CSR top priority in 2008

Delegates will demand highly interactive meetings and insist that CSR is top priority in 2008, predicts EIBTM industry analyst Rob Davidson. These are two of the key trends identified in Davidson´s EIBTM 2007 Industry Trends and Market Share Report, released at the show in Barcelona yesterday, and he said their impact on the industry would intensify next year. “We will have shorter, more relevant presentations, more structured group work where delegates discuss among themselves issues that are important to them,” said Davidson, who is University of Westminster senior lecturer in business travel and tourism. “We will find ways of using interactivity to exploit much more of the knowledge that the delegates themselves use rather than just that of the speakers. I think there will be many new channels created for exploiting that knowledge and sharing it and it will boost the ROI of meetings.” Davidson said technology, such as remote voting systems, would increasingly be used in meetings to boost real-time interactivity and allow delegates to guide speakers. His report found that pressure to travel less or increase carbon-offsetting as well as using destinations that allow delegates to contribute positively to the local community were trends being felt in the industry throughout the world. “I think CSR will grow very fast and it will be driven by the new generation of delegates,” said Davidson. “They are the people who will care most about that and it´s partly thanks to them that the whole CSR and green meetings issues have gone up the agenda much faster than anyone expected.” The report also found that in some parts of the world, such as china and India, it was a suppliers´market. “Supply will struggle to keep up with demand, notably on the hotel and airline side but not so much on the convention centre side,” he said. “In the US, Europe and in much of the Far East, they simply can´t build four- and five-star hotels fast enough. In the case of the Far East, it´s a symptom of the booming middle class – more and more people have the means to attend events and more companies can afford to run them. In developed countries, a lot of companies are now seeing the value of meetings and that´s creating the growth in demand.”

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