As we move into a new decade, employers are looking more and more towards organising meetings and corporate events that reflect the changing landscape of the workplace and the specific needs of their employees. They know that their delegates now have clear ideas about what makes an engaging meeting worthy of their attention and attendance. If meetings fail to deliver a clear purpose there’s a risk that delegates will go elsewhere to seek out experiences that inspire them and support their personal development.
Meetings need to adapt to a changing world and a new generation of event attendees. They need to facilitate and support the communication of a range of topics in engaging, accessible and exciting ways. That means that the traditional notion of what a meeting is needs to change, and with it the spaces that host them.
What will venues be doing to support the future of meetings?
Anyone who’s ever organised a meeting will know the importance of solid budget planning. A poorly planned or non-existent budget can make or break any event.
But event planners will be increasingly asked to do more with less. As budgets are reducing the demand for unique and extraordinary meetings will keep increasing. Delegates are looking for something different, opportunities to enrich their skills and develop themselves supported by state of the art technology, better food choices and activities that actually interest them. This means meeting planners will need to come up with more creative ways to plan and deliver meetings which will put added pressure on their allocated budget.
To support this venues need to be offering event solutions and packages that pack a punch and have a big impact on the attendees, in turn delivering a measurable ROI, be that monetary or developmental.
Not sure where to start in your budget planning? Speak to our experienced event planners who can help you put together a realistic budget no matter how large or small your event.
Data is invaluable when it comes to offering events and meeting agendas that delegates actually want – but it’s your responsibility to keep that information secure and protect your attendees or potential attendees. Can you afford GDPR fines from accidental data leaks due to unsecure devices?
Attackers are constantly adapting their techniques and industries such as healthcare are becoming more and more susceptible to things like Ransomware attacks. The rise of AI and 5G will facilitate machine speed and automated security hacks. In the next couple of years, there will also be a greater risk of data from social media platforms being accessed and used in a negative way. In response to a greater need for delegate safeguarding venues will need to have more emphasis on training, resources and the integration of technology to improve safety.
Better accessibility and Location Selection
You’ve chosen your perfect venue, it has the facilities, atmosphere, and variety of spaces you need, but is it accessible to your delegates? Can you and your attendees get to it easily?
Meeting venues will increasingly be expected to be close to transport links, accommodation options, and other landmarks and places of interest to contribute to the meeting being a positive and worthwhile experience.
At the eastside rooms, we’re only a short walk from three major railway stations, 6 miles from Birmingham International Airport and are very lucky to be connected to the new Aloft Hotel Birmingham Eastside, making us perfectly located for any event.
A New Approach to Content
Gone are the days when meeting organisers could simply rely on a lackluster and monotone read-through of a 50+ slide PowerPoint presentation. In a knowledge-based economy the traditional format of meetings doesn’t provide any value for attendees and in turn, the businesses leading them. Agendas will need to be designed to be informative and innovative – they will need to surprise and inspire.
Delegates no longer want to be passengers – they want to be provided with a stage to voice their opinions – they want to be able to join the conversation. Over the next year expect to see the rise in interactive sessions that include a wide range of activities varying in pace and tone. There will be a move towards more TED-style talks and unique ways to present ideas like Pecha Kucha presentations – a super-fast Japanese presentation style showing 20 images, each for 20 seconds.
To support the modern meeting agenda venues will need to be able to offer dynamic spaces that are designed to elevate meeting experiences with attendee interaction and growth in mind.
Flexible spaces should support everything from one-on-one sessions, knowledge sharing, workshops, roundtable discussions, presentations and hands-on experiences. Venues need to be providing a collaborative environment geared to help teams connect and brainstorm.
Venues will also need to be able to host break out and networking sessions. According to recent research meeting, attendees are unable to focus on what is being said for longer than 13 minutes. With a greater understanding of how delegates engage with meeting content expect to see presenters ‘shake things up’ with regular strategically planned breaks and periods of reflection.
In the last 5 years, we’ve seen a growing demand for greener events. Meetings and meeting rooms will need to have a greater emphasis on sustainable practices. Venues will need to be more conscious and have strategies in place that help delegates reduce the negative impact they have and reduce their carbon footprints.
