In a world that is constantly evolving, the landscape of corporate meetings and events is no exception. As we look ahead, it’s evident that the way companies plan, execute, and participate in meetings and events is undergoing a transformation. From technological advancements to the changing preferences of attendees, the future of corporate gatherings promises to be exciting and innovative.

Tracy Winsworth, Managing Director for Trinity Event Solutions shares her insight into the current trends for meetings and events and how they’re adapting business to meet client demands.

We have seen consistent upward trend in the average lead time for meetings and events year after year. With those within one month showing a 4% increase, the 1-2 month category increasing by 3%, and the 3-6 month range experiencing a 1% rise. This increase in short lead time has resulted in a 4% decrease in the 6-9 month lead time category.

So why are we seeing this continued increase in short average lead time? We continued listening and actively seeking the thoughts and actions of our clients. We concluded that a major factor in average lead time is the economic impact of the cost-of-living crisis. 

Key points that we uncovered are that businesses are holding back on bookings – they’re more cost-aware. Cancellations at the contract signing stage have increased and that due to buyer confidence being lower than initial Covid recovery. Corporates have been revisiting for later in the year and into 2024.

The rail strikes have also had a major impact on the meetings and events industry, affecting attendance, costs, and logistical planning. Event planners are forced to adapt to these disruptions. They’re considering alternative transportation options and being proactive in communication with attendees and stakeholders to mitigate the impact. We’ve been working with venues to minimise cancellation charges where rail strikes have affected planned events.

What are we seeing as the potential for the future? 

More aggregate buying. We’re encouraging clients to secure rates now for future bookings, certainly for larger bookings. And we’re speaking with venues about this – if we can guarantee them business on the books, they can afford to be more flexible on prices.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics will play a significant role in shaping the future of corporate events. Predictive analytics will help organisers anticipate attendee needs, optimise event logistics, and measure ROI more effectively. Chatbots and AI-powered assistants will provide real-time support to participants.

Inclusivity and diversity will continue to be at the forefront of corporate events. Organisations will prioritise creating spaces that welcome attendees from diverse backgrounds and abilities. Inclusive design, accessibility features, and diverse speaker lineups will become standard practice.

Sustainability is no longer a buzzword; it’s a necessity. Companies are increasingly aware of their environmental impact. This awareness will drive the trend toward sustainable meetings and events. Expect to see eco-friendly venues, reduced waste, and carbon offset initiatives becoming integral to corporate gatherings.

The future of corporate meetings and events is poised to be dynamic and transformative. With technology at the forefront, events will become more accessible, sustainable, and personalised. The emphasis on inclusivity, well-being, and sustainability will shape the way companies plan and execute gatherings. 

By staying ahead of these trends, organisations can ensure their meetings and events remain relevant and impactful in an ever-changing world. As we adapt to new technologies and evolving societal norms, corporate meetings and events will continue to be vital for connection, innovation, and growth.

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