This year has seen a number of new and unique trends impact the marketplace. Mark Spivey, Director of International Sales, at Maritim Hotels looks ahead to see how some of these trends will evolve in 2019.
Assisting the apprentice
All too often graduates enter the workforce with only theoretical knowledge of the industry and a lack of hands on experience. Next year the industry will firm up its focus on nurturing and supporting the next generation of meeting and event planners. This could take the form of apprenticeships, combining hands on guidance in the major facets of the hospitality and events industry, with external professional education.
Combining the senses at high speed
Advanced event technology is set to expand greatly next year, with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) providing new ways for venues to showcase their facilities to planners, wherever they may be in the world. As these new technologies become increasingly incorporated into events we will see venues investing significantly in upgrading bandwidth infrastructure, not only to support these innovations, but to also provide effective and widespread Wi-Fi coverage to the modern, multiple digital device carrying delegate.
Farm to fork
The rise of millennials has changed the way catering is sourced and served, with a greater demand for environmentally and ethically farmed produce as part of a local, seasonal and authentic experience. As a result, venues will offer greater variety in culinary options and flexibility.
Going green for good
Finding new ways to reuse, recycle and repurpose event materials will continue to be another priority. Millennial meeting organisers are rightfully demanding proof that their venues and events are truly eco-conscious rather than being branded ‘environmentally aware’. From increased onsite sustainability consultants to governmental association accreditation, expect to see more bio degradable cups, cutlery and associated products – some of which can be recycled in unexpected ways! Broken crockery for example, can be repurposed into road paving.
Meetings planners are finding it harder and harder to impress savvy delegates, particularly seasoned professionals. To ensure that an event is truly memorable, 2019 will see a greater focus on creating integrated experiences that target emotions to better engage delegates in order to drive commercial objectives. The venue itself will play a pivotal role in driving this experiential approach, with décor, themes, props, activities and other facilities to provide a holistic and multi-sensory experience.
A shift in the political climate, combined with concerns over safety and security, means that events industry professionals need to be aware of and communicate early and clearly to colleagues, potential last-minute changes in immigration policy. The U.S for example, instituted a ban on electronics larger than mobile devices for a traveller’s carry-on luggage in 2017. While this was eventually lifted, some question if it might happen again.
Venues should deliver added value to meetings planners by taking as much hassle and costsout of event creation as possible. All inclusive packages offer a great way to do this. By providing meeting and accommodations under one roof, event organisers are afforded piece of mind from greater pricing transparency and unexpected or additional charges.