HSMAI Releases the Future Of Meetings Report

DANICA TORMOHLEN, EDITOR-AT-LARGE
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McLean, VA – The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Foundation and Maritz Research have released the results of the Future of Meetings (FOM) survey. The findings are divided into four white papers on the future of meeting design, technology, venues and social media.

In the 2011 study, 1,612 hospitality professionals were asked open-ended questions focused on those four primary areas. Most respondents were from North America (89%) and were female (72%). Baby Boomers represented for 47% of total respondents, followed by Generation-Xers (46%) and Millennials (6%).

A bulk of respondents noted a problem with a “generation gap” within the industry relating to technology. Younger professionals expect more technology options while older professionals did not put as much importance on the topic. This trend, among others, will affect the way hospitality professionals relate to different audiences.

“We conducted the FOM open-ended survey in order to gauge an accurate accumulation of what is important to hospitality professionals and where they see the industry going,” said Rick Garlick, strategic consultant, Maritz Research Hospitality Group, a division Maritz. “Knowing that technology is the omnipresent topic shows that meeting planners, suppliers and others in the industry need to find how they can continue to remain competitive in this space.”

The survey provides predictions and discussions points about key issues for meetings of the future. Among the survey highlights:

Social media — A recent study of Twitter use at meetings showed that 35% of participants were responsible for generating 80% of the tweets about a meeting. This does compare to the general population – a study outside of the meetings sector found that 10% of users were responsible for 90% of tweets.
Technology — Discussion of the future of meetings technology focused on the importance of three technologies in particular: mobile applications, cloud computing and technologies that enhance the virtual meeting experience. An interesting stat: 64% believed that in the future, all presentations, videos, etc. will be
downloaded to mobile devices.
Meeting venues – While “cost and value” and “sustainability”
are both frequently mentioned topics in survey research, comments concerning cost are mentioned six times for every one mention of a sustainability topic.
Meeting design — A key trend in this area is the continued rise in outsourcing to supplier specialists. Given the expected continued pressures on resources, the rise of outsourcing can be expected to continue.
To download the complete study findings, go to http://www.hsmaieconnect.org/whitepaper/hsmaifoundation.html

Reach Fran Brasseux, executive director of HSMAI Foundation, at (703) 506-3280 or
fbrasseux@hsmai.org; Rick at (877) 462-7489 or rick.garlick@maritz.com