How inclusive meetings of the future will look like

Lime Venue Portfolio’s research highlights what to expect in five years.

WeWork-style spaces will offer an office environment during an event.
WeWork-style spaces will offer an office environment during an event. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Allistair/

Future meetings will combine sensory accessibility and inclusivity, according to the latest research by Lime Venue Portfolio, the UK’s largest collection of venues that aids event organisers.

This knowledge was gleaned from over six months of research, which included focus groups and data from over 60 sources.

The findings showed that meetings and events are bringing down ‘barriers to entry’ and creating more inclusive spaces for attendees who are unfamiliar with attending events.

The research was undertaken in response to event professionals who are increasingly wanting to understand what the future for meetings and events will be like in three to five years, and is part of The Meeting of the Future campaign, a cross industry and collaborative initiative that includes focus groups, roundtable discussion at The Meetings Show, and collaborations with Lime Venue Portfolio’s clients, customers, and venues.

Meeting new needs

More emphasis is being put on sensory accessibility, which will not only be contained at the entrances of event, but will move into presentation rooms as well. ‘Accessibility’ will move towards becoming a hygiene factor rather than a USP. Breakout areas and syndicate rooms will feature ‘Quiet’ rooms for neurodiverse attendees and exercise rooms for those looking to fit in workouts.

There will be WeWork-style workspaces for attendees looking to recreate the office environment during an event, or for individuals looking to connect with their day-to-day responsibilities. There will be an increasing move by many organisers to recreate networking and ‘watercooler’ moments within the traditional meeting environment.

Onsite streaming

Onsite streaming and not just broadcasting to the ‘out-of-room’ audience will cater to those who may not like crowded places. Such people will instead prefer to take in content from central screens which are placed in less intimidating communal areas at the venue, where they can watch in privacy.

Sessions in the main plenary will have stage sets that will be sustainably produced and designed to engage audiences. Live translation technology will draw live international attendees. Simultaneous sign language and audio captioning will improve content accessibility.

“We’re once again happy to adopt our role as the self-appointed cheerleaders for better meetings. But also, to act as the go to brand for new thinking, challenging opinion, and inspiring interesting ideas about how these meetings could look,” said Jo Austin, sales director, Lime Venue Portfolio.

“The findings from the Meeting of the Future, while not being rocket science, point towards a really responsible industry that is taking subjects such as sustainability, inclusion, diversity and accessibility seriously. If only half of the potential we’ve seen comes true, we’ll be looking at some incredible events to come,” added Austin.

The Meeting of the Future campaign will continue following its launch with more insights. A key characteristic of the initiative is that it will progress based on the feedback received.