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Published on : Friday, May 31, 2013
IACC-Americas’ Emerging Trends Team recently partnered with DCI (Development Counsellors International) to survey meeting planners of various generations—from Baby Boomers to Gen Xers to Millennials. The findings of the survey were announced at IACC-Americas 2013 Conference.
The surveys notes that the meetings (MICE) industry is “in a state of flux” with matures (those aged 66 and older) retiring and Millennials entering the workplace. It is projected that employment in the North American meetings market will grow by a massive 44 percent through 2020. This rapid growth will usher in a new era of new expectations and demands for conference centres seeking to win a meetings planner’s business.
This survey also explored whether there are generational preferences among meeting planners and if these preferences shape how meeting space is selected. For the purpose of this study, the generations were defined as mature (age 66 and older), baby boomer (Age 47-65), Generation X (Age 33-46) and Generation Y/millennial (Age 18-32). The largest group of respondents was Baby Boomers followed by Generation X.
On average, the planners responding to the survey organize meetings for 11 organisations annually. A majority of respondents, 76 percent, were familiar with IACC. When asked the importance of holding events at an IACC facility, meeting planners responded that it was somewhat important.
Key Generational Preferences
Overall, the generations have very similar preferences. There are a few differences to keep in mind, however, when selling to meeting planners of different generations.
Matures: When pitching to a meeting planner of the mature generation, provide details on business-friendly guest rooms, spaces that are conducive to learning and collaboration as well as off-site activities that are within walking distance of the venue.
Baby Boomers and Generation X: Promote your Wi-Fi capabilities. Like matures, these generations are also interested in spaces that are conducive to learning and collaboration. They are apt to decline a facility for inadequate meeting space (size/quality/layout) as well as cost and/or excess charges.
Generation Y: The top two reasons that this generation is likely to decline a venue are the same as baby boomers; inadequate meeting space and cost/excess charges. However, Generation Y cares deeply about the appeal of the destination, so it is beneficial to share entertainment and evening activities that are available on and off-site. In addition, this younger generation is interested in space that provides the ability to recognise key performers, so if you have a stellar set up for an awards banquet, make sure to highlight that in your discussions with this generation.