The Conference Hotel Re-Imagined

By Randa Tukan Senior Vice Principal & Director of Interiors, HOK | September 09, 2018

Information is easier to access than ever before. In fact, we are bombarded daily with opportunities and/or webinars to learn, collaborate, and express opinions from our desks, computers, and tablets. With demands on our time, the need to create billable hours, and, the all-important, ROI, the need to justify our "out-of-office" time is greater than ever. Do we even need to attend professional conferences anymore? The answer is a resounding yes. As our dependence on tech continues to increase, so does our yearning for the human connection. Group meetings remain a catalyst for human connections with our peers

When reviewing the reasons for attendance, face to face interaction with one's peers rises above the importance of the keynote speaker or the schedule of events. Many attendees consider the breaks in between speakers, rather than the speaker sessions themselves, as the most valuable time spent at the conference. This becomes the time when the highest level of interaction with peers occurs as well as active interaction, engagement, and activities.

Studies show that attendance at professional conferences has remained relatively consistent since 2011. While formats have changed and continue to shift to retain interest in attendance, venues seem to remain unchanged and do not accommodate recent trends of alternative formats and venues as well as sizes and additional points outlined below.

How can hotel conference spaces be re-imagined to better support trends and event formats? How might these changes affect the future of conferences and assure that attendees, business owners and planners will continue to be attracted to them as desired outlets for growth and exposure?

The Challenge

To consider what a re-imagined conference space could be, we should review some of the trends and increasingly popular formats:

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.


Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Stephanie Hilger
Dean Minett
Nicholas Pardon
Ed Blair
Matt Schwartz
Robert M. O'Halloran
Chris Green
Eileen McDargh
Coming up in May 2019...

Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.