IACC's 2019 Meeting Room of the Future Report reveals that sustainability is a top priority of meeting planners. Of those who responded to the survey, 44 percent said they believe that ethical operations and sustainable practices will be one of the most important elements for venues by 2024. A major concern of meeting planners is food waste, with 62 percent of respondents noting that they will consider how a venue manages food waste before booking.
In addition to environmental topics, respondents reported that cyber security is another concern, with 27 percent of respondents stating that cyber security will become a greater priority in the next three to five years and 76 percent reporting that they are concerned about cyber security when implementing new technologies into their events.
"Cyber security has always been a huge focus, but with the implementation of new technologies within venues and at events, it's crucial that meeting planners can trust that sensitive data cannot be accessed or hacked," says Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC.
Cooper says people are also becoming more aware of the amount of food waste that is generated globally, and there's no doubt that the meetings and events industry is a big contributor to this waste. "When you consider the amount of food waste, plastic waste, discarded marketing and stands that can be left over from one event alone, imagine what thousands of events can produce," he says.
By 2024, Cooper says we can expect to see venues making an effort to reduce food waste through stronger management of food and beverage. Within that, he adds, we can expect to see a greater focus on menus that are attractive, nutritious, but also work for delegates with and without dietary requirements to reduce the vast number of dishes that are created and wasted at events.
"We’ve seen a variety of solutions come into fruition, especially in the food and beverage field. Some venue teams are working with their chefs to create menus that work across the board. For example, creating vegan and vegetarian dishes that work for delegates that follow this diet and that are also attractive for those who don’t," Cooper says. "We’ve also seen some venues working with local community projects and charities to donate leftover food and beverages."