Trend analysis is often created by people with an agenda, selling products or services that they deem “trending”. We’ve researched major industry blogs and publications to filter through the “white noise” and see what’s really being talked about right now in meetings and events trends. In this article, we include what we found.
Among others, genuine current meetings and events trends include making a positive social impact, “festivalization”, sourcing innovative venues, and providing a duty of care to staff and customers. Below, we take a look at how each of these trends are manifesting in meetings and events.
KEY MEETINGS AND EVENTS TRENDS
The Venue as a Product
Now more than ever, event planners are demanding more from venues. We require spaces to be light, bright, and airy with comfortable atmospheres and functional, easy-to-use technology as an inherent part of the package, rather than an additional service. There is also a relentless desire for venue innovation – spaces that reflect the occasion and contribute to the conversation. For example, a historical venue could bring a higher sense of gravitas to an important board meeting, while a funky collaborative venue may foster creativity while brainstorming. This desire for newness and originality never seems to cease but it shouldn’t stop organizers looking to reinvent the classics.
Leave No Trace
One of the most popular meetings and events trends circulating the industry is sustainability. As businesses and their staff strive to create a positive social impact, the desire for meetings and events to ‘leave no trace’ is growing. The three R’s, reducing, reusing and recycling are here to stay and rightly so. It is now widespread practice to reduce consumption; reusable cups and branded water bottles are commonplace, and venues are implementing initiatives to encourage delegates to reuse.
In the restaurant sector, what was previously waste is being repurposed, with examples including fruit peel transformed into condiments, carrot leaves into pesto, fruit juice pulp into the base of cakes and cauliflower stalks into coleslaw. Similarly, more biodegradable resources are being produced, food waste recycling schemes are growing, and facilities that harness solar power are being implemented. At their most successful, events are leaving a ‘positive trace’ by choosing local suppliers who can offer sustainable, long term partnerships, that will in turn benefit the local community.
Learn more about sustainable practices in meetings and events in
our Green White Paper.
In a similar way events are morphing into experiences, they are being ‘festivalized’. The aim of events is shifting to create an immersive journey for attendees, with smaller, niche areas for content, rather than one main stage. Catering is more innovative, causal and on-demand, with outlets integrated into the experience and harmonized with the event’s brand. Technology is being better embedded, with less stand-alone projects and more engagement, virtual reality and creative solutions that draw in delegates and turn participation from ‘have to’, to ‘want to’. The more entertaining an event experience, the greater the fear of missing out will be for delegates, which leads to elevated event attendance and increased event publicity.
Protection of Mental Health
Long distance travel, odd working hours and the need to always appear cool, calm and collected, can make working in the meetings and events industry mentally taxing. There has been growing emphasis on the need to be open about the importance of protecting mental health. Companies are beginning to ensure that staff have access to adequate support and resources to help them in their day-to-day roles. Some are training mental health ‘first aiders’, while others are championing the importance of taking a lunch break and implementing achievable team goals with incentives. More and more events themselves are highlighting the importance of well-being within the industry, as it is now becoming more widely accepted that happy employees are more productive employees.
Aim to Include
The meetings and events industry revolves around sociability. We understand more goals are attained when people work together, and that a diverse and engaged audience is more likely to offer a greater challenge and produce better ideas, than an audience of like-minded individuals. It appears that the industry has acknowledged the need to become more inclusive, however there is plenty of continued work to do.
For example, while the number of bookings for female keynote speakers has more than tripled between 2015 and 2018, a recent study by Bizzabo revealed that 70% of event speakers at events across the world are male; a statistic which stands in stark contrast when it is noted that the ratio of women to men within the industry is 5:2. Inclusion of race, culture, sexual orientation, age, and disability also need to be addressed, and not just as a tick-box exercise. Articles dating from 2013 highlight the importance of diversity, and suggest ways to become more inclusive, yet progress is slow. Hopefully, going forwards, diversity within the industry will continue to grow.
To learn more about what’s trending in meetings and events, download
our 2020 Trends Report.