Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, looks into the New
Meetings Year with predictions on participation, pricing, political
prowess and pursuit of green.
Face-to-face is ‘pretty hot and tempting (PHAT)’
years of scaremongering to the contrary, live meetings and face-to-face
are on the rise again. Why? Thanks to neuro-science, plus an increasing
desire, if not pressure, to fully understand the behavioural aspects of
different meeting formats, we’re finally seeing scientific proof that
face-to-face produces unique outcomes.
Fun and games mean business
2012 gamification started to really heat-up as a new idea to engage,
educate and excite. Facebook social gaming, FourSquare and SCVNGR
(social location-based gaming platforms for mobiles) have put brands in a
The end game, pun intended, is to spur loyalty,
info-sharing, competition and excitement, but it remains critical to
understand audience knowledge, goals and desired results.
Destination brands get personal
multisensory opportunities provided by social media platforms are
causing a leap in brand personification. The UK is awash with talking
meerkats selling insurance products, while in the meetings industry ‘Mr
Holland’ is highly visible online, in print and in real life. Costa Rica
looks to be taking up the trend with its curious yet ‘cuddly’ talking
three-toed sloth. In 2013 expect to see more destinations building more
memorable brand personalities.
Calls to political action grow louder
the US elections completed and 20,000 miles clocked on the US Travel
Association’s Vote Travel Bus, 2013 will see even more momentum and
urgency behind political advocacy efforts. The number one message is
that the meetings industry is an important engine for economic recovery.
Green meetings will keep sprouting
meetings ‘movement’ is now developing a unity and identity all of its
own, especially among a new generation of younger planners for whom
caring for the environment is second nature. The events industry has
successfully moved past criticisms of ‘greenwashing’ to a point where
there is a critical mass of expertise. The advent of the long-awaited
APEX Standards gives the industry a stamp of authority plus a clear
target to aim for.
Pictures will say more than 1,000 words
use of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and, increasingly in the b2b sector,
Pinterest, plus techniques such as word clouds are driving new
approaches to messaging and communication.
Expect increased use of
animation and visual storytelling techniques including video,
interactive graphics and ‘3D-like’ pictures, all of which take the
pressure off words in an email-heavy world and break language barriers.
CSR gets more hands dirty
2013 expect planners and participants to go beyond today’s local
community support efforts to include more direct, hands-on involvement
prior, during and after big events. With social media spurring on
collective action and allowing groups to tell a personal story about
their CSR successes, expect to see more hands-on efforts with less
emphasis on dollar value and more on time invested.
Authenticity, credibility, accountability
Call it what you will but ‘trust’ will be a big watchword for 2013.
companies that can demonstrate openness and transparency will win
greater loyalty from their customers. Too much ‘say one thing and do
another’ across all reaches of society (think banks, government
officials and even the BBC) has made many parts of society, including
those in business, feel weary. Individuals, associations, companies and
agencies within the meetings industry who act openly, with authenticity
and consistency, are likely to find their brand value and credibility
sky-rocketing, thereby helping to push back against the lock-down of
compliance or even legislation.
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