Planner Preferences and Industry Trends

Meeting Planning

Clean the World soap recycling
Clean the World’s soap recycling program is an example of the green practices
driving planners’ booking decisions, courtesy of cleantheworld.org.

In their inaugural “State of the Meeting Industry” survey, Destination Hotels & Resorts, the fourth largest management company in the U.S., surveyed a diverse group of planners from throughout the country to gauge their interests and industry trends for 2013. More than 60% of respondents expect to have more meetings this year and 20% anticipate increased budget flexibility. Generally, responses revealed a cautious optimism about the industry, and six specific trends were noted.

1. Venue location: While budget parameters were rated as planners’ greatest challenge, location was ranked as their most important consideration in selecting a venue, followed closely by rate, flexible space and amenities. Some 34 percent reported that more than half of their meetings would be national gatherings and nearly 30 percent said that their meetings would take place in local markets.

2. Environmental concerns: Meeting planners are way ahead of the general leisure travel market in considering green practices as part of their booking decisions. Some 45 percent said that eco-friendly practices are “somewhat important” and 18 percent stated that they are “extremely important.” Many hotels and resorts, including Hamilton Park Hotel & Conference Center in Florham, N.J., are participating in Clean the World, which recycles soaps and delivers it to developing countries.

3. Culinary offerings: More than 78 percent identified food options as an important part of their selection process, with 30 percent saying that it is “extremely important.” Less than 10 percent cited having a signature chef as important. Significant portions of respondents said that smart, well-planned meal packages focusing on health and nutrition (43 percent) and specialized dietary offerings (35 percent) are important. At MileNorth, A Chicago Hotel, menus have been revamped to outline gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, and are periodically updated to reflect fresh, seasonal ingredients.

4. Team building: Some 54 percent said that they are most interested in adventure/active options for team building, while also expressing interest in culinary, wellness, cultural and community-service activities. In Vail, Colo., Vail Cascade Resort & Spa and CBST Adventures collaborate to provide groups with team-building activities that take advantage of the mountainous setting.

5. Social media: Half of the respondents said that social media is an integral part of their planning process.

6. Technology: More than 36% said that compared with the previous year, technology was more integrated into their meetings. Streaming media, web conferencing and onsite video production were most commonly used, with more than 25% using at least one of them.

—Dan Johnson

For more on industry trends, be sure to see our January 2013 cover story, highlighting experts’ picks for what’s hot in F&B, decor, technology and more. Even more industry  forecasts and survey results are detailed in our December 2012 All the Buzz online exclusive feature.

  • RELATED POSTS
  • EDITORS PICKS
  • Visit Santa Barbara

    Portraits, Food Porn and Pinot with Visit Santa Barbara

    The Santa Barbara experience was brought together under one roof at a pop-up event yesterday at Naked Kitchen SF. Visit Santa Barbara invited Bay Area planners to sample artful dishes and partake in creative activities perfect for…

    Rock Star Treatment at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

    Rock Star Treatment at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego

    Hate to brag, but I’m feeling like a rock star. I just got back from a weekend fam trip in San Diego where I stayed at Hard Rock Hotel San Diego and boy do I feel spoiled.…

    smart moves

    5 Smart Moves in the Meetings Industry: August 4, 2015

    Melora Hathaway Melora Hathaway joined Tempe Tourism Office as group sales manager. In her new role, Hathaway focuses on the central region for the group sales team. Most recently, she worked for the Desert Belle Tour Boat…

    hard rock hotel vallarta

    Sanctuary Convention Center Coming this Fall to Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta

    Last week, Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta announced that it will soon be able to accommodate bigger meetings in the Riviera Nayarit region of Mexico. The Sanctuary Convention Center is coming to the all-inclusive property this fall, and…

    IMEX America 2015

    A Cleaner, Greener IMEX America 2015

    From waste reduction to educational sessions, a slew of sustainable initiatives are coming to IMEX America 2015. This year’s conference, which takes place October 13-15 in Las Vegas, implements results from the MeetGreen Sustainability Report. Last year,…

  • Platinum Choice Awards -Voting is Now Open

    Platinum Choice Awards -Voting is Now Open

    Your vote enters you for a chance to win a $250 gift card! Choose your favorite hotels, resorts and CVBs by September 30 and reward those who helped make your events a success. Our Platinum Choice Award…

    tips-for-managing-interns

    7 Tips for Managing Interns

    Many firms welcome interns to the work place, but in a blog posting on hotelsmag.com Larry Mogelonsky points out that they are more than just temporary recruits brought in to handle menial tasks. The Toronto-based marketing expert offers the…

    air-travel-complaints-2

    Air Travel Complaints on the Rise in 2015

    Delays, missed connections, lost or damaged luggage, boarding bottlenecks… The list of things airline passengers grumble about could go on for days—especially since air travelers lodged more complaints in the first half of 2015, according to a…

    Low Cost Tech Tools

    14 Great Low-Cost Tech Tools for Planners

    Planners: do you want to know which low-cost tech tool can instantly transform company data into a professional quality infographic, or what free app can help schedule a virtual meeting time convenient for workers scattered across the…

    Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco

    Awe-inspiring Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf Debuts its complete renovation.

    Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco and Chesapeake Lodging announce the completion of its multi-million dollar renovation. The debut includes the total redesign of the property’s 316 guestrooms, two dining outlets now called Brick & Beam and The…