Now in its third year, IACC has released its annual Meeting Room of The Future™ report. Exploring the emerging and ongoing trends in the meeting industry, the report seeks insight from IACC Members, meeting planner and industry experts to build a perspective on how the world of events is evolving.
As a representative of high-quality and diverse UK meeting and event spaces, Venues of Excellence takes a look at the key themes from the latest report.
The Younger Generation Seek Interactivity and Individuality
Sensory stimulation and an individual approach are what the younger generation now seek both as delegates and planners. With shorter attention spans and a need for experiences, the report highlights how event planners are modifying their sessions to be shorter and integrate more interactive technology to engage the younger generation.
When looking at the impact of future generations on meeting format, 88% of respondents said that Increased integration of new technology (especially smartphone integration) and 76% said Shorter attention spans requiring more interaction, collaboration, stimulation, etc.
The report states that “According to a survey from Selligent Marketing Cloud, 74% of consumers expect companies to treat them as individuals, rather than as part of a consumer segment (e.g. ‘Millennial’ or ‘suburban mother’).”
The implication is that as meeting organisers, we need to be mindful of treating people as groups instead of individuals. Personalised experiences and connection to the brand are now more critical than ever.
As in previous years, the integration of technology into events continues to be important. As this trend continues to gain momentum, 66% of respondents state that Access to interactive technology (i.e. audience participation, collaborative communication) will be more important over the next five years. However, the report also highlights that the integration of technology must not be to the detriment of cybersecurity. Planners are happy to outsource these technology needs to the venue where it supports the end goals and frees up resources.
Ethics and Sustainability in Events
As awareness of the social and environmental impact of events increases, planners are increasingly looking to venues to help with finding solutions to reduce the impact. With 44% of respondents stating that ethical operations and sustainable practices will become more critical in the next five years, this has now overtaken flexibility, which featured highly in both 2016/27 reports. It is clear that venues need to be creating initiatives to support the reduction of the environmental and social footprint of events. Many venues are already on the case with Venues of Excellence member Lane End Conferences recently announcing five new initiatives to improve their own sustainability, including planting fruit orchards on site and packaging used coffee grounds for customers to take home and use in their own gardens. Another great example comes from CIM Moor Hall, who in a bid to reduce the amount of water used onsite, installed innovative rainfall showers that mix air with water. The showers, installed throughout the venues’ accommodation facilities, give the same volume but significantly reduce water usage.
Experience Creation Remains High Priority
With shorter attention spans and more call for interactivity in meetings, it is clear that planners are under pressure to deliver memorable experiences. “This year, 85 per cent of meeting planners report their current role in planning meetings involves more experience creation, a 10 per cent increase from 2016, growing every year since this report began.”
Driven by the younger generations, this trend is an area that Venues of Excellence see many member venues starting to adapt their offering to maximise. For example, Lumley Castle has introduced an escape room which provides entertainment and team building for clients. The initiative has attracted new customers to the venue and increased exiting clients’ dwell time on site, too. In turn, boosting food and beverage revenue for the venue.