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HBAA highlights trends to observe in 2018

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  • Increasing demand for agency expertise and support
  • More spent on meeting content and event production
  • More variety of venues and meeting formats
  • Increasing focus on creating a memorable experience
  • Greater use of VR in event planning

These are among the many interesting developments that the HBAA is expecting to see emerging and progressing in the UK meetings and event industry in 2018.

Among the trends that Louise Goalen, Chair of the HBAA and Head of Venues at Top Banana

anticipates developing further are

  • clients looking for greater involvement from their agencies through incorporating them into their own events teams, underlining a greater appreciation of the value of the agency’s role
  • more one day events which don’t require overnight accommodation
  • more being spent on meeting content and event production – it’s all about creating memorable experiences
  • a move away from holding meetings and events in the traditional four walls and into unusual, inspirational venues and spaces

Giving an agency perspective, Erica Livermore, HBAA Executive Committee member and Managing Director of Prestige Reservations agrees with Louise about the growing importance of experiences, suggesting that operators and corporates will increase their focus on the guest experience. She also says that the industry will see

  • brand consolidation in the hotel sector and the creation of sub-brands targeting niche markets
  • the renaissance of budget hotel brands
  • the serviced apartments sector reaching maturity but corporate confusion over who owns what
  • a greater push by brands on the adoption of dynamic pricing which astute agencies and corporates will only adopt where commercially advantageous 

Steve Jones, Operations Director at Wyboston Lakes and his IT Director colleague Craig Warner provide a venue sector outlook. Craig echoes Louise Goalen’s thoughts on meetings ‘in traditional four walls.’ He says

  • there will be more movement away from the more traditional classroom style and more demand for breakout sessions in common areas whilst still connected to their course content. Planners and attendees expect more variety and to be in spaces in which they feel comfortable.

Craig also accepts there will be

  • a trend towards more digitised information being available to planners, with VR ready content enabling planners to visualise their conference before stepping foot on site.

Steve Jones sees that

  • guests of all ages have the latest technology at home and expect this when staying with us. Many want to bring their devices with them and for theirs to work seamlessly with ours. Venues need ever more to keep up with guests’ expectations.
  • dining trends continue to evolve, with record highs in casual dining making formal dining spaces redundant.  There is also an increasing expectation that produce will be local, and food will be beautifully presented - ‘snapchatagenic’ - food as well as tasty, healthy and nutritious.

Louise Goalen concludes by observing, “Although the changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary, there are many significant developments across nearly all areas of this industry at present. It will be intriguing to see how they progress over the year.”

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