Successful Meetings recently published an interesting article: The Top Four Meeting Trends of 2014. As I read over the list of “emerging trends that will continue to shape the industry” I couldn’t help but think of an unconventional venue that’s right on trend – a cruise ship!
The Top Four Meeting Trends – Taken to Sea
1. Meetings are Experiences
…meetings today aren’t just face-to-face gatherings for the sole purpose of exchanging business information. Rather, they’re enriching, one-of-a-kind experiences that attendees will treasure forever.
Taking it to Sea: Planners are seeking fresh, new ways to infuse their meetings and events with distinctive experiences attendees can’t duplicate on their own. And meals are now an integral part of that memorable experience. So what better venue than a cruise ship?
Attendees will share new travel experiences in several ports of call , with the convenience of only unpacking once. Creative meeting spaces, fabulous entertainment options, and culinary adventures in a variety of beautiful venues are all included. To ensure complete exclusivity and customization opportunities, consider a full ship charter.
2. Attendees Want a Sense of Place
Gone are the days of business professionals being holed up in a large convention hall in a nameless, faceless city. Attendees today want and expect to experience the culture of their meeting destination.
Taking it to Sea: Cruise lines are offering more in-depth destination experiences and some are spending extended time (or overnight) in port to allow more immersion and exploration. Want to give attendees their choice of destination experiences? Regent Seven Seas Cruises is the way to go – complimentary shore excursions are included in every port.
River cruises are also growing in popularity with planners looking for an in-depth destination experience. Small ships (perfectly suited for charter), glide past stunning scenery right into the heart of fabled cities and charming towns.
Participating in local volunteerism is also a way attendees can experience a profound sense of place. Some cruise lines offer optional “voluntours” in select ports of call, so your attendees can feel a sense of shared accomplishment by making a difference in a local community. Crystal Cruises “You Care, We Care” program offers at least one volunteer excursion on every cruise, with all logistical arrangements and costs covered by Crystal.
3. It’s a Seller’s Market
This trend points to higher hotel occupancy which turn, drives up room rates and puts hotels in a stronger position to negotiate. Good news for hotels. For planners? Not so much.
Taking it to Sea: With so many new ships sailing around the world and more on order, prices are remaining steady. And with meals, entertainment, meeting space and AV included, meetings at sea remain a remarkable value. Imagine meeting on an award-winning resort-style cruise ship for under $100 per person, per day!
4. Mobile Technology is Here to Stay
Mobile technology allows event organizers not only to push information out to attendees, but also to listen to attendees to help them craft their programs on the front end, as well as make adjustments during the event to provide more value.
Taking it to Sea: Good thing cruise lines are upping their game when it comes to technology and connectivity. Increased bandwidth, faster connectivity and lower Internet package rates are making news. Read the latest news about WiFi at Sea.
Read the Successful Meetings article, The Top Four Meeting Trends of 2014.