Corporate Meeting Trends All Planners Should Know
Global business travel spending is expected to reach a record $1.18 billion in 2014, up nearly 7 percent from 2013. Much of that travel will involve traveling and participating in corporate meetings and conferences.
Corporations are clearly willing to host meetings out of town and spend more handsomely on them. But the way meetings have been planned and conducted have gone through significant change. Gone are the days when people travel to some random city and expect to sit through meetings before catching their flight home. In order for meetings to be most effective, they need to be lively, engaging and have some sort of fun group activities.
When planning a meeting and selecting a place to host the meeting, take into account some of the following tips and trends:
- Corporate meeting rooms are not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing: When people think of a corporate meeting room, they often think of a stereotypical corporate boardroom with plush furniture where people sit around in a circular fashion. That works fine in some capacities.
But not every meeting should be that way. Simply put, the type of corporate meeting room should be based on the agenda at hand. If someone is giving a presentation, perhaps a theater-like venue is the way to go. Looking for more cooperation? Perhaps a more open-space venue will do. Looking for more group activities? Look to a place with lots of smaller meeting rooms.
- Neither are meeting venues: Obviously, you must take into account who will be attending this meeting. What might appeal to senior finance executives may not necessarily work with an all-company meeting for an advertising agency. Simply put, the target attendee, as well as the subject at hand, will determine the location and venue of the event.
- It is about the experience: When people go to corporate meetings (especially out of town), people want it to be more than just a business meeting. Rather, they want it to be a part of a larger experience in order to truly make the travel worthwhile.
When planning a large meeting, try to incorporate an all-encompassing experience. For instance, try to give away mementos and prizes focusing on the specific city at hand. If the meeting is taking place at a retreat center, try providing a host of different activities (golf, hiking, etc.) during the evening that allows people to take their mind off work.
- The meeting takes place before and after the “official” meeting: With the rise of social media in every aspect of our lives, people will be talking about the “meeting” both before and after the actual meeting. Not only should you be aware of this, but you should also take advantage of this opportunity to promote your company/organization.
How so? How about a hashtag for the event that people can follow while they travel there. Perhaps a prize may be in order for the best Tweet leading up to the big event? Or even a good-old raffle drawing may do the trick to get people excited.
CAVEAT: If the meeting will be discussing private company matters (financials, M&A, personnel, etc.) it needs to be made abundantly clear that social media will not have a role in that particular meeting. In 2014, you can’t assume that people will keep quiet unless you tell them explicitly, especially if they are not in a role that often requires them to zip their lips.
- Technology, technology, technology: It’s 2014—which means that the technology at the meeting better be stellar. This means high speed Wi-Fi connections should be available throughout the event venue. Make sure that any information that you provide in a large binder is easily accessible through a smartphone or a tablet. Make sure that the projectors and video technology used throughout the meeting are up to date.
But take it further: If the meeting is a large conference, be sure to utilize conference event guide apps. Alluding to point 4, make sure that people have ample the opportunity to connect and share their experience through social media and other apps geared at connecting meeting/conference-goers.
Cedar Creek offers modern conference facilities to accommodate groups large or small. Our thoughtfully designed meeting rooms and break areas provide you with the flexibility needed for informal discussion, committee, lecture, or executive meetings. Need help in the planning process? Download our corporate retreat checklist.