Top Trends For 2018!

DECEMBER 2017

What does the future hold? No one can predict exactly what 2018 will bring or what trends will shape meetings and events, but those with their fingers on the industry's pulse can make some well-educated guesses.

It's All About the Experience. The word "experiential" was everywhere in 2017, with planners putting a premium on making events, training, and meetings as interactive and engaging as possible. This trend is only going to increase in 2018. "It is no longer enough to take a group to a destination and set up a typical itinerary with activities, such as a wine tasting, that they could easily do on their own or in a different destination," says Natasha Syed, director of global conference and incentive sales for Rocco Forte Hotels and vice president of Young Leaders/Event Liaison for SITE Texas. "We need to develop more meaning behind our itineraries and offerings, such as a unique overarching theme of the trip, community service aspects, or a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they could not have access to if they visited the destination on their own." She adds that the growing influence of Millennials is helping to drive this focus on experience, particularly when it comes to incentive travel and ensuring that outings are "social-media-worthy."

Connectivity has become supreme. As a result, corporate meeting planners are doing all they can to make sure their attendees are connected, even while they are participating in the event. Whether providing free WiFi or using customized apps to keep participants informed, one of planners' top priorities is to ensure that attendees can quickly access information and share their own experience.

Alternative venues are all the rage. More and more meetings and events are being held in increasingly interesting off-premise venues. Some examples include casinos, private villas, museums and even theme parks. The uniqueness of venues tends to offer a more memorable experience than the four blank walls of most hotel rooms or conference centers. Offbeat venues not only encourage increased attendance, but also enhance attendee satisfaction.

Tech stays center stage. It's a "tech explosion" in every facet and corner of the meeting and event industry.  Every element continues to become more and more connected –from planning and registering to onsite social engagement and event management. Even unexpected interactivity can delight attendees when they aren't even expecting it.

Be ready for anything and prepared for everything. Emergency preparedness continues to be at the forefront of every planner's to-do list. This was a particularly disruptive year, from mass shootings and terrorist attacks to hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and more. With this in mind, consideration and resourcing for safety and security is only going to grow. From the attack in Las Vegas to the vehicular violence in New York City, event organizers must prepare for the very real possibility that a disaster of some sort could impact attendee safety.

F&B is still a big driver. Local, sustainable and reimagined comfort. Attendees are increasingly interested in knowing what local farm their meat is sourced from, where their fish is caught or which seasonal vegetables were incorporated into the menu. More and more planners are also factoring sustainability into their event menu. Venues and catering teams should expect to see increased demand for offerings such as sustainable seafood, as well as healthy menu items that are locally sourced and organic, fairly traded, seasonal, and not processed. And while attendees expect practical, comfort food options like sandwiches and wraps, these traditional favorites are often reborn with sophisticated pairings or unexpected flavors. 

VisitDallas is here to ensure that your next event is an unprecedented success!  For more information on planning your event in Dallas, TX, visit www.DallasDelivers.com or call our planning partners at 800-232-5527. We look forward to hearing from you!

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