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HOSP1001: Orientation to the Hospitality Industry (Buckley): Meetings Industry

Industry Trends

Millennials are the decision makers now.

  • In 2016, millennials became the largest segment in the U.S. labor force, at 35%. Because of that, they’re also now the largest pool of potential meeting attendees.
  • Since the meeting industry is shaped by attendee expectations, successful events have to cater to millennials.
  • So what do millennials want? Like every generation before them, their desires are shaped by the realities of larger historical events. Here’s how Skift reporter Greg Oates put it: “Think about graduating in the last 10 years and how competitive it is — jobs aren’t guaranteed, there was a recession, there was everything after 9/11. Events became the professional development pipeline for that generation.”
  • For these reasons, millennials value networking over almost any other aspect of events. As a demographic, they also:
  • Value experiences over material goods

  • Want to share those experiences usually via social media

  • Have higher technological literacy

  • Are 62% more likely to travel than their generation X counterparts

  • As the average screen time per day increases, millennials place more value on face-to-face meetings.

  • All of the above is driving the generation’s expectations for meetings and events, ultimately redefining the meeting industry entirely.

Attendees want more control over the meeting agenda.

  • Gone are the days of static schedules, where speaker after speaker shuffle on stage while attendees remain seated.
  • Today, personalization is key. Attendees want fluid agendas with many options that appeal to different interests and preferences. In many cases, this means crowdsourcing the agenda — sometimes eve in real time — to present a personalized event agenda.
  • Letting attendees choose their path links them to the content at hand. When they can choose topics that excite them, there’s more energy and increased engagement in the room.
  • However, this shouldn’t just apply to content. Food, activities, and even breakout spaces should give attendees an element of choice.

Meetings should be “purposeful” experiences.

  • The new generation of meeting attendees don’t want to be ushered into a ballroom to sit and listen. Today, the meeting industry trend includes fresh event concepts and meetings with meaning, innovation, and insight.
  • Just as importantly, attendees are looking elements inclusive of behavioral science, wellbeing, and a connection to the world at large. In short, today’s attendees want meetings to have a purpose.
  • These “purposeful meetings” are a large part of why 80% of event planners say that their jobs involve more experience creation than they did 2 to 5 years ago.

Technology helps planners pull off more than ever before.

  • As you can tell, planners are expected to design more complex, innovative experiences than ever before. Meanwhile, according to the AMEX Global Meetings Forecast, the numbers of meetings annually has only grown 5.4% since 2009, but the total number of attendees at these meetings has grown by 22.7%.
  • Put simply, meetings aren’t just more complex. They’re also just plain bigger. So what’s a planner to do?
  • Event technology is answering the call, evolving as fast as the industry itself. In fact, studies show using event technology can:
  • Decrease costs by up to 30%

  • Increase planners’ productivity by 27%

  • Increase attendance by 20%

  • These technologies help event teams to market better, manage guests more efficiently, map out their events in detail, engage with the audience in real-time, track ROI, and more.

Where you meet matters more than ever before.

  • The meeting industry has realized, at long last, that a destination is more than just geography. It’s a quintessential piece of the  puzzle that defines meeting success.
  • Christine Shimo Shimasaki of 2Synergize Inc., sums it up well: “The city serves as the backdrop for the content. It’s like designing the stage. What kind of feel do you want that stage to have when your attendees come out? It has a direct impact on their experience.”
  1. Essentially, a purposeful meeting isn’t complete without a destination that reinforces that purpose. And today’s travel-happy millennials aren’t just looking for business — they’re for a side of leisure. So they’re boldly blending the two when they travel to exhibitions and trade shows.
  • Actually, millennials are not the only ones on the “bleisure” train. New research from the Experience Institute shows that 78% of attendees indicate destination is a top driver in the decision to attend. It’s also the fifth largest barrier to attendance, coming in behind only time- and cost-related factors.
  • Ultimately, attendees want to travel for professional purposes and feel like they’re on vacation. That desire drives demand for more appealing destinations and authentic, local experiences in the host cities.


Types of Meetings

Decision-making meetings

Decision-making meetings include meetings where you brainstorm solutions, solve problems and map out the information that’s available to you. Make sure you put enough time on planning a useful agenda – in the end, it’ll save you time.

Information sharing meetings

These are meetings where you pass on more general information to the participants. Here, you share information through seminars, keynotes and panel debates. When you plan a meeting where information is shared, you should focus on the agenda.

Innovation meetings

Innovation meetings are needed to make use of everyone’s creative juices. Here, you brainstorm or share ideas with your team members. The agenda should be your primary focus; how do you organize an innovation meeting that enables creativity in a structured way?

Status update meetings

The main goal of this meeting type is to share project updates to keep your team on top of what’s decided. When planning status update meetings, you need to focus on the attendee list and agenda.

Team building meetings 

This meeting type is important for your organization. This way, you build your culture and help your team work better together. You need to think about who you invite to each meeting; is there a specific group of people within your organization that you want to help to work better together?  


Where Meetings are Held

  • Arenas
  • Conference Centers
  • Hotels
  • Resorts


Guest Services

Information Technology

  • Programmers
  • Analysts
  • Web Producers

Meeting/Event Services

  • Sourcing Managers
  • Travel Buyers
  • Meeting/Event Planners


Meeting Planning Process

Create an attendee list

  • Make it as short as possible. If there are too many people in the meeting room, there’s a risk that the meeting will get derailed. That’s why only those who are truly needed should attend the meeting.

Create your attendee list based on the following criteria:

  • The attendee is indispensable for the meeting; the meeting could not take place without him or her.
  • The attendee has a clear role at the meeting.
  • The attendee is in a key position to help you achieve the objectives you set out for your meeting.

Schedule the meeting

  • When you schedule your meeting, you need to answer two questions:
  1. When do you hold your meeting and how long should it be?
  2. Scheduling your meeting can be a real hassle. Think never-ending back and forth emailing to find that perfect time slot.
  • To help make this process smoother, you can use tools like:
  • This tool integrates with Gmail and Google Calendar, which makes it easy to sync your calendars. However, note that only works for scheduling meetings with two people; you can’t schedule a group meeting with the tool.

Plan the agenda

  • Planning an actionable and specific agenda is key for holding an effective meeting

Here’s what every agenda item should include:

  • Topic – what’s being discussed? Explain in detail so that everyone’s on the same page.
  • Presenter/owner – who’s responsible for the topic? Who should present it?
  • Time – how much time are you allotting to each topic?
  • Purpose – is the purpose to make a decision, seek input for a decision or to share information?
  • Process – what steps will you take to make a decision? Suggest the approach you want your team to take to tackle a problem. Make it a step-by-step explanation, where you define the time you use for defining the problem, sharing information and deciding on the agenda item.

Choose a location and decide on amenities

  • In terms of location, remember that work environment has a major impact on your productivity. If you have the possibility to do so, use a meeting room with as much natural light as possible and that’s properly heated (the optimal temperature is 77 degrees).
  • In terms of amenities, you need to take a look at the goal of your meeting. What amenities do you need to achieve that goal? Tech equipment? A whiteboard? Something else? It’s worth noting that something as simple as water can help your team make better decisions by increasing their productivity.

Decide on a budget

  • Having a budget is important for key meetings, like board meetings and conferences.
  • Your budget depends on what kind of meeting you’re planning. What you should consider when creating a budget is what the goal of this meeting is. Will you make a profit, which might be the case if you’re organizing a seminar or conference? Or do you need to allocate a budget for some other purpose, e.g. because you’re inviting an outside speaker to your organization?