Find out whats on our radar for 2013 in Travel, Lodging, Technology and Exhibitions.
On Our Radar for 2013
Global Travel Prices for 2013
Findings from Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) 2013 Travel Price Forecast report include:
Prices in most areas of travel spend are expected to grow modestly around the globe next year, with the most significant inflation expected throughout the Asia Pacific and Latin America regions. “Price increases in 2013,” said Senior Vice President of Global Product Marketing and CWT Solutions Group Nick Vournakis, “will begin to level off in most regions throughout the world compared to what travel buyers experienced in 2012, as booming economies like Asia Pacific’s begin to normalize, and as uncertainty remains in Europe. While slightly higher prices will be the reality again next year as demand for travel outpaces supply in most places, our forecast demonstrates there is still plenty travel buyers can do to watch costs and take care of travelers through other measures, including re-examining how they influence traveler behavior.”
Airfares will likely climb 2.5 percent during 2013, as carriers have been diligent in implementing tight capacity controls that continue to yield high load factors despite economic concerns.
High-speed rail rates will likely increase 4.3 percent during 2013 as this mode of transportation continues to offer a competitive alternative to air travel in key markets. Notably, increases of up to 9 percent are expected in premium-class cabins, where corporate travelers typically ride to access free wireless Internet and other amenities.
The Asia Pacific region has experienced strong economic growth over the past several years, which quickly drove prices upward. Growth in 2013 is expected to stabilize, which likely will lead to modest price increases, although specific results vary widely by country.
The Latin America region continues to experience overall economic growth, though significant disparities continue to exist that will create varied travel pricing by country next year. The newly formed LATAM Airlines, which is now the world’s second-largest airline by market value, will embark on its first full year of operation in 2013, which may result in improved routes and frequencies to, from, and within the region. › While the economies of the United States and Canada are experiencing slow and steady improvement , there is no major growth expected for the foreseeable future, which will help contain travel price increases in 2013 for most categories of spend.
SOURCE: Carlson Wagonlit Travel, carlsonwagonlit.com Global Travel Prices to Rise in 2013
Airfares - 2.5%
High-speed rail rates - 4.3%
Premium class - 9%
Moderate travel price increases should be modest in North America and Around the globe in 2013.
On the Horizon ‘A Sea Change’
“I don’t think people realize what’s coming,” Michael Boyd, president of the airline forecaster Boyd Group International, told New York Times On the Road columnist Joe Sharkey earlier this year. (Read the full column at convn.org/nyt-airlines
.) “Airlines are going to do okay, but doing okay means they’re going to be dropping a lot of places they now fly. Air travel is going to get accessed by fewer and fewer people,” as airlines continue to reduce service to many markets to cut costs. “This is a mixed metaphor,” Boyd said, “but it’s going to be a sea change in air-travel patterns.”
As Sharkey went on to explain in his column, for more than a year, “most airlines have been reducing capacity in the domestic air travel system while concentrating on the major routes that provide the most revenue and feed their international routes.” Sharkey cited industry trade group Airlines for America stats: Domestic airlines earned $390 million last year, and $2.7 billion in 2010, after a decade in which they collectively lost $53 billion. The trade group, Sharkey wrote, “has been calling on the federal government for help to reduce aviation taxes and regulations, assist the industry in facing more aggressive global competition, curb fuel prices and volatility, and spend more money on improving the national air traffic control system. ... And argued that without help, ‘domestic service levels will suffer,’ especially at smaller cities and rural communities.”
- On-time arrivals — From 2007 to the first half of 2012, the on-time arriv-als rate improved by 14 percent, from 73.4 to 83.7 percent of domestic flights within 15 seconds of scheduled arrival time.
- Mishandled bags — The incidence of mishandled bags has dropped by 58 percent, from seven to three instances per 1,000 domestic passengers.
