The hospitality industry is more dynamic and fast-paced than ever before – especially when it comes to events. Start the year off right by thinking about how you can win more business with these emerging event trends for 2019.
1. Seeking New, Unique Locations
Rising costs in major cities have planners seeking new event locations. We’ll see smaller secondary cities proving themselves as attractive options with lower price points, putting greater emphasis on what the local scene has to offer. With the rise of Millennial event attendance, their likelihood to explore, and to share their experiences, you’ll want to position the unique qualities of your property. You can’t control your location but you can organize and promote activities both on and off-property to make your surroundings more appealing.
2. Transforming Event Spaces
Venues will no longer be constrained to room layouts, floor plans, and décor to provide unique experiences. We’ll begin to see projection mapping, expected to grow significantly in the coming years, take the event experience to the next level by using multiple projectors to display images on walls, floors, or ceilings. This technology allows for unlimited personalization and customization from one event to the next with limited set up and breakdown.
3. Quickly Creating Experiences
According to a recent study, 34% of event organizers prefer to work with venues that let them customize the event space and another 31% of organizers prefer venues that prepackage. With these contradictory desires from planners, we’ll see more venues enable quick and easy decision making, while still enabling customization. One way to do this is creating a package that includes multiple layout options, a variety of menu selections, and options to add additional elements.
4. Personalizing for All
Along with unique locations and customized events, planners are seeking personalized experiences for their attendees. With 83% of millennials willing to allow brands to track their habits in exchange for a more customized experience, we expect to see sales and catering teams provide more personalization this year and drive incremental revenue. By working with planners and reviewing event agendas early on, you can provide a large number of personalized recommendations from happy hour drink specials to dinner offers to pre or post stay activities and truly deliver an experience every attendee will love.
5. Selecting Sustainability
Being environmentally conscious will go a long way in 2019. 68% of global travelers are more likely to consider an accommodation with sustainable practices and 51% of meeting planners say they book meetings only in eco-friendly hotels. To get on board, consider a recycling program like soap recycling or install energy efficient lighting. Offering organic or regional cuisine is another way to peak group interest in your property. 70% of consumers age 18-44 said they would be more likely to dine at a restaurant that had locally sourced food. With interest growing in sustainable and fresh ingredients, updating your menu is a great way to attract planners and impress attendees in the coming year.
6. Improving Event Check-In
Nobody likes long check-in lines at events. That’s why venues will start getting more requests to incorporate facial recognition technology to automate the whole process and manage individual attendees from start to finish. According to a survey conducted by Event Tech Lab, facial recognition will be the biggest driver of 2019 tech spending for event management. Facilitating this experience and tying in its security features to detect unregistered people and alert planners and staff will impress even the most tech savvy planners.
7. Requiring Event Safety Precautions
46% of planners report managing safety and security risks associated with meetings as a top issue in 2019. Many hotels have recognized the need for devices like panic buttons to connect isolated employees at their properties, and have pledged to re-examine their safety culture to address all areas of the business. Don’t be surprised if planners insist on having panic buttons installed in event spaces along with security cameras to put everyone’s minds at ease in the event of an emergency.
8. Communicating Instantaneously
Both Hospitality Technology and eHotelier predict real time communication will be key in 2019, so don’t forget to translate that need to your group business. While event apps are commonplace, instantaneous event communication between a planner and hotel staff is still in its infancy. Planners need to communicate to the onsite staff about things like menu changes and equipment issues, which need to be prioritized and actioned immediately. By using existing communication and maintenance tools, hotels can deliver better, faster.
9. Actually Using Big Data
In order to serve up the level of personalization, instantaneous communication, and safety desired, hotels will need to get fully on board with artificial intelligence, at least through the lens of predictive analytics. While we’ve been talking about big data for events, we expect hotels to look further than a centralized repository for information and act upon data to increase revenue, overall satisfaction, and deliver on event safety requirements.
We’re going to see properties setting themselves apart through exceptional service paired with the use of technology in 2019. As planners continue to focus on locations that can provide their guests with personalized service, exciting menus, and unique activities, venues will want to invest in modern technology solutions that will help them improve their group business and stand out from the competition.
To learn more about what our leading hospitality solutions can do for you, contact us. We’d be happy to answer your questions or set up a demo.