights Paper.

Ways to Creatively Engage Your Audience

By | Media Event Staging, Meeting Planners, Mobile Apps


You’re planning a large-scale event and have put so much time and energy into making it memorable. The last thing you want is for your audience to be unengaged and walk away underwhelmed and unimpressed. Thinking creatively and outside of the box is always the best way to go.Take a look at some fun ideas to create lasting event experiences.

man giving speech


Prior to the event, creating a buzz and having lots of publicity is essential. You want people to be excited to attend, and for others to see this hype, and get on board as well. Giving people an unforgettable taste of what they can expect will screens circling globehave them amped up before the scheduled date. Video mapping is a tool you can use to promote an event (or anything, for that matter) on a grand scale. Custom designs, logos and moving images can beprojected onto buildings and structures for a monumental effect that leaves a lasting impression.

Personalized Fare:

While this may not exactly be techy, personalized food and treats is always a fun, memorable method of branding your event. A new creation is the Ice Pop Generator which can create customized ice treats and lollies via a form of 3D printing– everything from a logo, a face or an image can be put onto these edible wonders! Your guests will really feel like breaking the ice with this one 😉

Customized Mobile Apps:

Integrating a mobile app into your event is kind of like giving your attendees their own personal event guides. Accessed young professionlson their personal mobile devices, mobile apps allow you to make various information—like event agendas, facility logistics, speaker profile, and much more—readily available. What’s more, you can integrate social networking to promote peer-to-peer communication.

Contact us for information on our products and services that will engage and amaze your audiences!

MPI Toronto Chapter’s ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ Gala & Fundraiser

By | Environmental Leadership, Event highlights, Meeting Planners, Meeting Professionals International

*La version française suit le message anglais.

MPI Toronto hosted a Holiday Gala Dinner & Fundraiser at the Delta Toronto hotel for 450 meeting professionals. Illustrating the event’s theme, ‘Bright Lights, Big City’, Freeman Audio Visual created a silhouette of Toronto’s skyline using custom-built framework and a central LED wall. Timed with the lighting, this live skyline transitioned from a bright sunny day to a star-filled night through the span of the evening. LED panels were also positioned behind a customized Christmas tree structure which alternated with festive décor and lit up with percentage indicators as funds were raised in support of the MPI’s chosen causes. “We would like to thank Freeman Audio Visual Canada for working with the committee to create a visual of the theme, Bright Lights Big City,” said Lee-Ann Leckie, CMP, President of MPI Toronto Chapter.


Gala-bénéfice Bright Lights, Big City de la division torontoise de MPI

La division torontoise de MPI a tenu un gala-bénéfice des fêtes à l’hôtel Delta Toronto pour 450 professionnels de l’industrie. Pour illustrer le thème de l’événement, Freeman audiovisuel Canada a érigé une imposante structure assortie d’un mur de diodes électroluminescentes (DEL) spécialement conçu pour représenter la silhouette bien connue du paysage urbain de Toronto. Au cours de la soirée, cette structure a affiché une transition d’une journée ensoleillée à une nuit étoilée. Des panneaux de DEL servaient également de toile de fond à un arbre de Noël stylisé sur lequel alternaient des décorations de saison et des indicateurs du taux de succès des collectes de fonds pour les diverses causes soutenues par MPI. « Nous aimerions remercier Freeman audiovisuel Canada pour l’aide apportée à son comité pour la création du thème visuel de Bright Lights Big City » déclare Lee-Anne Leckie, CMP, présidente de la division torontoise de MPI.