Setting the scene in ’17?

Which hospitality trends will take off this year? We give our predictions in our meetings and events forecast


It is truly an exciting time to be involved in M&E. More emphasis is placed on new talent, creative thinking and technology improve engagement and the overall return on events.


As we look ahead, we’ve been talking to our clients about their priorities. Here are some of their predictions and priorities for this year.


A bigger piece of the pie

Food and beverage prices are expected to continue to rise globally despite concerns that costs already bite into a large chunk of their budget.


This corresponds with an increase in production prices, changes in imports and exports due to environmental conditions, and increasing demand for special dietary options including gluten-free, low-cholesterol, low-carb, vegetarian and vegan, all of which cost more to prepare.


Many believe climate change is severely impacting a great number of food sources with decreased supply and/or increased production costs impacting at-market pricing.


Safety and security: More than just air travel

Expanding beyond the traditional safety and security tracking of corporate air travellers, many buyers recognise the importance of a consolidated view of safety beyond air travel and incorporating meeting staff, employees who are attendees, clients, speakers and others who do not necessarily have associated air travel.


SMM: Start small for big results

Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) programmes continue to show great success in terms of transparency into spend, cost savings, risk mitigation, duty of care, regulatory compliance and other key benefits across industry segments and geographies. Innovative SMM programmes reveal additional benefits around meeting effectiveness, attendee satisfaction, return on event, objectives and engagement.


Destination insights - Europe & Middle East

London’s rates remain well above the global average despite the fact that they have decreased by 7 per cent. Poland is up nearly 20 per cent on average, yet Polish cities remain low-cost compared to other European cities. Dublin is a market to watch as it becomes increasingly attractive to technology giants such as Facebook and Google.


Long-time popular destinations Brussels and Paris are experiencing decreased demand due to recent terrorist attacks, with a downturn of 14 per cent occupancy for Paris. Berlin is experiencing negative rates and occupancy levels with decreases of -0.5 per cent to -10 per cent.


Create meaningful events

Weaving in inspirational themes such as charitable efforts, experiential learning, health and wellness, self and team improvement, or sustainability can increase M&E attendee engagement dramatically. Attendees have come to expect more than a strictly business agenda and options include just about anything and everything that can be aligned to a business goal.


Define technology for better business intelligence

Meeting buyers must ensure their programmes are benefitting from best-in-class technology and that their configurations are aligned with their programme objectives.


The right configuration ensures the right data is being captured and the best business intelligence is available to create real value for an organisation. As a programme matures it’s also important to revisit your technology configuration and confirm it is still supporting programme goals.


Use alternative venue sourcing

Strategic sourcing efforts using a customised negotiation strategy, specifically in high-volume markets, can drive market consolidation opportunities, increase buying power, and ensure competitive rates in market-specific conditions.


Additionally, buyers should develop a contract management strategy that creates a prescriptive approach to the management of all meeting-and event-related agreements.


You can find out more about our predictions for the next big things in meetings, events and group travel by visiting the CWT M&E website,



Optimise your small meetings strategy

Small meetings are the biggest category of unmanaged spend for most organisations, often constituting 70-80 per cent of all meetings.


Typically defined as less than 10-25 attendees and a total budget of £20,000 or less, buyers can get started by:


  1. Leveraging transient spend with your small meetings programme to identify opportunities based on travel patterns, key markets and emerging markets for both

  2. Implementing a self-service small meeting technology solution to create a simple, seamless user experience while capturing data on previously unmanaged spend

  3. Demonstrating thought leadership regarding meeting placement and using data as an enabler to drive results

  4. Further integrating technology including mobile apps, live feedback options and more ensures meeting professionals learn from their current programmes and have the opportunity to make adjustments onsite, live and at future venues