Sourcing: We will become less concerned about securing the most prestigious real estate and more certain that the destination aligns with a group’s values, promotes sustainability, safety and health and offers personalized experiences that will make it worth the trip. In the short term, localization, as in drive-to destinations, will cause smaller places to host more meetings and conventions.
Programming: Large meetings may be exciting and offer some sense of community but for staying power, show organizers will need to re-tool events to facilitate micro-communities as relationships make for stickiness and ward off competition. It will be important that these communities benefit everyone and not just a select few (diversity and inclusion) and once they are successful, will be one more way brand sponsors can have real relationships with the attendees.
Digital: Meetings will use digital not as a separate stand-alone feature, but as glue that binds together two different audiences under the term “hybrid.” It will be woven into the event as it already occurs in life. One organizer mentioned that at a live meeting he hosted, an attendee was watching on the screen the same speaker who stood directly in front. Anyone with teenage children will find this familiar. The industry is ripe for innovations for including digital participants in live events and visa versa.