- Flight cancellations — The number of flight cancellations has decreased by 50 percent, from 2 percent to 1 percent of scheduled domestic departures. › Revenues — Per enplaned passenger, 2011 revenues exceeded costs by just 77 cents. Excluding $8.06 in ancillary fees, revenues would have lagged costs by $7.29.
- Air-service cuts — Due to rising costs and constraints on revenue production, domestically, the United States has a smaller industry than five years ago. Scheduled domestic U.S. air service in the fourth quarter of 2012 vs. the fourth quarter of 2007: 15.6 percent fewer flights, 12.4 percent fewer seats.
- On-Time Arrivals +14% Improvement
- 83.7% On-time arrival rate
- 58% drop in mishandled bags
- 50% drop in flight cancellations
- Air-Service Cuts: -15.6% flights
- Air-Service Cuts: -12.4% seats
SOURCE: Airlines for America, airlines.org
Travel as Economic Driver
- 1 in 7 - The ratio of projected growth of travel jobs (3.3 million) to total U.S. job growth by 2020
- $813 billion - Direct traveler spending in the U.S in 2011
- 7.5 million - Travelers supports 7.5 million American jobs - 7% of the country's total private-sector employment (in transportation, hotels, restaurants, retail, entertainment, and many other sectors).
- #6 - Travel ranks sixth in total U.S. employment; only five of the 20 major industries employ more people than travel.
SOURCE: U.S. Travel Association poweroftravel.org
According to a study released this summer by airline consultant IdeaWorks and sponsored by travel technology company Amadeus:
- United Airlines made nearly $5.2 billion from ancillary fees last year, topping the study’s global list. United’s ancillary fees — which cover penalties for items such as baggage, food, and boarding times — brought in more than double the $2.5 billion that Delta, next on the list, collected.
- In total, $22.6 billion was collected by the 50 airlines analyzed in the study — an increase of more than $1 billion from 2010 and a 66-percent jump in two years.
SOURCE: IdeaWorks, ideaworkscompany.com
Runway status lights - The FAA is testing a new, automatic runway lighting system at Los Angeles International Airport and a handful of other airports, designed to help reduce and prevent runway incursions and accidents. According to a New York Times article, since 2008, there have been about three incidents a day in which a plane or vehicle gets on an active runway by mistake — an average of 1,000 a year. convn.org/runway-status
Continued scrutiny Two U.S. passenger advocacy groups — the Business Travel Coalition (BTC) and the Consumer Travel Alliance (CTA) — continue to push for the DOT’s (Department of Transportation) vigilance regarding potentially deceptive online pricing. BTC Chairman Kevin Mitchell said: “… there must be a system that empowers consumers to compare and purchase all airfare offerings and ancillary fees across multiple airlines. We must guard against unfair policies and practices that short-circuit the free market and deceive both business and leisure travelers by showing the traveler only those offerings an airline wants the passenger to see.” convn.org/BTC-pricing
Airports as public event spaces? A terminal at Dusseldorf airport turns into a public event space one day each month as part of an “Airxperience Sunday” series, free for passengers and visitors. Last month’s fashion focus included fashion shows, makeover desks, and presentations and consultations by major fashion labels across the check-in areas. fly2dus.com More Resources
For an online graphic chart comparing 12 major domestic airlines’ baggage fees, go to convn.org/bag-fees
. An interactive graphic illustrating the future of baggage handling from Condé Nast Traveler can be found at convn.org/bag-carousel
Demand and Average Daily Rate Increases
- Committed occupancy for the remainder of 2012 is up 5.4 percent, and average daily rate (ADR) is up 5 percent. Growth is driven by individual business and leisure travelers, with an occupancy increase of 5.6 percent and an ADR increase of 5.5 percent in comparison to the same time last year.
- For the upcoming three quarters (to July 2013), committed occupancy is up 3.9 percent and ADR is up 4.3 percent, based on reservations on the books in comparison to the previous year. Occupancy growth is driven by the group segment with an increase of 4.6 percent, while the transient seg-ment shows an increase of 3 percent. However, the transient segment leads the increase in ADR — up 5.3 percent compared to 2 percent for the group segment.
