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Top 10 Meeting Trends for 2013
Published on February 1, 2013

Just when you thought the days of company sweatshirts and corporate tug-o-wars was over...they're b..a..c..k.  

Teambuilding is back in business, says Benchmark Hospitality's annual "Top 10 Meeting Trends for 2013."

Along with teambuilding, the US-based hospitality management company says that other trends observed throughout its 39 hotels, resorts and conference centers includes a slow but steady demand for meeting products, a rise in group rates, more need for customization and the all important necessity for constant contact through high performance wireless.
 
"I think we are seeing a return to pre-Stimulus Package values," Benchmark's CEO Burt Cabañas told TravelMole. 
 
"Slowly but surely companies are getting those deferred meetings planned.  With the pick-up in pace, meeting planners are also less free with their time so much of the back-and-forth that is going on about meetings today happens in the virtual world, through E-mails, texts or RFPs (requests for proposals)."
 
The trend forecast includes:


Trend #1  Slow but steady growth ... Meeting demand is improving at an encouraging pace to start the New Year.


Trend #2   Rates are on the rise … With increased demand, group rates are advancing commensurately, depending on the location and the market.  Pricing is least sensitive within new industries and new-media companies that are on a strong growth path.


Trend #3   The Completely "Customized" Package … Expectations are heightened for the creative and unique delivery of the industry's Complete Meeting Package.  Today, meeting planning professionals want the CMP acronym to now mean "customized meeting package" - customized to their unique meeting needs and budget.


Trend #4   A pickup in pace!  Across the country, booking pace is getting more encouraging for 2013 and for 2014, and the interest in getting deferred meetings on the books is growing.


Trend #5    Wireless EVERYTHING! …  Whether it's a nod to green meetings or just convenience, note pads & pens are taking a back seat to iPads and electronic tablets as the preferred means of taking notes and documenting learning in the meeting room.  Conference facilities are responding with charging stations throughout to recharge conferees' devices during breaks.


Trend #6    F&B -- Healthy Culinary Continues, and meeting attendees are demanding healthy, gluten free, sustainable cuisine and refreshment break selections - even going so far as to request an authentic culinary experience reflecting the native cuisine of participants.


Trend #7     Secure environments.   Today's meeting technology brings a stronger need for secure environments in which to conduct business and learning when off site.  And meeting planning professionals are demanding that meeting facilities respond accordingly. 


Trend #8      Teambuilding trends up.  After years of postponed or deferred meetings, many companies are using teambuilding to inspire camaraderie and revive enthusiasm. 


Trend #9      21st century meeting planning professionals are busier, with increased multitasking responsibilities than ever before.  Fewer have planning as a primary function within their job responsibilities, and due to their hectic schedules, they have less time to be educated and even less patience to wait for a response. Interface with meeting professionals is increasingly done through RFP, e-mail communication and in some cases texting.


Trend #10     Specific sectors are heating up.  Education (particularly engineering & technology), medical, bio tech, high tech, new media, association, not-for-profits, financial services and the incentive segment are all showing signs of recovery for 2013.


Source: http://www.travelmole.com/news_feature.php?news_id=2004932&c=setreg&region=3 

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