1) Wellbeing at events
"Wellness breaks in the conference and meetings world are going to become a much higher priority in 2018, as the millennial generation are far more conscious of their health and wellbeing. The trend towards looking after yourself is also extending to choice of location for events, as organisers take into account every aspect of the experience for delegates."
Diane Waldron, director of sales and marketing at the QEII Centre
2) Inspiring meetings with creative activities
"Companies are always looking for something new and inspiring for corporate away days and meetings, and we believe this is set to grow in 2018. Gone are the days where businesses would be content with a standard meeting room and a buffet lunch; they want to provide their staff with a unique experience, which helps boost creativity to get the most out of their event.
"Most industry reports are indicating that 2018 will be a strong year within the domestic market for meetings and events, and the need for corporate clients to seek out service-led venues is at the top of the criteria list."
Marc Webster, Commercial Director at Whittlebury Hall & Spa
3) Stretched service levels
"Technology has driven an increase in online event agency portals offering wider and comparative choice, quicker bookings, shorter lead times and live availability for smaller standard meetings. Over time, this could lead to more negotiation over commission levels for peak dates too as clients become more accustomed to booking this way.
"Venue websites also have to constantly evolve to engage clients. Given the current political instability across the world with Brexit and recent controversial election results, confidence for firms to spend more on larger events may be more hit and miss. Discussions surrounding challenges such as staffing levels and expenditure will become even more significant. If living costs increase and there is difficulty attracting skilled event professionals and employees with a sufficient high-work ethic, service levels may be stretched, and profit-margins reviewed."
Paul Martins, board member of Westminster Venue Collection and director of sales at Cavendish Venues
4) Bespoke apps for events
"Throughout 2017 we have seen the rise of bespoke apps becoming a key feature of events and conferences, as venues move to collaborate with brands to create event-specific features. These user-friendly platforms allow for easier registration and increased delegate accessibility and engagement, providing an opportunity for event-planners to have a conversation about the event before and after its occurrence.
"The use of these apps will continue into 2018, with the integration of virtual and augmented reality becoming increasingly important as another form of delegate participation, offering delegates access to tools such as 3D venue layout videos or live sensory experiences."
Tracey Chappell, national sales manager of stadia and concessions at Venuelior
5) Simplifying guest journeys
"Simplifying the guest’s journey from search to stay will continue in 2018. Effective use of technology will not only ensure the guest’s journey is efficient and easy, but technology will also help to personalise the experience; to know and anticipate guest needs and therefore exceed expectations. The traditional receptionist role will become more of a ‘host’ role, with the all-important human interaction used for information and feedback. The whole process can be enhanced by technology, but not replaced."
Richard Powell, general manager at New Place Hotel, Southampton
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