2016 Association Meeting Trends

Written by Melissa Klingberg.

What your organization should be looking for in the New Year

  1. Hotel Negotiations Get Tougher – We are experiencing a seller’s market when it comes to hotels negotiations, which is quite the opposite of what Associations have been facing since 2008. Negotiate with care as attrition and cancellation terms are expected to become stricter. According to, “the global hotel industry revenue is predicted to reach $550 billion US dollars in 2016. The industry revenue was worth $457 billion US dollars in 2011, which showcases an increase in revenue of almost $100 billion US dollars in the past five years as we move into 2016, if this prediction proves to be true.”
  2. Reducing Food & Beverage (F&B) Budgets with Rising F&B Costs – According to Successful Meetings’ 2016 Trends Survey, 49% of hotels reported that they will be reducing their event F&B budgets. Hotels will be flexing their muscles and increasing F&B costs, especially when following expensive foodie trends such as serving organic, locally-sourced products from farm to microbrews to create a memorable experience for attendees.
  3. The Ever-Shrinking Keynote Speaker – The growing popularity of TEDx type of talks continuing paired with dwindling attendee attention spans have meeting planners looking at different mediums to reach and connect with their attendees. Shorter sessions with high-impact content continue to be of interest to planners in an attempt to gain attendee satisfaction and connection to the organization.
  4. Expectations of Attendees – Attendees want an experience during their meetings. Simply put, the same-old general session and trade show simply doesn’t cut it any longer. Organizations are putting their foot on the gas pedal and upping the ante on themed parties, interactive trade shows with Wi-Fi-lounges and music. According to Successful Meetings’ 2016 Trends Survey, nearly two-thirds of the planners polled said the “need to create a compelling meeting experience” for attendees was one of the most important trends to follow in order to create effective meetings in 2016.
  5. Get Fit! – Another trend which some planners may find fun is adding wellness programs to annual conferences and events. From activities such as Sunrise Yoga, 5k fun-runs and even pedometer challenges, event planners are playing off the wellness train to get attendees engaged and fit at the same time. I don’t know about you, but I smell a sponsorship opportunity.
  6. Social Media is Still Going Strong – Yes, we are still talking about social media. As images and videos get more views and events provide a great outsource for them, event marketers and participants will increase their social photo and video tools. We all know about Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, but what is new exactly? According to Corbin Ball Associates;
  • While Instagram isn’t new, planners and attendees are looking at this platform with new light as it has doubled its use in the past three years with over 300 million users. Considering Instagram is fundamentally mobile, it is effortless for attendees to use at conferences and events.
  • Snapchat has built a brand out of disappearing photos and videos (4 billion daily video views alone). It now offers ‘Live Stories,’ a curated stream of user submitted Snaps and videos from various locations and events. Users who have their location services on at the same event location will be given the option to contribute Snaps to the Live Story. The end result is a story told from a community perspective with lots of different points of view. The feature doesn’t identify who created which snaps, only showing that they were all captured at the same event.
  • Videos are also seeing increasing usage at meetings. Facebook introduced auto-playing video in December 2013 and saw the number of video posts jump 75% the next year. This ubiquitous and highly mobile channel has become a staple for use at events.
  • The Vine app allow users to post six-second videos and then share them to Twitter which is also seeing use at meetings.
  • Periscope, purchased by Twitter, provides similar services and will likely prevail due to a better interface and its support from Twitter. With 10 million people registered (in just 4 months), watching more than 40 years of video each day, Periscope will be a force to be reckoned with for events. Meeting planners should prepare for even greater Wi-Fi and cellular bandwidth usage as well as increasing copyright challenges.


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *