Meeting planners have a tough job with the ever present task of keeping the next meeting up-to-date and memorable. In a world where change is constant and information is only a tweet away, keeping on trend requires research, taking to your peers and perhaps hearing a few tidbits from someone like me.
While the number of meetings are expected to increase going forward, there’s also a demand for quality. No longer does it suffice to have a meeting just because its always been done. Need and strategy are key components to orchestrating future meetings.
Promotional items are a standard part of hosting a meeting. And just like fashion, what was in vogue in the past will once again resurface and be in demand again. That’s what’s happening now. The editor of Promotional Products Business magazine, Tina Filipski, has noticed a surge in items packaged as matchbooks – mints, toothpicks and sewing kits. Writing instruments, apparel and drinkware are also in strong demand. Determine what’s useful to the group and fit the need.
The new trend in speakers are choices such as economists, futurists, ethicists, political analysts and experts on social media, generational differences and business innovators. The world we live in has created this scenario. Meeting budgets have been cut and how the meeting program is perceived is of vital importance. Skip the entertainment factor.
Where will that next meeting be held? Same old, same old? Think again. Planners are matching the purpose of the meeting with the site selection. Think about the value you will receive before you think of the actual destination. Get multiple rfp’s from a diverse group of properties.
And while you’re thinking about diverse properties, move on to what there is to do off-site if your meeting will allow time. What is the essence of the place? Your attendees will want to know and experience the local ambiance.
In the various meeting sessions, plan for ways in which the audience can be engaged with open dialogue. It no longer is sufficient for the group to sit back and just listen. Many of your attendees are experts in their own right.
On the food scene, food trucks are all the rage. It’s easy, simple and it allows the group to socialize while they’re eating. Simple food that’s fresh and local is also in trend. Make it a little creative because the palate of the average attendee is on a higher level than attendees of yesteryear.
Good luck with your meeting planning and remember, what’s on trend today will surely change.
Written by Debbie Stamper, Executive Director, Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau