Three Trends Transforming Hotel Meetings Spaces

By Karyl Leigh Barnes Executive Vice President & Partner, Development Counsellors International | September 06, 2015

Co-authored by Daniella Middleton, Director, MICE Division of Development Counsellors International

The economic recession and the demands of a new generation of professionals – the Millennials – have inspired a move towards collaborative, creative meeting spaces. Across the industry, how are hotels rising to the challenge?

Something magical is happening in the meetings industry.

Perhaps the transformation is a byproduct of the downturn of the global economy and the rise of millennials entering the workforce at the same time. In 2009, the economic crisis hit swiftly and the meetings industry was persecuted in the media and among policymakers as an "unnecessary luxury." There was a lack of understanding about the facts, and of the true importance and value of meeting. This negative chatter resulted in drastically decreased budgets for events and meetings, along with much tighter restrictions on how budgets were allocated and where money was spent.

Around the same time, America's newest generation, the Millennials, was coming of age. Millennials, otherwise known as Generation Y, have been raised in a socially connected world, are visual learners, and are on track to become the most educated generation to date. A recession that induced minimal spends on corporate meetings combined with an emerging generation with distinct learning and socializing preferences provided a much needed spark of innovation to the meetings industry.

The old adage proved true - economic downturns do breed innovation and creativity. But we can thank Millennials, who prefer casual and interactive meeting environments, for the connectivity, convenient, and communal spaces that are at the forefront of meeting space transformation.

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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.