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Looking Ahead: 2015 Futurecast for Event Planners

We hope you are off to a great start in 2015, and wish you all the best for a fantastic year ahead!

We hit the ground running excited about our future here at HRG, as last year our company experienced growth in all of our lines of business-managing high profile events, developing and leading workforce training programs, and delivering innovative marketing solutions. As we look forward to our 18th year serving clients here in the New York metro area, we will continue to work hard every day to earn their trust and help them achieve their goals.

In this, our first monthly newsletter, we review the meeting and event space, and highlight important developments to consider that are likely to impact event ROI, for this year and beyond.

We look forward to hearing from you about this month’s topic or others you may be interested in, and invite you to Follow us on our HRG LinkedIn Group page. And, in case you missed them, we have posted past editions on our web site at HRG In the News .�

Wishing you and yours all the best for a peaceful and prosperous year!

Regards and best,

Robert O. Sanders Jr.

Founder and Chairman
Hospitality Resource Group, Inc.  


Peering Ahead-Meeting and Event Forecast for 2015

If you are involved in planning meetings and events, your team is already hard at work in pursuit of the goals you set for this year. And you also know better than anyone the challenges that come from the dynamics of an ever-changing market.

December Employment Gain Caps Best Year for U.S. Since 1999 “about 3 million more Americans found work in 2014, the most in 15 years, and a sign companies are optimistic...." And though pessimists remain, financial giants Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group predict economic expansion will continue throughout 2015. Despite the generally upbeat outlook for the economy, meeting and event planners will need to be adept at shifting gears and dealing with increased expectations with limited resources. �A number of reliable industry sources have highlighted significant trends to consider for 2015. These include:

Meeting and Event Budgets- MPI predicts a "slight budgetary growth of 1.7% vs 2014, setting up a “more challenging year ahead” for meetings and events.

Hospitality Costs to Rise Meeting and event budgets are expected to increase less than 2%, while costs in several areas are projected to rise even further, from air travel (+5%) to F&B (+4)

Organizational Training Investments Executives and staff training, educational events, and sales meetings will increase in 2015, continuing an upward trend.

Hotel Space-The PricewaterhouseCoopers 2015 lodging industry forecast projects “with strong transient travel activity and a positive economic environment, group demand is expected to drive a 7.4% increase in revenue per available room next year, and occupancy levels will reach 64.9 % in 2015, the highest since 1984, as guest room rates will increase 3.9%.” If these predictions hold up, we will see the highest national occupancy rate since 1987. PwC forecasts that upscale hoteliers will charge more for their rooms for independent and leisure travelers. Responding to this demand, hotel construction in New York City will continue to be the highest in the nation, in preparation for the flood of visitors expected to reach a record 55.8 million in 2015.

Management Issues- The CWT 2015 Meetings and Events Forecast �projects that end-to-end meetings management will top planners agendas, as they result in “time and financial savings, in addition to gaining an accurate view of total event costs.”� Other predictions from CWT:

  • Lead times for meetings will continue to shrink; in North America they decreased 9% in 2014 vs. 2013
  • Use of technology at events will hit an all-time high, e.g. meeting-specific apps and wearable technology
  • Budget-conscious planners will hold most of their meetings domestically and in midscale hotels

Creative F&B- Andrew Freeman & Co., a hospitality and restaurant consulting firm, released its predictions for 2015 F&B trends that include higher-end properties offering “breakfast replacement therapy”�on-the-go marketplaces and casual coffee shops as replacements for traditional sit-down or room service hotel breakfast options. At large-scale events, new catering options may include live garden displays with edible dirt (hasn’t it always been?) with farm-fresh vegetables, and Dim Sum-style cart service.

Properties Expand Digital Offerings ��As attendees rapidly shift from passive to engaged participants, their expectations will also change. From enhanced virtual reality to mobile hot spots, digital ubiquity will become the standard. Other important trends already underway include:

Expanded Venue Options- Hyatt Hotels has integrated state-of-the-art technology in their properties worldwide, from whiteboard walls to interactive social media screens, and a mobile app with Uber.

Mobile Check-In: Time to Check Out!� Mobile check-in apps will alleviate stress for meeting planners. Hilton Worldwide announced that guests staying at any of their properties will be able to check in, choose their exact room, and make special requests from their mobile devices by the end of 2015. Expedia, Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, TripCase, and Concur have partnered with CheckMate on a guest engagement platform that provides personalized, convenient experience for guests, as travelers check in online or on their mobile device before they leave home, communicating their preferred room, the time they expect to arrive, learning when their room will be ready, and viewing room upgrades and offers- eliminating the wait at the front desk.

M&E Tech-Enabling Trends Technology has long been a key element for event planners to consider, and the coming year will continue this trend. According to Corbin Ball Associates annual technology forecast for meeting and event planners:

BLE (Bluetooth low energy) and iBeacon will provide a wealth of new options for planners and participants. This technology holds great promise for events with nearly all of the major event app developers working on ways to incorporate them, including Gamification and scavenger hunts (as used at CES 2014), location information and navigation assistance, personalized welcome and other location-based alert notifications upon arrival, social media networking, measuring exhibit booth dwell time, automated demonstrations (videos, etc.) for exhibit booth products, targeted exhibitor or event management messages, local promos on discounted ecoupons, loss prevention, and action metrics (for example, tracking where attendees are spending their time with alert notifications to problems. An iBeacon phone app can transmit contact information, social media profiles, specific meeting room access information, meal tracking, food preferences, and more, as communication between attendees include notifications or images showing who is nearby.

Big Data is Big News- Through integrated registration and mobile technologies, it is now possible to combine many streams of data generated during event registration, web clicks, exhibitor interactions, mobile app activity, gamification, social media activity, surveys and more. These breakthroughs can improve event management and facilitate personalization for event participants. Mobile event apps also offer an unprecedented amount of analytic data useful, real-time information to improve the event experience, including gauging the response to speakers, exhibit booth attendance, crowd flow, key connectors and influencers, app features and who, when, where, why and how they are being used, and how attendees rate specific survey and/or polling questions.

Language Translation- Google Translate, a free text translation tool, translates text to and from more than 80 languages. Other mobile apps have added more functionality, including WordLens, a mobile app that enables real-time augmented reality translations of signs/menus/slides in multiple languages.  As these tools advance to provide easy, inexpensive and reliable real-time voice translation, it will be used by event hosts and/or individually by attendees.

Wi-Fi Demand- Free Wi-Fi is the most desired hotel in-room amenity, according to The good news is that the technology provides connectivity to large groups and many facilities are starting to catch up! Planners are increasingly examining venues’ abilities to provide good quality, easy-to-use, and reasonably priced Wi-Fi and cellular as key factors in venue purchase decisions.

Active Engagement- Meeting participants are demanding and expecting active engagement, as social media apps recruit and engage participants before, during and after events. And meeting designers are moving away from passive theater-style seating to alternate room sets to facilitate discussion and participation.

Are you looking to gain an inside track working with an experienced event management partner this year? The HRG Event Solutions team is here to help you. For a no cost initial consultation on how you can generate a better ROI, call HRG Event Solutions at (914) 761-7111 or email [email protected].

About Hospitality Resource Group

Hospitality Resource Group, Inc. (HRG) is a group of three vertically integrated companies, with over 18 years of experience in developing innovative marketing, training and event programs for businesses, education institutions, municipalities and not for profit organizations. HRG clients benefit from our proven ability to ignite market interest, engage consumers, and educate employees on how to manage and lead their companies to build brand equity, increase sales and improve productivity.

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