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When it comes to sustainability, the meetings and events sector is doing much more than simply going green. While venues and planners alike work to reduce their environmental impacts, they are simultaneously broadening their definition of the meeting goals, event content, and activities that are linked to the concept of sustainability. This now means amping up their work to benefit communities and better engage attendees. All of this represents a sector-wide effort not just to reduce climate impacts but also sustain (and grow) the massive business of in-person meetings and live events.
Among the companies leading the shift is InterContinental Group Hotels (IHG), which has implemented a number of sustainability initiatives to meet the sourcing needs of planners and deliver positive impacts on the many communities in which IHG operates. And with nearly 850,000 rooms around the world, these changes are having a significant impact at scale.
Many of the shifts are now being adopted by the broader meetings sector, including a “lightening up” of venues by bringing in natural light, more interesting food and beverage options, and more engaging programming. Planners are discarding scripted seminars and bland presentations in favor of collaborative moments and memory-making activities that make even corporate gatherings feel more like leisure experiences. The concept of “creating shared value,” in which groups collaborate to generate measurable social impact is gaining currency. And venues and sourcing managers alike are carefully considering risk management practices that don’t disrupt the attendee experience.
In this trend report, SkiftX will illuminate the many changes underway in the sector, examine case studies and examples of how planners and venues alike are building sustainability into their practices, and recognize a number of leaders who are creatively rethinking the sorts of meetings that are possible in the 21st century.
While much is changing, said Jonathan Kaplan, vice president of global sales strategy, IHG, “the intangible value of experiences and connections forged during meetings and events is rising in priority across the globe.” All the more reason to make sure those events are truly sustainable.
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