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


By | Awards, News, PCMA

*La version française suit le message anglais.


General Manager, Freeman Audio Visual Toronto, Dianne King, (left), Vice President Marketing,Freeman Audio Visual, Heidi Welker (middle) and Jay Lanchbury, Director of Sales, Freeman Audio Visual Toronto (right) accepting the Canadian Event Industry Star Award for Most Innovative Use of Event Technology

Freeman Audio Visual Canada is proud to announce that it has won the Canadian Event Industry Star Award in the category of Most Innovative Use of Event Technology for production of the 2014 Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Canadian Innovation Conference (CIC).

Planned for Canadians by Canadians, the second annual PCMA CIC was a three-day educational event designed to stimulate and motivate event professionals to think outside of industry norms and create innovative event experiences for their own organizations. Using technology to drive an experiential learning experience, basic set pieces were coupled with inexpensive lighting and projection equipment, enhanced with a creative concept, and then heightened by state of the art technology, to fulfill the 2014 CIC’s objective: Empower by Innovation.

“Our board of directors’ vision was to get our delegates outside their comfort zone and excited about their untapped options for innovation and inspiration,” said Heidi Welker, Freeman Audio Visual Canada Vice President Marketing, PCMA Canada East Chapter Past President, and CIC Conference Co-Chair. “This award validates our efforts to assure that attendees left the conference with new ideas about developing fresh revenue streams, being more creative in their thinking processes and collaborating with others.”




Dianne King, directrice générale, Freeman audiovisuel Toronto (à gauche), Heidi Welker, vice-présidente marketing Freeman audiovisuel Toronto (au centre) et Jay Lanchbury, directeur des ventes, Freeman audiovisuel Toronto (à droite) acceptant le Prix « Canadian Event Industry Star » dans la catégorie « Meilleur emploi novateur de la technologie d’évènement »

Freeman audiovisuel est fière d’annoncer que le prix Canadian Event Industry Star lui a été attribué pour le Meilleur emploi novateur de la technologie d’évènement dans le cadre de la production de la Canadian Innovation Conference 2014 pour la Professional Convention Management Association (CIC) (PCMA).

Organisée par des Canadiens pour les Canadiens, la CIC, second évènement annuel à caractère pédagogique de la PCMA, se déroulait sur trois jours. La réunion fut conçue pour stimuler les professionnels du milieu évènementiel et les motiver à sortir des normes afin de créer des expériences novatrices pour ensuite les appliquer à leur propre entreprise. La technologie a été mise au premier plan pour atteindre l’objectif 2014 de la CIC qui était « Empower by Innovation ». Pour stimuler l’expérience d’apprentissage, des pièces scéniques de bases furent parées de projecteurs et d’éclairage simple et rehaussées d’un concept créatif mis en valeur par une technologie de pointe.

« Notre comité administratif voulait stimuler l’enthousiasme pour toutes les ressources d’innovation et d’inspiration inexploitées en sortant les délégués de leur zone de confort », explique Heidi Welker, vice-présidente marketing chez Freeman audiovisuel Canada, présidente sortante division de l’Est de PCMA Canada, ainsi que la vice-présidente de la CIC. « Ce prix démontre que nous avons atteint notre but et que les participants sont repartis avec des idées nouvelles pour générer de nouveaux revenus, pour développer la collaboration et pour encourager la pensée créative. »

Freeman Audio Visual Vancouver Wins Consumer Choice Award for AV Services for Second Consecutive Year

By | Awards, News, Press Releases

*La version française suit le message anglais.


Freeman Audio Visual Vancouver General Manager Michael Dosch accepts Consumer Choice Award

Freeman Audio Visual Vancouver General Manager Michael Dosch accepts Consumer Choice Award

Freeman Audio Visual Canada is proud to announce that it has been selected by Vancouver consumers and business community as the 2015 Consumer Choice Award (CCA) winner in the category of Audio Visual Services for the second year in a row. CCA was established in 1987 and is considered the most distinguished award for business excellence in Canada.

Through an independent market-research survey, consumers and businesses in the Vancouver community voted Freeman Audio Visual as the top-ranked organization in its industry, without the influence of industry insiders, advocate groups or unethical business practices.

“This is truly a testament to the hard work and outstanding service they have continued to provide over the past year,” said Marcel Sbrollini, President, CCA. “They are once again a part of a very select group of business owners and entrepreneurs recognized by the people of Vancouver for their business excellence over multiple years.”

“The Vancouver team prides itself on providing the best service possible to our esteemed clients,” said Michael Dosch, General Manager, Freeman Audio Visual Vancouver. “To win the CCA for the second consecutive year is especially thrilling, as we sincerely appreciate being recognized by our community in such a positive way.”


