THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Integrating teambuilding and adventure into meetings is shaping up to be a top trend in 2015, according to the U.S.-based Benchmark Hospitality, whose meeting planners at 40 of its properties throughout the U.S. assembled a list of the top trends impacting their business.
“We believe 2015 is shaping up to be a great year for the meetings industry,” said Ted Davis, chief sales and marketing officer for Benchmark Hospitality. “We’re seeing strong demand growth from most industry segments and spiking interest in the realm of delivering personal growth for conferees. The millennial attendees are more focused on ‘what’s in it for me personally’ and planners understand that.”
Other top trends include the growing reliance on social media to communicate with clients. Meeting planners are choosing to reach out through LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and other apps. And, smartphones have become a critical component of meetings. Planners are using them to showcase advance virtual tours of the hotel and meeting facilities. But, properties must optimize bandwidth to offer fast and reliable Wi-Fi, as meeting attendees are arriving with tablets, smartphones and laptops.
Wellness is another top trend for meeting planners, who are choosing to bring chefs on board to create custom menus, which will help sustain energy during meetings, while accommodating dietary preferences and allergies. Meanwhile, boutique and luxury properties are becoming more sought after for their ability to offer an intimate meeting experience.