If you’re a meeting planner and you happened to book your next gathering in a small village in France, you’re in sync with the top meeting trends for 2017, according to Pacific World’s 2017 Annual Destination Index.
Pacific World, a global destination and event management company, publishes the index annually to provide insight to clients and meetings and events professionals. Among the insights: France, Croatia and South Africa are hot among destinations. And going to out-of-the-way places and showing social responsibility rank high among trends.
The industry intelligence is intended to provide meeting planners with the inside scoop, says Selina Chavry, the company’s global managing director. Armed with the top meeting trends, meetings professionals will know what companies are looking for and what attendees expect. And that’s what it takes “to execute successful and innovative campaigns throughout the year,” Chavry says.
Top 9 Trending Meeting Destinations
Pacific World teamed up with Access Destination Services to identify nine trending markets for meetings. In addition to France, Croatia and South Africa, these are the international hot spots:
* Hong Kong
Three U.S. destinations also made the cut:
* South Florida
* New York
Pacific World comes up with the list of top meeting trends and cities based on the requests for proposals it receives tied to 80 destinations.
10 Top Meetings Trends
Beyond destinations, the index identified the top trends shaping the year. Here’s what to expect, in Pacific World’s words:
1. Take Me Off the Beaten Track
“Second-tier and uprising destinations are becoming more popular event destinations, such as small villages in Tuscany, or Lyon and Champagne as opposed to Paris.”
2. Giving Back to the Destination, Engaging Local Communities
“The meetings industry has seen an increase in corporate social responsibility initiatives focusing on local communities, such as ‘Making a Balinese Barong,’ where attendees work with villages in Indonesia to create a local craft.”
3. Events with a Purpose, Incentives with a Meaning: It’s All About Design
“A strategic approach, more and more groups are requesting a return on engagement in addition to investment, creating an impact and everlasting memory.”
4. Sharing Memories with the World
“Creating engaging experiences is as important as providing high-speed Wi-Fi access and designated creative hashtags for social media engagement.”
5. Keeping It Small and Unique: Profiling and Tailoring
“Creating an event based on specific interests and group profiles is increasing in popularity. Personalization is key to guarantee group engagement. For instance, an ultra-high-end experience featuring unique and creative types of transportation works particularly well for small VIP groups, while design-inspired workshops with world-famous athletes or musicians match well for young audiences.”
6. Culture Vulture
“More than a trend, experiencing the culture of a destination makes an event truly exceptional and is now key to its success.”
7. Catering: Farm to Table, Organic, Healthy and Wholeness
“In line with general food & beverage trends, groups are looking for healthy food elements, local and nutritious cuisine, farm-to-table options and special dietary requirements.”
8. Sharing, Networking–Less Formal and More Dynamic
“Meeting and event planners are putting an emphasis on sharing and networking, whether with locals, colleagues, conference speakers or industry peers. Engaging reception-style dinners as opposed to seated dinners are on the rise, and interactive experiences where attendees and guests have a chance to learn and experience the destination from a different perspective are trendy.”
9. Mobile Applications: The Tool for Meetings, Incentives and Events
“Mobile apps have become a must-use tool for planners and guests, not only during the events but also in the planning process.”
10. The Role of Technology
“Incorporating technology such as drones in meetings and events are on the rise, although sometimes challenging to implement. Groups are still using technology often, including with live video streaming and geolocation games.”