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Meeting Trends 2016 – Are you Seeing These as Well?

Happy New Year Everyone!!

What a difference a year can make in the ever-changing industry of meetings and events.  The market really affected how we do business with venues and suppliers, as well as affected our value as meeting planners in the industry.

Here are some trends you may see in meetings and events in the months to come, and my random observations about how this affects your value to your organization:

  • Who’s hotel is this? – what became daily news in 2015 with hotel mergers and take-overs will continue into 2016.  HB is on top of this, our executives are the first to hear about these transitions and how they affect your current program contracts, and future contracts
  • More blank space in programming – delegates are being “over-programmed” at conferences, and calls for more free time are being answered by planners.  Try to incorporate more blank space in your programming – it allows your introverts to re-energize, and your extroverts to network spontaneously.
  • Occupancy and rates going up, up, up –research is saying most North American markets will 5.5% increase in rates in 2016, and projected 5.8% in 2017.  At HB we’ve done additional training in negotiations in this seller’s market, ask me how we can help mitigate these rising costs.
  • Fitness! – conferences are now incorporating yoga classes as breakout sessions, or offering an early morning 5k run/walk for delegates.  I’ve participated in the early morning runs at a few conferences now, you’d be amazed at how many people come out!  A great sponsorship opportunity too!
  • Outdoor sessions – finding venues that offer some outdoor space for breakout sessions or coffee breaks is a great way to energize your program
  • Safety and security – local and international terrorism has many event planners scrambling to redo their security plans
  • Uber, Airbnb – many conferences are seeing increasing number of delegates using various shared economy platforms. As a planner, make sure you’re covered from a  risk standpoint if you know many delegates are using these at your events.
  • Food prices going up, up, up – just like your grocery bill is going up, so are the bills at the hotels.  Work with your chef to find in-season alternatives and keep your rising costs at a minimum.
  • Come on up, to Canada! – the low Canadian dollar has made our beautiful country VERY attractive for meetings right now, another reason the occupancy is at an all-time high coast to coast.
  • Canadian staycations – and the high US dollar has kept many former US-bound programs at home in Canada.
  • Mobile apps, again – if you haven’t started incorporating mobile apps into your events, now is the time.  They are getting more sophisticated and easier to use than ever.  Many planners are incorporating charging stations at conferences, allowing delegates more time on their smartphones throughout the day.

Lots of change, lots of opportunity.  At HelmsBriscoe, we’re staying on top of the things that will affect our clients’ programs.  Ask me how we can best support your program goals and save your organization money in this new economy.  I’m here to help!



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