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5 Top Trends Shaping the Meetings Industry Today

Human safety and data security top the list of meetings CEO concerns voiced at a recent Events Industry Council meeting.

Some troubling trends bubbled up at a recent gathering of meetings industry leaders at Events Industry Council meeting. Representatives of EIC’s 30-plus meetings industry organizations attended the meeting.

Here are the top five that EIC suggests planners should be paying attention to.

1. Event safety and security. The all-too-prevalent floods, hurricanes, mass shootings, and other recent acts of terror and mayhem are pushing event safety to the top of mind of all the industry association executives at the EIC meeting. They also are more resolved than ever to provide risk management education and resources event professionals can use to make their meetings safer. For example, says EIC President and CEO Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, “The Events Industry Council is working through our APEX committee to curate resources available as well as develop tools for meeting professionals to use.”

Industry execs also talked about the shift they have seen in expectations around safety and security, such as having gone from questioning the presence of metal detectors to questioning their absence.

The WannaCry ransomware cyber attacks that brought computer systems around the world to a halt until and unless users paid a ransom to regain access to their data also refocused industry execs on the importance of cyber security. 

2. Data protection regulations. The European General Data Protection Regulation, which goes into effect next May, “will have a significant impact on how organizations in our industry manage personally identifiable information,” the EIC says in a statement. While GDPR is a European regulation, any meeting that draws participants from Europe must comply, as does any organization anywhere that offers any goods or services to people who hail from across the pond. The EIC already has put together a resource to help meeting professionals prepare to comply with the new regulation.

3. Demonstrating relevance. The execs also discussed how they could better tailor their association’s membership, management, and event models to meet the specific needs of all their membership segments, as well as the industry as a whole.

4. Changes in the workforce. Automation, outsourcing, and new technology are pushing changes in the workforce that will require new skills. Meeting and event professionals must continue to prioritize career paths and workforce development, along with technology developments, in their offerings.

5. Diversity and inclusion. Look for ways to encourage diversity in everything you do, including how you select suppliers. It’s important to foster more interaction between all of the industry’s many segments, and between planning professionals throughout the world, execs at the EIC meeting concluded.

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