Meeting Planning Trends 2017

Attending business meetings are a part of the job for many individuals, and nothing feels better than a business meeting or conference that goes well. Corporate event planners take on the responsibility for making sure that events go smoothly, but if you’re interested in knowing what you might encounter in the coming year, here are a few meeting planning trends to look for in 2017.

No rest for the weary! According to American Express, corporate event planners will be about as busy in 2017 as they were in 2016.  Early indications suggest that the number of business meetings in 2017 will match those in 2016.  That’s positive because the number of corporate events actually increased in both 2015 and 2016. 2017 looks to be a year that sustains recent growth in corporatemeeting planning.

Same time, same place. In addition to a steady number of corporate meetings and conferences, planners expect to see the same number of meeting days. 2017 events will be similar in length to their 2016 counterparts and are likely to involve the same or similar venues.  While cities like Orlando and Chicago remain on the corporate event planners’ A-list, 2017 will see the emergence (or return) of some new venues. New Orleans has again broken into the top-10 North American meeting destinations, displacing Phoenix. In addition, smaller cities may shine in 2017. Group hotel rates are also expected to stay steady.

Meeting budgets.  Most meeting and event budgets in 2017 will reflect spending levels in 2016. That’s good news because 2016 meeting budgets were the highest they’ve been in about four years.  Stability seems to be the watchword in meeting planning trends in 2017.

If all of those things are staying the same, what’s changing in 2017?

Meeting attendance.  Study respondents indicated that they expect to see fewer meeting attendees in 2017, as the focus shifts from quantity to quality.  The quality of the meeting experience will emerge as a primary concern for hosts, which has implications for meeting planning, travel coordination and event registration.

Content.  As indicated above, paring down the number of meeting attendees opens the opportunity for a better overall meeting experience for those who do attend. Conferences and tradeshows will still dominate the corporate meeting space, but incentive meetings and special events will also play an important role. While the latter meeting types may not be as numerous in 2017, those that do take place will see more attendees and a more focused meeting experience.

Social media.  Social media is big and will get bigger in 2017. Meeting planning will incorporate social media and other forms of personalized engagement before, during and after meetings as a way to improve networking among meeting attendees. Mobile apps and social media have the ability to extend the value of the meeting long after the event’s doors have closed, and 2017 will see a renewed focus on attendee engagement.

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