Benchmark Hospitality International Releases Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2014
As Observed by its Properties
Benchmark Resorts & Hotels, a division of Benchmark Hospitality International, announces the "Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2014" as observed by its properties. Benchmark Hospitality International is a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, which operates 40 award-winning hotels, resorts, and conference centers coast to coast and off shore.
honored to share our 2014 meeting trend insights with the industry," said Alex Cabañas, president & CEO of Benchmark Hospitality International. "The good news is...there's good news! Booking pace is very strong and the economic hangover is mostly worn off, and companies are spending again on training and development. We look forward to 2014 and beyond."
Trend #1 Lightening Speed! Free, FAST, and it better be reliable –highly effective WiFi is the #1 issue for planning professionals and conferees in the meetings business today. Conferees often come with up to 3 wireless devises per attendee so greater bandwidth is a necessity to drive multiple devices. Planners are expecting adequate bandwidth to keep meeting guests not only connected and engaged, but happy as well.
Trend #2 Content Leads to Discovery How do planners and confereesdiscover and learn about properties in 2014 - primarily through good old fashioned Google searches. Targeted exposure on the Internet has never been more important, or more utilized by planners. What drives this? Meaningful web content.
Be visible and connected, but never forget that well executed, timely, and informativewebsite content is king when trying to communicate a message, delineate one's brand and engage meeting professionals.
Trend #3 Demand Trends UP! Meeting Demand & Booking Pace isconsistently on the upswing. As the economy picks up momentum, so goes meeting demand. Short term bookings are still prevalent, but the booking demand window is increasingly stretching into 2015, 2016 and beyond. Not quite the good old days....but getting closer!
Trend #4 Creating The Experience Just as with consumer traveltoday, the demand for out-of-the-ordinary unique experiences is increasingly factoring into meeting destination decisions. Those properties partnering with local assets, such as wineries, historic & natural wonders, intriguing adventure resources, and unique off- site reception & dinner venues have a strategic advantage in the pursuit and the capturing of meeting demand.
Trend #5 Green is Good, But ... Though it sounds enticing, and feelslike the right thing, being green is not seen by most planning professionals today as a critical factor in property selection, and no one is losing business because of the lack of it. This isn't to say properties aren't doing their upmost to be good green citizens; it's just that other issues are often paramount to the success of a meeting.
Trend #6 Select Social Media has a place in MeetingsSocial Media has minimal impact on securing corporate meetings business, with the possible exception of LinkedIn. During meetings, however, planners and conferees use Twitter and LinkedIn for communicating with each other, and also with moderators.
On the horizon; the rise of meeting-specific property apps tailored to optimizecommunication during the planning & implementation phases – and these may soon supersede the role of social media. Facebook is rarely utilized to bring in meetings business or communicate during a conference, as it's seen to be a personal communications tool for staying in touch with friends & family.
Trend #7 Meeting ROI Meetings & Budgets are finally increasingfollowing over six years of recession. This is especially true in the Association market, with larger meetings growing in attendance. As corporate purse strings slowly loosen, meeting professionals are increasingly becoming more firm with demands of flexibility, including the negotiation of attrition clauses. The demand for value in their investment has never been higher. It all ties back to more accountability for meeting ROI.
Trend #8 Health Conscious! Food & beverage in 2014 is all abouthealth & variety – for refreshment breaks and meal menus. Planners and conferees want healthy choices verses pre-ordained menu options, and they want value. Creative Spa breaks may substitute for refreshment breaks at those properties that offer this service. A 10-minute 'lift your spirits' Yoga session can be an energizer as well. Planners and attendees want breaks that perk them up; not the opposite.
Trend #9 Teambuilding Climbs Back Groups that have the budgetare looking for unique ways to motivate, inspire, and build camaraderie as the business environment continues to improve. Socially conscious groups or those with a more streamlined budget tend to look for other camaraderie-building opportunities, such as developing fellowship through teambuilding volunteerism initiatives, like building bikes for kids in the local community.
Trend #10 Who's Meeting in 2014? Across the country, the traditionalindustry segments are once again delivering business to meeting properties, including the Financial, Pharmaceutical, Insurance, Association, and increasingly Healthcare industries. Silicon Valley and the High Tech Northwestern U.S. are on the rebound too, significantly benefiting properties in this market.
Ken Ellens Communications
Phone: +1 201-758-2864
Fax: +1 201-758-2865
About BENCHMARK, a global hospitality company
BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, is a trailblazer in the development, management, marketing andowner-advisory services of resorts, hotels, conference centers and exclusive private clubs. In addition to the company’s established, iconic Benchmark Resorts & Hotels portfolio, the newly-branded Gemstone Collection is a distinctive luxury portfolio of independent hotels & resorts in highly select and preferred destinations.
Benchmark has a combined portfolio of over 70 extraordinary properties domestically and internationally,including 8,000 guestrooms, and 10,000 staff members that are passionately committed to delivering the industry’s most vibrant, unrivaled and memory-making experiences. Many properties have been recognized with the Benchmark Conference Centers® mark of meeting excellence.
BENCHMARK, a global hospitality company, is based in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, and has regionaloffices in Park City, Utah; Miami, Florida; New Brunswick, New Jersey; Seattle Washington; and Tokyo, Japan. www.benchmarkresortsandhotels.com