What’s on the Horizon for the Meeting and Events Industry?
Welcome to 2024! Do you feel like it snuck up on you? That’s really no surprise; our industry has seen a lot of change in the past few years. In fact, you could say that change has been our only constant. With the rapid pace of emerging trends and evolving technologies, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. One effective strategy to stay ahead is to think big and prioritize. Luckily, 360 Destination Group is happy to serve as your meetings and events industry meteorologists; we’ve got our eyes on the winds of change and are ready to share our goals, predictions, and insights with you. Spoiler alert: sunny skies are ahead!
Four Areas of Focus in 2024
When setting our goals for this year, we aimed to increase the following: accessibility, security, sustainability, and inclusion. None of these are easy to achieve, but if you aim for incremental successes with each program, you’ll be on the right track. These priorities aren’t new, but their importance to companies, planners, and attendees alike has increased exponentially in recent years. To be successful in 2024, you need to make these an integral part of your meetings and events planning strategy. Here are a few places to get started:
- Accessibility. Ensure your event is accessible to everyone. It’s essential to gather specific needs from your attendees during the planning phase. When coordinating with clients or planners, include questions about accessibility requirements. Examples of these may be the need for captions, wheelchair access, and other accommodations. Be sure to provide contact information so folks can reach out with questions or clarifications. One checkbox does not fit all! If you need more resources, Cvent has a great guide here.
- Security. As more and more event touchpoints go digital, the privacy and security of attendee data has become more important than ever. Our COO, Craig Caron, recently wrote a helpful LinkedIn article on some of the cybersecurity do’s and don’ts for planners. Use this as your punch list when planning more secure events this year!
- Sustainability. Pardon the pun, but sustainability is an evergreen concern. Check out our recent post on green event planning–a great resource as you lay out your sustainable strategy this year.
- Inclusion. According to this year’s research from Eventbrite, 69% of event attendees are looking for meaningful, diverse, emotional experiences. Start by aligning your gatherings with social responsibility. Aim to be as inclusive with your programming as possible. Try to incorporate a variety of cultural viewpoints. When possible, provide a powerful and educational experience that gives back or gives voice to underserved communities.
Tap Into New Tech
AI, AI, AI: Artificial Intelligence sure is the talk of the town! By now, most event pros have heard of it. Maybe you’ve even mastered the basics of generative AI platforms like ChatGPT or Bard. No matter where you are in your adoption of this transformative tech, it’s never too late to harness its benefits. If you find writing schedules, timelines, menus, etc. exhausting, these technologies can help. They can simply get you started or rethink or repurpose content you’ve already written. While the copy these tools produce likely won’t be perfect at first, it can give you a solid starting point for you to personalize by adding your own creative flair. If you think there’s nothing more intimidating than a blank page, it’s AI to the rescue!
Research has shown that 52% of people use smartphones at events. With such powerful tools in their pockets, attendees expect conferences and programs to follow suit. Luckily, a plethora of event mobile apps have come on the market that can support registration, scheduling, check-in, and more. Speaking of check-in, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Near Field Communication (NFC) devices are becoming the new standard for conferences and high-volume meetings. People are becoming less willing to wait in long lines to have their badges scanned, so start streamlining your processes ASAP!
Work Better Together
Empowering Our Team: The Key to Elevating Client Experiences
Our team is not just trained; they’re primed and enthusiastic for what’s to come in 2024. We’re positioned to reach new heights. We’re equipped with lessons from the past that continually propel us forward. At the heart of our success is a simple yet profound philosophy: happy employees lead to happy clients.
Honing a culture with continuous training and professional development opportunities is paramount. This approach doesn’t just make our team great at what they do; it fosters a sense of fulfillment and joy in their work. This positive energy is palpable and infectious. It directly influences our interactions with clients and the overall success of our events.
Maximizing Client ROI
At 360 Destination Group, we understand that every dollar spent in 2024 will be carefully examined for its return on investment, especially in the post-pandemic resurgence of the industry. We are deeply committed to maximizing the value of each dollar for our clients. Recognizing that every client is unique, we tailor our services to align precisely with their specific goals and requirements. Our approach is far from one-size-fits-all; it’s a collaborative, fluid process that adapts to the evolving needs of each client. By working closely with our clients, we continue to ensure that their budgets are not just spent, but invested wisely. We create impactful, memorable events that deliver on their objectives and exceed expectations.
Venue & Vendor Partners
It’s no secret that event and venue teams are both dealing with strained resources. As we look forward to a busy year of meetings and events, our focus is on strengthening relationships and enhancing communication with our partners. Luckily, event technology is striving to unite planners and venues. There are a plethora of powerful event management tools on the market now. They are purpose-built to support common event opps needs like diagramming tools, space layout visualization, and room block management.
If a pricey platform isn’t in the budget for this year, there are still ways to connect and collaborate. Project management tools like Monday.com or Wrike are sustainably priced and very user-friendly. Set up templates for different kinds of programs and invite your vendor and venue partners to participate. Having a one-stop-shop for all of your event activities and information is priceless.
The Future is Bright
At 360 Destination Group, planning for 2024 provided some real ‘wow’ moments. We saw historic improvement in key metrics from last year and anticipate more of the same in the year to come. We hope you’re also feeling optimistic as you look ahead. Stay tuned to our blog and newsletter as we continue to unveil industry trends and insights all year long.