Predicting the conference trends in 2014

As
the recovery takes hold, we have seen conference enquiries grow since
last year, and we envisage this trend will continue into 2014 as the
economy improves and business confidence accelerates.
 
ROI will
continue to be an industry buzz word and this is a trend we see
continuing as a long term recessionary impact; businesses will continue
to push for the best quality and exceptional service but for the best
value for money.
 
Another trend that we see continuing is faster
shorter booking cycles and shorter conferences – again another long term
impact of the recession. The challenge for venues here is to deliver a
quality and memorable event in a shorter space of time both before and
during the conference. Interestingly, as a result of the trend for
shorter conferences, we predict more focus will be placed on conference
dinners and teambuilding or extra-curricular activities.
 
We have
seen this trend start to take hold in 2013 with businesses investing
more in entertaining and engaging delegates with special VIP dinners and
exhilarating or unusual teambuilding exercises. This all stems from the
fact that people are under increasing pressure to be the best versions
of themselves they can be: to eat healthily, spend carefully, live
ethically and achieve.  But as the pressure increases, so does the need
to let off steam. Businesses are recognising this and seeking ways to
help their employees escape and switch off. As such, extreme events that
take people to their limits have become a popular and fun way of
releasing pressure. QHotels has answered this trend by launching its own
Mudference package where delegates are put through their paces and
miles of mud by an ex-military trainer to develop teambuilding skills,
as well as mental and physical strength.
 
In addition to this,
we predict a change to meeting space itself as businesses look to move
away from traditional ‘boardroom-style’ space and create more innovative
environments for their meeting or event. The focus is on creating more
productive settings; it’s becoming more commonplace for delegates to
break out of the typical boardroom environment and try something new and
engaging in order to increase productivity and get the most out of a
conference. This reflects a more collaborative approach to business that
we are seeing and is evident in conference technology too, with more
delegates dialing in and requiring AV equipment and support.
 
One
of the biggest trends we predict for 2014 is in conference and event
food. This year we have seen many special requests for food and we think
this will continue to develop, after all food plays a key part in
ensuring a conference or event is memorable. Also, as organisations
become more concerned around the health and wellbeing of employees we
will see a move to more healthy conference food and a focus on locally
sourced, imaginative and inspiring menus.
 
And finally, green
credentials have now become a prerequisite for many Blue Chip companies
when choosing conference venues, but this will develop beyond the green
agenda to a more broader corporate social responsibility requirement, as
the demand for organisations to operate responsibly and be
transparently takes hold. Starbucks and Amazon tax scandals are great
examples of this. People now care how corporate brands operate and will
avoid buying from them if they think they are corrupt in any way – this
impacts customers at all levels from consumer through to trade – and so
conference venues must work hard to promote their reputation and act
responsibly.

Any comments? Email jdavis@mashmedia.net

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Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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ConferenceNews Guest Author

Conference News hosts great guests on its pages. Our Blog section is the collection of the best opinions in the UK and international events industry.

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