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Meeting Trends and Issues to Watch for in 2018

January 4, 2018

At the end of each year, there’s a great deal of research conducted on determining the concerns and trends shaping any industry and the hospitality industry is no exception. Three industry leaders, Successful Meetings, American Express Meeting & Events and Carlson Wagonlit Travel recently released information on the meeting trends and issues to watch for in 2018. At top of mind for most meeting planners are the ability to provide quality meetings on limited budgets, closely followed by managing attendee safety and security, along with providing top ROI for meetings, wellness initiatives and finally a hot new technology. Here’s a closer look at the findings and suggestions for managing these trends: 

Top issues expected to shape meeting planning in 2018

Meeting planners are facing limited budgets & rising travel costs – According to the 2018 Meetings and Events Future Trends report by Carlson Wagonlit Travel Meetings & Events, costs are rising in key meeting and event markets. With hotel rates and airfares projected to rise more than 3% in 2018 it will be increasingly difficult for meeting planners to stay within budget. In order to combat these increases, meeting planners can look to destinations with close airport proximity, a selection of hotels, a variety of group-friendly restaurants, and plenty of activities.

Destination choice may depend on security and proximity – American Express Meeting & Events’ 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, reveals that attendee security continues to be a top priority for meeting planners driving  “decisions about mode of transportation, destination, property type, and meeting activities…” The forecast also finds that  “with more and more meetings on the horizon, meeting owners also look to minimize travel times and cost.”

With limited budgets, more meetings, higher travel costs and travel bans, companies are recognizing the ease of staying close to home. Groups looking to hold their meeting within the United States may find peace of mind heading west to the shores of California, specifically Newport Beach.  This coastal community is close to three major airports, making it not only affordable but also, convenient to get to from most US cities.  With several group friendly hotels, including new and newly renovated properties, Newport Beach offers a variety of choices for meeting planners.

Strong ROI and attendee experience will continue to be a priority – Continuing to focus on the attendee experience and creating compelling meeting content will go a long way in boosting a programs ROI. According to Oni Chukwu, CEO of etouches, the primary goal will be enhancing the experience and creating engagement. While guest experience has always been at top of mind for most meeting planners, creating engagement by involving attendees prior to the actual program can be extremely beneficial. One way to do this is with pre-meeting surveys and ‘teases’ that set the stage particularly for a destination meeting. Consider sending destination facts or history that can give your group a sense of the area’s vibe and boost meeting excitement. Sending program details to attendees ahead of time in packaging representative of the destination can give a glimpse into the upcoming program.  For example, groups heading to Newport Beach, CA may enjoy flip-flops with the schedule printed on the bottom of each sandal. 

Attendee wellness gets top attention – As the forecast also highlighted, “Several meetings professionals and suppliers indicate that wellness is an emerging trend to watch as we move into 2018. Emphasizing attendee experience goes beyond content and activities. The forecast reveals that many companies are looking for ways to incorporate health and wellness into their meetings and events. Holistic is quickly becoming the new meeting buzzword, with organic food, yoga, massage and meditation offerings on the rise as meeting planners strive for an immersive, whole person experience.

Technology to improve meetings and events in 2018

On-the-spot event shaping – One of the newest event management trends will be the ability to crowdshape an event in real time. Crowdshaping enables meeting planners to monitor and change such variables as venue temperature, music volume and even music genre through the use of smartphones and wearable technologies, which collect data in real time.

Check-in apps users log in to through their social media accounts gives meeting planners’ data on attendee preferences. The information enables planners to change room temperature, lower or raise audio levels or change lighting in real time without cumbersome technology. Crowdshaping uses smartphones and smartwatches to gather the information necessary to ensure a top-notch event.

While being aware of current trends is important especially in a fast-changing industry, being prepared is even wiser. Tapping into valuable assets can equip meeting planners with the tools necessary to deliver highly successful meetings. One of the best resources for meeting planners is the local destination marketing organization (DMO) or CVB.  DMO’s are experts on their destination, as such they can help meeting planners make educated decisions based on unbiased recommendations. They can also help with site selection, unique venues and the RFP process.

When you’re ready to begin organizing your next group program, contact the staff at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA. Visit Newport Beach opens the doors to this Pacific paradise with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships with valuable resources.

Written by Visit Newport Beach Meetings

As a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO), Visit Newport Beach provides destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources tailored specifically to the needs of meeting planners and their clients.

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