Meeting planners are looking for sites with creative chefs and team-building opportunities. // © 2015 Thinkstock
Benchmark Hospitality International’s “Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2015” include the integration of adventure and inspiration and “winning the business with wellness.”
Why It Matters:
Wellness and adventure travel are not just growing niches in leisure travel — Benchmark reported that the chef and the food and beverage director are now among the most influential members of a service team. Meeting planners are prioritizing chefs who can create menus that sustain energy levels, accommodate dietary preferences and offer in-house team-building culinary initiatives.
The desire to offer attendees distinct experiences and more ROE (return on experience) is driving the No. 1 trend: activities that integrate adventure and inspiration. Destination immersion and high-adrenaline activities are in demand for their ability to provide educational takeaways and strengthen bonds among teams.
- Several other major trends identified were tech-focused. Powerful Wi-Fi access and optimized bandwidth are essential as conferees come equipped with more than one device. Social media and conferences are undeniably linked, and the social platforms that are most used include Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Smart phones are an increasingly important business tool.
- Meeting demand is promising for 2015, with the following industries leading the demand: education, associations, finance, healthcare, pharmaceutical, energy-related, insurance and especially technology.
- Gone are the days of standardization. Customization and personalization are expected. High-end boutique and personal luxury properties are now sought after by meeting planners. Planners are looking for space: A high number of break-out rooms and space both outdoors and indoors are attractive.
What They Are Saying:
"We're seeing strong demand growth from most industry segments and spiking interest in the realm of delivering personal growth for conferees,” said Ted Davis, chief sales and marketing officer for Benchmark Hospitality. “Attendee engagement activities and experience opportunities deliver unique possibilities for personal growth and facilitate the learning process — the byproduct being sustained interest and focus, as well as enhanced productivity."