Event trends across the decades

Last Modified: October 5, 2023 | Posted by: toast

Building on our experience over three decades, Apex has grown to become one of the UK’s leading event and exhibition agencies. So, there’s very little we haven’t seen when it comes to the wonderful world of corporate events! And, while it’s important to keep looking forward to predict what will become THE NEXT BIG THING, from time to time it’s also worth taking a quick look back at those event trends that were once the talk of our industry.

Go big or go home

While the phrase was coined in the 1990s, the ‘Go Big’ philosophy sums up the previous decade. Prompted by the western economic boom, in the 1980s people loved excess. Shoulder pads were big. Hair was big. And, for many companies, budgets were even bigger.
Although the food was tiny.

Corporate events were lavish affairs. Think gold decor and lots of free champagne. Showing wealth was seen to demonstrate power (or you could say greed was good)!

Fast forward to today, and diminishing budgets and the need to prove ROI means that spending for the sake of it is no longer an option. Instead, businesses must measure the success of every single event.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do something that little bit different to add sparkle. At Apex we’ve helped people to dine under Concorde. We’ve built circus rings, entire fairgrounds, ice rinks and even the city of New York, inside hotels, marquees, and hangars. We’ve even taken delegates into space (without leaving the ground). But when you compare today’s events to those of thirty years ago, the biggest difference is that we make sure everything we do ties back to your business objectives.


Star power

Another key trend of yesteryear was to incorporate celebrities into events. Because nothing added wow-factor quite like a big named star. Today, people with big pockets are still paying eye-watering fees to attract some of the biggest A-listers around. In fact, in 2010 Christina Aguilera earned a million dollars for a one-hour performance at a private party – that’s staggering $16,666 per minute!

But you don’t have to break the bank to add some star quality to your next event. Where maximum impact is needed, we have relationships with some of the biggest names and celebrities in the business; wowing your guests and adding kudos to your event.



– Celebrities like, Gary Lineker, David Walliams, Ben Shephard and others at Elior Awards organised by Apex:


Moreover, while celebrity names are all well and good, booking the wrong speaker – however famous – can be a costly mistake. Instead, we can help find the right speaker for you. Someone who can add real value to your event – and to your business.

Hot feet

In the 80s and 90s, there was a shift in workplace culture as more and more organisation started to understand the value of teamwork. As a result, a flood of consulting firms popped up to capitalise on the demand for team building activities.

However, those early activities (walking on hot stones anyone?) did attract a fair bit of criticism; mainly because they were often competitive rather than real team building exercises. And, for the most part, any benefit gained was short-term and easily lost when back in the workplace.

Today, event planners realise that teambuilding has more in-depth objectives to achieve. It needs to encompass psychology, training, and inspiration, as well as shared experiences. So, for organisations looking to invest wisely to ensure a successful teambuilding event, a defined purpose with clear outcomes is essential.

What event trends do you remember (or wish you could forget)? Share them with us on Twitter and Facebook!

At Apex, we understand the immense effort that goes into preparing for events, and we work with you to help reach your goals and achieve a truly positive experience. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help boost attendance and make your events a success, contact us today to find out more or give us a call today on + 44 (0)1625 429370 to discuss your requirements in more depth.