From live streaming of sessions to locavore teambuilding, here are 5 meeting trends for 2018 identified by Benchmark’s properties.
Apple TV, Dedicated WiFi, Personalized Apps, Livestreaming
Properties are being asked to create apps for a specific meeting on demand, to launch livestreaming of sessions to remote points so team members outside the conference can participate, to send updedicated WiFi signals for specific meetings or sessions within a meeting and to provide Apple TV on demand. It’s the new normal.
Culinary teambuilding initiatives originating out of the hotel’s kitchen remain, by far, the most popular coast to coast, the most requested by meeting planners, and the most approachable for meeting groups. What’s on the horizon? Bar Wars, where a team creates its signature cocktail and then samples the recipe.
Food & Light
Planners continue to request creative, participatory and healthy food options sourced locally, everything from food trucks on property to Iron Chef competitions. After the body is sufficiently and creatively nourished, the mind needs a perfectly lit environment for productive learning, and planners are demanding 21st Century lighting in all rooms—not just the meeting space—complemented wherever possible by Mother Nature’s natural illumination.
What’s happening in a property’s neighborhood—importantly, what the locals recommend as the quirky, under-the-radar highlights of their destination—matters to attendees. Many groups like to get off property for a couple of hours or for an afternoon, and explore the unique aspects of the locale where they are gathering. So when at Doral Arrowwood in Westchester, New York, they can take a trek to nearby Sleepy Hollow are in order—particularly around Halloween. At Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s North Shore, groups can catch some rays at Queen Lili’uokalani’s private bathing beach, or take surf lessons on some of the world’s best waves. Or at Hotel Contessa in San Antonio, immerse themselves in Texas history at the legendary Alamo a few blocks away.
For the first time, “privacy” is a top demand from planners coast to coast. As business becomes increasingly competitive, privacy within meetings and apart from all other groups on property is essential and being demanded by planners.