The New Year brings new possibilities for virtual meeting technologies and virtual meeting organizers, reports Michael Doyle, founder of Virtual Edge Institute. As the organization brings together leaders from the digital meeting industry at the 2012 Virtual Edge Summit in San Diego, CA from January 9-12, Doyle released his top seven predictions for the virtual meetings industry for 2012.
1. More movement toward a simpler, “less is more” approach.
The trend toward a more simplified, Web page-based graphical interface for online events and meetings will continue in 2012. Platform vendors are moving in the “less is better” direction with their new versions.
2. More embedded event and meeting solutions.
Events in 2012 will be open and easily accessible to attendees wherever they are located. Many event and meeting producers will want to take some code and embed their events and learning programs into their existing websites to simplify the attendee experience.
Think events and conferences are no place for fun and games? EventMobi
™ – the world’s first smartphone-based platform designed for event professionals – challenges that notion by injecting entertainment and healthy competition into events.
The GamifyApp allows event planners to build and customize games to enhance the overall attendee experience and solve the common problems they are typically faced with, such as engaging attendees at educational sessions or compelling attendees to walk the tradeshow floor and interact with sponsors.
The GamifyApp integrates game mechanics into all aspects of the event experience – education, team‐building, and networking – by encouraging attendees to use their smartphone or tablet device to complete quizzes, solve challenges, and perform tasks.
Certain, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based event management software for the global meetings and events industry, today released its 2012 predictions on technology trends that will drive increased business value from events. Based on insight from visionary industry leaders, customers and partners, Certain has identified key shifts that it believes will shape the industry over the next 12 months.
"2012 will kick off a breakthrough for the industry that will revolutionize the value that attendees, meeting professionals and executive sponsors derive from events," said Peter Micciche, CEO of Certain. "A tsunami of connectedness, driven by social, mobile and virtual, will ultimately enable the attendee engagement experience. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are mainstream, making integrated event marketing the new normal for event professionals. This integration of digital solutions with event planning software will result in 2012 as the 'year of the platform.' Software-as-a-Service solutions are now seamlessly woven together into a comprehensive ecosystem architecture designed to meet, track and measure planner, marketer, sponsor and attendee needs."
The International Special Events Society (ISES) today announced a new strategic partnership with Eved.
ISES believes that shared technology platforms and online communities can help member companies by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes, position members to provide value to their customers, and promote growth opportunities. Eved has developed the next-generation technology solution for the meeting and special events marketplace to network, market, create service proposals, and buy and sell event services online. ISES sees Eved’s online B-to-B platform as a significant step forward in integrating technology and streamlining the special event planning marketplace as the industry advances towards more efficient business processes.
UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, continues to develop market research to provide reliable data on the international exhibition market. Several recent studies provide statistics giving a good picture of the industry at three levels: venues, the events held in those venues, and the companies who organize those events.
UFI’s 2011 “World Map of Exhibition Venues” identifies 1,197 venues with a minimum of 5,000 square meters of indoor exhibition space worldwide, corresponding to a total gross indoor exhibition space of 32.6 million square meters. This is an increase of 57 venues since 2006, with an overall growth of 3.4 million square meters (54% of the increase is related to new venues and 46% to extensions of existing venues).
photos courtesy Brandon Williams
Midwest Meetings took five with Dave Serino, Founder of the Social Media Tourism Symposium, at the Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference to discuss social media engagement, strategy, and more.
Dave Serino, SoMeT Founder
Here at Midwest Meetings, we’ve been hearing all about how anybody who’s anybody in tourism should be at SoMeT - that is, the Social Media Tourism Symposium, which took place in Tunica, MS in November.
What’s SoMeT? Just another conference about social media marketing in the tourism industry? Not even close - it’s way cooler than that. For starters, SoMeT is an actual product of social media marketing in the tourism industry. In fact, the whole thing is practically planned on Facebook.
Once we got a grasp of just how all-encompassing this event experience is for tourism, hospitality, and destination marketing professionals in the social media space, we started wondering… from a planning and logistics perspective, how on earth do they pull this thing off? So we got founder Dave Serino on the phone to tell us all about the vision, process, and community behind SoMeT, and why this is probably the conference model of the future.
The inaugural IMEX America tradeshow last fall flooded meetings media pipelines with US and global industry buzz, plus tons of post-show survey data. From there, the IMEX Group released its predictions for the 2012 meetings, incentive travel, and events market, including the following.
1. Business is looking up – globalization is increasing.
In post-show survey comments, buyers indicated an uptick in business over the last 12 months — though predominantly at a conservative rate and mostly short-term focused. There is also a trend toward more, but smaller or shorter, meetings and events and slight growth in attendance at association meetings and events.
What a difference a year can make. Unlike the start of 2011, the Incentive Research Foundation’s (IRF) latest survey of incentive industry trends finds planners struggling with the effects of an economy caught in a slow recovery.
According to IRF President Melissa Van Dyke, “Survey participants demonstrated that their program’s sensitivity to internal pressures, competitor reactions, and perceptions of extravagance were lower than in the spring and actually at a level equivalent to or below 2008. However, they cited the economy as having a significant impact on all incentive plans.”
Meetings demand in 2012 appears to be on the rise, according to a recent survey and in-depth interviews of meeting experts, including planners, buyers, and hotel suppliers based around the world, conducted by American Express Meetings & Events. Of the meeting planners surveyed, 42% of North American respondents see signs of increased activity from their clients. Additionally, 60% of meeting suppliers also expect the number of meetings planned to increase.
Higher travel and meeting costs are anticipated, driving the need for companies to focus on striking the right balance of cost effectiveness and experience impact when selecting venues.
by Lynn Kaniper
With the meetings industry on the rebound, it’s a good time to make your pitch for a bigger meetings budget. Once your budget gets the go-ahead, use the following red-hot meeting trends as a starting point for spending it wisely.
1. Green Is Not Just a Buzzword.
Environmentally conscious meeting management is gaining importance, and clients will want to see your policies in advance and in action. Review your green practices to make sure they are current. Don’t forget to extend policies to dining, as the “locavore” movement, which focuses on locally produced and sourced food, is growing more and more followers.
2. The Surprising Return of Incentive Travel.It’s gradual… it’s cautious… and it’s certainly not at the same level as the 1990s, but luxury properties and international destinations are seeing an increase in incentive business. The year 2012 is the year to get back in the incentive meetings game.