Top Ten Meeting and Corporate Event Trends For 2014

After a period of decline prompted by the Great Recession, the events industry was poised to make a comeback in 2013. The Industry professionals predict that corporate meeting and event spend will rise from 9 percent to 20 percent of corporate spending in 2014 & 2015.

Despite the expected expansion of event budgets, companies will continue to focus on controlling costs, meaning organizers will need to clearly demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) for their meetings and events. MYE has assembled ten major trends that have the potential to increase strategic ROI for events in 2014 from noted publications and industry trend setters.

Trend #1        Steady as She Goes … Meeting demand is improving at an encouraging pace to start the New Year. Many organizations have a positive outlook for 2014, but still remain cautious with long term meeting commitments.

Trend #2        Wireless EVERYTHING! …  Whether it’s a nod to green meetings or just convenience, note pads & pens are taking a back seat to iPads and electronic tablets as the preferred means of taking notes and documenting learning in the meeting room.  Conference facilities are responding with charging stations throughout to juice up conferees’ devices during breaks. Meetings are increasingly active with texting and tweeting exchanges with meeting-related content. Smart, interactive meetings are here to stay!

Trend #3        F&B — Healthy Culinary Continues, but ironically that doesn’t mean the Danish trays aren’t emptied daily.  Meeting attendees, though, are demanding healthy, gluten free, sustainable cuisine and refreshment break selections – even going so far as to request an authentic culinary experience reflecting the native cuisine of participants. Creative, imaginative, and healthy culinary offerings are increasingly requested.  Healthy protein-nourished meeting attendees are attentive conferees!

Trend #4     Teambuilding Continues Its Trend Upward.  After years of postponed or deferred meetings, many companies are using teambuilding to inspire camaraderie and revive enthusiasm.  But this is not your 1990s ropes and obstacle courses; today’s teambuilding is about scavenger hunts, early morning group fitness runs, competitive bowling, and culinary cook-offs.  Fun, challenging and delicious!

Trend #5       21st Century Meeting Planning Professionals are Busier, with increased multitasking responsibilities than ever before.  Fewer have planning as a primary function within their job responsibilities, and due to their hectic schedules, they have less time to be educated and even less patience to wait for a response. Interface with meeting professionals is increasingly done through RFP, e-mail communication and in some cases texting. Know your meeting planning professionals, understand their needs, and help them be heroes to their attendees and organization leadership!  It makes a difference and helps your venue stand out from the crowd!

Trend #6       Smart events will take center stage:  Industry Professional analysts estimate that only 25 percent of organizations maintain real-time visibility into what they spend against corporate budgets. New event management technology can change that: In 2014, organizations will choose smart event technology to help them operate more efficiently, better manage attendee engagement, and grow their businesses.

Trend #7      Automation will help event planners reduce expenses: As event budgets are subjected to greater scrutiny, strategic meeting management (SMM) technology can help event planners identify new methods to streamline event-related functions and reduce costs. This will make SMM a key tool in 2014 as meeting professionals strive for more efficiency and transparency.

Trend #8        Planners will achieve greater efficiency through solution consolidation: In the past, many companies relied on patchwork solutions to handle individual components of events. This often meant that event planners had to pull information from non-integrated solutions to see the big picture. In the coming year, organizers will streamline their workloads by choosing a consolidated solution, saving time and freeing up event planners to focus on creating exceptional events.

Trend #9       Event organizers will engage audiences with smartphones: Smartphones are increasingly used to conduct business and stay in touch. Gartner predicts that mobile devices will surpass PCs as the tool of choice to access the web in 2014. Forward-thinking event planners will provide attendees with all-in-one apps they can use to track activities, connect with business contacts and share their experiences via social networks. These apps will also empower organizers to engage with users before, during and after an event.

Trend #10        Meeting planners will leverage technology to gather in-depth attendee information: Finding out what makes attendees tick is a crucial part of a successful event management strategy. Now event organizers can use technology to gather and compile information in real time, which enables them to adjust their meeting strategies on the fly and demonstrate ROI.

As the events industry expands to meet growing demand in 2014, MYE along with other planning companies will be looking for new ways to maximize value and minimize costs. MYE plans on using technology tools to gauge attendee needs, get real-time data on event effectiveness and streamline planner workloads makes sense, as does a one-stop solution that leverages the ever-present smartphone.

MYE is looking  for these trends to make an impact in the corporate events industry in 2014 and beyond as events professionals seek new ways to demonstrate ROI.

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