The Blog

Jan 4, 2018

Nine Meeting Trends to Look For in 2018

For 2018, meeting planners are focusing on the advancement of technology, attendees’ preferences for healthier foods, experience-focused agendas and more. Check out our list of nine meeting trends to keep an eye on this year.

1. Virtual and Augmented Reality Will Continue to Increase in Popularity and Usage
Augmented reality isn’t exactly new, but now it’s readily available to everyone thanks to the ARKit (Apple) and ARCore (Google) smartphone apps. With virtual and augmented reality, you can bring hard-to-reach speakers to your conference, allow attendees to see and test out products before they’re released, overlay interactive content on your tradeshow floor and host digital hangouts for increased networking. You can even use it to help your attendees find out more information on a guest speaker or to help them find their way around the venue. Planners should consider using AR and VR technology to provide more personalized experiences for attendees.

2. Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots Will Enable Better Communication with Attendees
As time goes on, artificial intelligence and chatbots are becoming an integral part of how we seek out information. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home are just a few examples, but there are applications for the event-planning community as well. Companies like ConfBot, Sciensio’s Concierge Eventbot, Event2Mobile’s EVA and ai offer chatbots that can help keep your attendees informed and engaged. Generally speaking, these chatbots can send notifications, source feedback from your participants and allow them to connect with each other. This technology allows you to add a personal touch to your conference, making it a more engaging experience for all.

3. Beacon Technology Will Enhance On-Site Engagement
Beacon technology allows you to know where your attendees are located within the convention center and harness that information to improve their experience. You can connect attendees with others close to them or in the same session. Exhibitors can send push notifications to attendees as they near their booth. Another tool, heat mapping, allows you to track crowd flow and where your guests are spending their time, allowing you to optimize layouts for future events.

4. Safety and Security Will Continue to be a Focus

The safety of attendees is always a top priority for event planners. There are security officer requirements at a number of venues in Lubbock to which our team can connect you. Cybersecurity is increasingly at the forefront of the conversation as well. It’s a good practice to make sure your registration company is PCI compliant, use multi-factor authentication when possible, change passwords often and keep anti-virus software up-to-date.

4ORE! Golf

5. Events Will Promote Healthy Lifestyles

Increasingly, we see conferences encouraging attendees to be fit and active with charity 5Ks, morning group yoga sessions or scenic walks as part of the daily agenda. To add something like this to your next event, you can arrange group rides at CYCLEBAR and a tee time at 4ORE! Golf, runs around Buffalo Springs Lake, group walks at the Lubbock Memorial Arboretum and yoga in the Buddy & Maria Elena Holly Plaza. Of course, there are more ways to liven up your next event in the “Hub City.” Here are a few suggestions.

Farm to Fork

6. Food & Beverage Offerings Will Trend Toward Healthier, Local and Unique
More and more, event planners are thinking outside the “conference chicken” box and choosing cuisine with a more local flavor. Food trucks are seen more often parked at events, bringing variety and choice. You can do the same in Lubbock! Have Healthy Essentials whip up a batch of their famous smoothies for your breakout sessions. Invite Farm to Fork Gastro Truck to serve their scrumptious, locally-sourced dishes to your group. Lubbock favorite Gold Stripe Coffee Roasters can bring their mobile coffee bar to energize your morning meetings. See all of your options here.

Wine tasting at Llano Estacado Winery

7. Meetings and Conventions Will Continue to Become More Experiential
The success of an event hinges on the experiences of the attendees. Did they learn something new? Did they discover a new destination? How did the event make them feel? The goal is to make your meetings and conventions more immersive and engaging. The list of unique experiences in Lubbock is endless, but a good start is a wine tasting at one of our six local wineries, a stand-up paddleboarding session with SUPLBK or a tour through 49 authentically-restored ranching structures at the National Ranching Heritage Center. You can also host an evening reception at the Cagle Steaks or the American Windmill Museum for an unforgettable view of the sunset.

8. There Will be Scheduled “No Screens” Time for Networking
What’s the one thing technology cannot replace? Actual face-to-face conversation with another person. Beyond our monitors, tablets and smart phones. The networking opportunities that conferences provide can’t be replicated. To avoid squandering away those opportunities, start implementing “no screen” policies during networking breaks, challenging attendees to truly interact. Though people will likely laugh, they’ll definitely appreciate it.

Image courtesy of beamauthentic.com

9. Other Technology Will Help Shape Networking and Registration

There are so many innovative new gadgets and platforms to improve networking and registration for your attendees. The key is not to use technology just for the sake of it. Choose options that will save you time and elevate your attendees’ experience. Be on the lookout for smart buttons like BEAM buttons, wearable technology that allows attendees to showcase their interests, passions and GIFs. It’s like wearing your personality on your sleeve. These are definite conversation starters and a clever way to increase engagement. Companies like Zenus Biometrics are offering face recognition event registration for a streamlined process to save time and resources at check-in.

Planning an event in Lubbock? Take advantage of our complimentary services, including creating comprehensive proposals that include bids from hotels and meeting facilities. Get in touch with us to see how we can help make your next event in the “Hub City” a success.