SOURCE: August 2012 TravelClick North American Hospitality Review, travelclick.com
U.S. Hotel Fees and Surcharges
- U.S. hotels will collect an estimated $1.95 billion in revenue this year from fees and surcharges, compared to $1.85 billion last year.
- Common charges include resort or amenity fees, early departure fees, early reservation-cancellation fees, Internet fees, phone-call surcharges, business-center fees (charges for receiving faxes and sending/receiving overnight packages), room-service delivery surcharges, minibar-restocking fees, charges for in-room safes, and automatic gratuities and surcharges.
SOURCE: Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean at the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University
Capital Expenditures on the Upswing
The U.S. forecast for 2013 is for capital expenditures of approximately $5 billion, a 33-percent increase over 2011’s $3.75 billion — but still 10 percent below the $5.5 billion in capital expenditures for U.S. hotels in 2008. The forecast reflects several factors, including that occupancy will recover to its highest level since 2007, and that average daily rate will increase the most since 2007. Capital expenditures do not include spending for hotel expansions or major changes, but include improved guest amenities and services, such as:
- in-room iPads
- guest-room design, including work-spaces, radio-alarm clocks, and sound systems (many are MP3 compatible), seating, bathrooms, and lighting
- beds and bedding
- high-speed Internet access
- flat-screen TVs
- in-room amenities including irons/ ironing boards, and coffee makers
- guest services and conveniences, including enhanced complimentary breakfasts, check-in/check-out kiosks, and expanded business centers
- redesigned lobbies
- reconceptualized restaurants, to appeal to Gen-Xers and Millennials
- added or enhanced fitness facilities
- added or enhanced technology for meeting rooms and ballrooms.
Guests have grown less satisfied with their hotel stays, according to J.D. Power and Associates 2012 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. Among the results:
- Guest satisfaction declined to 757 on a 1,000-point scale, down 7 index points from 2011.
- Relatively high levels of satisfaction with cost and fees mask declines in other areas of the guest experience: Satisfaction with check-in/check-out; F&B; hotel services; and hotel facilities are at new lows since the 2006 study, and satisfaction with the guest room has declined within one point of its low-est level in the past seven years.
- Overall, 56 percent of hotel guests have a high opinion of staff; 34 percent have an average opinion; and 10 percent have a low opinion.
- Fifty-five percent of guests use the Internet during their stay; 87 percent of those use Wi-Fi to connect. Among those who use the Internet, 11 percent were charged an additional fee to con-nect. Those that were charged a fee have an average costs and fees satisfac-tion of 76 index points lower than those guests not charged a fee.
- Guests who book through an online travel agency tend to be more price sensitive, have lower levels of satisfac-tion with their stay, are less loyal to hotel brands, and tend to report more problems, compared with guests who book through the hotel website or call the hotel or hotel brand directly.
Coming Up: New Distribution Channels for Booking Hotels
- With Google Hotel Finder, Google is entering the distribution landscape.
- Apple has a patent for its yet-to-be-launched iHotel app.
- YouTube is considering adding travel to its “Merch” site.
- Facebook is still trying to enter the hotel distribution marketplace, despite early negative returns on its booking widget.
SOURCE: HotelNewsNow.com, convn.org/booking-online
2011 Total Revenues
- Eighty-one percent of hotels experienced an increase in total revenue.
- Nearly 13 percent experi-enced an increase in net operat-ing income.
- The cost to operate a hotel rose 4.3 percent — slightly above the 3.2 percent rate of inflation.
- A strong growth in profit is projected for 2013.
SOURCE: PKF Hospitality Research, pkfc.com
On the Horizon ‘Unlocking Creativity in Order to Unleash Productivity’
“There’s a real focus on collaboration and collaborative environments, not just within, but outside of traditional meeting space. It really speaks to the reality that meetings are now going well outside of the traditional meeting room and meeting space — and in many ways, kind of permeating the entire hotel, not just prefunction and the spaces off of the traditional ballroom space, but public spaces, lobbies, great rooms, and even what I call connective areas within the hotel — elevator lobbies and corridors.
