by Amanda Metcalf | October 10, 2017
By 2020, Millennials will form 40 percent of the workforce, according to CWT Meetings & Events' recent 2018 Meetings & Events Future Trends report. That fact overlays much of the future of meetings and events, from digital engagement to venue selection. Other trends CWT M&E highlighted:
  • It used to be that visible security personnel and ID checks were considered negatives for attendees. Now that even traditional, major event locations can experience attacks, though, visible security may add to the attendee experience, at the least because it reassures attendees that the meeting organizer takes security seriously. CWT M&E also notes that meeting organizers are tightening security procedures industrywide.
  • Digital security presents a conundrum. Wi-Fi is a minimum expectation of event attendees, but easy-to-access Wi-Fi is vulnerable to hacking. CWT M&E recommends strong cybersecurity at both the head office and the event site, and the company suggests changing the event Wi-Fi password everyday and notifying attendees through the meeting app.
  • Registration, the land of first impressions, is going digital with tablets. CWT M&E notes that travelers who've just experienced hotel or airport check-in kiosks are likely to compare that modern experience against the manual meeting registration process.
  • Virtual reality, now a solid way to present products that are difficult to transport, could progress to virtual meetings. Already, remote speakers are viable event agenda items.
  • Social media and event apps are factoring in during sessions rather than after presentations and conferences end. That includes polling attendees to engage attendees in real time.
  • Systematic data collection, across multiple events, compounds the value of data by enabling companies to compare and analyze multiple events both together and against each other.
  • Procurement teams are becoming more involved in event management in order to lend cost-tracking and -management skills to the bottom line.
  • Room layout is veering from tradition to sofas and even standing meetings.
  • Unique venues-including arenas like Richmond, Va.'s Richmond Raceway-are playing host to events, especially when such a venue reflects the company's brand. This can up attendee takeaway, but CWT M&E cautions that it also can increase planning time and cost, so keep an eye on attendee experience versus cost.
  • Snacks at every break are yielding to a quality-over-quantity approach favoring local and healthy food and beverages. The localized approach also can increase an event's impact by differentiating events from each other.