6 New Meeting Trends To Watch
by Jeff Hurt
Thursday, August 18, 2011

There’s good news, and there’s bad news, on the horizon for meetings and events.

Take a look at these statistics released from current research reports.

1. Meeting Spend Up; Satisfaction With That Spend Down

Meeting spend was up 22% for 2010 as compared to 2009. Yet, 66% of respondents say that their number one concern is reducing costs while increasing savings of both face to face and digital events.  44% plan to reduce the number of registrants and 36% plan to reduce the length of the event. ~ The Aberdeen Group, Strategic Meetings Management: A View into the Best-in-Class SMMP, May 2011.

2. Digital Events Popularity Grows

More than 30% of all meetings are now digital. That’s an increase of 33% from 2009. 59% expect to include more digital meetings in the future to replace or supplement their current live meetings. Companies that use digital events save on average 12% cost savings. ~ The Aberdeen Group, Strategic Meetings Management: A View into the Best-in-Class SMMP, May 2011.

3. Speakers Treated As Commodities

With meeting expenditures up and organization’s dissatisfaction with that spend down, more meeting professionals are negotiating a speaker’s fee. If the speaker won’t negotiate, the buyer moves to another speaker who will. The speakers that are willing to negotiate win. Speaker bureaus are feeling the pressure of the bidding wars as well.

4. Shorter Than Short Lead Times

According to research by the start-up Zentila, respondents had on average 15 off-site meetings with an average booking window of 36 days. These respondents also redefined the traditional short-term meeting lead time of 90 days to 13 days! That’s a loss of eleven weeks, nearly three months, lead time!  

  • 97% of these respondents say they were flexible about short-term meeting space options.
  •  72% said they only consider upscale or luxury properties for short-term meetings. Nearly 20% said if they couldn’t find the space they needed fast they would cancel the meeting or host it in their own facility.

With shorter lead times comes more meeting professional empowerment. 68% of respondents said they had permission to sign-off on short-term meeting contracts without managers’ approval.

5. The Rise Of The Spend-Shift Movement

Conference participants want quality and affordability. They also now put a premium on community, connection and purpose. Thus the Spend-Shift Movement was born.
Savvy conference organizers create experiences that cultivate connections of online community members in face to face meetings. They also establish overarching meeting themes and sessions that have great purpose and meaning. ~ Young and Rubicam Brands Company

6. The Business Case Trumps Intangibles

The direct link between business events and organizational success is well established. Corporations believe that meetings help them market their organization, promote their brand and retain customers. The C-suite understands the strategic use of meetings, especially as content marketing.

Meeting professionals therefore secure speakers that can provide a business case for their message. If a speaker’s message helps an organization meet their event’s goal, there’s a win-win for everyone.

Note, the above piece is syndicated content. The original blog post and (and much much more!) can be found on Velvet Chainsaw's Midcourse Corrections.

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