“There’s a whole recognition of the value of these more informal kind of spontaneous connections between meeting participants who are trying to solve complex challenges. In terms of a philosophy, this notion of collaboration and bringing people together by cultivating connections is really something that is gaining traction with innovators within the meeting segment. From a facilities perspective, we are certainly recognizing that and building in a foundation and stage to allow those sort of informal collaborations within new builds as well as upcoming renovations — and we are seeing that among our competitors as well.
“There is an increasing focus on the approach to conducting meetings in terms of looking at how you can drive creativity, drive or improve innovation, and how you actually design your meetings to allow for a greater exchange of information, and to better leverage tools around collaboration that unlock creativity. I think that is key: Unlocking creativity in order to unleash productivity.”
Matthew Von Ertfelda Vice President of Insight, Strategy + Innovation, Marriott International More Resources
For the 2012 STR Global Chain Scales list (classifications from luxury to economy brands, based on previous year’s average daily rate), go to str.com/documents/STRGlobal_Chain_ Scales.pdf.
- PKF Hospitality Research Director of Research Information Services Robert Mandelbaum offers highlights of the PFK Hospitality Research’s 2012 Trends in the Hotel Industry survey in this four-minute video: pkfc.com/en/videos/ trends/2012trends.aspx .
- To obtain the 2013 per-diem rates (maximum allowances that federal employees are reimbursed for expenses incurred while on official travel) on a city-by-city basis, go to gsa.gov/portal/category/100120.
For GBTA’s list of travel taxes (hotel, car rental, and meal taxes) in the top 50 U.S. destinations, go to convn.org/GBTA-taxes
International Meetings and Figures
- Average registration fee per delegate per meeting in 2011: $561 (down from $584 in 2010).
- Most popular subject for inter-national meetings: medical sci-ence, followed by technology.
- North America has been the region with the largest average numbers of participants per meeting over the last decade, with an average 732 participants per meeting in 2011, followed by Latin America.
- The average number of par-ticipants per meeting reached its lowest point of the past decade in 2011, with 535 participants per international meeting, a drop of 36 participants per meeting com-pared to 2010.
- Estimated total number of participants of all 2011 meetings: 5.5 million-plus (compared to 5.4 million in 2010).
- Most popular month for asso-ciation meetings: September, fol-lowed by June, October, and May.
- The smallest meeting size has become the biggest category since 2009: 30 percent of all the identi-fied meetings that were organized in 2011 attracted between 50 and 149 participants — a growth of 11 percent over the past decade.
- The U.S. saw the biggest jump in the number of events held in 2011 over 2010, up by 136 meet-ings to a new record of 759.
