Most meeting planners agree that incoming generations are influencing meeting formats. They report that these new cohorts of delegates are looking for:
- Increased integration of new technology (especially mobile connectivity)
- More opportunities for interaction, collaboration, and stimulation
- Shorter, quicker sessions replacing long-form presentations
- More emphasis on creativity
Meeting Professionals International says that “access has led youth to rely less on info they receive from teachers and parents. Consequently, they are less interested in lectures, and more interested in having their specific questions addressed.
Indeed, helping delegates learn how to find answers will be much more valuable than what the answers are. Connecting them to the right subject matter experts, the right partners and the right peers will be far more valuable than delivering content that may or may not be valuable to them.”
Meeting planners and venues, more than ever, must work together to provide these experiences. Fortunately, meeting planners report more openness to sharing the roles and responsibilities of the meeting planning process. Over 50% of respondents indicated their willingness to outside off-site activity arrangements and the sourcing of local services (i.e. entertainment, printing, etc.). Dianne Devitt, DND Group highlights that the increasing complexities and experiences introduced to meetings can carry risk if not delivered properly and the advent of the Meeting Stylist/Architect can plan an important part for larger events.
Of course, meeting planners are interested in measuring return on investment and providing justification for the expense of experiential events to key decision makers. Once considered unquantifiable, many organisations are finding unique ways to identify quantitative means for calculating business value.
For example, many meeting planners still agree on the growing emphasis on delegate productivity and networking.
Meeting planners indicated that in general branded venues (Hilton, Marriot Hyatt, etc.) had positively influenced venue elements such as quality of food and beverages, meeting space design, staff, flexibility, and technology.