Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) and American Express Meetings and Events recently released their annual outlook on global meeting and event industry trends. As we look to 2019, the industry looks strong. While each organization's report highlights unique insights, there are some notable industry trends that surfaced in both reports.
Meeting and event industry growth
The global meetings and events industry is growing across all regions of the world. This is fueling expected increases in size, duration, and budget for meetings. Additionally, companies are recognizing the importance of meetings and events to a company’s revenue and brand. And the growing use of digital communications along with social media are facilitating face-to-face meetings, conversations, and networking.
Rising meeting operation costs driving need for meetings management programs
Industry consolidation among key suppliers such as hotels and airlines is spurring increasing costs in those and other categories. This is driving up the costs of individual meetings and events. As a result, meeting planners are eager to measure return on their meeting spend and more receptive to Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) approaches to track and manage spend on an aggregate level.
Use of alternative venues is increasing
In an effort to attract attendees and create more engaging experiences, more planners are exploring unique meeting venues and destinations. Locations such as museums, historic buildings, and sports venues keep events on trend and interesting.
That said-- hotels are a good place
Demand for meetings is exceeding venue supply, which will cause hotel rates to increase in 2019. To account for this growing demand, global hotel construction for next year and 2020 is on the rise.
Technology at the core of creating an engaging experience
New technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and the Internet of things are bringing a whole new level of experience to event attendees. These revolutionary technologies will help planners to continue to meet attendee expectations and deliver more engaging meeting and event experiences.
Virtual events, meetings, and conferences
As with their in-person counterparts, virtual events, virtual meetings, and virtual conferences are all very different and accomplish different goals. A virtual meeting is a smaller event, and usually very collaborative. A virtual event is usually more polished, and can include both collaborative or one-way sessions. A virtual conference requires a very professional look-and-feel and usually involves many sessions, networking opportunities, and sponsor booths. Make sure that you choose a platform that can accommodate all of these different meeting types, and that provides the same professional look that your in-person event would.
Safety and security are top concerns
Privacy and security are the top concerns for planners going into 2019, especially after the EU’s adoption this year of GDPR regulations. These regulations tighten access to information collection and the use of attendee data. Additionally, meetings and events are often impacted by safety and security threats. Cybersecurity is becoming an increasing concern, particularly for attendees connecting to unsecured event Wi-Fi networks. Travel disruptions, traffic accidents, and possible health issues often cause logistical nightmares for meeting attendees. Learn how Cvent’s meeting and event technology solutions can help you make the most of these trends here.