Anyone can make predictions about the future of the meetings industry, but no one has a crystal ball to give a definitive answer. We’ve combed through studies from IMEX, Destination Hotels & Resorts and American Express, along with other experts and have tried to distill it down to several key points that most everyone agrees on.

  • Budgets are still tight – Spending for meetings in North America appears to be flat right now, with a slight 1.5% increase in actual meetings being held. Spending for meetings in Europe seems to be decreasing. Everyone is demanding more ROI. If you’re a speaker, you simply must be bringing in more value. Fluff doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • More social media integration– Companies will be using social media in new and different ways for content creation and networking. Social media allows attendees to talk about and share information before, during, and after the event. People who attend the event can review it, and hopefully shape future events.
  • More complex and rigorous approvals – Senior level executives must often approve meeting budgets above a certain amount, which will slow down the approval process. A shift will be towards more revenue focused meetings.
  • More local meetings – Expect companies to start having more local meetings and fewer large meetings where everyone has to travel a great distance. Many will also be combining those meetings with local volunteer charity.
  • Lower priced hotels – Meeting planners have said they are going with lower priced hotels and giving attendees fewer options. Some also said their food and beverage budgets have been cut.

So, how does this affect you as a speaker? You could get upset about it, or you could see it as an opportunity to start bringing more and more value to a company as a speaker. How can you help a meeting planner with their social media? Or meeting promotion?

The dilemma meeting planners are in is that they are looking for the best speakers to speak for the least amount of money so they can fit it into their budget. With attendees demanding more value, hiring good speakers becomes critical.

You can help the meeting planners out by agreeing to speak for free, if they will let you get your own sponsor. They’re much more willing to work with you on it if they can get a valuable speaker.

Don’t be discouraged. Live meetings aren’t going away. Yes, there may be more virtual meetings, but the bottom line is you can’t have a networking dinner or share a glass of wine over the computer. Live meetings with interesting and entertaining speakers are here to stay.





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