This year has seen a number of new and unique trends impact the marketplace. Maritim Hotels’ Director of International Sales, Mark Spivey, looks ahead to likely meeting and event trends for 2019.
Assisting the apprentice: All too often graduates enter the workforce with only theoretical knowledge of the industry and a lack of hands-on experience. Next year the industry will firm up its focus on nurturing and supporting the next generation of meeting and event planners. This could take the form of apprenticeships combining hands-on guidance in the major facets of the hospitality and events industry, including banqueting, catering, concierge and housekeeping, with external professional education.
Combining the senses at high speed: Advanced event technology is set to expand greatly next year, with virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) providing new ways for venues to showcase their facilities to planners, wherever they may be in the world.
As these new technologies become increasingly incorporated into events, so we will see venues investing significantly in upgrading bandwidth infrastructure, not only to support these innovations, but to also provide seamless, effective and widespread Wi-Fi coverage to the modern, multiple digital device carrying delegate.
Farm to fork: The rise of millennials has changed the way catering is sourced and served, with a greater demand for environmentally and ethically farmed produce as part of a local, seasonal and authentic experience. As a result, venues will offer greater variety in culinary options, flexibility, portion sizing and service times.
Going green for good: Finding new ways to reuse, recycle and repurpose event materials will continue to be another priority for 2019. Millennial meeting organisers are rightfully demanding proof that their venues and events are truly eco conscious rather than being branded ‘environmentally aware’.
From increased onsite sustainability consultants, to governmental association accreditation, expect to see more bio degradable cups, cutlery and associated products – some of which can be recycled in unexpected ways! Broken crockery for example, can be repurposed into road paving.
Immersive: Meetings planners are finding it harder and harder to impress savvy delegates, particularly seasoned professionals. To ensure that an event is truly memorable, 2019 will see a greater focus on creating integrated experiences that target emotions to better engage delegates in order to drive commercial objectives. The hotel itself will play a pivotal role in driving this experiential approach, with décor, themes, props, activities and other facilities to provide a holistic and multi-sensory experience.
Travel bans: A shift in the political climate, combined with concerns over safety and security, means that events industry professionals need to be aware of and communicate early and clearly to colleagues, potential last-minute changes in immigration policy. The USA, for example, instituted a ban on electronics larger than mobile devices for a traveller’s carry-on luggage in 2017. While this was eventually lifted, some question whether it may happen again. Greater observance in geo politics events will play a key role for hospitality and events in 2019.
All inclusive: Venues should deliver added value to meetings planners by taking as much hassle out of event creation as possible, including costs. All inclusive packages offer a great way to do this. By providing meeting and accommodations under one roof, event organisers are afforded piece of mind from greater pricing transparency and reassured from any unexpected or additional charges.