I started my journalism career working for a travel magazine and didn’t know anything about meetings or conventions. Much like the start for many meeting planners.
If there’s one thing I’ve discovered from the events I’ve covered, hundreds of press releases I’ve received and thousands of #eventprofs tweets I’ve scoured, it’s that meetings are cool. There’s nothing like the connections made over coffee, the revelations discovered in a general session or the camaraderie realized when groups come together.
There’s been an explosion of creativity recently. Convention and visitors bureaus are developing attention-grabbing marketing campaigns. New smartphone apps amaze me with their functionality. Planners are using technology at events we were barely dreaming about a couple years ago. In this year’s first issues of Collaborate, Connect and Rejuvenate magazines, our editors have chosen some of our favorite innovations and ideas. During the process, some trends emerged:
1. Perception is reality. Attendees want to know and are drawn to authentic organizations and events. As social responsibility becomes more the norm than a trend, an event’s programming, sustainability and partnerships are under more scrutiny due to instant online feedback.
2. It’s personal. People are more likely to attend an event as a result of a friend’s recommendation than a sharp marketing campaign. The most successful events, convention centers and brands are the ones that create a personal connection with their followers through pictures, stories and conversation.
3. Creativity is king. Big budget or small, organizations on both sides of meetings and events have to think outside the lines to draw attention, whether by rethinking education and programming, using new technology or developing creative ways to engage attendees.
All of our magazines thrive on feedback we get from planners, those of you in the trenches. I’ll pass along the cool things we hear about on the media side of the meetings industry as a contributor to this blog, and I look forward to hearing from you.
What’s the coolest trend you see in meetings and events right now?