by Matt Alderton | March 12, 2017
Last year was a solid year for meetings and events, and this year is shaping up to be even better, according to Benchmark Resorts & Hotels. To help meeting planners keep their events on the cutting edge, it recently named the following as its "Top 10 Meeting Trends for 2017":
10. Well-Trained Staff
According to Benchmark, what will most make a difference for meetings in 2017 are stellar, solutions-minded hotel staff. As a result, training will become a significant differentiator for meeting venues this year.

9. Relationship Management
Their increased appetite for good service means that meeting planners in 2017 will turn to venues that prioritize personal relationships. That means fewer emails and more phone calls and in-person meetings.

8. Craft Beverages
Attendees' taste for craft beverages will continue to grow in 2017, according to Benchmark, which predicts the continued growth of craft beers, craft cocktails, and craft liquors -- which meeting planners can leverage with educational tastings and happy hours that teach how they're made and how to pair them with food.

7. Bigger, Longer Meetings
Meeting planners can expect more of everything this year, according to Benchmark, which says group sizes, number of scheduled meetings, and even the length of meetings is increasing in 2017.

6. Increased Technology Adoption
Meeting planners and attendees will continue to adopt technology at rapid rates this year, according to Benchmark, which predicts increased adoption of networking apps like Poken, presentation apps like Click Share, and text messaging for business communications.

5. Fast Turnarounds
Technology has created an appetite for speed, according to Benchmark, which says planners in 2017 will expect faster communication from venues -- including faster responses to requests for proposals.

4. Technological Teambuilding
Instead of traditional teambuilding, groups in 2017 will embrace the concept of "corporate play days," according to Benchmark, which predicts the rise of play-based team bonding via events that incorporate GPS, virtual reality, and other interactive technologies.

3. Social Media Maturation
Social media will finally become a standard operating procedure in 2017, forecasts Benchmark, which says planners will be using LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube with increased frequency this year.

2. Local Experiences
Meeting attendees crave authenticity, according to Benchmark, which says 2017 will give planners an opportunity to plan interactive travel experiences that immerse attendees in local cultures in a way that's genuine instead of manufactured.

1. Renewed Optimism
With the 2016 election decided, meeting planners in 2017 can finally trade in "uncertainty" for "optimism," according to Benchmark, which predicts "renewed energy and prosperity" for meetings in the year ahead.

Source: Benchmark Resorts & Hotels