Meeting Trends for 2011

Meetings Mean BusinessWith the big brouhaha over the economy, some have said that meetings in the last few years have suffered the biggest bruises since September 11. It's good to know that one trend in our industry is an increase in the number of events and attendance. It's a topic seen at more and more industry events.

Many organizations have social responsibilities statements, often using it as a way to green their meetings. Some promote social responsibility as a tool to drive attendance and as a way to contribute to a meeting on site.

Not surprising, social media still has a strong grasp on the industry. Technology in general will still take on bigger and bigger roles at meetings as both the technology and its reduced consumption on the environment evolve. Just check out any meeting industry conference. PCMA, at its recent Education Conference, not only had breakout sessions on technology, but even a keynote address on social media and meetings.

Finally, meetings themselves will continue to grow and have a greater impact. They may be closer to association headquarters and may be shorter-term, but face-to-face meetings have more importance now than ever before. With the hit meetings took people are beginning to miss meetings, both personally and professionally. In our industry, it can be seen at the annual conferences of PCMA, MPI and others. Even meeting planners want face-to-face interaction.

However, it won't come without a cost. Return on Investment (ROI) or what some are calling Return on Time, is also more important now. The need for people to meet on-site still has to be balanced by expense, time out of the office and benefit of attending.

With predictions that the economy will be fully recovered by 2012, maybe now is a good time to lock in some valuable room rates and look forward to a time when the word "economy" won't keep people from attending meetings.
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