Top Meeting Trends for 2016

Industry experts weigh in on what they expect to be important factors for meetings in 2016.

Meetings go beyond just tables and chairs — they provide an opportunity to connect, brainstorm and produce great ideas. So how will meeting attendees continue to interact in 2016? The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and Marriott International have a few ideas.

The two organizations asked industry experts from several fields what trends they expect to see in meetings in 2016. Here’s what they determined:

1. Sensory analytics. The Internet of Things, including wearable tech, provides vast amounts of data that meeting planners can analyze to “take the pulse” of an event and adjust based on their findings. Factors to track include temperature and audience engagement to see how attendees are feeling and how meeting planners can enhance their experience.

2. Tribalization. Technology is helping to create a sense of community, or tribes, by connecting people with like-minded individuals, such as Meetup groups and hack-a-thons. Meeting planners will need to provide opportunities for these small-group networking experiences before, during and after events. 

3. Personalization. Attendees are used to custom content in other aspects of their lives, such as social media, and they want that same experience from their events. This includes not only sharing their own content, but also being able to personalize their experience, whether it’s choosing their own meeting track or rearranging a room for a more dynamic conversation.

4. Health and wellness. Diet and exercise are only two parts of attendees’ well-being. The definition is changing to include emotional, social and spatial considerations as well. This “wholeness” component will need to consider not only healthy lifestyle elements, such as airflow and lighting, but also creativity and productivity opportunities.

5. Virtual meetings. As technologies improve, attendees will expect more immersive experiences — whether they’re onsite or not. And the experiences will need to be seamless to make sure both groups are satisfied with the information and interaction.

Visit Meetings Imagined at the beginning of each month as we explore each trend in detail.