Healthy food, social media and so-called
"unconferences" are a few of the big trends that are taking
over small meetings, according to Apella, the event space at
New York's Alexandria Center, which recently released its list
of the "Top 10 Small Meeting Trends."Compiled by event planner
Arthur Backal, CEO of Backal Hospitality Group, which also
manages and services all events at Apella, the list is as
1. Healthier Food and Beverage Offerings
Apella has reported an increase in health-conscious catering
requests from clients for both daytime meetings and social
events. "For example, there are more requests for grilled
chicken and fish orders for entrees and nut and fruit requests
for snacks," Backal reports.
2. Hybrid Events
"Hybrid events have become a cornerstone of the events
industry," according to Apella, which reports seeing many video
conferences and live-streamed events. "They offer both an
in-person component and live-streamed video content, which can
save money on travel expenses and still reach an expansive
audience and maintain human connectivity."
3. Social Media and Event Application Engagement
"Clients across industries are incorporating social media into
their programs by way of Q&A through Twitter and contests
through Facebook," Apella says. "Event applications on
smartphones are becoming more popular for planners, even if
guests are still catching on."
4. Inspiring Meeting Environments
"Clients are always looking for non- traditional space to
inspire creativity during events," according to Backal. For
example, breakout rooms that have dry erase walls or tackable
surfaces are ideal for brainstorming.
5. Green Meetings
"Today's meeting professionals are recycling nametags,
minimizing the number of handouts they print, and requesting
water in pitchers rather than individual bottles," Backal says.
6. Technology Amenities for Attendees
"Attendees are beginning to expect certain technologies offered
at meetings, such as computer access and phone charging
stations," Backal explains. "Many clients have rented charging
lockers and table charging stations for their guests to power
7. Philanthropic Spirit
"As companies increase their corporate social responsibility
efforts, building a philanthropic component into meetings and
events when combined with team building exercises is gaining in
popularity," according to Backal.
8. Mobile Event Planning Tools
"There has been an increase in electronic event planning tools
to assist with registration, floor plans, and seating chart
generation," Backal says.
"A different approach to meeting planning is to create a
conference based on what the attendees want to discuss," Backal
explains. "This new trend is called the unconference. Clients
join casual, breakout conversations and bring the takeaways to
another conference environment within the same event. This
gives the attendees a chance to create their own agenda and
participate in relevant sessions."
10. Technology as Decor
"Clients are looking for unique,
creative, and inexpensive ways to customize event spaces," says
Backal, who reports that clients are using plasma TVs and
projection screens to create color and light without having to
outsource to a production company.