Corporate Event Trends for 2013

According to a recent article in Successful Meetings, the corporate events market is poised for expansion. Analysts from independent research firm Aberdeen Group have also estimated spending on corporate events to rise by 20 percent during the next two years. Yet, despite the good news, with budgets still tight, regional meetings to remain a popular alternative to national confabs.

Wowing attendees and getting them to return year after year requires knowing what’s hot, next and new. At the same time, it’s important for meeting planners to satisfy the demands of the CEOs for more efficient, cost-effective ways to do business.

Meeting planners agree that the success of any event hinges on serving trend-conscious food and beverage, integrating the most up-to-date technology, designing with “of-the-moment” flair and booking venues that make sound fiscal sense.

Smart Meetings Magazine spoke to leading experts in the event industry and drafted its top list of corporate event trends for 2013. Here are some of those trends:

Location, location, location. According to the “State of the Meeting Industry” survey, planners’ new #1 booking criteria is location. With airlines cutting flights and raising prices, planners are looking at alternative spaces, like chartered yachts and warehouses. Many chartered yacht companies like Charter One Yachts offer everything needed to create a productive and successful event, including flexible space, fine dining and superb entertainment. The possibilities are endless. Charter One Yachts’ fleet – The Floridian Princess and The Summer Wind – cruise the Intracoastal Waterway and Biscayne Bay, taking in picturesque views of South Florida while you conduct business.

Social spaces. In this social-networking age, planners are creating environments – think lounges – that are conducive to learning and networking. The Floridian Princess offers plenty of space for configuration and accommodates up to 400 guests between four decks. The Summer Wind, formerly owned by the Bacardi family, accommodates up to 60 guests. The vessels dock in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

Technology as design. Technology continues to dominate the meetings landscape. Incorporating LED and moving lights, live streaming videos, video games and social media into event design, enables heightened engagement. Meeting planners are also introducing ways for attendees to stay tech-connected at events. For example, setting up lounging stations with gadget chargers, so attendees can charge their phones and tablets.

Staying connected. Smartphones have become an irreplaceable tool for business; analysts predict that mobile phones will officially overtake PCs in 2013 as the most common method for accessing the web. It’s imperative that organizations fully leverage attendee use of these devices before, during and after events.

The tablet revolution. An ancillary trend is the rise of tablet devices, the preferred way to consume mobile sites. It’s not uncommon to see people walking around seminars and trade shows with an iPad. It’s imperative that planners design their corporate events to include these devices.

Mobile e-commerce. An increasing number of attendees are using mobile card readers like Square and Intuit GoPayment to pay for registration and merchandise at trade shows and events.

Food and beverage. Health and wellness continue to take center stage when it comes to food and beverage. Local and sustainable ingredients also remain important. There are some fun trends taking shape – from gourmet boxed meals to canned cocktails. Some of the more popular trends include smaller portions but more variety for grazing, chef interaction and custom cocktails, where companies partner with brewers to create custom blends or with distillers on custom barrels of liquor.