Freeman Audio Visual Vancouver General Manager Michael Dosch accepts Consumer Choice Award

Le Directeur général de Freeman audiovisuel Vancouver, Michael Dosch, accepte le Prix du Choix du Consommateur

Freeman audiovisuel Vancouver gagne le Prix du Choix des consommateurs pour ses services audiovisuels pour une deuxième année consécutive

Freeman audiovisuel Canada est fière d’annoncer que les consommateurs ainsi que la communauté d’affaire de Vancouver lui ont attribué le Prix Choix du consommateur 2015 (CCA) dans la catégorie des services audiovisuels pour une deuxième année consécutive. Le CCA fut établi en 1987 et est considéré comme étant le prix le plus émérite d’excellence en affaires au Canada.

Au moyen d’une étude de marché indépendante, les consommateurs et les entreprises de la région de Vancouver ont nommé Freeman audiovisuel comme étant la meilleure organisation de son industrie, et ceci, sans l’influence d’intervenants du secteur, de groupes de défense d’intérêts ni de pratiques d’affaires contraires à l’éthique.

«Il s’agit d’une véritable attestation pour tout le travail et le service impeccable que vous avez continué de fournir l’an dernier » mentionne Marcel Sbrollini, Président, CCA. « Une fois de plus, vous faites partie d’un groupe prestigieux de propriétaires d’entreprises et d’entrepreneurs reconnus sur plusieurs années par les gens de Vancouver pour votre excellence en affaires. »

« L’équipe de Vancouver est vraiment fière de fournir un service sans compromis à notre clientèle, » déclare Michael Dosch, directeur générale de Freeman audiovisuel à Vancouver. « De gagner le CCA pour une seconde année consécutive est particulièrement palpitant, et nous apprécions grandement que notre communauté nous attribue une reconnaissance si positive. »

« C’est tellement gratifiant de voir que tous les efforts de l’équipe de la succursale d’Ottawa sont reconnus de manière si significative par la communauté qu’ils desservent. »



Toronto convention industry surging again, tourism board says

By | Canada, Industry News, News, Tourism

Source: Toronto Star

Stronger world economy and a vibrant downtown contributed to spike in hotel bookings for meetings and conventions in 2014, says Tourism Toronto.

Delta Toronto Hotel. Photographer David Cooper / Toronto Star file photo

The end of the Great Recession and generous words from Vogue magazine are among the reasons that Toronto’s convention industry is booming again, after a swoon brought on by tough economic times, the city’s tourism agency says.

Almost half a million people booked a meeting or convention visit to Toronto in 2014, good for over 600,000 hotel room nights — the first time the city has cracked that threshold.

A resurgent world economy, top-flight hotels, and an increasingly vibrant downtown have all contributed to the convention sector’s growth, said Tourism Toronto spokesman Andrew Weir.

“As Toronto’s reputation and cachet grows — when you have Vogue magazine talking about Queen W. as one of the hippest neighbourhoods in the world — it increases the desirability of that destination,” Weir said.

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6 Ways Virtual Reality is Changing the World

By | News

oculus riftIf you thought Facebook’s recent $2 billion acquisition of Oculus Rift (a company that creates virtual reality headsets) seemed like a bizarre move, think again. While Oculus Rift originally developed their headsets for the purpose of gaming, people are starting to see the potential of immersive technology for so much more.

Of course, Facebook isn’t alone in its virtual vision of the future. Google released its much-hyped Google Glass this year, allowing users to make their smartphone an extension of their vision. Sony is also investing in virtual reality technology with the development Sony Morpheus—a slick looking competitor to the Oculus Rift.

So what exactly are the applications that these tech giants see in this technology? The following are 6 ways virtual reality is changing the world.


Let’s start with the obvious one: gaming. Virtual reality obviously has the potential to provide a pretty amazing gaming experience beyond what we get from those oh-so-addictive Wii Sports games. Forget controlling a soldier creeping into battle in Call of Duty—virtual reality allows you to be the soldier. And we’re not just talking about seeing through the eyes of your character; accessory technologies like multi-directional treadmills even allow you to run around (without going headfirst into your drywall). Accessories like gloves and vests could make the experience even more life-like by allowing you to feel what your character feels.

If you’re of the mindset that games in this format would simply be nausea-inducing, it doesn’t look like that will be the case. Early game testers of Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus seem to have positive outlooks and note that you can’t bash the technology until you try it. You really have to see it to believe it.

