Meeting planners take note: Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, according to the Pew Research Center. Representing about 35 percent of all workers, Millennials can no longer be ignored or written off. Instead, event coordinators should consider their preferences at every stage of the planning process -- starting with site selection.
"Millennials have infiltrated the workforce. They are the attendees meeting planners now need to appeal to," said Loren Simpson, director of digital communications forthe Long Beach (Calif.) Convention & Visitors Bureau. "Lose their attention, and you'll lose relevancy and attendance to future events."
Below are four steps to consider before booking your next event.
1. Pick an Unconventional Location
Millennials like to break the mold. They have rewritten the rules of dating, shaken up the business world with remote work and are now forcing meeting planners to rethink event locations. According to tech giant Cvent, members of Gen Y prefer creative venues over the traditional ballroom. To meet Millennial expectations, event coordinators should seek out unique locations that are sure to wow attendees.
"When it comes to venue selections, meeting planners must take an out-of-the-box approach," said Simpson. "Conventional, four-walled venues are outdated. Defy expectations of a meeting by selecting a venue without a roof, or a venue on the roof."
2. Go Where the WiFi Signal is Strong
If there's one thing Millennials love, it's WiFi. A conference center or hotel with poor WiFi is going leave a bad impression on attendees and could prevent them from coming back next year.
Research from Successful Meetings shows that planners continue to struggle with WiFi and named it one of their top technology challenges of 2019. Before signing off on any contracts, event coordinators should ensure the WiFi network is fully equipped to accommodate the needs of attendees.
3. Consider Social Media Opportunities
The average Millennial spends 2 hours and 38 minutes a day on social media, according to a study by GlobalWebIndex. Meeting planners can attract Millennial attendees by selecting locations primed for social sharing. Be sure to consider the aesthetics and amenities of the venue, as well as Instagrammable dining options and nearby attractions.
"We live in the age of FOMO," said Simpson. "Everyone fears missing out on the next great event or experience. The more a meeting planner works to create out-of-the-box experiences, the more inclined an attendee is not only to come, but also share their attendance with everyone they know."
4. Seek Socially Responsible Venues
Sustainability is top of mind amongst Millennials -- 85 percent of whom say it is very important that companies implement programs to improve the environment, reports Nielsen.
To satisfy environmentally conscious attendees, meeting planners should select venues that have been awarded LEED certification for their efforts to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and conserve water. Many properties also partner with charity organizations to address social issues. Omni Hotels and Resorts, for example, works with Feeding America to solve hunger issues.