SOURCE: International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Statistics Report 2002-2011, International Meetings Market, iccaworld.com
Top International Meeting Destinations in 2011 Countries (number of meetings)
1. Singapore 919
2. USA 744
3. Japan 598
4. France 557
5. Belgium 533
6. South Korea 469
7. Germany 421
8. Austria 390
9. Spain 386
10. Australia 329 Source B
1. USA 759
2. Germany 577
3. Spain 463
4. U.K. 434
5. France 428
6. Italy 363
7. Brazil 304
8. China 302
9. Netherlands 291
10. Austria 267 Cities (number of meetings) Source A
1. Singapore 919
2. Brussels 464
3. Paris 336
4. Vienna 286
5. Seoul 232
6. Budapest 168
7. Tokyo 153
8. Barcelona 150
9. Berlin 149
10. Geneva 121 Source B
1. Vienna 181
3. Barcelona 150
4. Berlin 147
5. Singapore 142
6. Madrid 130
7. London 115
8. Amsterdam 114
9. Istanbul 113
10. Beijing 111
SOURCE A: Union of International Associations’ International Meetings Statistics for the Year 2011, uia.be
SOURCE B: International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Statistics Report 2002-2011, International Meetings Market, iccaworld.com
Top 10 U.S. Cities for Meetings and Events
SOURCE: Cvent Supplier Network (booking activity) cvent.com
Top 10 Largest U.S. Medical Meetings (by total attendance)
1. Radiological Society of North America: 59,097
2. Greater New York Dental Meeting: 53,789
3. FIME Show: 52,723
4. American Society of Clinical Oncology — Annual Meeting: 31,800
5. Society for Neuroscience: 31,500
6. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: 31,456
7. HIMSS: Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society: 31,293
8. Chicago Dental Society: 30,575
9. Massachusetts Dental Society — Yankee Dental Congress: 27,685
10. California Dental Association — Anaheim: 27,410
SOURCE: Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association (HCEA), hcea.org
Top 20 U.S. Health-Care Meeting Sites
Denver / Miami (tie)
Baltimore / Phoenix (tie)
New York / Philadelphia / Columbus / Honolulu (tie)
SOURCE: Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association (HCEA), hcea.org
U.S. Exhibition Facts and Figures
Results from the 2012 CEIR Index Report ( ceir.org), which takes into account net square footage, attendance, number of exhibitors, and total event gross revenue:
- The industry grew by 2.7 percent in 2011 (beating CEIR’s forecast of 2.4 percent from a year earlier).
- Attendance grew from 2.4 percent in 2010 to 3.4 percent last year.
- The industry will end 2012 with 2.9 percent overall growth across the board, and even stronger growth is predicted in 2013 (3.2 percent) and 2014 (3.4 percent).
- Exhibitions in some industry sectors experienced especially strong growth in 2011, including those involving machinery (11.2 percent overall), communication and information technology (8.1 percent), and transportation (5.7 percent).
- Shows involving building, construction and real estate (which experienced a 5.3-percent decline in 2011) as well as finance and business services continue to lag behind.
On the Horizon
“One of the most important exhibition industry elements that event organizers should have on their radar screen for 2013 is the impact and influence of technology at meetings, exhibitions, and events. Technology continues to positively augment the total experience that an attendee has. This includes prior to, during, and after their attendance. For those who are not able to attend in person, technology enables them to experience important elements of programs that help to encourage future participation at in-person/live activities.”
David DuBois , CMP, CAE, CTA, President, International Association of Exhibitions and Events
North American Bookings
Meetings and events spending continues to grow in North America, with an average 4.8-percent increase expected in cost per attendee per day, along with an average 6-percent increase in group size. Booking windows have increased 5 percent, as organizations feel more confident about the future; given this, advance bookings for 2013 are already strong.
SOURCE: Carlson Wagonlit, carlsonwagonlit.com More Resources
For a video overview of the results presented at CEIR Predict on Sept. 13 in New York City, visit convn.org/CEIR-Predict
Be on the lookout for these technology tools to become available and to grow in popularity in 2013:
- Phablets — An amalgamation of smartphone and tablet, which serves as a communication and Internet device, available at a lower cost than a tablet and offering a larger screen than a smartphone.
- Holographic display and infared keyboards — Which should help smart-phone users type and interact with a much larger keyboard.
- Near-field communications (NFC) — Now included in the iPhone 5, NFC technology allows commercial transactions to be done wirelessly through mobile devices without the need for data cards. The phone can be paired (placed next to another phone) or can tap products in order to transfer files, read product information, and finalize financial transactions.
- Voice assistants — Siri was just the beginning. It is expected that future incarnations will be better at interpreting human commands, able to provide map-related answers, and recall user contacts.
- Sixth Sense technology — Ability to use gestures to manipulate all sorts of daily activities, read information from the Internet, and project information on any wall.
- Wearable computing — A revamped iPod Nano, the Pebble watch project, and other similar tools will enable people to check their watch or a necklace regularly for messages from their friends instead of checking their smartphones.
