Survey Explores Generational Preferences of European Meeting Planners

In Europe, Millennial meeting planners care more about cost than connectivity. That’s just one of the surprising findings of a new survey of 101 European meeting planners by the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) and Development Counsellors International (DCI).

Titled “Exploring Generational Preferences of European Meeting Planners,” the survey asked four generations of meeting planners — Mature (age 66 and older), Baby Boomer (age 47-65), Generation X (age 33-46) and Millennials (age 18-32) — what they look for in a meeting venue.

“As Baby Boomers begin to retire and Millennials enter the workforce as meeting planners, it’s important for convention bureaus and conference facilities to recognize that the way they have traditionally sold to a meeting planner is going to change because what the meeting planner considers important is fluctuating,” said DCI Executive Vice President/Partner Karyl Leigh Barnes.

Among the survey’s key findings:

• Baby Boomers and Matures ranked technology/connectivity via Wi-Fi as the most important factor in selecting a venue. Technology was ranked as more important to these two generations than it was to Millennials, who look at cost as their top consideration for selecting a meeting space.

• Overall, the generations are united in their prioritization of accessibility/location, appropriate meeting space and value as highly important selection criteria when planning a meeting.

• Digital materials are king for selling to Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials, although Matures still prefer in-person selling during trade show appointments.

• Fifty-five percent of respondents consider the age of conference attendees when selecting a venue. Off-site activity options and the “cool factor” of the venue and location are very important factors for programs with Generation X and Millennial attendees.

• Open space, moveable furniture and informal setup are meeting room characteristics that European meeting planners indicate as “most important.”

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