19 Event Trends That Will Shake Up Meetings & Group Business

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Source: Social Tables

What does it mean to be a part of the events industry in 2019? Well for starters, don’t blink. Meetings are growing and evolving rapidly, and each is an experiment in applying new methods to find a perfect formula.

Easier said than done in a science that has zero constants.

To succeed, you have to be dynamic, you have to be flexible, and, above all, you have to be in tune with attendee desires. For venues and planners, that means looking into the crystal ball to get ahead of event trends and expectations.

Here, we cover the top 19 trends which promise to shake up event planning and hospitality in 2019 and beyond.

  1. Industry Performance Trends
  2. Attendee Experience Trends
  3. Meeting Destination Trends
  4. Event Technology Trends
  5. Meeting Design Trends

Industry Performance Trends

1. Demand will continue to outpace supply.

The unprecedented rise in demand for meetings and events will continue this year, with CWT Meetings & Travel predicting a robust 5-10% growth in demand.

Meanwhile, late in 2018, CBRE forecasted that hotel supply would peak at 2% gain, stabilizing to 1.9 percent over the next two years.

With the development pipeline slowing and event demand growing, it promises a rise in group hotel rates.  Respondents to the AMEX Meetings & Events Forecast predict that rise will equal about 2.41% in North America, while CWT expects an even higher hike of 3.7%.

Key Takeaway for Planners

Planners should adjust budgets to anticipate higher rates and book event space as early as possible.

If there’s a mantra for this year, it might just be “book now!” The longer you wait, the more you’re going to pay. Or even worse, the more you wait, the more you risk not finding a viable space for your dates.

Plus, when it comes to budget growth, signals are mixed. A majority of event planners report that their budgets increased year over year in 2018, but higher rates could negate some if not all of it. And in general, industry leaders like Skift agree that planner budgets are merely creeping up with the increase of costs.

Knowing this, planners should proactively use rate forecasts in conversations with key stakeholders to make the case for a bigger event budget.

“Demand continues to outpace supply of meetings-eligible hotels. The demand for meetings, which includes accommodation, is going to be significantly challenged by a lack of inventory. Continuing industry consolidation means fewer options for buyers and that will push prices up.”

Nathan Brooks, Senior Director and Global Lead, Supplier Management, CWT Meetings & Events

Key Takeaway for Properties

Group demand will be strong throughout the year. How will you score and respond to the influx of leads to capitalize?

With increased demand and the promise of higher group rates, planners will inevitably look to book further out. This leaves hotels and venues in a pickle, as taking these bookings could mean missing out on higher-value events later.

To avoid missing out on revenue, hotels and venues need to segment business intelligently and avoid falling into some of the pitfalls of traditional lead-scoring biases that hurt RFP management.

For hotels, capitalizing on group demand could also offset the impact of potentially disappointing ADR growth by driving up midweek rates for transient business.

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