MPI RELEASES ITS QUARTERLY MEETINGS OUTLOOK SURVEY RESULTS
By Becky Peck
Meeting Professionals International has published its Meetings Outlook, 2018 Winter Edition. The latest installment of the quarterly report indicates planners are reporting an increased focus on personalizing the user experience through technology and data collection in a landscape of continued growth—and an increase in the perceived value of face-to-face meetings.
Key findings include the following:
- Despite slightly more people expressing pessimism about meetings and events one year after the U.S. presidential election, the overall statistical finding of respondents’ professional outlook as it relates to President Donald Trump is slightly positive due to a high percentage of “firmly optimistic” (10.2 percent) responses. Only 3.9 percent of respondents identified a “firmly pessimistic” outlook.
- 62 percent of respondents predict favorable business conditions, with a 2.1 percent growth expected over the next year.
- 7 percent of respondents cite “most safe and secure” as the most important factor in destination or venue selection.
- Attendance at live and virtual events is expected to grow by 2.2 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively— revealing growth for live events over last quarter.
When asked which technologies are taking precedence, respondents overwhelmingly cited apps, mentioned by nearly 28 percent. “The use of meeting apps is changing how meetings happen,” wrote one planner. In one case, a planner reported seeing more use of ConsensusOnline for AR and facial recognition technology. Another anonymous planner pointed to “mass adoption of VR in the consumer space” and “expectations for this in the meeting environment to increase.”
According to the survey various apps are being used to reduce paper usage, improve communications, facilitate networking, speed registration and improve attendee safety. Other technologies considered important were automated registration (17.4 percent) and social media marketing and communications, AR/ VR and data collection and mining (all cited by 9.3 percent). “We are also looking at how technology can be used throughout the event to connect with other participants without replacing the human connection piece of the event,” wrote a planner who requested anonymity.
Many respondents seem ready to try new technologies as the prices come down. In the survey, meeting professionals said they are looking forward to the advent of affordable and easy-to-use beacon (iBeacon) technology and/or RFID to collect data about attendee preferences and behaviors,
The survey also questioned planners on which factors are most important when selecting a destination or venue for larger meetings.
- 44.7 percent responded “most safe and secure”
- 26.1 percent said the location must be domestic
- 24.1 percent noted accessibility as key
- 19.1 percent said they work off an approved list of venues and destinations
With safety and security now the No. 1 trend in Meetings Outlook for the first time some meeting professionals are looking to personalization technology to keep attendees safe. Solutions already being used include RFID badge security applications. Using apps to ensure that attendees are safe getting to and from events is also a growing trend noted by planners.
To view the full report, visit mpiweb.org/meetingsoutlook. Meetings Outlook is developed in partnership with MGM Resorts International and supported in partnership with the IMEX Group.