Each of the event industry’s many different sectors are represented by our exhibitors and visitors. This gives us a unique perspective on the industry, as we often hear the biggest stories and learn about the latest trends, straight from the ‘horses mouth.’ Here we cut through the noise to bring the hottest topics to you.
Change agents or travel agents?
A drive to re-focus how we market business events and destinations is now on the agenda. At the Joint Meetings Industry Council Global summit in Hanover last month, the organisation updated attendees on its ‘Value of Meetings’ Case Study programme. The call is for destinations to invest in case studies and storytelling to more effectively showcase the transformational contributions of business and professional events and their benefits outside of tourism. Gary Grimmer, CEO, GainingEdge says Governments currently see the industry as the consumption of hospitality, but he believes they play a much more significant role as agents of change. Grimmer comments, “The business and professional events industry is, in my mind, actually a transformative strategy for governments, countries that are trying to develop the knowledge and creative economies.” He continues, “This is a strategy for improving medical care, a strategy for improving standards, a strategy for attracting new talent…”
There is growing recognition that for future careers, university will be just the start of a professional’s life-long learning. Universities are the foundation of the knowledge-based economy, but it will require people to learn throughout their lives. Business and professional events will facilitate this by providing opportunities for life-long learning, much of it through associations – associations will underpin the knowledge economy. Destinations that market their sector strengths and local university specialisms as ‘intellectual clusters’, will attract events and investment from the industry sectors that can benefit from them.
Taking gamification seriously
Delegate engagement is essential for event success and ‘gamification’ – using gaming techniques to engage delegates – has been around for some time. To play is human, which is why gamification works, but how do you make play work seriously and stop it becoming gimmickry? The latest trend in gamification aims to do this by engaging delegates through fun with purpose.
In an interview with PCMA, meeting designer, Bo Kruger commented, “We’ve found that the important elements of gaming are to make it fun, and not so competitive. A lot of motivational research tells us that almost any kind of reward is demotivating. So, there should be an objective that participants must achieve, but if we make it highly competitive, then this results in one winner, who feels great, and lots of losers who, mostly likely, will feel less motivated. We want everyone to feel engaged, and enabling them to have fun is how we do it.”
In another PCMA interview, Priya Taylor, commercial director at Wildgoose, said “Rather than telling participants what to do, gamified technology within a team-building activity rewards participants’ good decisions and illustrates their bad ones — helping them visualise how to improve and make changes. It’s real and practical, rather than abstract and theoretical.”
Are we ready for ‘Air Marriott’?
Marriott International is sizing up to Airbnb by entering the home-sharing market through its Tribute Portfolio Homes brand. In partnership with Hostmaker, the international hotel chain will run a six-month long home-sharing pilot scheme that includes a selection of more than 200 specially selected homes in London. According to Marriott, guests will receive Tribute Portfolio brand service levels, whilst benefiting from added extras which include guaranteed in-person check-in and 24-hour telephone support. They will also qualify for loyalty points within the Marriot Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest programmes.
Meeting event safety and security requirements
With a growing international climate of tension and mistrust between nations, where perceived risks from global terrorism, computer hackers, political unrest and other security concerns are all pertinent to the events industry, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has partnered with the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at the University of Southern Mississippi, to establish best practices in events safety and security. This month the leading meetings industry association publishes The Essential Guide to Safety and Security, which provides nearly 400 recommendations for safety and security for meeting and events. The guide will be refreshed and re-published annually.
Top 50 Meeting Hotels in Europe
Cvent Inc. has announced the results of its Top 50 Meeting Hotels in Europe. The list is compiled by analysing group booking activity through the Cvent Supplier Network. The network sourced over $14.7 billion and more than 40 million room nights in 2017, which helped support in excess of 715,000 events worldwide. Hilton dominates the top of the list, with six properties in the top 10, including the number 1, 2 and 3 spots. Hilton Prague takes first place, with Hilton London Metropole in second and DoubleTree by Hilton, Amsterdam Centraal Station in third. The full list of the top 50 Meeting Hotels in Europe can be seen here; the top 10 is below:
1. Hilton Prague
2. Hilton London Metropole
3. DoubleTree by Hilton, Amsterdam Centraal Station
4. Hotel Arts Barcelona
5. Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel & Conference Centre
6. Hilton Munich Park
7. Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona
8. Rome Marriott Park Hotel
9. Hilton London Paddington
10. InterContinental Vienna
Marriott entering the home-sharing market, ‘intellectual clusters’ on the rise and MPI focusing on security – it’s all recognition that disruption and uncertainty will continue to be the name of the game(ification). With that in mind, what will the top business hotel list look like next year, or a decade in the future? Is the business hotel model set to change? Can Hilton continue to dominate? Please let us know your thoughts and opinions. By sharing knowledge and insight, we arm ourselves with the information required to make the strategic decision that will help us all guide the industry forward toward a more prosperous future. It’s time to get involved.