January 2018

Our Family of Companies
We hope you are off to a great start in 2018, and wish you all the best for a fantastic year ahead! 
Following a break for the holidays, we have hit the ground running, as our HRG Event Solutions team teamed up with United Rentals for their annual supplier trade show in St. Louis.

Looking back at 2017, as HRG celebrated our 20th anniversary, we grew all three of our lines of business - managing high profile events, leading workforce training programs, and developing innovative marketing solutions.

And as we look ahead, we are more excited than ever about our prospects, and look forward to working with a truly outstanding team who remain committed to helping you achieve your goals.
In this first HRG e-newsletter of the year, we review top level market trends in meetings and events that we think will help you prepare to achieve your goals and generate positive outcomes.
We hope you enjoy our monthly newsletters, and look forward to hearing from you about topics you are interested in learning more about in future editions. As always, we will post this newsletter on our HRG In the News and HRG LinkedIn Group pages, and invite you to comment on them. 

Wishing you all the best for a fantastic year!


Robert O. Sanders Jr., CMP
Hospitality Resource Group, Inc.

Michael Lattari
Hospitality Resource Group, Inc.

Meeting and Event Market Trends and Forecast
As we move forward in 2018, we are truly excited at the possibilities to plan and produce memorable, productive meetings and events.  Based on our research and communication with our clients, industry experts and analysts, we have come up with 5 key trends to plan for to generate a strong ROI:
1. M&E Industry Growth to Affect Planning Strategies

As the U.S.  economy  is expected to grow, the outlook is for a very busy year ahead for event planners. With this continued demand, prices for travel are projected to rise, according to Holtelogix

The 2018 Global Travel Forecast projects :  
  • Hotel prices to increase 3.5%
  • Air travel to increase 3.7%
  • Ground transportation to increase .6%
Looking ahead, major conference event planners are now going out 2 years in advance. This MPI Survey sheds further light on the shift in the balance of power in negotiating with venues:

Despite the growth projections, event budgets are expected to either remain flat or decrease, according to a survey by Successful Meetings .
82% of event planners report they will see no increase in their budgets this year.
2. New Technology Applications 
A summary of industry forecasts lists technology advancements as the leading trend to consider for improving M&E ROI.  An expanding range of applications have been developed in response to the demand for more engagement, interaction, navigation, and tracking. Corbin Ball and Coissued a report on event technology developments we can expect to see in 2018, and they include: 
VR Apps- Watch virtual speakers  "take the stage" at events this year. as 3D visualization adds a new dimension to the speaker's virtual presence. This article from Endless Events discusses virtual meeting places with virtual attendees who can actively engage in discussions, or at digital hangouts to network and engage other participants, speakers, and virtual audiences from your device.
Event Venue NavigationGoogle Indoor Maps and Beacon technologies including Sherpa SolutionsEventBase, DoubleDutch, ITM Mobile and other mobile event apps using BLE will assist attendees with finding vendors and socializing with colleagues at tradeshows and events.
Chatbots and Artificial IntelligenceVoice-activated systems can now answer attendee questions and gather feedback, providing new windows into attendee engagement. Examples include a Morph.ai app that can be deployed over Facebook Messenger, Twitter, SMS, website, live chat and Skype, and an AI-powered hotel assistant and chatbot.
Friction-Free Event Check-in- Automated check-in terminals such as Cvent OnArrival and guest list check-in apps including Check In Easy eliminate paper spreadsheets; Boomset offers self-service kiosks, lead exchange, access control management, and on-demand badge printing.  Beacon technology offers similar applications; as a Cisco case study reported a 65% increase in efficiency, reducing waiting times to a few seconds. 
Facial recognition, biometrics and sentiment analysis  will be used to measure attendees' mood, engagement and demographic, as it is also moving into event registration; Zenus Biometrics claims their event check-in is up to five times faster than standard humans provide.

3. Event Experiences Evolve
Attendee engagement continues to stress the importance of:  
  • Emotional involvement
  • A demonstration of their commitment to interact at a higher level, and:
  • Their interest in acquiring relevant knowledge they can use in the future.
With this unrelenting growth in tech apps, attendees  will seek out more "white space" to reduce stress, and make their experiences more productive, enjoyable, and memorable. A survey by IMEX and Meeting Professionals International found that 95% of meeting professionals felt some level of stress at work, as our hyperconnected world keeps us constantly looped in on every issue, from terrorist acts to new technology. Organizers and meeting professionals will look to bring humanity back, providing  openings  for "mental regrouping" to support participants' health and wellness.
Examples include "playful" events that encourage attendees to have fun, as they interact with fellow participants. We will also see  more examples of event gamification, driven by the growing participation from millennials
4. Fresh Meeting and Event Content
In a recent survey published in Successful Meeting, planners were asked "What is your most difficult challenge in creating meetings content in 2018?" Their answers included:   
  • Create compelling meeting content: 65%
  • Developing environments that enhance learning: 58%
  • Getting quality speakers and presenters: 42%
While not every event planner can offer a Malcolm Gladwell or Warren Buffet as a keynote speaker, the topics, trends and venue you choose will continue to drive high levels of engagement, interaction and participation. What are the key drivers for developing effective meeting content? 
This article from EventBrite on 2018 Event Trends offered insight into the planning and production of event content, including the development of personalized experiences. Location-based social analytics apps including GoBabl measure attendee sentiment on this and other topics. 
5. Event Venues - Local Flavors in Demand 
The addition of hotel inventories from the construction of new hotels and conference centers provide new options for event planners, as prices have begun to level out. Just as these new venues have come on the market, event participation has grown, and planners  need to respond to discriminating attendees and offer fresh options. 

Cabaret-style locations have become popular, as they foster interaction while giving everyone the space they need. Event planners will seek out venues that reflect the personality, values, and communication they need, as mentioned in this article in Endless Events
These venues create  a "human friendly" environment with a local flair, offering a more intimate atmosphere for attendees to engage in.  These trends and developments are reviewed in the Event Manager Blog 25 Event Venues and Destinations to Watch for in 2018  
M&E Planners Outlook- Issues and Solutions 
In this Successful Meetings survey of M & E Planners, respondents identified their most important issues and concerns. These include:   
  • Providing quality meetings on limited budgets: 68%
  • Keeping up with the evolution of meetings technology: 60%
  • Proving ROI for meetings: 54%
  • Negotiating with suppliers: 49%
  • Creating compelling meeting content: 48%
  • Managing safety and security risks: 43% 
As we prepare for a very busy year ahead,  this is an ideal time to engage in a thorough review of these  trends and developments, to help lay the groundwork for success. 
We hope you found this information to be helpful as you move forward with your plans for meetings and events this year.

Do you need help in your event planning and strategy in 2018? HRG's Event Solutions team can help. With over 20 years of experience in successful M&E  planning and management, we are the go to source to help you improve your outcomes. 

For more information about our no cost initial consultation and a free HRG Event Solutions Audit, give us a call at HRG (914) 761-7111 or email   walter@hrginc.net.
About Hospitality Resource Group

Hospitality Resource Group, Inc. (HRG) is a group of vertically integrated companies, with over 20 years of experience developing innovative training, marketing and event programs for businesses, education institutions, not for profit organizations and municipalities. HRG clients benefit from our proven ability to develop effective management solutions to expand their markets and engage their companies to build brand equity, increase sales and improve productivity. 

The HRG family of companies includes:

HRG has earned widespread recognition from leading industry organizations, including:



Corporate Office: 237 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY - Phone: 914.761.7111 - Fax: 914.761.7854 - info@HRGinc.net

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