Three 'Trending in Travel' points to guide 2022's business planning

Covid curveball aside, event planners and suppliers highlight corporate sentiments towards the future of travel and meetings. 

2022: finding the balance between tech, human connections and ROI, plus the continued demand for sustainable choices.
2022: finding the balance between tech, human connections and ROI, plus the continued demand for sustainable choices. Photo Credit:Getty Images/Dilok Klaisataporn

The MICE industry may have been thrown a Covid curveball, but its event professionals have huddled in and levelled up, arriving at a new level of game play — and these are some trends industry players predict moving into 2022.

    Balancing tech, human connections and ROI


    With hybrid/virtual event formats gaining traction, an increased number of hybrid-friendly event spaces offer planners greater choice.

    According to Adam Piperdy, CEO at Unearthed Productions, clients now want more customisation, personalisation and even AI-powered tech to help recommend content and match profiles for online networking. And while features like augmented reality (AR) provide the ‘wow’ factor, however, “the current consensus is that the 50-60K investment can’t be justified”.

    Ultimately, FEH CEO Arthur Kiong believes “the current structure of hybrid events, where majority are virtual and minority are in-person, will not be sustainable,” since “people attend events to experience the energetic atmosphere, connect meaningfully with others, exchange ideas, collaborate, and network”.

    Practical functions of the Viita-workstations include a telephone and a cup holder, an area for one’s laptop, a place for stationery, and a spot to hang a bag or purse.
    Practical functions of the Viita-workstations include a telephone and a cup holder, an area for one’s laptop, a place for stationery, and a spot to hang a bag or purse.

    Wide open spaces and unique experiences


    The ordinary workday looks very different compared to what it was a couple years ago, and remote work is here to stay. Many have also found themselves in nature more often in between meetings. With Zoom fatigue on the rise, corporates are definitely looking for unique ways to engage.

    Think Hong Kong's exclusive yacht venue or traditional sampan tours, South Korea's Jeju Island's '15 wellness tourist destinations' project promoting the island through nature-based activities, or how about remote workstations or wellness breaks right in Finland's woods?

    Making the greener choice


    Globally, there’s been time to reflect, making sustainability and CSR more mainstream and a bigger “attraction” when presented to clients compared to before, said Kristina Forssell, managing director at destination management company 8th Wave.

    “Some clients who have restarted planning for postponed incentive events want a revised programme to include some CSR."

    Hotels operators are also making the eco adjustment, since corporate companies are increasingly more inclined to work with like-minded brands that are also socially responsible.

    Pan Pacific Hotels Group (PPHG) CEO, Choe Peng Sum summarised at an earlier webinar: "Sustainable practices are part and parcel of [client] requirements. The mindset is 'if you don’t have it, I’m not coming' — it’s as easy as that."

     

     

     



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