The business events and incentive travel industry have seen a lot of changes over the last few years. Here is a list of the 6 most common trends that will continue to affect and change our industry.
1. More events but lower budgets
Companies and organizations are planning more business events, so we are experiencing an overall industry growth. However, they are also introducing budget cuts. This means that now more than ever, special offers and flexibility from the suppliers will become a major decisive factor.
2. Building communities through events
Many brands and companies are hosting free meetups or so-called community building events. Just a few years ago, events ware being organized either as sales kick-off events, or to thank the existing clients. Now organizations are throwing multiple smaller events, in order to build and engage a community of professionals in their particular industry.
3. The rise of 2nd and 3rd tier cities for international events
Not so long ago nobody would look at destinations such as Krakow, Glasgow, Porto or Split for huge international events. The industry was pretty much dominated by the big 6 in Europe: London, Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam. Nowadays, corporates are willing to take their business to many smaller cities or more exotic destinations. Cities such as Budapest, Prague, Liblijana, Gdansk or Riga are gaining in popularity.
4. The rise of Eastern Europe and its popularity vs the West
In the last couple of years, eastern European cities and destinations have hugely benefited from significant infrastructural developments as well as enormous investment. Many new cutting edge venues and modern hotels were built in countries such as Poland, Estonia, Slovenia or Latvia. Also, the biggest hotel chains such as IHG or Marriot are now staying behind the trend and constantly opening new eastern European properties to meet the demand.d Majority of international companies are now choosing Eastern European cities as an alternative to the overcrowded and overpriced destinations of the West.
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5. More cultural and authentic activities
Delegates want more cultural and authentic experiences, and not to play golf all day in Spain, Eat sushi in Dubai or spend their afternoon at a private rooftop pool car in Seville like they used to do 20 years ago. People want to go to the museum of ham, learn Arabic language or access the famous Sevillian/Moorish baths.
10 years ago, you would have to look for a nice boutique hotel somewhere deep in Denmark or Norway, to find a "sustainable" venue. Now the sustainability and eco-friendly trends put pressure on venues and hotels. Many of them are now changing their facilities to be certified as sustainable. Why? Simply because of many companies, organizations, and brands, that are now specifically requesting such venues for their business events, meetings, conferences, and incentives.