During the 2012 IMEX America tradeshow in Las Vegas, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) presented research regarding the future of meetings based on responses from 1,600 professional meeting planners. Essentially, those who fail to stay abreast of rapidly changing markets are destined to fall behind those who embrace inevitable change.
MPI reps point out how 20 years ago the fax machine came into widespread use within the industry, followed by text messaging 12 years ago and Twitter six years ago. Just two years ago, the iPad and similar tablets became an industry standard. And the pace of change seems to increase each year.
But we should look further into the future. The fate of travel and the travel industry is a concern. More hybrid and virtual meetings will be connecting people during an age when global and even regional travel likely will be complicated by high energy costs. Although people will still need to connect in person, enabling that face-to-face interaction will depend on the perceived value versus its actual cost.
The trends likely to impact the meetings industry are increased public scrutiny, and the balance of new technology versus cost with a focus on value. Future meetings will require planners to understand people, cultures and their needs in order to facilitate face-to-face interactions. We’re on the cusp of change, and anything is possible. The key to surviving and thriving is the ability to adapt successfully. It’s not just harnessing the latest technology. We must also be aware of demographic shifts and sociopolitical change.
“The first one now will later be last
For the times, they are a changin’.”
Bottom line: If you get too set in your ways, you’re not going to thrive. Roll with the changes and get the most benefit from meetings and events.
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