Smart Meetings recently published an article called "Trend Spotting" by Carolyn Koenig, a freelance writer for the magazine. Below is an excerpt from her findings, as well as, some of our thoughts on the event meeting services industry as we move into the next year.
iPADS AND TABLET PCS WILL RULE THE MEETING
It is going to be important to everyone in the event meeting services industry, from planners, hoteliers, and attendees, to be mobile and access online content whenever and wherever they want at the conference.
If you rent iPads, what will the attendee use them for? Mashable found in a recent survey that mobile devices are being used in one or more of the following ways:
- Sending and Receiving Emails
- Searching on the Internet
- Reading Information
- Watching Video Content
- Social Media Updates
"ASAE had a cool app you can use for the iPad," said Karen Kotowski, Chief Executive Officer at Convention Industry Council. "I didn’t have to carry around a lot of paper. I could pick sessions from the schedule provided, pick exhibitors,and it even showed me where on the exhibit floor I could find them. It helps with sustainability issues, as well."
With the addition of tablets and smartphones in the meeting environment, it is important to make certain the Wi-Fi network is going to be fast, robust, and secure. Refer to the checklist developed when checking out venues for their Wi-Fi capabilities.
HOTEL OCCUPANCY IS UP, BUT THE BOOKING WINDOW CONTINUES TO BE TIGHT
"We feel optimism going into 2012," said Scott Voeller, Vice President of Marketing at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
"Demand for groups in 2011 exceeds 2008, which was a watershed good year," said Tom Faust, Vice President of Sales and Distribution at Omni Hotels.
"The hotels we talk to are receiving a far greater number of leads on the meeting side than this time last year," said Mike Mason, CEO at Zentila.
And the research backs this up. PFK Hospitality Research is forecasting that U.S. hotel room sales will be up 5% for 2011 over 2010. STR Global stated that as of August 20, 2011, Revenue Per Available Room or REVPAR was up 8% over the same time period in 2010.
However, bookings are going to continue to be within a 90-day window or less. Mason stated, "As the economy goes, so goes the booking cycle. When there’s confidence in the economy, there’s a longer booking cycle."
According to a Y Partnership survey of 150 corporate meeting planners, 20% of the planners said they had to cancel or host the meeting at the corporate location because they did not have enough time to secure an off-site location.
Please see the recent blog post about the posible cost overruns associated with short-term meeting planning.
EMBRACE ALL TECHNOLOGY
"The tech component to meetings is here to stay and the best thing for planners to do is embrace it and leverage the expertise of their partners and vendors," said Nick Balleta, CEO of TalkPoint. This mean the implementation of hybrid meetings, video data streaming, and mobile technology.
AV Event Solutions, a California event services company, is ready and able to provide you with state-of-the-art technology for all your meeting needs. Contact one of their knowledgeable Account Managers today for more information.