Q.: What other trends are you seeing in the meetings world, such as changing attendee demographics (i.e., Millennials), or any other trends that are impacting your programs?
We are doing multiple “rapid fire” segments at once and that gives people immediate feedback.--Stacy Wald, CMP, Director of Meeting Events, Data Trace Management Services, Towson, Md.
Young people/emerging professionals have more money and a desire to travel than the Boomers had at their age. People like (love) luxury and are willing to pay more for it. Discounts are easy to find if you are adept online. Negotiators can do quite well in this current economy. Family is HUGE---people will make big travel decisions based on their family and the experience they want to create for their loved ones.--Gary Schirmacher, CMP, Senior Vice president, Industry Presence & Strategic Development, Experient, A Maritz Global events Company, Boulder, Colo.
I see a huge difference in demographics in just the last five years--generational and gender. I think it is exciting and allows me to be more creative with program planning and menu offerings. Also, advances in technology and acceptance of technology will make hybrid meetings more likely.--Liz Whitney, WLP, International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA), Des Plaines, Ill.
My audience demographic does not change greatly, other than the trend of using and incorporating more technology to every event, I do not see much change from my organization.--Wendy Sutowski, CMP, Director of Events, The American College, King of Prussia, Pa.
Seeing that more associations are looking into artificial intelligence. This is much like Amazon or Google. They see you are buying “x” and now offering you “y.” Not sure we are there yet since we have our certification in place, which is sometimes required by the attendee to maintain their job, which helps when the economy fluctuates.--Debbie Kopkau, Director of Certification, MBA, CAE, CMP, GMS, Michigan School Business Officials, Lansing, Mich.
We’re continuing to see more “white space” built into agendas to give the attendees more time to connect with their office, take care of business, etc. We’ll continue to see AI and other technologies play more of a role in the hospitality business as suppliers look for ways to enhance the guest experience while utilizing fewer labor hours where possible. We’ll continue to see menus featuring locally/regionally sourced foods, healthier food options and more dietary-restricted offerings. I think we’ll see new AV offerings utilizing wireless technology and requiring fewer cables and cords running through meeting spaces, utilizing less power and enhancing production quality of meetings and events.--Scott Shellman, Principal, Framework Meetings and Destinations, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
First, I’m BEGGING you to stop using the term “disruptive technology.” Technology is not disruptive, it’s ENABLING! Wow, I can survey my attendees on what they want—before, during, and after the conference. I can SEE where they congregate, how long they stay. I can send out push notifications, I can “gamify” getting attendees to exhibitors. I can use /R for attendees to find who or what they are looking for. Personally, I love how Millennials don’t want to just sit and listen. They want to be PART of the process, PART of the solution. We give them things to DO. For example, we started our last event where each table had to build the tallest free-standing structure using nothing but two boxes of spaghetti and a roll of tape. The grand prize was a box of Tic Tac: “You’ve got 20 minutes. GO!” So I think one trend is just creating events that are more FUN. INTERACTIVE. Oh, and blended technology where attendees can participate remotely (they may have training dollars but not travel). Or they are too far away. Or they just leave the office during a release, or–or–or. Our job is to find out what people WANT in an event and give them that. Gone are the days of “but we’ve already done it that way.” Welcome to the era of, “Hi! What are you looking for? And how can I help?”--Jack Molisani, Executive Director, The LavaCon Conference, Long Beach, Calif.
Moral values have meaning. Sodom and Gomorra[h] values are not wanted at our meeting. We want all to be protected. Men in mens’ bathroom and ladies in ladies’ bathroom. If we changed this our meeting would be lost.--Carl Lambrecht, General Manager, Laurel Industries, Highland Park, Ill.
While I’m all for inclusivity I think it’s very important that some business experiences remain strictly business versus being infiltrated with the “consumer” in order to make a profit.--Don Pietranczyk, Senior Manager, Experiences and Activations, New York City
The adoption of technology (live polling and apps particularly) is a trend I’m seeing increase for our meetings. I didn’t have the budget for 2019 but hoping in 2020 that I will be able to add video to our marketing efforts.--Diana Bryant, Director, Conferences & Meetings, TVPPA (Tennessee Valley Public Power Association), Chattanooga, Tenn.
For us, the biggest trend is festivalization, really making simple events like a boxed lunch more of an experience and creating a street party for lunch instead! Our attendee base is largely millennial, and we love that! For us, it’s about finding new and unique ways to capitalize on our attendees' passion and excitement so that they have a more meaningful experience and our sponsors have more impactful interactions with attendees. Festivalization is the perfect way for us to do that. So this year, we’re looking at new ways we can change some of our run of the mill necessities, like dinner, into more of a festival experience!--Samantha Vogel, CMP, Sr. Manager, Meetings & Travel, GameStop, Inc., Dallas
Ease of travel, cost and convenience are always in mind and don’t really change much, just in viewpoints.--Tracy Orpin, CMP, IAAP, Kansas City, Mo.
Trending with a few clients is to have a 1-2 crowd sourced workshops added to the program. It's been a challenge but well received from the co-create and tech/social media savvy demographic.--KD O'Neal, CMP MBA, Conference & Event Services Manager, University of Dallas, Irving, Texas
I do see a change here, with more interaction, reliance on tech (from booking, managing, travel, checking in, surveys, post event follow up, etc.) driven not just by the younger generation, but the availability of technology in general. However, the biggest single change that I’ve personally seen is with venue sourcing and negotiation due to consolidation.--Jef Robinson, Global Category Manager–Travel & Meetings, Anonymous, London
More Millennials which are changing the way we facilitate and where we facilitate. Moving away from the standard “talking heads.” We are moving more toward virtual learning tools instead of face-to-face for many of our markets.--Chere L Brooks, Learning Events Manager, Habitat for Humanity International, Atlanta
The major trend to watch is that Millennials and Gen Zs are not joining associations at all, so we need to create new ways to deliver content and certification credits for a demanding generation of newcomers!--Leslie Zeck, CMP, CMM, HMCC, Director of Meetings, International and American Associations for Dental Research, Alexandria, Va.
The biggest trend I see is going to be the need to be able to provide customized experiences and content. Attendees are being more picky and strategic with which events/meetings they choose to spend their time and money on. I think planners are going to need to find ways to provide those personal touches, customization in content and experiences.--Megan Martin, CMP, MPA, Senior Meeting Manager, National Conference of State Legislatures, Denver