Meetings, conventions, exhibitions, forums. What’s the common denominator? They all enable face to face communication. We manage PR campaigns for many major exhibitions and events across the UK and beyond, and it seems the industry is in agreement – both organisers and attendees confirm that face to face communication is crucial. This personal interaction enables people to connect with colleagues and nurture new contacts; it promotes creativity and exchange of information, and ultimately boosts the business bottom line.
However, the meetings industry has now advanced well beyond this way of thinking. Meetings today aren’t just face to face gatherings, they’re to be treated as experiences that attendees will benefit from and remember for a long time to come.
The focus is therefore on creating distinctive experiences in a variety of ways, such as using unique venues (an event in Old Truman Brewery or Kent’s Hush Heath Winery sounds tempting!) and unusual experiences (how about scaling the roof of the O2? Or a Porsche driving experience in Leipzig?).
Food is a key part of creating a memorable experience and there is a shift towards incorporating local elements into a meeting or event. Attendees are keen to feel connected to the region or city they’re visiting. Instead of being holed up in a generic hotel or convention centre, they’re eager to experience the cuisine and culture of their meeting destination.
The stats back this up. The German Convention Bureau’s “Meetings and Conventions 2030: A study of megatrends shaping our industry” identified the “regionalisation” of meetings, where meeting organisers tap into local expertise relevant to their sector. This could mean using a local expert speaker, a site visit to a relevant location, partnering with local businesses for additional content or sponsorship opportunities. This trend is growing year on year and promises to lead to satisfied attendees and an all-round successful meetings experience.
Want to get together? Here are some tips for holding successful meetings: