Benchmark Hospitality International, a U.S.-based hospitality management company that owns and operates 35 hotels and resorts announced its Top 10 Trends for this year, as observed by their property management and staff. In the style of David Letterman, here they are starting with the last trend to first. 

Top Trend #10: Socially Responsible Meetings

Corporate America is wanting to give back by integrating into the local meeting community (if your meeting is being held in a city other than your own) through service projects with non-profits, as well as, the continuation of green property initiatives.

Top Trend #9: Meeting Technology will be a Big Player

Rent iPads to download apps, take notes during the meeting, and even interface with LCD projector and screen rentals. Meetings will have dedicated Facebook fan pages to assist with registration, easy access to event intineraries, and offer a method to gain feedback from attendees post-event. Social media applications, such as Facebook and Twitter, can easily be accessed via the tablet. 

Top Trend #8: The Meeting Destination is as Important as the Venue. 

The designation experience is taking on a new meaning. Having affordable destinations that offer great value and a relaxed atmosphere, all the while, having a business atmosphere to the meeting is very important to the attendee. 

Top Trend #7: Training Budgets are On the Rise.

As the economy strengthens, having well trained sales teams is going to continue to be the focus this year. Training budgets are going to be ramped up as organizations realize their most competitive weapon is a well-informed sales person. 

Top Trend #6: It's All About Teambuilding.

Groups are looking for half-day onsite and offsite options with creative teambuilding opportunities. Volleyball, golf, cooking classes and the like are winning group business for properties. These budgets are also being increased in 2012.

Top Trend #5: The Meeting Package is Coming Back.

Offering the meeting planner an inclusive price for meeting space that includes the room rental, food and beverage, gratuities and taxes, is now being asked for as meeting planners are wanting to simplify their budgeting process. Planners still want options, so customization of the meeting package is to be expected. 

Top Trend #4: Meeting Space is Going to be Different.

The space will be more creative, with use of outdoor space, living room style for small gatherings and breakouts, and different seating, including oversized chairs, may be requested. 

Top Trend #3: Pricing is Going Up.

Due to the improving economy and increased demand for meeting space, price increases are going happen for the first time since 2008. 

Top Trend #2: Meeting Size is Up and Space is at a Premium.

Hotels and resorts are being more selective about the bookings they are taking and are electing to go after larger meetings at a higher rate. Planners are having a hard time booking preferred space with short-term notice, especially if it is a 30-day window or less.

And the #1 Trend that is driving all the other trends…..(drum roll please)

Top Trend #1: Meeting Demand is Up for the First Time Since 2008.

This demand is across all industry segments, but bookings will still be on a short-term cycle (90 days out or less).  

Are you event planning in California? AV Event Solutions can provide your meeting, event, retreat, or conference with iPads and other technology tools to engage your attendees. Check out their express quote page for a response within 4 business hours!