The last few years have seen a shift in the meetings and event sector towards creating memorable experiences that drive meaningful connections between attendees. Sure, events are always supposed to be memorable, but a stronger travel sector and bigger organizational budgets have led to planners being able focus on creating experiences instead of keeping costs low.

In Latin America, this change has become more pronounced, putting pressure on hotels and meeting planners to create more dynamic events.

The International Association of Conference Centres polled 130 meeting planners in Latin America on their habits and predictions in its recent report on the future of the meetings and events sector.

Technology is taking on increasing importance, more so than even flexible meeting spaces or convenient networking areas. Interactivity creates new ways for contacts between speakers and those in the audience, although navigating new technology is often a challenge for planners and their budgets.

Meeting Elements That Will Be More Important in the Future
Access to interactive technology85%
Flexibility of meeting space35%
Networking spaces adjacent to the meeting/event space35%
Delegates discovering the locality and regional culture33%
The food and beverage offer32%
Access to authentic local area experiences28%
Availability of team building activities20%
Other4.5%

Source: IACC

“It is clear from our Latin America report that experience creation is at the heart of delivering successful meetings in this region,” said Mark Cooper, IACC CEO. “This is largely driven by advancements in technology and also in the way the younger generations are influencing the consumption of information as they look for a more personal experience. In order to continue to build a successful future, it’s essential that event planners and venues continue to embrace the changes ahead.”

Personal development and attendee satisfaction have also emerged as a new focus in the region. Creating an impactful event has taken on a new prominence, while financial returns and education are now less important. In other words: the quality of an event has become more important than simply planning one that provides a solid return on investment or educates attendees.

The Difference in Meeting Objectives Now Versus the Past Five Years (1=not at all different, 10=significantly different)
Personal Development8
Attendee Satisfaction Levels7.5
Networking7.5
Business Connections7.5
Education7
Financial ROI7

Source: IACC

“Planners feel that the value of developing personal connections, through networking with colleagues and creating business connections, is also a stronger objective of meetings and events compared to five years ago,” reads the report.

It’s also interesting to compare the results from Latin American planners with those around the world. While the global results showed that flexible meeting spaces have become essential, Latin American planners are more focused on technology upgrades.

This focus on collaboration and technology speaks perhaps to the desire for planners in the region to become more creative in the way attendees are engaged by the event experience.

Importance of Elements in the Future LATAM Versus Global
2018 LATAM2017 Global
Access to collaborative meeting space & tech will become more important in the next five years9.58.5
Access to higher quality broadband will become more critical in the next five years98.5
Access to outdoor meeting spaces will become more important in the next five years87

Check out the full report below.

Download (PDF, 3.98MB)

Photo Credit: A speaker at a TED conference in Brazil. Latin America meetings are focusing on interactivity among attendees and speakers. TED / Flickr