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We saw a lot of trends emerge within the trade show circuit in 2017. Virtual and augmented reality became ubiquitous, mobile technology was used almost everywhere and even Amazon’s Alexa found its way to a more corporate setting. Brands upped the ante by bringing experiential marketing to new levels with pop-ups galore while offering niche entertainment and culinary offerings.

The bar will only continue to rise and the stakes are getting even higher in this nearly $13 billion industry. According to a recent Bizzabo survey, 63 percent of marketers plan to increase budgets and participate in more live events moving forward. In fact, event marketing is viewed by most marketers as far more effective than any other avenue – that includes content marketing, email marketing, and digital advertising.

If you want to stay ahead of the curve, keep an eye out for seven emerging event marketing trends that will dominate 2018:

1. Contextual booth designs: Brands are moving away from boring billboard-style booth setups and toward immersive, contextual designs. Customers are seeking the unexpected and gravitating toward displays that have a “wow” factor. Traditional trade show booths look more like an amateur science fair display covered in marketing language. This simply won’t cut it in today’s market. Instead, use technology and art to create an interactive experience that envelops your entire space and captivates anyone walking by.

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