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What will next year bring for meetings and events? Here’s a collection of the observations from the best and brightest in our industry about what they believe will occur.

However, we would like to hear from you. Please weigh in on the comments section below and tell us whether you think these predictions will come true or not. We value your input immensely, and it will help us be a better provider when you come to our property!

The Meeting


“Attendees will use their personal devices to interact with the presenter, group or company, bringing instant education, brand awareness and real-time results to the meeting,” predicts Evan Weissman, president of Angstrom Lighting.

Gamification will move into the conventional learning arena and become the next big trend in the industry, according to Christopher Delago and Julie Mandarango, corporate and association meeting planners, respectively.

“More engaging speakers will unite a room so the audience is comfortably networking together with each other,” states Kevin Strong, CEO of Real Life Advantage.

Small meetings will continue to dominate the market, but large conventions will see attendance growth over the next 12 months, believes Brian Stevens, CEO of ConferenceDirect. No matter the meeting size, each event will be customized to meet the needs and wants of the group, from the décor to the food and beverage and everything in between.

According to the American Express Meetings & Events annual report, there will be a surge of training meetings due to an increase of U.S. company mergers and acquisitions.


The Venue

Because safety has now been identified as a major concern of attendees, more money and resources will be diverted into keeping them safe, believes Darren Kerr from FACTOR168 Creative Event Company.

Experiential meeting design will reach its tipping point. According to office furniture designer Herman Miller, the meeting space influences attendee retention and is an inspirational setting that actually boosts learning.

Meeting spaces need to transform into lecture series, brainstorming sessions, team building activities and/or social settings, all within the confines of the venue AND have the technology to support it. “Encouraging flexible and dynamic meeting models is a huge opportunity for forward-thinking organizations,” according to Matej Zalar, CEO of Visionect.

Health and wellness will continue to be a trend, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten- and dairy-free food options, states Richard Gray of the Fort Lauderdale CVB. In addition, organic farm-to-table will continue to be important in 2017.

Gray also predicts attendees will expect meeting venues to practice environmental thoughtfulness and conservation efforts. Attendees will be looking for a decline in paper where reusable items and technology can readily take its place.

Even though hotel supply will increase in 2017, per a report from ConferenceDirect, the Average Daily Rate (ADR) will also rise next year. Carlson Wagonlit Travel urges planners to be flexible with dates to take advantage of venue slow periods and keep budgets intact.

Planners are looking for hotels that offer relaxed social settings for their attendees to unwind. “I have been receiving many requests from meeting planners who want their attendees to walk away with an experience, not just another meeting,” according to Rose DiLiello of Discover Long Island.


The Destination


“Meeting attendees want their time outside the office to not only include education and networking … they want to make a unique connection to local events, tours and attractions,” observes George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando.


The Technology


Be on the lookout for better and more relevant wearables, the Internet of Things explosion and the ability to shift conference logistics based on real-time feedback. This is according to Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group.

Crowdsourcing will be another trendsetter for everything from the meeting agenda to networking ideas to speaker selection.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help hotel sales reps to pinpoint real business opportunities versus trying to qualify leads over telephone calls and email dialogue,” predicts Danielle Bishop, president of HB Hospitality.

As Virtual Reality (VR) apps continue to be developed, the demand for this technology will increase, especially with exhibitors in the trade show sector and venues that are trying to sell their meeting space in a new way.

What Do You Think?

Please share with us in the comments section which of the trends you believe will really take off next year and if you have spotted a trend that’s not listed here. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!


Kalahari Is Ready for 2017


Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, with our award-winning indoor and outdoor attractions, is committed to helping you develop the best meetings ever. Contact one of our group sales professionals at 855.411.4605 to schedule a visit to our Ohio, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania facility today!