Marriott International teamed with PCMA for an ambitious project to unveil the most cutting-edge macro-trends reshaping modern meetings and events.

The “future of business events” trends were revealed during the “PCMA and Marriott on the Future of Events” educational session at PCMA Convening Leaders 2019 in Pittsburgh.

The session was led by Kate Fairweather, who heads innovation projects for Fahrenheit 212, a New York-based marketing research and strategy company, and Amy Blackman, principal strategy consultant for L.A.-based Fruition.

“The point of the study was to bring in those from outside the industry to ask questions we never would have thought about,” said Tammy Routh, senior vice president for global sales at Marriott International.

Routh was the Marriott representative who announced the presentation.

The trends revealed in the study by Marriott and PCMA touched on the following areas: emotional intelligence, orchestrated serendipity, multimodal design, bigger than oneself and sense of place.

“These five trends are consumer and marketing forces that are here to stay,” Fairweather said. “We believe that they’re going to be disruptive in every category, but they have certain implications for meetings and events that are going to be important in the way events are designed.”

Amy Popper, senior marketing manager for Marriott’s Convention & Resort Network, told Meetings Today that the five topics will serve as a launching pad for its Mastermind program, which will team meeting planners with Marriott mentors into online and face-to-face, peer-to-peer discussion groups.

Mastermind is set to be launched in March 2019 with a five-month pilot program that will tackle high-level subjects such as culinary trends in meetings, how to engage meeting attendees outside the conference room and providing attendees with networking opportunities, among other topics.

“I want them fired-up, connected, empowered and inspired in a community that has their back and gives them the resources to be successful,” Popper said.

The Future of Business Events study breaks down the trends into five macro categories:

  1. Emotional Intelligence: Business events will need to move past reactive adjustments to adopt a proactive approach to personalized experiences, understanding the needs of participants before they arrive.
  2. Orchestrated Serendipity: Experiences must embrace freedom and surprise, freeing consumers from the constant constraint of schedules or agendas. By embracing the unexpected, we can engage participants and leave a lasting impression.
  3. Multimodal Design: Every scent has a unique objective and audience and a space must reflect each event’s specific personality and needs. Space is critical to any event and should be designed to adopt to the ways that participants will engage.
  4. Bigger Than Oneself: You can’t just provide content anymore. Every event must have a message. Participants want to understand what’s important to a business, and experience events that deliver that message down to the smallest detail.
  5. Sense of Place: The most memorable events celebrate local surroundings, enriching visitors, exposing them to the local culture and connecting them with the community to increase engagement.

A free download of The Future of Business Events report is available on the PCMA website.

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