Survey: 'Hypercompetition' Shaping the Future of Meetings

Although they'll still be important 10 years from now, face-to-face meetings will be fewer, smaller and very, very competitive, according to phase-one findings from Convention 2020, a strategic forecast into the future of meetings and conventions.

Released today by Fast Future Research—which is conducting Convention 2020 with support from sponsors such as IMEX and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), among others—the findings show that in 2020:

• The quality of networking will be the single biggest factor influence meeting attendance, according to 76 percent of planners.
• There will be more smaller, specialized meetings, according to 79 percent of planners.
• Events will need to offer strong price-based incentives in order to attract attendees, according to 77 percent of planners.
• Live video streaming, social networking and mobile event content will be the most popular forms of meeting technology, according to 75 percent, 70 percent and 64 percent of attendees, respectively.
• Technology will help event organizers capture and analyze every activity, presentation and conversation at their meetings, according to 93 percent of planners.
• Ethical and environmental factors will continue to influence meeting attendance, according to 70 percent of planners.
• Venues at schools, universities and colleges will offer the most competition to convention centers, according to 63 percent of planners.

"The results highlight that demand for live events is expected to hold strong out to 2020, but to attract customers will require significant innovation in meeting formats, business models, organizational capability and the use of technology," ICCA CEO Martin Sirk said in a statement.

Added IMEX CEO Carina Bauer, "With an expected proliferation of smaller and more specialized events, convention owners and venues will need to develop a range of business models and event funding approaches to succeed in a hypercompetitive environment."

Concluded Fast Future CEO Rohit Talwar, "The next decade promises an uncertain economic climate where optimism and growth will be unevenly distributed across the planet, and where technology will offer an ever wider range of alternatives to live events. The challenge for the industry is to recognize the shifts taking place and embrace the need for innovation in event design and business models and to develop the professional capabilities required to survive and thrive in turbulent times."

For its initial Convention 2020 report, Fast Future surveyed 1,125 meeting professionals from 76 countries. For complete results, visit