MPI Finland Chapter had the pleasure of having Jackie Mulligan, Principal Lecturer and Director of Enterprise of Leeds Beckett University, facilitating a half a day educational training session about the future meeting space. Mulligan, an events enthusiast, has conducted several pieces of research for MPI and future of meetings is certainly an area of interest for her.
The session started with a tour around the renovated historic venue of GLO Hotel Art in the heart of Helsinki. "In a constantly changing world, security will be an important factor when meeting venues are being selected", says Mulligan. "At the same time the accommodation and meeting experience will become very personalized. The reception should know your data from the moment you make the booking and apply that to make the stay as personal as possible.
Other topics to think about are the food policies and politics. With the increasing population it is also increasingly important not to throw things into waste. Portions need to be more precise and they should be designed to help keeping focused. The days of extravacant buffets are coming to an end food will become part of the learning process.
The research team interviewed professionals in as well as from outside of the meetings and events industry; people from fields like technogy, city planning, architects. There was one very distinctive difference in the views of these two groups. Meeting industry professionals saw that the future would be dictated by technology and the outside-industry professionals thought that, while technology will still play an important role in everything, the future will be all about people.
Mulligan notes that with the bigger generations growing older, the need for content for these people does increase. The amount of free content is also on the rise and especially with the older generations wanting to share their experience and expertice there will be no lack of content. This will therefore mean that content is no longer the king. It is still important, but what will be even more important is the ability to curate this content in a meaningful manner. This is where community and context steps into the picture. It's becoming crucial that there is a feeling of community in order to get people active and engaged. Networking becomes a transaction, but a shared experience is something that you value and remember, says Mulligan.
Data will be - and already is - less private and more personal. Mulligan brings up a great point about incentivicing sharing. As we know, we share things that are relevant to us, we show our lives that way and we feel like being part of something when we share. So why not incentivize that? We do already get a glimpse of that with our online shopping. What if we started to use the data we have in the way that for example Amazon does? Mulligan challenges you to think what would your next event look like if Amazon organized it. And true, the personalized touch is there even when there are hundreds of millions of customers.
The multiple scenarios coming from the survey give us a fairly good idea what might happen in the future, but in the end each and everyone of us are interpreting those scenarios differently and thus we are all creating the future together.
If you want to read more about the Future of Meetings, the research is available here. Complimentary for members of MPI.