^Military Training

Aside from giving teenagers the rush of getting caught in the crossfire of virtual enemy troops, there are some very real military applications for virtual reality. The American military is already working with virtual reality for some of their training. Before virtual reality, combat situations were simply too difficult—or even dangerous—to recreate with accuracy. New technology like the Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS) uses virtual reality headsets to better prepare soldiers for real combat through simulated situations. Since soldiers are often trained far from the place of combat, the technology also allows different terrain to be simulated. By better preparing soldiers, this technology could literally save lives.

Mental Health

Virtual reality has the potential to provide a wide range of therapeutic benefits to those with mental health issues. One interesting application is the treatment of what is known as phantom pain suffered by those who have lost limbs. Many amputee victims experience this phenomenon, which causes them to feel pain radiating from a body part that is no longer there. By allowing phantom pain sufferers to visualize themselves using their lost limb, virtual reality treatment has been shown to provide relief in an engaging way.


Okay, here’s a weird one: virtual reality has even been proposed to improve the lives of farm animals. A project from Iowa State University professor Austin Stewart looked at the idea of using virtual reality goggles on chickens. By projecting images of green pastures to chickens, they would have the perception that they’re free-range, even if in reality they’re restricted to an indoor pen. As ridiculous as this sounds (and looks) it’s so crazy that it just might work. Forget the chickens though—we could use this at the office!

Medical Training

Here’s something you never want to hear your surgeon say: I’ve never done this one before! As with military training, there are some things a medical student simply cannot learn without being placed in a real environment. As everyone knows, practice makes perfect, and with virtual reality, simulations can be developed to train surgeons for complex surgery before performing on a live patient where the stakes are high.


With the advancement of audio-visual technology, even events are taking inspiration from virtual reality. Multi display technology allows event organizers to dazzle their guests with impactful presentations that take them on a journey.

Freeman Audio Visual’s own ImaginAction technology uses wide, multi-screen displays to encompass the peripheral vision of audiences and immerse them in presentations. Rich, extreme-resolution images add to the impact and sense of interactivity.

If you’re as fascinated by immersive technology as we are, why not use it at your next event? Contact us today to discuss how Freeman Audio Visual can make ImaginAction work for you!

Brent Beatty Appointed Director of Sales for Freeman Audio Visual Ottawa

By | Freeman Audio Visual Employees, Industry News, News

Brent Beatty*La version française suit le message anglais.

Steven Bury, Vice President of Sales, Freeman Audio Visual Canada, is pleased to announce the appointment of Brent Beatty to Director of Sales for the company’s Ottawa branch, one of our largest and most successful operations.

“Brent Beatty is already familiar to many of our customers, especially in the national association sector,” said Bury. “He will play a key role as we deepen our existing client relationships and build new ones.”

Beatty brings with him 27 years of industry experience, covering audio visual, hospitality, and convention bureau sales. Coincidentally, he worked for Freeman Audio Visual as a Calgary Account Executive earlier in his career.

“I am thrilled to be associated with a company that embodies the highest levels of values and integrity,” said Beatty. “We have a talented staff of seasoned professionals in place at the Ottawa branch that I look forward to collaborating with. My ultimate goal is to add depth to the management of the overall operation through enthusiastic leadership and dedicated customer focus.”

Brent Beatty nommé directeur des ventes pour Freeman audiovisuel Ottawa

Steven Bury, vice-président des ventes chez Freeman audiovisuel Canada, est heureux d’annoncer la nomination de Brent Beatty au poste de directeur des ventes pour la succursale d’Ottawa, l’une de nos plus grandes et prospères divisions.

« Brent Beatty connait déjà plusieurs de nos clients, en particulier dans le secteur de l’association nationale », a déclaré Bury. « Il jouera un rôle clé dans le perfectionnement de nos relations avec nos clients existants ainsi qu’à la construction de nouvelles relations. »

Beatty apporte 27 années d’expérience dans l’industrie, incluant les ventes dans différentes sphères tels les congrès, le tourisme d’accueil et l’audiovisuel. Coïncidence, il a déjà travaillé pour Freeman audiovisuel en tant que gestionnaire de comptes à Calgary au début de sa carrière.

« Je suis très heureux de m’associer à une entreprise qui incarne les plus hauts niveaux de valeurs et d’intégrité, » a déclaré Beatty. « À la succursale d’Ottawa, nous avons une équipe de professionnels chevronnés et talentueux avec laquelle j’ai hâte de collaborer. Mon but ultime est d’approfondir la gestion de l’ensemble des opérations par l’enthousiasme et le dévouement aux besoins de la clientèle. »

Freeman Audio Visual Canada President Inducted into Meetings + Incentive Travel Hall of Fame

By | Awards, Canada, Industry News, News, Press Releases

Freeman Audio Visual announces that Johanne Bélanger, president of the Canada division, will be inducted into Meetings + Incentive Travel’s (M+IT) 2014 Hall of Fame in the industry builder category.