- Cloud computing — Trillions of dollars of IT spending are moving from data centers and software licenses to cloud services. Soon you’ll be able to read about companies with 10,000 employees who don’t have dedicated data centers.
Email, Video, and Apps
- The use of email declined last year for all age groups from 12- to 54-year-olds, with an increase only evident for the 55–64 and 65-plus age groups.
- Video as a communication tool will become the standard , supported strongly by social channels. Mobile networks will be equipped to handle video calls, and Cisco claims that every endpoint they sell will be video-enabled by the end of 2013 — and that 85 percent of all Internet traffic in 2015 will be video. This means we will see an increase in video events and video collateral, and a more collaborative workforce.
- There are nearly 500,000 apps to download and more than 10,000 new ones sub-mitted every month, not including Android or any other platforms.
Smartphones and Tablets The New Multi-Screen World
Consumers are often switching between multiple screens during the day, with smartphones leading as a starting point for online activities, according to Google’s recent study “The New Multi-Screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consuming Behavior.” Among the findings:
- Of the 66 percent of smartphone users who first accessed social media on their devices, 58 percent continued the experience on a laptop and 8 percent moved to a tablet for the same purpose.
- Sixty-five percent of consumers begin a search on a smartphone , with 60 percent of users transitioning the task to a desktop and 4 percent moving to a tablet.
- Other top online activities that begin on a smartphone include searching the web, shopping, managing finances, and watching an online video.
How Tablets Are Being Used
Web browsing: 92%
Reading emails: 81%
Using tablet applications: 77%
Watching videos: 66%
Reading newspapers, magazines: 64%
Reading books: 55%
Playing games: 50%
Researching tech products: 45%
Reading technology news: 44%
Reading white papers, case studies: 41%
SOURCE: IDG Global Solutions, idgknowledgehub.com
'A Natural for Meetings and Trade Shows'
Meetings technology consultant and speaker Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, is enthusiastic about the potential for iPads and tablet computers at events: “The instant-on, intuitive interface with screens large enough to manage documents makes iPads and other tablet computers a natural for meetings and trade shows. They provide benefits for all parties involved: attendees (rich media, interactive conference programs, networking, and way-finding tools); exhibitors (for interactive kiosks, easier lead-exchange systems, appointment scheduling, and survey tools); hoteliers (an intuitive, portable sales tool); and meeting planners (paperless conference binders eliminating the need to carry around four-inch-thick, three-ring binders full of paper).”
In addition, Ball feels that “mobile technology will likely change events more in the next five years than tech-nology has in the last 20 years. We are in the golden age of app adoptions for events. Very soon, if you do not have an app for an event, attendees will wonder why the event is so behind the times.”
How Mobile Devices Are Being Used
Phone Calls - 94%
SMS - 84%
Internet - 69%
Email - 66%
Mobile app - 59%
Social Network - 42%
Games - 32%
Video - 31%
Read tech news - 29%
Read tech newsletters - 27%
Visit tech vendor sites - 23%
SOURCE: IDG Global Solutions, idgknowledgehub.com
- By the end of 2013, 54 percent of all phones glob-ally will be smartphones, research firm IHS has predicted, which is two years ahead of its previous predictions. Last year, smartphones comprised 35 percent of the global market. Falling prices and the emergence of low-end smartphones in Asia-Pacific — along with strong high-end sales in the United States and Europe — have fueled the growth of smartphones around the world, according to IHS.
- By 2015 , smartphone sales will reach 982 million, market intelligence firm IDC recently pre-dicted, and according to Morgan Stanley, mobile web users will surpass traditional desktop Inter-net users by 2014. The airline industry is taking notice: A recent Airline IT Trends survey found that nine out of 10 airlines are planning to sell tick-ets via mobile by 2015.
- Be on the lookout in 2013 for multi-screen services that allow you to seamlessly move from phone to tablet to computer to TV and back again, providing cloud-based syncing of content, experi-ences, and shopping carts, said Chris Blakely, vice president of client services for comScore.
