Benchmark Resorts & Hotels, a division of hospitality management company Benchmark Hospitality International, has released its list of the Top 10 Meeting Trends for 2015.
Inspiring Adventure Activities. Meeting professionals today are seeking high-adrenaline adventures, teambuilding and rich immersion activities that extend beyond the walls of hotels, resorts and conference centers in order to challenge groups, and bring them closer together as teams.
A Banner Year Ahead. All indicators point to 2015 being a great year for the meetings business. Group demand is strong and rates, especially during peak periods, are trending up. The focus is on yielding high value customer profiles for high demand dates, and then filling shoulder seasons and long-term demand 6-to-12 months out.
Get Social. Social media has infiltrated the meetings business. While Facebook is more of a personal communications platform, planners and suppliers are using LinkedIn to communicate meeting agendas and logistics, and specialized smart phone apps, Twitter and Instagram to communicate and solicit participants’ ideas and feedback during and after a meeting.
Connectivity. Powerful and reliable Wi-Fi is absolutely essential to the meetings business today. Most attendees come with their iPads, business and personal smart phones, laptops, etc. Connectively during and after the meeting is crucial.
Get Smart. Gone are the days when planners asked conferees to leave their cell phones in their guestrooms. Today, smart phones are important business tools. Before the event, utilize them to provide an advance virtual tour of the hotel and meeting facilities via FaceTime, and to communicate agenda and destination information through specialized apps. At the event, harness smart phones to provide live streaming or to facilitate communication between attendees and presenters.
Customized Meeting Packages. No longer standardized, nearly all of today’s meeting packages are customized.
Top Meeting Segments for 2015. The improving economy is contributing to renewed investment in people, training and development, and strategic planning. Top meeting market segments in 2015 include education, associations, finance, healthcare, pharmaceutical, energy-related, insurance and technology.
Win the Business with Wellness. Some of today’s chief meeting influencers are a property’s chef and F&B director, who can accommodate dietary preferences and customize menus to maximize and sustain energy levels. Talented chefs who host unique culinary programs are a major selling point to planners.
Different Meeting Environments. Planners once shied away from high-end boutique and personal luxury properties, but now seek out these venues because they offer highly personalized, intimate meeting experiences.
Space Rules. Planners seeking traditional conference venues want a lot of meeting space, both inside and out. They may need a large ballroom for a gala, as well as a variety of breakout rooms and unique outdoor gathering places to facilitate small group communication.