The German Convention Bureau recently released findings from its new study, “Meetings and Conventions 2030: A Study of Megatrends Shaping our Industry.” The study listed the top five influential trends affecting the meetings industry in the medium term as being ‘Technology in work and life’, ‘Globalization and internationalization’, ‘Mobility of the future’, ‘Sustainable development’ and ‘Demographic change’. I have to say that I totally agree with all of the trends the survey highlights.
Our Thoughts on the Report
Take technology, listed as the most influential trend. As many of you know, I am a passionate believer in how technology can be used to solve real life problems and make everyone’s lives and jobs easier and more productive. The study showed that more than 40% of event industry professionals agreed with me. Mobile event apps are a prime example of this, blending mobile content and interaction with traditional event registration and promotion. Along with an increased use of online content in offline events, increased attendee experience customisation and the increased use of real time analytics, technology is set to push the events industry forward in a significant way.
Likewise, I was not surprised to see globalization and internationalization as the second highest influential trend. As business becomes increasingly globalised, events attendees are more likely to be from a multitude of different countries – and maybe we should thank budget airlines for that! Issues revolving around culture and language need to be considered to ensure that delegates are effectively engaged, and are able to connect effectively with each other.
The points highlighting mobility are important because increasingly I hear from people in the Events Industry how important the location of a venue is, and a large part of this is how easy it is to get to. A great venue with poor access, parking or links to public transport will be a great venue with no attendees! We just need to look at the preferences shown towards venues like Earls Court and Olympia compared to the ExCel Exhibition Centre, and the latter is by no means isolated or off the public transport grid!
Underpinning the issue of mobility are the issues of demographic change and diversity. Demographic change dictates that the average event attendee is less likely to be a middle aged, suit wearing, male than ever before. These changes need to be catered for. As the gender imbalance narrows, we will see event managers paying more attention to issues such as safer travel, childcare and flexible hours. As an aside, it’s interesting that this is the case – clearly women are still doing the majority of childcare despite also embracing the world of business. Equality is surely coming, but its pace is questionable! Alongside gender diversification we will see greater cultural diversification ask new questions of Event Managers. Few would host an event on Christmas day, but we now need to pay attention to other religious holidays, and make adjustments in other areas such as catering to account for differing needs.
Lastly, we must consider sustainability and the environment. Whilst the arrival of video conferencing and the internet did not kill live events, and has actually improved them, they have provided a new framework to analyse how sustainable an event is – and this is an area people are keenly interested in. A lack of consideration towards environmental factors, whether this be reducing the carbon footprint of an event, effectively managing recycling, environmentally friendly construction or organic, animal welfare focussed food, will not impress a delegate, nor will it encourage them to come back.
What Are Your Thoughts on the Findings?
Read our full report “Meetings and Conventions 2030: A Study of Megatrends Shaping our Industry” here or to find out more about meeting industry trends explore our blog posts further.