2010 UnTrends in Meetings and Events

by Todd Hanson, CRP, CPIM, Catalyst Performance Group, Inc.
Now that we have had a chance to assimilate all the 2010 predictions made by all the self-proclaimed pundits, I thought it would be interesting to weigh in on what I believe won’t happen in 2010.

Predictions for What Won’t Happen in 2010

Face-to-face meetings and events will continue to decline in use.
People still do business with people and deferred spending in this area will have its price in eroding engagement and relationships, a price that will be increasingly difficult to ignore.

2. Virtual events and meetings will prove to be an interesting experiment but generally ineffective.
The truth, in my opinion, is that the continued advancement in technology and the experimentation that has taken place will prove that meeting virtually can be effective, when objectives are properly matched with the right tool. I expect a decline in usage by those that have embraced the technology but overall usage will increase as more learn how to apply the technology.

3. Credible results measurement will prove to be a fad.
Results measurement of meetings is abysmally low, for events it is even worse. When used properly, the insight gained from measuring results of people performance initiatives will drive evidence-based continuous improvement. And in many situations, understand the ROI will mean the difference between continued investments of the loss of a budget.

4. Corporate social responsibility will decline in importance.
To the contrary, I think that there is a new paradigm for meetings and events. Management gets it and target audiences will expect it. And for those organizations looking for new tactics to gain engagement by participants, there is virtually no better way than to add a cause to what you are doing.

5. The use of exotic destinations and venues will return to pre-recession levels.
Sorry Arizona, Florida, Caribbean, and elite venues that charge tens of thousands just to open the door, companies have found that the desire is not just in the sizzle but also in the steak. More firms will find effective ways to engage audiences in secondary markets and in simple venues. This spells opportunity for many previously overlooked sites.

6. We’ll see the return of parties for party sake and other legacy programs.
In actuality, we have seen an alignment of event  strategy with corporate strategy and that’s a good thing. For further reasoning, refer to unprediction #3.

7. We’ll all learn how to properly say 2010.
There may be a chance here though. Say it with me, twenty ten.