Let’s boldly go where no meeting planner has gone before. It’s the year 2030. Here is a glimpse of what that year looks like for the meeting planner? Let’s ponder the possibilities!
Blurred Lines: The idea of virtual meetings seemed as something that would occur a bit further into the future, but as we all know that timeline was sped up due to Covid. Virtual meetings are here and here to stay; live meetings are making a comeback, and hybrid meetings are all the rage! As we move closer to 2030, the lines between virtual and live events will be blurred. Planners will create a more seamless integration of the hybrid, providing for a more wholistic experience for attendees. Augmented Reality will come into play; participants can remain at their home base or wherever they happen to be and utilize a wearable device to attend and participate in meetings, that is situated somewhere between virtual and live.
Super Sustainability: As organizations continue to address their sustainability initiatives, each year will see more and more plans being put in place. By 2030, there may be sustainability goals that require organizations to share their carbon footprint score, and this will affect how they do meetings as well. Architects are already designing for regeneration; buildings that can literally revitalize a region. How will future hotels meet this need?! As well, a key metric of a successful meeting could be determined by the amount of waste created by the event. Expect meeting planners to go hyper-local; curating everything from entertainment and speakers to swag from the area where their meeting is held.
DEI on the Rise: Organizations now have or are likely planning to have a Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity expert in place to reflect the many types of people that make up our society. This will create much more diversity at meetings as well; both in the audience and on stage. Expect more diversity in food, beverage, palette and preferences that go beyond vegan and gluten-free in order to accommodate the nutritional wellness and specifications of attendees. With more and more women leadership in the workplace, another area to explore is on-site childcare for events.
Security and Safety: Covid also sped up the security and safety measures of travel and meetings. This area will become more robust, especially as diversity grows and attendees include populations that may require more security – women, transgender people, people with disabilities, on-site childcare areas, etc.
AI, Robots, and Amazing Technologies: AI will allow meeting planners to survey, collect data, and feedback faster than ever before. With all the data being collected, the attendee experience will become hyper-personalized, helping to increase engagement and the overall experience. The traditional way of registering attendees will also change, as facial recognition and automation come more into play, guests can check in just by showing up. Many other manual processes will be automated; we already see robots checking guests into some hotels, serving drinks at the bar, delivering room service and luggage.
Will meeting planners be replaced with robots? No way! We are irreplaceable–everybody knows that!
This all makes me wonder if I may one day have a blog-bot. My blog-bot will be programmed with the subjects I want to write about, then write and post the blogs for me. I hope they are as hilarious as I am 😉