Janawi Dancers at RESPECT Event.

Six trends shaping future events

01 Mar 2024

This era is defined by shifting sentiment towards social equity, environmental sustainability and technological landscapes and therefore, the way we conceptualise and deliver events is evolving.  

International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney), managed by ASM Global, stands at the forefront of this evolution championing inclusive, socially impactful, and sustainable events that prioritise health, human connection, and human centric technological innovation. 

Respect is part of ICC Sydney’s DNA. It permeates every aspect of our venue team’s operations. From engaging with community partners to selecting sustainable food and beverage options, ICC Sydney demonstrates a steadfast commitment to creating events that resonate with diverse audiences and uphold principles of respect and inclusion. 

The recent launch of our ‘RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success‘ report developed in collaboration with McCrindle launched at our RESPECT Experience, sheds light on the changing dynamics of the events landscape in Australia and around the world – with insights around business and entertainment events.  

According to the report, a significant majority of Australians are actively engaging in local entertainment (69%) and business events (46%), with a notable presence from Generation Z. This underscores the growing importance of creating event experiences that resonate with diverse audiences across five generations and cater to their evolving preferences and values. 

From the research, socially impactful and sustainable events play a pivotal role in meeting the expectations of both organisers and attendees; and as the report highlights, Australians across different age groups place a high value on events that foster inclusion, benefit the community, and protect the environment. 

Beyond the ‘tourism benefits’ or economic contribution of events, ICC Sydney serves as a vibrant hub for fostering human connection, celebrating local culture, and promoting sustainability and our expanded Legacy Program highlights our commitment to creating positive legacies long after an event has concluded.  

Six key trends emerged that are shaping the future of events – all supported by ICC Sydney’s dedication to socially and environmentally responsible event management. 

RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success Trend 1 – Curated event expriences 

Curated event experiences: Immersive experiences that engage all senses are in high demand, exemplified by events like SXSW Sydney, food and beverage focussed events and celebration of First Nations culture at events such as the International Council on Monuments and Sites Indigenous Heritage Program.

RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success Trend 2 – Socially impactful events.

Socially impactful events: Attendees are increasingly seeking opportunities to contribute to their communities through event participation, emphasising the importance of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Through its Legacy Program partners, event organisers can connect with First Nations and cultural organisations, volunteering opportunities and supporting people experiencing homelessness through to emerging innovators and talent. ICC Sydney’s diverse team is committed to creating inclusive and accessible events that enhance delegates’ sense of belonging. By activating the Inclusion and Belonging stream of our Legacy Program, event organisers can tap into helpful resources and partnerships to ensure their event is welcoming to everyone. 

RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success Trend 3 – A sustainable means of gathering.

A sustainable means of gathering: The integration of sustainability practices into event planning is no longer optional but essential, reflecting attendees’ expectations for authentic environmental stewardship. With our Legacy Program, and as signatories to the #NetZeroCarbonEvents, ICC Sydney strives to limit environmental impact by minimising the carbon footprint of its operations and events. We have tailored organiser tools to help reduce the environmental impact of events including our Sustainable Events Guide and Plastic Free Events Checklist

RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success Trend 4 – Prioritising health & wellbeing.

Prioritising health & wellbeing: Creating welcoming and safe environments for attendees, catering to their physical and emotional needs, is paramount in today’s events landscape. ICC Sydney’s sensory friendly spaces, outdoor spaces, Yarning Circle connections, first aid services, and Menu Collection championing local, sustainable produce were designed with delegate health and wellbeing in mind.

RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success Trend 5 – Promoting human connection

Promoting human connection: Both business and entertainment events play a crucial role in facilitating face-to-face interactions and fostering genuine connections, especially in an era dominated by digital communication. ICC Sydney was purpose designed to foster networking, with business event organisers increasingly prioritising extended networking breaks to support knowledge exchange and career development opportunities.

RESPECT: Shaping Events for Success Trend 6 – Seamless integration of technology

Seamless integration of technology: Attendees crave technological innovations that enhance their event experiences (particularly Generation Y), from streamlined ticket sales to immersive virtual reality encounters. ICC Sydney offers industry-leading technology to support end-to-end event solutions, responding to the ever-changing nature of events. 

In alignment with these trends, ICC Sydney unveiled its expanded Legacy Program, featuring an ‘Inclusion and Belonging‘ stream. This initiative underscores the venue’s commitment to support organisers to create inclusive, sustainable, and innovative events that leave a positive impact on future generations. 

The culmination of ICC Sydney’s commitment to respect was manifested in the ‘RESPECT – An ICC Sydney Experience’ event, held in ICC Sydney’s iconic Darling Harbour Theatre. This carbon neutral event brought together event organisers, city advocates, and community partners in a celebration of the respect shown for People, Place, and the Planet through events. 


A heartfelt ‘Welcome to Country’ was delivered by City of Sydney Councillor Yvonne Weldon representing the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council. The event showcased our Legacy Program partners KARI, Talent Development Project, Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative and University of Technology Sydney.  

It was also an opportunity to see our network of diverse, emerging artists, sustainable and smart suppliers in action – with a presentation from the Straight to the Source team and performances from writer and poet Sara Mansour, First Nations songwriter and songstress Mi-Kaisha Masella, ballerina Reneigh Scott, KARI Singers, Jannawi Dance Clan, Yidaki player Mukadda (Bruce Shillingsworth Jnr), and Talent Development Project performers including The Rosie Meader Trio, Molly Bugeja, Ethan Beckton and Elias Bartholomeo.

KARI’s Anna Gannon led a First Nations Yarning Circle teaching traditional weaving techniques and ICC Sydney’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Jess Zickar presented a game show testing attendees’ sustainability knowledge. The carefully curated menu showcased ICC Sydney’s commitment to sourcing local and sustainable ingredients and indulgent desserts while panel discussions highlighted the venue’s role in driving innovation and knowledge exchange.

Human-centric tech was on display through ICC Sydney’s Connect event app – custom developed by our in-house audio visual professionals. In step with trending delegate expectations around tech – ICC Sydney’s Connect platform is customisable and can be activated as a web app for in person events or host live streaming to support multi-location audiences while showcasing program, speakers, and sponsors and boosting networking opportunities. Our attendees were immersed in co-founder of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative, Jeffrey Samuels’ artwork projection-mapped onto the iconic diamond panels and interior of Darling Harbour Theatre by ICC Sydney’s audio visual team.

From honoring the natural and cultural history of the land and people, to celebrating diversity and creativity, ‘RESPECT – An ICC Sydney Experience’ served as a testament to ICC Sydney’s dedication to fostering respect in all its forms and it represented our bold vision for the future of events—one that prioritises inclusivity, sustainability, and innovation.  


Samantha Glass

Director of Corporate Affairs, Communication and Sustainability