With its eyes and ears on the global meetings marketplace from vantage points in Europe and the United States, the IMEX Group this week offered seven predictions for industry trends in 2014. The conclusions were drawn from the 2013 events in Frankfurt, Germany, and Las Vegas, as well as from speaker and expert anecdotes.
Content gets bigger, attention spans shorter
Content nows defines meeting/event type, not vice versa. The growth of YouTube, TED and short, sharp TV and video news clips (including the birth of super-bite-sized Vine) means attention spans are shorter than ever. Four minutes is a lifetime online.
Expect meetings and event content to be delivered in ever more entertaining, diverse and digestible pieces.
The label “hybrid” fades away as all meetings and events become multifaceted and multidimensional on and off-site.
Happiness is hip
The watchword for our working lives in the 1990s and beyond was “work/life balance.” In 2014 it shifts to “workplace spirituality.” More companies recognize that employee loyalty and motivation hinge on blending personal values with corporate ones.
Technology connects the dots
Look for lighter app bandwidths; more regulations and benchmarks (a la new APEX Standards); better data capture through engagement; and improved ROI due to smartphones and “wearables” that collect data.
Social media expands
Social media starts to receive its own budget and begins to play a meaningful and measurable part in marketing and communications strategies across the industry. “Expect to see some really cool crossover, where participants who are highly social at home find they can still be that way at an event,” said Sam Stanton, president of redbutton.tv.
Doing good gets ‘glocal’
The international nature of the meetings industry once meant thousands of opportunities existed to “do good and give back” in far flung corners of the world. The trend now is to reach out to help those on your doorstep. The 2014 IMEX Challenge in Las Vegas, for example, will involve building a healing garden at the Shade Tree shelter for women, children and their pets.
Meetings become a leading economic indicator
The meetings and events industry may finally be recognized as an important economic indicator. “Those of us in the industry know that when meetings and events start to rise they are the pulse of growth,” Dan Berger, CEO of Social Tables, said at IMEX America.
This term joins the conversation alongside issues of gender balance and racial diversity. It involves members of many generations working together and also diversity of thought.
What do you think of these predictions? Do you have any of your own? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below. Thanks.