MPI's Future of Meetings research looks into current trends that will affect meetings and events 10, 20 even 30 or more years from now—big data, unique spaces, embedded technology, five generations, blurring national boundaries, sustainable development. But what about tomorrow? Here's a cool list of 2013 trends from Destination Hotels & Resorts, which surveyed about 380 meeting pros.
- Location, Location, Location. While planners consistently referenced budget parameters as their biggest challenge, in a surprise shift “location,” led as the most important consideration in selecting a venue (with “rate,” “flexible space” and “amenities” following closely behind).
- Green Effects the Bottom Line. Eco-friendly practices are not new to the meetings industry; group gatherings have been going “green” for some time. However, meeting planners are well ahead of the general leisure travel market in evaluating green practices as part of their booking decision. While 45 percent of planners say eco-friendly practices are "somewhat important" when choosing a venue, an additional 18 percent say they're "extremely important," a clear indicator that hotels and resorts are going to see an impact on securing future business through offering thoughtful, established programs. (How do you get started with a green program? Visit www.mpiweb.org/csr.)
- What’s on the Table Matters More Than Who’s in the Kitchen. More than 78 percent of planners identify culinary offerings as an important part of their selection process, 30 percent of them noting it's "extremely important." Surprisingly, after years of seeing big-name chefs attach their moniker to hotel and resort restaurants, meeting planners were very clear on one thing: they don’t care. Less than 10 percent cited a "signature chef" as an important factor in how they evaluate culinary options. What do they care about? Smart, well-planned packages that focus on health and nutrition (43 percent) as well as specialized dietary offerings (35 percent).
- Lets Get Physical: Building a Team Adventure. Healthy eating options aren’t the only lifestyle factor that meeting planners are focusing on in the coming year. When asked about teambuilding trends, more than half (54 percent) indicated that adventure/active options were of the greatest interest. Other attention-grabbing options that received less interest but still deserves consideration include culinary, wellness, cultural and community service activities.
- Go Figure: Meetings Go Social. Half of meeting planners cited social media is an integral part of the planning process and check TripAdvisor and online reviews before deciding on a hotel or resort.
- Technology. More than 36 percent noted an increase in technology integration with meetings compared to a year ago, with strong indications that the trend will continue. Streaming media, web conferencing and on-site video production were the most common uses, with more than 25 percent of meetings relying on at least one.
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