Four Meeting Trends That Can Make a Big ImpactSeptember 21, 2018

September 21, 2018

Four Meeting Trends That Can Make a Big Impact

Taylor,Richelle_One10-147x147Richelle Taylor is Vice President, Strategic Marketing for One10 — a leader in performance improvement and marketing services in North America. Taylor oversees One10’s go-to-market strategy and its Incentives & Recognition business segment, which includes global rewards as well as technology development for One10’s propriety performance improvement platform, PerformX.

People often erroneously think the latest trends are only worth implementing for large, splashy events. Seasoned planners know small meetings require the same attention as a bigger event, just with a slightly different twist. That means there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of new trends when planning your next event — large
or small.

The landscape for events continues to change. What used to be fresh and exciting becomes mainstream and expected, while event audiences continue to clamor for something new and unique. When you’re planning your next event, keep these four hot trends in mind:

Eco-Friendly Everything

Sustainability has been trending upward, especially as negative effects of unsustainable practices — such as single-use plastics like straws — come back to haunt. Did you know every day in the United States we use enough plastic straws to circle the Earth 2.5 times?

It’s no surprise 2018 marked the first-ever national Skip the Straw day. Sponsors and brands are now more conscious of sustainability options, and they are extending their social responsibility efforts into the events they hold. Planners concerned about the environmental impact of their events may find the elimination of single-use plastic items an effective way to reduce the mark.

How do you get started? Replace single-use plastic items, such as straws, utensils and coffee pods, with alternative materials or omit them altogether. We’re seeing more frequent use of recyclable wooden utensils, and many hotels and restaurants are going strawless, offering paper straws only upon request.

Rethinking Conference/Meeting Layout

Events have historically focused on creating a good flow for attendees. Rethink your layout and incorporate changes that will cultivate a different experience for meeting attendees. This way, you can leverage an organic layout at events to create a new and engaging attendee experience.

How do you get started? Traditional events often use square or rectangular layouts so consider a different stage layout to shake things up. A “Burning Man”-style layout has less concern about the event flow and more emphasis on demonstrating a creative identity.

Concept of “Play”

The ability to play is not for children alone. Play is for all ages and has been shown to relieve stress, enhance creativity, improve relationships and keep adults feeling young.
The concept of play is a great way for event planners to tap into nostalgic and retro themes that are fun, meaningful and engaging for attendees. Play can also be woven into an agenda to enhance networking, teamwork and create a way for attendees to unwind and open up their minds.

How do you get started? The concept of play is very broad so there are many ways to try this at your next event. Recreate escape room puzzles using business challenges. Hold a rock/paper/scissors competition. Play dodge ball. Invite mascots from local sports teams to mingle with attendees. Incorporate amusement rides into outdoor spaces.
Dedicate sessions or tracks to play. The opportunities are truly endless!

Hitting the Road

Take your events on the road to maximize your audience reach. It’s getting harder for attendees to take time away from the office to attend events that require travel and overnight stays, especially for C-level decision makers. Research shows “time away from the office” is one of the top reasons people do not register for events.

How do you get started? Consider multiple, smaller, regional events rather than one large national or global event. Take a look at your CRM database to identify concentrations of high-value audiences to see if there is critical mass in a manageable number of locations.
Smaller events can often provide a more effective way to reach your target audiences and to test the content from event to event. Shorter events can also allow attendees to spend more time with you rather than traveling.

Which Trends Will You Try?

The incorporation of some of the hottest trends can make your events fresh, rewarding and unforgettable. Event trends will continue to drive the industry’s future so don’t be shy when considering how to incorporate them into your events whenever it pairs with a business reason to do so.

By leveraging the latest trends in meetings and events, you can create exciting, new opportunities for exceptional audience engagement that also inspires action and delivers results, no matter the size of your meeting or event.  C&IT

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