Earlier this year I took a closer look at meeting trends and developments that industry experts predicted for 2014.
While many trends are connected with internationalization, technology and improving event participants’ experiences, budget restrictions obviously have an impact on the whole industry as many companies need to cut travel costs and reconsider the events they would like to attend or even limit event attendances to regional meetings located near their premises.
Think globally & act regionally
According to the German Convention Bureau (GCB), globalization is one of the main trends as well as one of the most influential developments in the events industry. Meetings take place all around the globe, visitors come from all around the world. As event professionals, we face more international competition than ever. We must think globally and prove intercultural competency in every respect.
However, we all know opposites attract. While globalization presents itself in many aspects of the events industry, we can observe a clearly visible and highly interesting counter-trend influencing the way meetings are designed and executed; “Thinking locally” has found its way into strategic meetings management – It has a high influence on the way meetings are designed and especially where they take place.
In the same study, the GCB referred to localization and diversity as a counter-trend to globalization. As a result, globally operating companies will increasingly need to take into account the requirements of local customers and markets, primarily in the meetings and congress sector.
Compliance, cost & travel time
Sluggish economies and uncertainties still force companies to save on their travel and event expenses. With increasing budget challenges, meeting planners and venues alike are more and more looking at ways to organize cost-efficient meetings to meet companies’ travel and event budgets.
From “barcamps” and free roundtables to small regional meetings, we see new formats of meetings as well as new event locations beginning to emerge. According to the American Express Global Business Travel Forecast 2014, there will be a lot of local and regional meetings in the future as the “magical” three words compliance, cost and travel time will play an increasingly important role for companies.
It is in the foreseeable future that planners will hold more meetings in their own regions or even use their own facilities in order to keep meetings closer to home.