5 Top Meeting Industry Trends for 2019

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Our editors chose their favorite meeting industry trends for 2019.

Prevue’s editors picked their favorite 5 top meeting industry trends for 2019.

It’s that time of year again, when everyone makes predictions on the top meeting industry trends for 2019. Here are 5 favorites from some of our favorite industry experts.

Festivalization of Meetings & Incentives

According to the experts at CWT Meetings & Events, the rise of festivalization—designing an immersive business event that echoes some of the best parts of a consumer festival—means more focus on co-curation of sessions, social media activity and innovative workshops, visuals and venue design.

When it comes to incentives, a wonderful resort in an exotic destination is no longer enough—a complete buy-out is becoming critically important for some planners to achieve maximum attendee experience. And resorts are recognizing the value in offering the option during times when leisure demand is low. This facilitates the possibility of taking over a non-traditional space, such as a swimming pool or part of a golf course, for the exclusive use of attendees.

Transformational  Experiences

The buzzword in the incentive industry these days is “transformational experiences.” In part due to changing demographics, we are no longer just in the business of designing meetings and incentive trips, we are in the business of changing lives. Pádraic Gilligan, chief marketing officer, SITE, and managing partner, SoolNua will be speaking on this new approach to incentive travel and how to create trips that are powerful and life-altering experiences at Prevue’s Strategic Meetings & Incentives Summit April 29-30 in Miami Beach.

Augmented Reality

The event management solution company Hubb predicts that 2019 will be the year of AR, especially when used to improve attendee engagement before, during and after the event.

AR has the power to give turn-by-turn directions to attendees, identify event-goers with face recognition capabilities, and even allows attendees to interact with products and people through a hologram. Hubb cites an example where the host of a corporate conference appeared on stage as a hologram and was able to address the audience and answer questions in real time. “The clarity of his image coupled with the immediacy of his responses made it seem as though he was actually standing on the stage. Examples like this one represent the many ways in which AR will transform how event attendees visualize and communicate with one another, especially in 2019.”

Mindful Events

Mindfulness. Wellness. CSR. While these concepts have been around for quite some time, they are gaining prominence. These are things attendees are trying to incorporate in their own lives, so they need to play a role in events as well.

This softer side is spilling over into much more than just session content or activities. According to the Event Manager blog, we’re seeing it in event design, food, breaks, room set up, snacks, furniture, downtime, mental health discussions, mindful minutes, getting outside at events and much more.

How does a planner add elements of mindfulness? Everything from brain-friendly foods to the menu to a creativity or wellness zone that provides an oasis of play opportunities, guided socializing, and/or wellness techniques. Even quick chair massages after a morning of sitting in sessions. The possibilities are endless.

Social Media Influencers Will Drive Event Trends

The gurus at the marketing event firm Omnience predict that marketers will channel their creative energy toward building truly memorable moments that organically lend themselves to snapping photos and sharing the experience. When it’s so creative that attendees just can’t keep to themselves, they won’t!

However, you can’t simply leave these opportunities to chance. Omnience suggests that planners./marketers push hashtags ahead of time that build the suspense, and contact industry-specific influencers to help with the campaign. These influencers—and even micro-influencers—can help organizers tap into what attendees will share, which means they are the ultimate resources for event planning trends.


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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.