Report: Meeting and Event Professionals Delivering Against Increasing Expectations

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Report: Meeting and Event Professionals Delivering Against Increasing Expectations

By Rich Luna | Sep 12, 2018

Creating memorable and engaging meeting and event experiences knows no borders.

A new study released Wednesday shows that the top priority for meeting and event planners in the Latin American region is delivering against an audience’s increasing expectation for tailored experiences and creative engagement driven by new technologies.

The inaugural Latin America edition of the “Meeting Room of the Future” research from IACC, created in collaboration with IBTM Americas, was released Wednesday as the new IBTM Americas show began its two-day run in Mexico City.

More than 3,000 attendees, including 700 exhibitors, are expected for the rebranded event. Reed Exhibitions announced last year that it would combine its IBTM Latin America and IBTM America events into IBTM Americas, a massive endeavor embracing the North and South American markets.

“It wasn’t strategic for our brand to run two shows in the same region,” said David Hidalgo Ayala, show director, IBTM Americas. “Combining the solid growth of the Latin American market with the strong North American market is an enormous opportunity. Exhibitors and buyers are demanding fewer and better trade shows to expend less time and budget attending events. For that reason, we had to be very strategic in order to focus our energy, creativity and efforts.

“The IBTM brand is living a wonderful refresh, and 2018 was the moment to change and take leadership in the [growing] Latin America marketplace. Today, global associations are trying to expand their presence in Latin America, the biggest hotel chains and airlines are making great investments in the region and planners are moving more business there every day. It’s the perfect moment to build the bridge and business platform in the region.”

IBTM Latin America featured a 40 percent increase in international exhibitors in 2017 following 100 percent growth in the same category in 2016. Show officials expect more than 55 percent of the exhibitors are international (from outside Mexico).

Meeting Professionals International will deliver education sessions throughout IBTM Americas along with the MPI Foundation’s Rendezvous event Wednesday night to raise funds for industry scholarships.

In the “Meeting Room of the Future” report, more than 90 percent of respondents in the region report that their current role involves more “experience creation” for delegates versus five years ago compared to only 80 percent of respondents to the global survey in 2017. One respondent stated, “Five years ago, the objectives were very simple, today I work to ensure that each event has something new to offer. Achieving customer expectations has been a challenge.”

Respondents reported that as budgets tighten and focus on value for money increases, planners are more driven than they were five years ago by ensuring attendee satisfaction levels. Planners also expect that the focus on experience creation will continue to be at the heart of meetings development due, in part, to the desire from delegates for new ways to learn, decreasing attention spans and as a way to generate a memorable event to positively impact future sales.

Technology continues to play a key role in creating content rich experiences.

“Meetings today need to be dynamic. Attendees no longer come simply to listen. They want interactive activities, networking opportunities and venues that are technologically advanced,” according to the report.

“It is clear from our Latin America report that experience creation is at the heart of delivering successful meetings in this region,” said Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC. “This is largely driven by advancements in technology and also in the way the younger generations are influencing the consumption of information as they look for a more personal experience. In order to continue to build a successful future, it’s essential that event planners and venues continue to embrace the changes ahead.”

Hidalgo Ayala says IBTM Americas will deliver specialized education tracks at which attendees can earn CEUs, including content about DMOs, pharma, trends and innovation, event marketing, event production, sustainable events, weddings and sports events.

“Experiences and interaction are at the very core of what we do and interestingly, despite the ever-increasing use of technology in events, personal relationships and face-to-face meetings still take priority,” Hidalgo Ayala said. “As new technologies are embraced, in LATAM especially, event planners are more committed to and capable of delivering truly memorable and unique experiences for attendees.

“Looking to the future, it’s clear that event planners must stay on the cutting edge of industry innovations if they are to create more flexible, interactive, personal and collaborative events. Many changes are coming in terms of food, amenities, facilities and of course, technology, but it’s essential that we don’t lose sight of the fact that, especially in our industry, human relationships are at the center of everything."

With the onus on event planners to deliver events that are memorable and experience-rich, the report highlights a clear ongoing demand for more collaborative meeting space and technology, and the great outdoors is a key resource in delivering this.

“Access to outdoor spaces to run elements of the meeting, either breakouts, networking, team activities or dining are more important in Latin American events,” Cooper said. “Venues which make their outdoor spaces fit for purpose and enticing will be helping create memorable events.”

The report acknowledged that in Latin America not all technologies are perceived as offering real benefits. Audience polling and Q&A technologies were not considered as being effective and not improving communication in Latin America versus global respondents (44 percent in LATAM vs. 91 percent globally), with 11 percent of respondents who have used a conference app reporting that it hindered communication rather than improved it.

The Meeting Room of Future initiative aims is to identify new and emerging trends across technology, education, meeting and networking spaces and food & beverage within the meeting and conference global industry, as well as predicting the landscape of the industry over the next three to five years.

A full copy of “Meeting Room of the Future - Latin America” is available for download here



Rich Luna

Rich Luna is Director of Publishing for MPI and Editor-in-chief of The Meeting Professional.