Meetings and Conventions 2030
A study of megatrends shaping our industry
Meetings and Conventions of the Future
The increasing complexity and lack of transparency of the world today especially affects the meetings industry in all its variety. Meetings, conventions and events serve as platforms for the exchange of experiences and ideas. As a result, successful organisation is also dependant on numerous terms and conditions of context - and this won't change in the next decades. Events that enable exchanges of experience and knowledge can help promote innovation. They can provide impetus for political, scientific and social processes and encourage international understanding. That’s why it's necessary for key actors to recognise future issues early enough, communicate them and come up with plans of action.
Modern future research can make a significant contribution by offering support and suggestions.
Megatrends and their Relevance for the Industry
In this comprehensive study, we outlined developments, selected megatrends and their impacts on meetings and conventions by the year 2030:
- Globalisation and Internationalisation
- "Peak Everything"
- Urbanisation - The City of the Future
- Demographic Change, Feminisation and Diversity
- Technology in Work and Life
- Sustainable Development
- Mobility of the Future
- Security and Safety
The essential challenges to each megatrend are described and concrete measures recommended in order to adequately meet future needs.
The comprehensive study revealed the following top five megatrends:
TOP 5 Megatrends
Technology in work and life
More than 41.6 percent of respondents identified technology in work and life to be very influential in the future of the meetings business. New forms of knowledge transfer will influence all phases of event planning. For example, the worlds of virtual and live events will blur as planners incorporate virtual components in live events and the number of networked virtual events increase.
Globalisation and internationalisation
Approximately 28.6 percent felt very strongly that globalisation will have a major impact. Meetings will be all the more important to address issues that arise through increased interconnectedness of cultures and peoples. Individuals will need to be more aware of nuances among country cultures, preferences and lifestyles and speak multiple languages.
Mobility of the future
Getting to and from events easily and comfortably and with the smallest possible ecological footprint will continue to be an important aspect of event planning. Host organisations will affect this process through the selection of easily accessible event locations and the use of “event tickets” for air and train transportation, among other things. Mobility of the future came in at 26 percent (very strong impact on the meetings industry).
Sustainability will remain a guiding principle to influence all areas of meeting planning, from construction and renovation of venues, to transportation, food and entertainment. One aspect of this development is the increasing “regionalisation” of meetings, where meeting organisers focus more on utilising local suppliers as well as inviting local and regional audiences more than before. Sustainability scored 20.8 percent (very strong impact on the meetings industry).
Demographic Change, feminisation and diversity
Demographic change was cited by 18.2 percent of respondents as “very strong.” An increasingly older meeting attendee population will require accessibility, but the implications extend significantly beyond getting around; they affect the meeting format, even the credentials and demographics of the speakers and presenters. Additionally, as more women travel the meetings circuit, features such as additional security for women traveling alone and child care, among others, will need to be considered. Meeting topics and flexible formats will also be shaped by the growing number of females traveling to meetings and conferences. Similar considerations, such a food choices and holiday observances, must be made as the meeting populations become increasingly diverse.
Even though the Internet has made communication and access to know-how independant of location, conventions and meetings in the future will continue to be dependant on central, conveniently situated places or buildings with special features.
The future of architecture for meetings and conventions has several important aspects:
Certification systems like the one from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) will become more important – in fact, they'll be essential.
- In dealing with aging societies, event centres can stay competitive if they provide barrier-free access.
- Temporary use of buildings that can be easily dismantled is part of the sustainability trend.
- Participants' wish for a "healthy" feel-good atmosphere requires for daylight and natural ventilation.
The demand for suitable learning spaces is growing worldwide due to the increasing complexity of our public and private lives and social relations, the speeding up of numerous development processes and growth of knowledge.
Essential Aspects of Knowledge Transfer
- Lifelong Learning, the acquisition of intercultural knowledge, and constant accessibility will continue to increase more than we can now imagine.
- New formats will supplement traditional forms of knowledge acquisition: various technologies and tools, especially in virtual conferences, and individual forms of knowledge acquisition such as "massive open online courses" from universities.
- Hybrid Events: Depending on the format, function and group of participants, increasingly convergent segments of stage technology, lighting, acoustics, presentation and translation technology as well as interactive and feedback options (voting, gaming) will be used. Mobile applications will be more strongly integrated into the lives of older people by 2030 than they are now.
- Face-to-Face…Flexible and Up-to-Date: Unlike today's conferences, situation- and participant-specific formats will be used consistently - with examples such as open space conferences and BarCamps. These will rely on flexible space and technical infrastructures.
Technology is the third scenario: The increasing prevalence of technology in meetings and conventions as well as the changing need of their visitors will result in new event concepts by 2030. Rigid rules and fixed locations will give way to flexibility.
Essential Aspects of this Trend
- In 2030, decentralised concepts utilising different technologies will be used primarily for meetings and conferences that include exhibitions. Different locations and virtual spaces will be linked with each other under one central concept.
- Up-to-Date: New technologies will be used for preparing, conducting and following up events.
- Virtual and Physical: Face-to-face events will be enhanced by virtual elements and a mixture of "hybrid events" will become prevalent. Physical and virtual units will require integrated planning from the beginning.
- New Service Sectors: Due to higher demands on the technical expertise of organisers, a special service sector will develop for the use of convergent technologies at meetings and conferences.
Also many industry experts and representatives from politics, business and science, who were actively involved and brought in their know-how.