Diversity will transform events and meetings

The way we work is changing rapidly, and the business landscape of today is unrecognisable compared to 20 years ago. Events are changing, too, as technology evolves and alternatives to travel such as video conferencing and webinars become popular and demographics change. In the coming years, the pace of trend is unlikely to slow - and as workplaces become ever more diverse, companies will have to keep adapting.

New research from the German Convention Bureau (GCB) found that demographic change is likely to have a significant impact on the corporate event landscape between now and 2030. Nearly one in five respondents to the survey said that the issue would be highly influential on the changing direction of the industry as a whole.

More women are attending these events, the study found, many of whom will carry family commitments that then impact their schedules. At the same time, experienced business travellers are getting older, meaning that travelling and rest time are increasingly coming into focus. With delegates coming from ever more diverse backgrounds, it is likely that dietary requirements and religious holidays will have to be considered.

So what does this mean for event planners? Potentially, the events of the future could look very different.

Delegates who may need to bring their children with them will think about childcare arrangements while they participate. When they want to check on their children they may need more frequent breaks and shorter sessions - which could also benefit older attendees.

Of course, venues will have to be easily accessible by different forms of transport to accommodate a wider range of delegates. GCS even suggests that event managers could consider offering all-inclusive “event tickets”, which cover air or rail travel as well as other important services. To support this variety of options, it could be worth investing in sophisticated event booking software.

GCB suggests that even bread and butter issues such as scheduling and catering arrangements might have to be reconsidered, to fit around school holidays, religious festivals and peak travelling times. In addition, to reflect the diversification of delegates by the end of the next decade, event bookers may have to look more carefully at their choice of speakers, their experience and credentials.

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