by Matt Alderton | May 31, 2013

Overall, meeting planners of all ages want the same things. There are a few key differences, however, that suppliers should keep in mind, according to the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC), which has partnered with Development Counsellors International (DCI) to survey meeting planners of various generations, it announced yesterday.

According to the survey, the meetings industry is “in a state of flux,” with older professionals leaving the workforce and young professionals entering it.

“It is projected that employment in the North American meetings market will grow by a massive 44 percent through 2020. This rapid growth will usher in a new era of new expectations and demands for conference centers seeking to win a meetings planner’s business,” IACC notes in a news release.

Given this rapid change and growth, IACC asked meeting planners in four different cohorts — matures (age 66 and older), baby boomers (age 33 to 46), Generation X (age 33 to 46) and Generation Y/Millennials (age 18 to 32) — about their buying preferences in the meetings marketplace. Its findings:

• Matures want details on business-friendly guest rooms, spaces that are conducive to learning and collaboration, as well as off-site activities that are within walking distance of the venue.

• Baby boomers and Generation X are attracted to venues’ Wi-Fi capabilities. Like matures, they’re also interested in spaces that are conducive to learning and collaboration. What’s more, IACC concludes, they’re apt to decline a facility for inadequate meeting space (size/quality/layout) as well as cost and/or excess charges.

• Generation Y is most likely to decline a venue for inadequate meeting space and cost/excess charges. They care deeply about the appeal of a destination, according to IACC, which says it’s beneficial to share entertainment and evening activities that are available on- and off-site. In addition, this generation wants awards-banquet space that provides the ability to recognize key performers.

To download complete survey results, click here.

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