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 (Legoland? Abbey Road studios?) and unusual experiences (scaling the roof of the O2? 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. A survey by Visit England found that over three quarters of respondents want to dine at restaurants serving local dishes. Likewise, The German Convention Bureau’s “Meetings and Conventions 2030: A study of megatrends shaping our industry” identified the “regionalisation” of meetings, where meeting organisers use local suppliers, as an upcoming trend. The ‘farm to table’ experience not only leads to satisfied appetites, it also means satisfied attendees and an all around successful meetings experience.