Two Roads Hospitality released a new survey forecasting increased interest and spend on meetings throughout 2018.
The sixth-annual “State of the Meetings Industry” survey polled more than 300 corporate, associate and government independent planners to understand the meetings trends of the year to come. Overall, the report estimates an increase in group meeting spending, with 37 percent of survey respondents claiming they expect to plan more meetings this year, up from 30 percent in 2017.
Also, nearly 45 percent of respondents say they have more money to spend in 2018, which is expected to play well with the industry’s higher demand overall.
“Meetings are seeing costs rising because there’s strong demand from the leisure and transient segments, and because much of the new hotel supply is in the economy or midscale categories—which tend to lack meeting facilities and the leisure amenities preferred by both planners and attendees,” Andre Fournier, EVP of sales, marketing and revenue for Two Roads Hospitality, said in a statement. “With 84 percent of survey respondents using upscale, upper-upscale or luxury properties, it is anticipated that these segments will experience stronger demand than supply.”
Other standout trends from the report include:
- Flexible meeting space: 74 percent of respondents rated flexible meeting space as an eight, nine or 10 out of 10 on importance when organizing a meeting or event. This included nontraditional elements such as informal living rooms and seating areas as well as urban rooftops. In another statement, Fournier said the current meetings atmosphere was “convivial like at a coffee house.”
- Food and beverage: F&B ranked third in the list of important factors when selecting a meetings site, behind location and rate. Two Roads’ report pointed out that destination-specific F&B offerings are often desired by meeting planners, and will continue to be important in 2018.
- Technology: On-site technology also ranked high in the report, with 61 percent of respondents ranking technology between eight and 10 out of 10 in importance for planning meetings this year. Of the main concerns, bandwidth remains a mainstay while emerging technology such as virtual reality site tours are also gaining ground.
- Team building: Nearly 40 percent of respondents also rated leisure and team-building amenities as a seven out of 10 or higher in importance when choosing a site. Of those, 53 percent of respondents are interested in active team building, while 47 percent prefer public-service activities instead, but both groups stressed locality as an important factor for immersion.
To view the full 2018 "State of the Meetings Industry" whitepaper, click here.