The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Foundation has partnered with Maritz Research to release results from its Future of Meetings (FOM) survey. The findings are divided into four white papers, one for each of the prominent themes of the survey.
In the 2011 study, 1,612 hospitality professionals were asked open-ended questions focused on four primary areas: technology, meetings design, social media and suppliers/venues. Eighty-nine percent of respondents were from North America, and 72 percent were female. Baby Boomers accounted for 47 percent of responses, Generation-Xers were at 46 percent and the remaining six percent were Millennials.
Forty-three percent of respondents were meeting planners, and 43 percent were associated with suppliers or venues. The remaining 11 percent of respondents were meeting professionals who fell under other areas of the industry.
The study found that there was an overlapping concentration on technology within the four primary focus areas. A bulk of respondents noted a problem with a generation gap, relating to technology, within the industry. Younger professionals expect more technology options while older professionals do not put as much importance on the topic. This trend, among others, will affect the way hospitality professionals relate to different audiences.
“We conducted the FOM open-ended survey in order to gauge an accurate accumulation of what is important to hospitality professionals and where they see the industry going,” said Rick Garlick, strategic consultant, Maritz Research Hospitality Group. “Knowing that technology is the omnipresent topic shows that meeting planners, suppliers and others in the industry need to find how they can continue to remain competitive in this space.’
Results from the study include strengths and weaknesses of the emerging role of technology in virtual and face-to-face meetings; new ways of thinking about meeting design; social media and its multi-faceted role; and future expectation of venues.
While the future of the shifting hospitality industry represents challenges for professionals, there are also opportunities when accessing key trends from the study.
“The HSMAI Foundation is dedicated to the ongoing education of hospitality professionals and ensuring they remain at the forefront of industry trends,” said Fran Brasseux, executive director, HSMAI Foundation. “The Maritz Research FOM study is one that was important for the Foundation to publish due to it supporting this mission.”