There’s a lot of competition for time and attention at meetings these days. Up against buzzing notifications and back-to-back appointments, if your event doesn’t deliver an engaging, productive experience, you can forget about holding participants’ interest — or their attendance.
Business-as-usual meeting spaces and formats don’t cut it. New meeting formats designed for today’s professionals and their travel behaviors are changing the way business happens.
What modern meeting participants expect
Modern meetings must meet certain expectations, even before attendees ‘accept’ the calendar invite. The German Convention Bureau’s (GCB) “Future Meeting Space” project lays out the following essentials for meeting success:
- Interaction – The days of passive participation are over. Meeting attendees want to actively help shape the event and its agenda as it transpires.
- Efficiency – Time is valuable. From travel time to event schedules, meeting participants expect planners to appreciate that value and use time efficiently.
- Flexibility – Innovation and spontaneity go hand in hand. Responsive meeting formats and adaptive meeting settings that flex with changing needs are key.
- Relevance – Forward-looking professionals expect ultra-timely topics and short, fresh, to-the-point presentations that are relevant for their work and life.
- Security – Personal safety and data security are non-negotiable.
- Experience – Meetings that fail to tap professional passions through memorable, life-enhancing experiences will be forgotten or avoided entirely.
Formats that move meetings to the forefront
Meeting planners at the top of their game — yes, we’re looking at you — know that innovative meeting formats are shaking up the modern professional world. Take some tips from GCB’s findings on meetings of the future and experiment with six formats they identified as on the rise:
One to two days in length, interactive forums draw up to 200 participants to a single, central location. Keynotes set the stage, then attendees split into small groups that accentuate interaction and interplay. Small groups offer varied forms of engagement, from structured workshops to free-form gamification.
The multisite conference rejects the idea of ancillary locations playing second-fiddle to a central site. All the sites of these half-day events participate equally and simultaneously via two-way technological exchanges, thanks to online platforms and tools like videoconferencing, robotics and holograms. These short, regional events save time on travel, but create memorable experiences.
Relationship building and collaboration on up-to-the-minute topics drive this format, which typically stretches over several days. The exchange of information and knowledge happens on a personal level, one-on-one and in groups, in a relaxing atmosphere that accommodates normal business tasks.
Freed from connections to digital devices, unplugged formats help participants plug into people and their purpose. Typically held in a remote, non-urban location over one to two days, this format emphasizes relevant, secure interaction and respite from reliance on digital technologies.
With the help of self-projecting surfaces and virtual reality technologies, hybrid conferences bring attendees together in a virtual conference room. Whether attendance is physical or digital, location doesn’t matter. These events optimize efficiency and create immersive, memorable experiences.
Virtual goes live
Business relationships built on digital communication get a boost when virtual collaborators step into reality. This day-long meeting format brings participants out from their online worlds to meet up physically. Connecting face-to-face empowers digital relationships with trust and authenticity.
Adaptive Spaces for Innovative Meetings
To meet the future with your meeting formats, you need a meeting partner that can make visionary meetings a reality. Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts offers large meeting and breakout spaces for interactive forums, as well as more intimate and flexible spaces for today’s business travelers.
Our adaptive Plaza Workspace options accommodate solo endeavors and group collaborations for business and pleasure, with free Wi-Fi, on-screen support, and flat screen projection that connects participants, devices, and coworkers off-site. For more privacy, The Studio meeting space welcomes improvisation with real-time reservations, by-the-hour bookings, fully connected conference capabilities, and lounging areas for work or play.
Plaza Workspace is so flexible, it can be leveraged for just about any of the most innovative new meeting formats; It can be used for small groups in interactive forums, as a destination in a multisite conference, or a connection point for a virtual-goes-live and hybrid meetings. This unique, adaptive space is designed to meet the evolving needs of modern meeting attendees.