MPI Report: Shorter, More Frequent Meetings

The meetings industry is changing, and this is good news. The Fall 2018 Meetings Outlook by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) confirms that the industry is alive, well and thriving. The report described the results of an MPI survey that underscored that these changes could result in events being more impactful for their attendees.

When MPI surveyed 2,200 attendees of an annual meeting for a global Fortune 500 company, two key trends emerged: an uptick in meeting innovation/engagement and a greater focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR). At the meeting in question, attendees peddled bicycle-powered smoothie blenders against a backdrop of infographics and other data about company CSR programs. “It was really a way to build awareness that the company has made these investments, while also getting you active, involved and engaged,” says Brent Turner, senior vice president of solutions for Cramer, the events and experiential marketing agency that came up with the idea.

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Other survey findings included a trend of shorter, more frequent meetings. Meetings today also tend to be more niched in focus with shorter sessions. “The reason [these changes are] even possible is the meeting industry is in a state of extended growth,” says Bill Voegeli (MPI Georgia Chapter), president of Association Insights, the firm that conducts the research for Meetings Outlook. “The meeting and event industry is healthy and has been for quite some time. Any time we have years of health and growth, we see people are able to be more innovative in their meeting design.”

Of those surveyed:

  • One in five respondents said the duration of events is shorter.
  • 25 percent of respondents said events are more frequent.

The most significant finding was that meetings are more niched, with shorter sessions:

  • More than half (58 percent) of respondents believe meetings to be more niched.
  • 30 percent of respondents say sessions are getting shorter.

An increased number of meetings with a more focused topic creates an environment in which attendees are more deeply engaged, the MPI report says, thus adding greater value to the experience.