Bringing Life Back to Group Meetings
By Sandy Heydt Director of Sales & Marketing, The Logan, Philadelphia's Hotel | September 25, 2016
Like many other industries, 2016 is a big year for reflection on past and current trends among the meetings and conventions sector, ultimately yielding numerous progressive changes among the way meetings are planned, held and eventually evaluated by meeting hosts and attendees.
Meeting hosts are expecting higher attendance and engagement rates, a more efficient use of technology and creative ways to position the meeting as an interactive experience verses a traditional presentation-style event that ultimately maintains a cost-effective price point. To satisfy growing client expectations, meeting planners are expecting more from meeting, convention and event venues – a central location, affordable group rate and a size-appropriate space are no longer the sole determining factors when choosing a host location.
Hotels as a whole have seemingly been able to keep up with the growing planner and client demands in 2016. Group demand in itself is strong and group rates are trending up. However, we are always seeking additional ways to meet, if not exceed, the ever-changing expectations of group meeting planners and their clients to stand out among other host venues and provide planners with a reason to come back for more.
We've identified several essential trends and factors that have been shaping the group meeting industry and driving the decision-making process among meeting planners over the past year. Among these trends include premier food and beverage options, a greater need to remain digitally connected throughout the event, along with innovative ways for attendees to do so, and an increased focus on in-house offerings for team building activities.
1. Upscale Food & Beverage Options
Not surprisingly, food and beverage costs are among one of the highest budget items when hosting group meetings. Less surprisingly, food & beverage choices are becoming an increasingly influential factor when choosing a host venue. Meeting planners have come to expect first-class culinary options from the host venue, as F&B pairings can be a key factor in providing an energy source for attendees, boosting attendee morale and facilitating the overall networking experience. In turn, meeting attendees have increasingly come to expect planners to choose premier catering options, especially ones that are reflective of current food trends in the market, such as gluten-free dishes made from organic or locally sourced ingredients.
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