Welcome to Kissimmee, the Gateway to the Everglades® and home to “stay one more day” meetings. Why? It could be our sun-drenched weather, proximity to world-class attractions and activities, or variety of dining options. Maybe it’s the incredible array of venues, accommodations, and vendor services. Either way, we believe staying informed and on top of industry trends is key to ensuring every meeting is an outstanding success.
We connected with Editor-in-Chief of Connect Meetings, Matt Swenson, to pick his brain on the top meeting trends of 2018. Wanna hint? The future is digital.
AR as a Wayfinding Tool
If robots aren’t showing you and your attendees around, it may very well be augmented reality doing it. Because GPS doesn’t work indoors, the industry has struggled with directions inside mammoth convention centers and hotels. Forget getting to ballrooms—we could be looking at step-by-step directions to booths, displays, signs, and banners. Google Indoor Maps is already available in thousands of buildings and allows conference attendees to navigate through halls, meeting rooms, and floor levels. AR means augmented reality, and while currently available through your smartphone, it will eventually become available in AR glasses (think Google Glass or Hololens).
Events Will Be in Retreat Mode
This year, conferences will feel more like retreats than traditional meetings. Longer breaks, more free time, and immersive experiences are all on the agenda, allowing attendees to soak in their surroundings. The trend extends to wellness too—forget coffee breaks, 2018 is the year of yoga, relaxing excursions, and meditation breaks. (Don’t worry, there’ll still be coffee.)
Meetings—There’s an App for That!
As planners begin crafting events as experiences geared toward a single goal—think networking, education, or promotion—they’ll be looking to bespoke apps to make the experience appear seamless to attendees. These user-friendly platforms will also provide an opportunity for event-planners to have a conversation about the event before and after its occurrence.
Campaigns Will Go Digital
Traditional revenue streams like sponsorships and advertising will take different forms in 2018. Online banner ads, content sponsorships, and hybrid events are ushering in the age of digital revenue opportunities. And let’s not forget paid spend on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—as planners begin to study attendance and engagement data, these platforms will become an important player in meeting marketing strategies.
Have a Question? Ask a Chatbot
Chatbots are computer programs that can be used for guests to ask event-related questions. For example: ‘Which room is the 12:30 meeting in?’ You may have seen Facebook Messenger and Bing’s chatbots already, and systems like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Siri can also answer user questions with the help of bots. For conferences specifically, there’s Concierge’s Eventbot and ConfBot—both offer a range of text responses to questions regarding floor plans, event agendas, FAQs, and event information.
Chatbots are perfect for a conference space where attendees might want to discreetly ask a question, like when they’re looking for their company’s booth, or forget when they’re supposed to tee off with the boss.
Automated Check-Ins for Attendees
Tired of end-to-end-tables covered in spreadsheets? The future of conference check-in is digital. Think streamlined workflows where attendees can check in with a phone, or use event terminals to reduce the amount of people needed to run a check-in desk. Technologies like Cvent OnArrival, Check In Easy, and Digivents can help reduce waiting times, and get your attendees out of line and into the welcome night cocktail hour.
Ready to host your next meeting in Kissimmee, Florida? We make planning easy! Our top-notch services team will help you every step of the way, from planning to execution and follow ups. Learn more about our services and submit your request for proposal, today!