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Mice Net : February 2009
news share thoughts prior to the event; laptops within group discussions to input information immediately rather than keying in later; and wikis used for ongoing collaboration – wiki workshops can become a defacto virtual meeting. One IT panelist spoke about a 15,000 pax event at which 300 ad hoc groups were created, along with 600 different blogs pre and during the event, a result which startled the PCO involved but allowed the client to better understand the motivation factors operating at the event. IT aspects are taken up in one of the EIBTM reports (see below). There were two major industry reports delivered at EIBTM in 2009, both of which can be downloaded from the website www.eibtm.com : • EIBTM Industry Trends and Market Share Report (October 08) by industry analyst Rob Davidson, senior lecturer in Business Travel and Tourism, University of Westminster • The Mood of the Market: European Meetings Industry Research Report (December 2008) by Sally Greenhill, managing director, The Right Solution Limited, UK. The Davidson report provides author’s insights overlaid onto a variety of industry studies published in 2008. The Greenhill report is based on a survey of 700 European organisers. Each report has its own merits and value, depending on the reader’s own interests. See details of both following. EIBTM Industry Trends and Market Share Report Rob Davidson believes that the industry is much stronger than it was in the 1990s which will make it more resilient to the challenges ahead. His comments may provide some comfort: “This resilience is clearly demonstrated by the continuing growth of the meetings and events sector, despite the periodic global crises that have arisen in the past few decades,” he says. “We are now a much more mature industry, partly as a result of 12 mice.net the extensive progress we have made towards becoming a fully- professionalised sector of the global economy, in terms of our education and training. The industry is also becoming more widely recognised by the pan-global political establishment as a contributor of note to the gross domestic product of economies around the globe. “There has also been a greater sharing of knowledge within the industry itself, which has facilitated the transfer of information and ‘best practice’ between meetings and events businesses, enabling us to aspire to new benchmarks and raise standards within our sector generally.” Davidson also sees the BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) holding up much better than the US and Europe. These emerging giants now account for more than 50 per cent of the world’s GDP. The report quotes from a Meeting News 2009 Industry Outlook survey in which planners indicated the increased use of technology instead of face-to-face meetings was their second most pressing issue for the meetings industry next year, with almost 30 percent expressing this concern. More attention is being paid to Gen X and Gen Y. Davidson’s report points out that, “in 2008, members of Generation X (born between 1961 and 1976) and Generation Y (born between 1977 and 1995) were able, for the first time to out-vote the Baby Boomers, who are now beginning to retire from the global workforce.“ The needs and expectations of Generation Y in particular, regarding participation in meetings and events, are in many ways very distinct from those of previous generations. It is therefore vital for the meetings and events industry to understand the needs and tastes of this latest cohort of employees to enter professional/managerial life, since they are the fastest-growing demographic segment in the workplace.” Davison goes on to suggest what might be required to service these generations attending meetings and events: • Use fewer words and more images: these are generations raised on pictures and graphics • Use more technology and make sure the IT is seamlessly interwoven into the program - blogs, mobile phones, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, podcasts, virtual meeting environments, RSS feeds, videos, widgets, mashups, wikis, moblogs, and social networking sites. • Allow more involvement in program design stage, more sense of ownership • Emphasise CSR aspects - more interaction with local community, be ethically sound, don’t be elitist, don’t show conspicuous consumption or waste • Make more effective use of speakers – remember the short attention span of Gen Y (20 minute limit) so go for shorter, more interactive sessions, text messages/questions during session • Forget the traditional motivational speakers – they don’t motivate them ABOVE: The Australians were out in force with a smart, well-positioned stand and 15 exhibiting partners under the Tourism Australia banner. TA used the release of the movie Australia as a hook, running movie images and a trailer on the stand and offering an exclusive screening to 250 hosted buyers.