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rom implementing innovative sustainability initiatives to hosting the largest event in our 25-year history, 2023 has been a memorable year for our DCi team. As we prepare to ring in the new year, we’re looking back on the trends that have emerged over the past year, what our clients have been loving, and how we delivered unforgettable experiences.

So, join us as we remember the top-notch events and industry trends that shaped the past year.

Marking New Milestones: Our Largest Event Yet

This year, DCi orchestrated a San Diego conference and celebration for a long-term client that will forever be etched in our record books. Drawing an impressive 9,500 attendees, this event was the most substantial in our 25-year history.

An event of this scale requires all hands on deck. Our dedicated San Diego team – a powerhouse of IT support, hotel leads, account managers, transportation leads, evening events leads, ancillary support, production, and more – collaborated seamlessly to bring this grand vision to life. With a total of 31 DCi team members on-site alongside our field staff, the event unfolded over a thrilling four days, encompassing 12 hotel properties, the San Diego Convention Center, and numerous off-site events. We carefully organized transportation to and from all off-site events, guaranteed daily shuttles to the convention center, and arranged branding and wayfinding solutions throughout the city.

But the success of the event went beyond mere logistics. The USS Midway became a stage for honoring tenure, a heartfelt recognition event that paid tribute to employees’ dedication and loyalty. The event concluded with a celebration at Petco Park, all decked out to coincide with the Americana theme. Each element of the four-day conference was meticulously designed and produced, creating lasting memories for all attendees.

Elevating the Food and Beverage Scene

While unique specialty cocktails can often steal the spotlight, this year, we recognized the need for new and improved non-alcoholic offerings. We offered refreshing agua fresca stations, distinctive and vibrant mocktails, and even captivating flaming coffees that were a feast for the senses. Plus, we elevated the food scene by thinking beyond the traditional menu. Think: egg custard prepared in an actual egg shell, farmers market displays arranged on a bed of wheatgrass, and countless other multi-sensory experiences, each perfectly tailored to the respective event themes.

We also saw an uptick in sustainability efforts across the 2023 food and beverage scene. Not only did we prioritize the reduction of waste for both food products and their vessels, but our team saw a notable increase in requests for compost bins – containers that allow organic matter to decompose – at our events rather than trash and recycling only.

Delivering Unforgettable Entertainment

Choosing just one standout entertainment experience from 2023 is a tall order, but the sheer size of the corporate buyout of Petco Park Stadium in San Diego makes it hard to overlook. We transformed the stadium into a playground of entertainment with countless activities that captivated the thousands of attendees. From pickleball courts to mini-golf challenges, caricature artists, and batting cages, there was an interactive experience for everyone. If that wasn’t enough, attendees also reveled in the excitement of fast-pitch games, ping pong, giant Jenga, football toss, cornhole, and a whopping total of 360 photo ops to commemorate the experience. After a day full of fun, the event concluded with a headliner concert that evening.

Beyond the fun and games, the attendees also participated in a mass CSR activity with Build-A-Bear. Each attendee had the opportunity to customize their own bear, which we then donated to Toys for Tots. It was an unforgettable blend of fun, generosity, and music that created memories to last a lifetime.

Embracing Simplicity in Decor

In 2023, the mantra “less is more” dominated decor trends, ushering in modern minimalism and clean color palettes – particularly earth tones like sage and terracotta – complemented by plain white or ivory furnishings. To enhance the simplicity, we introduced plants, subtle pops of color, interestingly shaped furnishings, mixed textures, and muted patterns. Guests also enjoyed arched backdrops, perfect for photo ops.

We saw a surge in candle-centric tablescapes this year, potentially due to the rising cost of florals. When floral arrangements were used, we opted for reusable and eco-friendly options. At breakfasts and lunches, we embraced sustainable Kokedama plant arrangements – living plants that were subsequently donated and capable of surviving for up to three years. We also utilized dried florals to create a stunning alternative to fresh-cut blooms.

Placing Sustainability Above All Else

At the heart of all our events this year? Sustainable and eco-conscious practices. To start, we printed Kokedama and donation recipient tent cards on recycled card stock and ensured that they would be recycled at the event’s conclusion. The food hall portion of our San Diego event – a model for sustainable choices – supplied compostable utensils and serveware, championing a broader commitment to reusable options whenever possible.

We also opted for aluminum cups rather than plastic, eliminated the use of paper by utilizing digital monitors and an event app, and donated unused foods to local charities in an effort to minimize food waste.

As we bid farewell to the trends that defined 2023, we are looking forward to the new opportunities and challenges that 2024 will bring. We hope that this look back on the year has inspired you to plan your next event with us – if so, reach out to our team to get the ball rolling. 

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