Is This What Conferences Will Be Like In Five Years?

Is This What Conferences Will Be Like In Five Years?

IACC, considered a thought leader in the global meeting industry, recently released their 2017 “Meeting Room of the Future” report.

From a survey of over 180 professional meeting planners, the report gives a glimpse into the future of corporate events through the eyes of those best placed to make predictions.

We look at the key takeaways likely to emerge in the next five years.

Meetings as experiences

‘Meeting experience’ is a buzz term that’s here to stay. While education and content will continue to be key objectives, meeting experience is about creating high impact, memorable events. It’s no longer just about a one-way flow of presentations with some networking to wrap it up. It’s about engaging delegates and encouraging collaboration. Essentially, meeting experiences are holistic and delegate-centred.

This means everything from shorter session times to greater focus on food and beverage quality. We can expect to see more time allocated to interactive tasks and discussions, and greater use of incoming technologies.

Planners attribute the shift to millennials – it turns out they want more technology, interaction opportunities, and emphasis on creativity. Who would have thought?

Hologram meetings?

Unsurprisingly, planners expect interactive technology and high-quality broadband will continue to top their list of must-haves into the future. Lag-free wireless internet is crucial for the successful use of interactive technologies, and such technologies are ever improving.

But what new interactive technologies might we see emerge?  Growing popular choices include mobile conferencing apps, audience participation apps, live streaming, and video conferencing. As technology costs decrease however, we may soon have speakers presenting via hologram and virtual reality meetings. Watch this space.

Outdoor and alternative space

Natural lighting and flexible spaces are predicted to be increasingly important in the next five years. In fact, natural light is becoming so important that more planners see outdoor meeting spaces becoming a trend in coming years.

This is reflected in a greater drive to use non-traditional spaces and layouts to break up meeting room shackles. This could look like holding a conference in a breakout area. Or having access to flexible furniture that can be easily pushed about throughout the day without the need for an entourage of staff to be involved.

Personalised catering and allergy-aware options

Personalised menus that cater for allergies and special diets can mean a hit or miss in your meeting experience. The report is clear on this point.  According to planners, food and beverage directly impacts attendee satisfaction. With the growing predilection for experience, it makes sense that catering will also come into the spotlight.

What does this mean in real terms? More focus on creative and inclusive catering (and good news for attendees).

Read the full IACC report.

Are you planning to organise a conference? Contact us today.

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