Kindred Resorts & Hotels, a collection of independent hotels and resorts focused on the group and meetings market in North America, conducted a survey of the company’s 63 properties throughout the United States in locations ranging from Hawaii to Florida. The findings show that next year looks promising for the meetings industry with an array of interesting trends expected to dominate how meetings evolve and innovate.
Just over 40 percent of the properties met their 2017 projected revenue for group business, a decline of nearly 20 percent compared to the previous year. A variety of factors contributed to the decline, including delayed bookings due to the 2016 election as well as natural disasters in the Southeast. However, more than 70 percent of Kindred properties report an expected increase in group business for 2018.
What’s In for 2018
The traditional coffee break will go untraditional in 2018 according to Kindred properties. Groups will want to embrace health and wellness by getting outdoors and partaking in activities instead of simply pausing in between sessions to check email over a cup of coffee. Meeting planners are looking for and finding a variety of ways to keep attendees engaged during breaks. Kindred Resorts & Hotels are anticipating the demand for diverse break experiences to increase with groups booking forest bathing, archery, animal interactions, nutritional workshops, meditation sessions, various types of yoga, and even oxygen breaks. With a focus on increasing attendees’ energy, these new break activities are expected to be accompanied by healthier food and beverage choices with less sugar and a higher emphasis on organic offerings.
Another trend expected to grow in 2018 is that meetings and conferences will become more retreat-like and transformative. Instead of the traditional full day of meetings, planners are expected to add longer breaks and more free time to the itineraries, giving attendees the opportunity and time to really soak up and enjoy their surroundings as well as the experience. Planners want to provide guests with time to immerse themselves in the local culture and surroundings as well as partake in more brainstorming, networking, and teambuilding activities.
What’s Out for 2018
According to Kindred Resorts & Hotels’ survey, classroom-style and boardroom meetings will be on the decline. Outdoor meetings will be in demand as groups no longer want to sit in traditional meeting settings all day. Cottages, barns, pool decks, restaurants, and common areas are expected to be booked, giving meeting attendees a different perspective and backdrop.
Paper will be replaced by technology even more in 2018. Meetings have been eco-focused with less paper and plastic for many years. The use of technology, from apps serving as attendees’ schedules to social media being utilized as a form of communication during a meeting and downloadable event programs, will continue to eliminate paper.
“At the majority of our properties, booked business is on the rise and 2018 is predicted to be a strong year,” said Bree Brostko, managing director of Kindred Resorts & Hotels. “The way people want to meet is changing which provides exciting opportunities for our properties and their clients. Being healthy, connecting with colleagues in a meaningful way and in a distinct setting, are all going to be important facets of the meeting and event experience in the next year.”