These Five 2015 Trends Will Affect Your Meetings

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2015 trends, meeting trends, meeting industry trends for 2015
From increasingly sophisticated smartphones to pay-in-advance apps, these trends will affect both planners and their attendees.

These five megatrends will undoubtedly influence both corporate and association meetings in the coming year:

1. The Sharing Economy

Airbnb, the platform for renting rooms online, now has more rooms than Hilton Worldwide, according to Peter Fisk of Geniusworks, who identified “Shared Experiences” as one of his top 2015 trends. This new way of booking rooms has begun to—and will continue to—impact association meetings and room blocks, as attendees choose to find their own accommodations.

2. Socially Conscious Brands

Trendwatching.com’s Top 10 Trends for 2015 reports that 73 percent of Millennials believe that businesses should share a point of view about issues. The same number feel that businesses should influence others to get involved in an issue. This expectation will shape planners’ choices of industry suppliers, from event planners to hotels. Among attendees, there will be a growing expectation of CSR and green initiatives as an element of both corporate and association meetings.

3. Smartphones Everywhere

With the latest technology advances, smartphones will be used in new contexts and environments, says Forbes magazine. Along with wearables, smartphones will offer connected screens in the workplace and in public. This could translate into attendees experiencing multiple sessions at the same time, or attending some sessions from outside the meeting room. Meeting industry tech expert Corbin Ball calls them “the Swiss army knives of meetings. They will do way more than replace paper; they will be principal engagement, networking and feedback tools. They will provide an unprecedented amount of analytics to improve future events—a goldmine of information on what participants like/dislike, where they are going and basically every other transaction.”

4. Real-Time Translation

In December, Skype released the first iteration of its real-time translation system for spoken English and Spanish. Look for additional languages soon, according to Discovery.com, which identified this as a top tech trend. There are also new apps, such as WordLens, that enable real-time augmented reality translations of signs in multiple languages. “The days of the UN-style interpretation booths in the back of the room for international events may be numbered,” says Ball. The potential impact is enormous for meetings with attendees from around the globe.

5. Pay Before You Play

Baum & Whiteman’s 2015 F&B report predicts more hotels and restaurants opening up the option for people to reserve a table—and even pre-order dinner—from a mobile device that also tracks how long it will take to get there. Next up could be paying up front for just about anything for planners and their attendees.

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Barbara Scofidio
Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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