A new year brings a fresh start and much to look forward to, an outlook that extends to the meetings and events industry. Here’s what we think will be trending in 2017:

Event Intelligence

Mobile event apps will take another leap beyond simply allowing groups to go paperless, take surveys and poll attendees. Added functionality will track attendee behavior and preferences at conferences through the collection of data from various technologies. This information will provide meeting and event organizers with valuable information about how and where attendees spend their time at meetings, as well as attendee patterns and behaviors, making it easier to implement improvements and changes.

In-Room Voice-Activated Assistants

How many times have you fumbled around a hotel room trying to figure out how to turn on the lights, adjust the temperature or turn on the television? Wynn Las Vegas is adding Amazon’s Alexa to all hotel rooms in 2017. From welcoming you to your room to providing weather information and making that all-important wake up call, voice-activated assistants are a glimpse at what’s to come in our homes and on the road.

A Fair Share

Look for the sharing economy that many are currently enjoying in other industries to begin making its way into the meetings and events industry, with planners and venues co-oping menus, decor, equipment and more. Sharing reduces costs and limits an event’s carbon footprint.

Switch-Ups in Setups

These days, business is more casual and so are meeting setups. Groups are asking for venues to change layouts and replace furniture to meet their needs. Hotels should expect increased pressure to provide unique seating arrangements that may include couches, a mix of seating and decor styles and more interesting room configurations.

RFP Evolution

It’s easy for planners to fire off one RFP to a number of meeting and event venues, and then start the process of fielding calls and emails with rates, dates and concessions. However, more planners will soon expect to be able to book online without even talking to a salesperson. Individual venues and portals will need to provide groups and planners with all of the tools they need to book online.

Michele Nichols is founder and CEO of Unique Venues, a marketing and membership organization that connects meeting planners with nontraditional meeting and event spaces in the United States and Canada.