Meeting of the Future Roundtable Discussion: The Meetings Show 2023

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Lime Venue Portfolio launched the latest imagining of its Meeting of the Future campaign at The Meetings Show this year. The campaign is one that is always evolving, never finished and always taking on new opinions to reflect new and contemporary thinking.

That’s why, during the show, Following the launch of our Meeting of the Future project, we brought together a mix of clients, agencies, and suppliers to discuss the outcomes and help us to evolve the campaign once again.

Around 20 guests joined us for lunch on the second day of the show, where we explored what their own meetings of the future might look like and how it correlated with the vision presented from our own extensive research.

From the outset, the use of differing, versatile spaces was discussed, and received positive agreement across the board. Equally, the delegates endorsed the need for multi-channel engagement that begins long before the attendee sets foot onsite. One of the buzzwords of the industry, festivalisation, was used again, challenging the industry to find ways to create experiences that offer choice and personalisation.

Also up for discussion, was the introduction of wellness spaces at events. These are becoming more and more prevalent in event plans and can offer anything from a simple quiet space for guests to escape to massages and counselling. However, this idea of specialist spaces evolved as the group discusses the benefits of other spaces from work spaces, to gyms and fitness centres.

But for our round table attendees there was concern that for some, these areas form part of a box ticking exercise with little thought as to why they are needed or what they are needed for. There needs to be a clear understanding as to why attendees may need such a space and how best to meet that need. In an industry which is constantly under fiscal pressure, the idea of creating aesthetically pleasing rooms that talk to a diverse audience, but actually serve no one, was not a route many wanted to go down.

This feeds into one of the Meeting of the Future project’s most poignant areas, which is the focus on pre- and post-event engagement. Personalisation of events came up time and time again in discussions and this can only be created if we have a true understanding of what attendees want to achieve at the event, and how best they can do so.

If the industry’s ambition is to provide attendees with the opportunity to self-curate their experience, we need to make sure that the right content and channels are available for them to choose from.

Certainly, accommodating everyone’s needs, was high on the agenda, as was ensuring equity of access so that EVERYONE has access to EVERYTHING. Conversations touched on the use of sign language at events or the inclusion of childcare – both of which would improve accessibility and feasibility for specific groups. These additional services work hand in hand with a closer dialogue with meeting delegations.

In line with the Meeting of the Future, the inclusion of a studio space is a growing trend and allows content to reach far beyond the event space and yet retain a professional standard of content delivery. Equally, this content is not just created for delegates hundreds or often thousands of miles from the event, it has increasing use to those at the event, who dislike the idea of sitting in a darkened or crowded room. Again, this idea of streaming to centralised, more comfortable areas is in keeping with the wider theme of the Meeting of the Future, care.

However, even with so much new technology at our fingertips and with hybrid options becoming a mainstay of event practice, no one questioned that human interaction sits front and centre of what we do. And, as an industry, we can introduce a wealth of new initiatives driven by insights and technological advancements, but at its heart will always be human touchpoints.