- According to Google, 14 percent of all searches come from mobile versus 7 percent from tablets and 79 percent from desktops (see more on the Google study on p. 55). But watch out for rapid growth in tablets: While most tablet usage is cur-rently occurring in the home, it is fast becoming a go-to device for business travelers. “It’s never been easier for people on the go to navigate a strange city and discover places, find merchants or a great meal while traveling,” Blakely said.
- Online travel agency Orbitz reported that during the month of May this year, six million people used a mobile device to shop for travel, more than dou-ble during the same time in 2011. During the first quarter of the year, more than 9 percent of Orbitz hotel bookings were made via mobile devices.
Social Media Photo Sharing
- Forty-six percent of Internet users post original photos and videos online that they have created themselves, and 41 percent curate photos and videos they find elsewhere on the Internet and on image-sharing sites.
- Women are more likely than men to use Pinterest, while Instagram and Tumblr attract equal shares of men and women.
SOURCE: Pew Internet, pewinternet.org Marketing
- In 2012, 32 percent of marketers said they are “very” or “fully” engaged in mar-keting through social channels, compared with 21 percent surveyed by BtoB in 2011.
- The “Social Media Marketing: A Surge in Adoption” study projects that 53 percent will be intensely engaged in social-media marketing, with 97 percent of all market-ers involved with social media to some degree in 2013.
SOURCE: IDG Knowledge Hub, idgknowledgehub.com
On the Horizon
Sharing Knowledge ‘Without the Bounds of Time and Space’ "In a world where there are more iPhones bought daily than babies born, the very way in which we communicate has radically changed. As technology becomes irreversibly integrated into our lives and people adopt technologies that help them work harder, smarter, and faster, it’s no surprise to find virtual and hybrid meetings gaining in popularity.
“Digital events have enormous growth potential for multinational companies wishing to conduct business nimbly, efficiently, and, let’s face it, in a more cost-effective way. The economic situation appears to be on the up, yet demand for spend justification is just as intense. Lessons have been learned. Virtual or hybrid meetings allow those delegates interested in the meeting content — but not so interested in the travel expense or the traveling time required to attend — to participate at a time and in a location that suits them. I see virtual events evolve in line with a strategic meetings management (SMM) approach: Just as technology is an integral part of our everyday lives, these meetings technologies will become part of core meeting portfolios. Sharing knowledge and information globally, consistently, and efficiently, we can connect with our teams and build stronger brands and communities than ever before.
“Meeting planners need to understand the value these meetings can bring, like building knowledge legacy through content capture. They need to translate this into a quantifiable return on investment for the client. Meeting design must be creative to take account of the global-to-local adaptations in content and delivery. Content must be compelling to encourage active participation and engagement. Technology merely opens the door to a richer experience and greater learning.
“Will all this virtual activity signal the death knell for traditional face-to-face meetings? Au contraire! Humans are social beings. At MCI, we say, ‘When people come together, magic happens.’ New technologies can help us enhance this experience, extend the lifecycle of the meeting content, and bring the magic to larger audiences. MCI CEO Sebastien Tondeur said it best: ‘It’s no longer who attends your meeting, it’s who participates.’
“MCI’s inaugural MeetSmarter industry educational event held in June 2012 (meetsmarter.com
) brought 100 physical attendees to Killarney, Ireland, amassed 124,000 Twitter impressions, and was streamed live to 400 virtual attendees globally from 57 different countries. Recordings of the business sessions are currently being accessed 24/7 globally.
“We are now more connected than ever as the globe becomes one giant, knowledge-sharing platform. Virtual and hybrid meetings enable us to share this knowledge without the bounds of time and space.”
Roger Tondeur, President, MCI More Resources
Jim Spellos and Corbin Ball have created TechSpec, a set of two site-inspection checklists designed to help meeting planners measure and gauge technology during a hotel site inspection. Download the full version (Word doc) at convn.org/tech-spec
The checklist is also available as a free app — Android and iPhone versions can be accessed at techspec.quickmobile.mobi