Things are changing in the meeting industry. Spaces will soon replicate a "living room" environment with top-notch interactive technology tool rentals that can bring a "wow" effect to the event. No more boring spaces — fun, vibrant, and creative are the words of the day.
BizBash Magazine recently published the top 10 trends they believe are changing the industry. I have plucked out 7 of the 10 in this blog post — highlighting changes in both the meeting space and with event audio visual rental equipment.
Trend #1: The Anti-Meeting Look.
Anyone who has been in this industry for awhile, knows that most meeting rooms are set up in a classroom, round, theater style, or U-Shape format. That is going to be ending, sooner rather than later. Planners are asking that the meeting space be relaxing and homey, stocked with cozy furniture and soft seating.
"It (a well decorated home) is a more comfortable atmosphere to relax and take in information," said Peggy Fang Roe, Vice President of Global Operations Services for Marriott International, where they are prototyping this setup.
Trend #2: Turning Small Spaces into Something Useful.
Hotel owners and conference services staff are taking a hard look at their unused space and converting it into gathering areas for 4 to 8 individuals. Housed with couches, easy chairs, recharging docks, and lighting — these small spaces are areas where attendees can network or work in small project teams.
Trend #3: Addition of Outdoor Spaces.
Even urban hotels are adding patios, terraces, and other outdoor areas for the meeting, a reception or for breaks. An outdoor space allows attendees to get into the fresh air and keeps the group energized over the course of the day.
"People want more of an engaging experience in the meeting space," said Tristan Dowell, Director of Brands at Hyatt Corporation, where attendees regularly gather on the patio of their New York Wall Street property.
Trend #4: Eco-Friendly Meetings.
Many planners are seeking LEED-certified or "green" venues. According to the 2012 American Express Meetings & Events Global Forecast Report, 73% of meeting planners have an increased interest in hosting greener meetings.
Hilton Worldwide has a program called LightStay that analyzes the economic impact of 200 event meeting services operational practices and can tell the planner the environmental impact of their meeting at a specific Hilton property.
Trend #5: Utilization of Newer Technology Equipment.
"More hotels are outsourcing AV — which does have an effect for the buyer — because their's (the outside vendor) is better quality," said Bjorn Hanson, Dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality at New York University.
Some of the trends event planners will take advantage of are great pixel resolution via Plasma TV or Video Wall rentals, brighter lumens on LCD projectors, and the ability to tie sound into what is displaying on the screen rentals. All of these elements are going create a richer presentation for the attendee.
Trend #6: Capturing a New Lighting Source: The Sun.
As hotel and conference centers renovate, they are adding more windows into their ballrooms, meeting rooms and break spaces — thus utilizing natural lighting whenever possible.
Trend #7: Fewer Risers.
Stages that are fixed are being taken out of hotels during renovations and the rental of risers from AV companies are in decline. Other than for entertainment purposes or a very large convention, a riser can put an automatic barrier between the speaker and the attendees something most planners want to eliminate.
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