• Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2018

    POSTED April 16, 2018

With the first quarter of 2018 having recently closed, and spring—the season of new beginnings—right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the trends of this year. BENCHMARK, a global hospitality company, has rounded up the top 10 trends for 2018. Which of these have you already used in your planning strategies for the year?

1. Meetings That Matter—Making it Personal

Attendees want to be empowered by meetings and planners are looking to hotels and resorts to help facilitate that. Meetings should focus on openness, honesty, engagement, introspection, and transparency, all of which are mutually beneficial to the attendee and the organization. Properties can inspire these types of results by providing a little whimsy that stimulates appreciation, spontaneity, joy and fun during meeting experiences.

2. Technology: The New Normal

Technology is always going to on the forefront of meeting trends, and that is no exception this year. Apple TV, dedicated Wi-Fi, personalized apps and streaming live are all revolutionizing meetings and becoming the new normal.

3. Locavore Teambuilding

Culinary team-building initiatives in hotel kitchens are here to stay. They are both the most requested by meeting planners and the most approachable for meeting groups. A new variation of this trend? Bar wars, where teams create signature cocktails and then sample their recipes.

4. Fab Food. Lights Up!

2018 is bringing a focus on food and lighting. Keep attendees nourished with creative, participatory and healthy food options—event better if the snacks are locally sourced. Bring food to your event with food trucks, an Iron Chef competition, unique refreshment breaks and customized dining experiences. Then, make sure your room is lit perfectly with modern illumination and a focus on natural light.

5. What’s Shaking in Your Hood? Planners & Guests Want to Know

Groups are excited to get off the property for a few hours and visit the unique aspects of the location where they are gathering. It’s important to planners and attendees to discover places that the locals recommend and explore the under-the-radar aspects of what makes a destination special. This allows them to return to days of meetings refreshed and invigorated by the local flavor.

6. Free and Private On-Property Experiences

Meeting attendees desire free time—not just time away from meetings, but also time away from other members of the group. Many wish to utilize this free time with state-of-the-art recreational facilities. In our fitness-focused society, challenges workout options need to be available and complimentary to groups on-site and for all 24 hours of the day.

7. “I’m Busy; Email Me”

Professional meeting planners are busier than ever. While face-to-face meetings are preferred, time doesn’t always permit in-person visits. Because of that, email has become the main source of communication in this industry, and many others. It’s also a great and efficient way to spread the word about special opportunities and promotions.

8. Meeting Packages Pack Value

Value for the meeting dollar never goes out of style. Properties need to continue selling value-packed meeting packages covering all of the basic needs of a meeting, whether it’s a modified package or a full-on CMP.

9. Demand Holding on for 2018

Group size and meeting demand are both steady to last year, with some planners predicting considerably larger group sizes for meetings later in the year. This is also leading to a need for shorter meetings. The average meeting for 2018 is projected to last two days, with offshore or remote meetings running longer due to transportation logistics. This means a lot needs to be accomplished in a shorter amount of time, making every meeting minute essential.

10. Pharma-Healthcare Tops Business Segments for 2018

Healthcare, combined with major pharma, will still dominate demand for this year. Mixing it up a bit from previous years, education is in a close second place, followed by financial services, associations and technology.

The maker’s movement is alive and well in Colorado. Here are a few ways groups can connect with artisans and perhaps try a little handy work of their own. 

» DRAM Apothecary in Salida offers a line of bitters, syrup and tea using organic and wild Colorado herbs. Stop by the apothecary and send attendees home with the fixings for their own creations (cocktails or otherwise).


Executive chefs and culinary experts at Benchmark, a global hospitality company, have observed recent food trends and curated the top 10 dining trends to look for in 2019.

“Food and Beverage is an ever-evolving realm of experiences,” says Patrick Berwald, Benchmark’s vice president food and beverage. “The opportunity for us is not only to be ahead of the trend, but to understand who tomorrow’s customer will be, what fulfills their needs and how our properties can be ready to meet that demand.”

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