PlanYourMeetings.com is predicting that 2013 will see more emphasis on security, more local meetings, and more engagement on social media around meetings, based on its take on the American Express Meetings & Events Forecast that came out in December. I think we're all, whether we want to admit it or not, expecting budgets to be flat at best this year, so the latter two make sense as we find ways to reach more people for fewer dollars. And a heightened emphasis on making meetings more secure? Oh please, let's hope this is the year more meeting planners and hospitality partners truly examine any potential safety and security challenges and make changes that will keep their peeps safe while in their care and under their roofs.
And now for a completely different perspective, here's what the German Convention Bureau thinks the new year will shape up to be, meeting-wise: More synergies between local expertise and meetings (something a lot of cities have been working on in recent years is leveraging their local connections to bring in group business, so this just makes sense).
And the German Bureau believes small-meetings business is poised to finally get the respect it deserves this year. "Suppliers in particular will learn to better appreciate smaller meetings as a great reputation builder and—when executed with the utmost efficiency and professionalism—a draw for future meetings business." Could happen, right? Personalization, greater flexibility, and growth in green IT also are on the 2013 agenda. And, while it predicts costs will still play a key role, value of what you get for what you pay is going to be increasingly important as planners demand more for their "overall experience ROI." Can't quibble with any of this.
Last but certainly not least is IMEX America, which last month released its own list of predictions. Here's the short version of its top 10 list for 2013:
1. No matter how good virtual and hybrid meetings are getting, we still like to meet face to face, and we'll be doing more of it this year. "Thanks to neuroscience plus an increasing desire—if not pressure—to fully understand the behavioral aspects of different meeting formats we’re finally seeing scientific proof that face-to-face interaction produces unique outcomes and benefits." More here.
2. More meetings, and more attendees, too. IMEX points to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research’s November 2012 “Trends in use of exhibitions” report for backup on this prediction.
3. We've got game. With our hot little hands filled with smartphones and tablets, look for more gamification of meetings this year, whether it be via Facebook, browsers, through FourSquare or SCVNGR. But don't let the love of the game blind you to the need to put meaning behind the bling and badges, or it will be a waste of time.
4. Destination, personified. Whether it's talking meerkats selling consumer insurance products in the UK or a "cuddly" talking three-toed sloth in Costa Rica, destinations are joing companies in developing quirky, hopefully memorable for the right reasons brand personalities. Expect to see more of it, says IMEX America.
5. Expect that more event apps will "become 'monetized' or at least charge for ‘premium’, full-featured editions reflecting their true value-add and growing stature in the industry. Further demand for services 'in the cloud' will fuel yet more development."
6. Expect more calls to political action as political advocacy efforts gain momentum. "The no. 1 message is that the meetings, events and incentive travel industry is an important engine for economic recovery and growth the world over."
7. The release of the APEX Green Meeting Standards indicates that sustainability has finally hit its stride in the meetings industry, says IMEX America.
8. Picture this: We are so going visual, be it Pinterest, word clouds, animation, video story-telling, interactive charts, or some new thing we haven't thought of yet.
9. Like sustainability, IMEX America believes CSR before, during, and after events is a growth trend. I hope they're right.
10. They're predicting that "‘trust’ will be a big watchword for 2013. Those companies – in all industries – that can successfully demonstrate openness and transparency will win greater loyalty from their customers."
Again, I have no quibbles with any of this. Some of these predictions may turn out to be a bit more aspirational than operational, but we'll find out, won't we?
(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)