Launched six years ago, M+IT‘s Hall of Fame program recognizes and celebrates individuals who have distinguished themselves in the Canadian meetings and incentive travel industry.

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Freeman Ranked As Largest Global Event Marketing Company by AdvertisingAge

By | Freeman, Industry News, Interesting Articles, News

Chris Cavanaugh, President, FreemanXP

Freeman ranked as the largest global event-marketing company in AdvertisingAge’s ranking of the “World’s 50 Largest Agency Companies.” This annual ranking and analysis of advertising and marketing-services agencies includes companies in all marketing categories.

In the U.S., Freeman was listed among the largest Experiential/Event agencies, as well as Promotions agencies, ranking #2 in both categories.

“We are proud of the unique value proposition Freeman and FreemanXP are bringing to the experiential marketing category,” said Chris Cavanaugh, President of FreemanXP, a boutique experience marketing agency offering a full range of marketing solutions within the Freeman organization. “The relationships and superior customer service that Freeman has come to provide is of value to our clients anywhere around the globe.”

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By | Corporate Social Responsibility, News, Press Releases


Freeman audiovisuel Canada est fière d’annoncer qu’elle a été désignée championne en réacheminement des déchets par REfficient. La liste Waste Diversion Championsreconnaît les entreprises qui ont atteint des niveaux impressionnants de réutilisation, d’achat, de revente et de recyclage de biens excédentaires.

REfficient est un cybermarché qui permet aux entreprises d’acheter au rabais des équipements de télécommunication et d’audiovisuel de qualité et provenant de sources durables.

« En tant que leader de l’industrie, nous sommes tenus à un niveau plus élevé de responsabilité sociale par nos employés, clients et partenaires. À ce titre, nous recherchons toujours des méthodes plus écologiques pour gérer tous les secteurs de notre entreprise, » mentionne Johanne Bélanger, Présidente de Freeman audiovisuel Canada. « La collaboration avec des organismes comme REfficient a permis à notre compagnie d’atteindre un niveau supérieur de réacheminement des déchets, un accomplissement exceptionnel dont notre entreprise est très fière. »

Le programme de champion en réacheminement des déchets a reconnu 29 entreprises ayant détourné au moins 1000 livres des sites d’enfouissement l’an dernier grâce à l’achat, la réutilisation, la revente ou le recyclage de leurs biens excédentaires. Avec trois niveaux de reconnaissance du programme, Freeman audiovisuel Canada s’est classé au rang supérieur, ce qui signifie qu’il a détourné entre 10 000 et 99 999 livres des sites d’enfouissement.

Stephanie McLarty, PDG de REfficient, déclare que cela démontre les valeurs interreliées des affaires et de l’environnement lorsque les entreprises agissent. « Il y a beaucoup de discussions sur l’environnement, mais pas toujours d’actions », explique-t-elle. « Nous reconnaissons les entreprises qui concrétisent leurs valeurs et en récoltent les fruits. »


By | Corporate Social Responsibility, News, Press Releases


Freeman Audio Visual Canada is proud to announce it has made the REfficient Waste Diversion Champions list. The Waste Diversion Champions list recognizes companies that have reached impressive levels of reusing, buying, reselling and recycling surplus assets.

REfficient is an online marketplace that allows companies to buy quality telecom, A/V and IT equipment at significant discounts from sustainable sources.

“As industry leaders, we are held to a higher standard of corporate social responsibility by our employees, customers and partners. As such, we are always seeking greener methods in which to manage every area of our business,” said Johanne Bélanger, President, Freeman Audio Visual Canada. “Collaborating with organizations like REfficient has made it possible for our company to achieve this master level of waste diversion, an outstanding accomplishment our whole enterprise is extremely proud of.”

The Waste Diversion Champions program recognized 29 companies that have diverted at least 1000 pounds from landfills in the last year through buying, reusing, reselling or recycling their surplus assets. With three program recognition levels, Freeman Audio Visual Canada is included in the Master Level, which means it has diverted 10,000-99,999 lbs from landfills.

REfficient CEO Stephanie McLarty says this shows the interrelated business and environmental value when businesses take action. “There is a lot of talk about doing the right thing for the environment, but not always action,” she explained. “We recognize those companies that put their values into practice and reap the benefits.”