A new year means a batch of new ideas in every industry. Take a peek at some of the trends we think will heat up in the world of events and meetings this year:
Virtual and Augmented Reality
One of the biggest trends to hit technology in 2016 was the use of virtual and augmented reality, evidenced most notably during last summer’s explosive introduction of the augmented reality app Pokémon Go from Niantic Labs. In the meetings industry, the use of virtual or augmented reality programs will allow for newfound interactivity and immersive elements that will spice up any event.
Organic, Sustainable Catering
The past decade has experienced a normalization of dietary restrictions and limitations even more than prior years. This, of course, is the direct result of both the public and media’s newfound exposure to veganism, celiac and non-GMO initiatives among other popular food-based movements. Event professionals are working harder than ever to meet attendees’ dietary needs while also expanding the palate of the average consumer. Don’t be surprised to see more vegan, organic and locally sourced options on the catering tables at meetings in 2017.
To improve upon or perfect a business strategy, tracking engagement and feedback is crucial. While analytics have long been valuable within the meetings industry, recent years have seen analytical data become more easily accessible to the general public. Tools like Twitter Analytics and Facebook and Instagram Insights allow event professionals to track online engagement with the click of a button. Utilize these tools to see what is and isn’t working at your business gathering in 2017.
The recent introduction and popularization of live streaming platforms such as Periscope, along with the implementation of similar features on notable social networks like Facebook and Instagram, makes it impossible to ignore this hot new tool. Seeking to reach a wider audience at your next big meeting or business conference? Look no further than the option to live stream to those not in attendance.
High-Tech and Themed Team Building
With the creation of smartphone scavenger hunt apps and Escape the Room outings, traditional team building has certainly received some major upgrades over recent years. In 2017, classic trust falls and group exercises won’t get a team very far in terms of building strong interpersonal connections. Instead, companies are pursuing tech-oriented or high-risk activities. There is no doubt that being locked in a room together will get some team chemistry flowing!
Gone are the days of separating business and pleasure. In fact, one of the hottest up-and-coming meeting trends is now being referred to as “bliesure”: a combination of the terms “business” and “leisure.” With so many meeting and conference venues also functioning as hotels or resorts, more and more business professionals now view travel meetings as mini-vacations. It certainly doesn’t hurt to hit golf course after a grueling 10-hour conference.
A business conference with musical performances and various forms of entertainment outside of the classic meeting itinerary sounds out of the ordinary, but it’s more likely than you think. Meeting and conference “festivalization”—much like “bliesure”—has become a more common practice. Rather than hosting a long, grueling conference, professionals are working hard to keep their guests entertained and relaxed while getting work done. If you’re lucky, you just might catch a pop star at an upcoming conference that you’ve already marked on the calendar.
Which of these innovative new trends are you hoping to experience at a meeting or conference in 2017? Let us know!