At the eastside we have a dedicated support team that can help you with strategies to reduce your carbon footprint. Small actions make a real difference. Take a look at our environmental and sustainability policy, which covers everything from reducing food waste to eco-friendly travel suggestions.
State of the Art Technology
Technology is here to stay and will continue to advance at a fast pace – meeting rooms need to reflect this. Access to reliable, advanced tech will be the key to the success of meetings in the next few years. And one thing that will be crucial and instrumental in the decision to host a meeting at any venue will be the availability of free high speed WIFI. After all we’re a connected workforce and people need to know that they can deliver a seamless corporate experience to their delegates.
Technology will be all about making corporate life easier and more streamlined. Unreliable technology is extremely disruptive and distracts from the main event leaving people frustrated and disengaged – we’ve all been in or even led a meeting where the tech on hand has failed or has been almost impossible to set up.
Expect to see a rise in spaces that can support a range of activities, methods of communication and ways of delivering information in an informative and accessible way. Spaces will need to be well equipped with plasma screens, audio, AV, VR, and projectors.
And don’t be afraid to think virtually – event planners and delegates are busy. Do they have time to visit multiple sites to establish if they’re right for them? The simple answer is no. Virtual venue site inspections will make their job much easier and they’ll be more likely to thank you for it by booking a meeting. A virtual offering is also a great introduction to your venue’s technical capabilities.
Here at eastside we’ve got you covered. Have a look at our Virtual Flythrough http://eastsiderooms.com/about/virtual-flythrough/ – It allows clients to envisage the spaces we have to offer and the sheer scale and size of the venue.
The experience economy is here to stay and creating memorable experiences will continue to dominate the events sector and be instrumental in giving event organisers the edge.
Delegates will be expecting something out of the ordinary, something they haven’t seen before. They want to learn something new and feel as though their time in the meeting has been valuable and worthwhile. People want more choices and know that they can get them – grabbing their attention in an increasingly competitive space will become harder.
Expect to see more multi-sensory stimulation incorporated into events and in turn meeting spaces. Venues will need to be prepared to host a range of activities that require a range of settings to promote better-flowing thoughts and greater productivity. There will be a rise in informal, adaptive and comfortable spaces that are more intimate and conducive to creativity in smaller groups. Spaces will feature more adaptive furniture, creative installations and a preference towards blank spaces that organiser can really make their mark on.
Stand Out Venues
Of course, with any event the venue, you opt for is key. Recently there’s been a decline in popular large branded hotels being the obvious choice and this will continue into 2020, possibly due to groups requiring more room for networking, social events and break out sessions. The growing trend towards more unique, flexible and purposeful spaces will mean meeting organisers will be looking for venues that fulfill very specific requirements. As a result, purpose-built venues will be an increasingly popular choice.
Did you know that eastside is a purpose-built events venue? That means it’s pillar-free – perfect for large meetings and conferences.
Food and Drink Experiences
The food you serve at a meeting is paramount in creating a great overall experience. Delegates will be increasingly searching out menus that give them something to look forward to at lunch, with healthier options and dishes to suit everyone’s requirements.
Meetings don’t have to be all dry sandwiches and biscuits (although we do love a biscuit), think creative food stations, brain food buffets, and menus packed with local seasonal vegetables.
You need to find out exactly what your delegates want. Expect to see the rise of hyper-personalized menu choices in the year ahead.
Zero food waste will also be high on the agenda, so think about how the food you choose can be used to its potential and is well planned.
As meetings are changing so are the spaces that meeting organisers are looking for. Meetings now incorporate a range of different activities and spaces need to be flexible and adaptable in order to accommodate them. As discussed in an earlier point, meeting rooms will need to be able to support and aid collaboration and communication, but they’ll also need to encourage learning, be fit for purpose for the audience involved and designed to boost delegate interaction.
There will be an increased demand for outdoor spaces, breakout rooms, and areas that incorporate more natural elements. According to IACC delegates are looking for meeting rooms that are bright, fresh, modern, spacious, flexible, comfortable, and fun with good acoustics. Get this mix right and you’ve got the perfect meeting space.
Essentially you need to be thinking about how different spaces impact delegate concentration and participation. Meeting spaces come in all shapes and sizes, beanbags, standing meetings, walking meetings, just because it’s an option doesn’t always mean it’s the right option. Being able to tailor your space to your delegates is key.