In addition to predicting positive growth for the meetings industry in 2016, the American Express Meetings & Events 2016 Global Meetings Forecast says that cultural experiences, technology, compliance and increased training are four key areas that meeting planners will focus on next year. Here’s why:
- Incentive Programs & Events: Incentive travel continues to transform as millennials are changing the expectations of employees as a whole. Some companies are starting to create specific incentive programs based on the interests of millennial travelers who are looking for more immersive and cultural experiences when traveling. The forecast states that choice and personalization are key themes in designing these experiences that motivate this new segment of the workforce. Prevue added its own insight for the forecast, exploring the five key components of an incentive trip: destination selection, property selection, food and beverage, entertainment and gifts.
- Mobile Apps & Event Technology: The role of technology and mobile apps continued to rise among meetings professionals in 2015, and that will only continue in 2016. According to the forecast, along with information from DoubleDutch, a mobile applications and performance analytics provider, event technologies are evolving, and more meeting planners are using them to achieve desired outcomes such as increased attendee engagement and greater event effectiveness. Not only are attendees expecting to see more digital solutions and mobile applications at meetings, but corporate investors are also expecting more event-related analytics to back up the effectiveness of the meeting or corporate event being held.
- Mitigating Compliance: Meetings operations are one of the areas in which non-compliance can result in significant consequences for corporations. As such, meeting planners will be required to focus on regulatory compliance, as government regulators increase their focus on individual accountability and corporate officers’ conduct. For meetings and events, the highest risk of non-compliance is related to meeting payments, expenses and records, handling of Personal Information (PI) and attendee selection. To avoid non-compliance, organizations need to establish internal protocols within their meetings operations such as requiring onsite personnel to ensure accurate attendance and facilitate greater transparency with meetings.
- Increased Training & Internal Meetings: Across the globe, training and internal meetings are expected to grow more than any other meeting type next year. Because of recent economic growth, companies are expanding budgets and focusing on bringing employees face to face more. As a result, hotels are expected to increase capacity in major cities, but lead times remain tight, so corporate event planners will still have the best luck in securing their first-choice property and dates, the further out they plan.