Six Meetings Industry Predictions for 2016

IMEX meetings industry predictions for 2016

With a new year underway it’s a great time to think about what trends will be popping up in the meetings industry this year and how we can leverage and better plan for it all. Here are 6 predictions from the IMEX team to help get you started:

1. Shared Economy – From consumer travel to the meetings industry

PwC predicts that the shared economy globally will grow from a value of $15bn in 2013 to $335bn in 2025. Within the travel sector, from Airbnb to Uber, from Bookalokal to Vizeat, the concept has made enormous inroads among consumers. Next year will see the meetings industry evaluating more extensively and proactively how it can and should adapt to this trend and use it cooperatively. The resulting first steps of an action plan will be accomplished. 

2. Personalization – Is this just the beginning?

CocaCola and Starbucks have already been using it, and McDonalds and British Airways have recently indicated that it is going to be part of their strategy.

In 2015, Gartner indicated that personalization will continue upwards and reach its plateau in two to five years. This suggests that this flurry of activity is just a prelude to what may develop next year and beyond.

3. Data and Analytics – Underpinning new marketing strategies

Data gathering and analytics that drill down into the behaviors of the individual and group are essential to personalization strategies. As part of the growth of personalization, there will be an increased focus on these elements. Digital marketing expert Mark Goddard shared in Forbes magazine that in 2016, personalization “will rely heavily on data integration and customer segmentation.” Also in Forbes magazine’s marketing predictions for 2016, FinTech expert Kevin Brown said: “Marketing and Data Science will be the new Dynamic Duo.”

15 Marketing Predictions for 2016 from the C-Suite

4. Being Human

The continuing growth of the meetings and conference industry in an era when Skype and video conferencing are established reflects the essential importance of and need for face-to-face contact.

Similarly, in contrast to the data driven approach, marketing expert Alan Hart, founder of marketing consultancy, predicts that “Being Human will return to marketing” because “consumers want to be inspired and have meaningful and personal connections with brands to move them to buy products and services.”

5. Community – Giving back

In an age when a person’s spare time is supposedly decreasing, the drive to contribute and give back — whether through volunteering or through programs such as The Meetings Industry Fund — is an increasing trend.

In 2013, one in four adults in the USA (25.4 percent) volunteered through an organization. Altogether, 62.6 million Americans volunteered nearly 7.7 billion hours in 2015. Based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour, the estimated value of this volunteer service is nearly $173 billion.

While there seems to be an emphasis in society on ‘looking after yourself’, it is good to see that altruism is also increasing.

Volunteering in America

6. Asia — Potentially the new key growth area for meetings destinations and venues

The importance of this region is endorsed by the latest annual American Express meetings and events industry report which says that “meetings spending is rising globally, led by the Asia Pacific region, with 2.1% growth expected.”

Meetings & Conventions Industry Forecast

Happy New Year to you all, and all best wishes for many good meetings and programs in 2016!


About Geraldine Gatehouse

Geraldine Gatehouse, IMEX America, is the 2015 President of SITE SoCal, and is a member and Strategic Projects Chair 2014-2015 of MPISCC.