Benchmark Names 2008 Meetings Trends

Resort and conference center management company Benchmark Hospitality International has issued its annual "Top Ten Meeting Trends," with input from its 30 properties around the United States and Asia.

The leading trends for 2008 are:

* Green Meetings, Not So "Last Year!"
Companies within the pharmaceutical, medical, and especially government sectors as well as many others request information on green policies up front in their RFP's. Benchmark says it's more than being politically correct, companies are really interested and extending a strong preference to green certified properties.

* Lightning Speed!
Technological advancements are occurring at lightning speed. Wireless connectivity is way past being a novelty and is now an expectation. And advanced technology like 360-degree cams is being installed in conference rooms to enable meetings to patch in persons from around the globe, and at a moment's notice.

* Laptops in the Meeting Room? OMG!
Companies are starting to encourage the use of laptops in the meeting room—but only for note-taking or facilitator-directed research!

* Save a Forest ... Do it by Close of Business Today!
More than 80 % of RFPs, proposals and contracts are now delivered and returned online.

* They're Back ... and Headed for the Break!
The proverbial Health Police are back. Just when we thought snacking could be fun and maybe a tad bit indulgent again. Choice, variety, selection—it's all still important, but the requests to "make sure it's healthy" have come back strong and "low carb" is not the only criterion.

* Teambuilding Has Legs!
From the traditional to culinary cook offs to white-water rafting, teambuilding activities as part of a meeting are more popular than ever. These initiatives are now often driven by the destination and the preference is for outdoor, physical activities.

* Meeting Package Pricing Solid!
Fewer meetings with a greater number of attendees per meeting, for enhanced cost efficiencies, is the current trend in the marketplace. Meeting package pricing, however, remains solid.

* It's Never Been More Critical to be Current! Here's Why.
Speed, fueled by the global information flow at the push of a button, has made industry information more available than ever before, and the need to remain "current" never more important—or easy to achieve.

* What's Hot in Recreation? Look Around You!
What seems to be evolving in recreation is a desire to experience all that a destination has to offer. Destination recreation! Walking & biking through natural forests, touring historic sites, climbing mountains and mesas, descending into canyons, and even shopping—activities once reserved for personal time only are now being encouraged as part of the group experience.

* Interactive Event Websites ... Meeting Blogs taken to the next level?
These websites are set up by group leaders for a particular meeting—and designed for conference attendees to reference before the meeting begins, and throughout conference as a review of the material discussed during the day.