How to plan a meeting in 2017

A new year is almost upon us. And with it, a new calendar of meetings and events.

To ensure next year's meetings feel fresh instead of stale, focus on making them not just professional, but also personal. As in "personalized."

"[IMEX Group CEO] Carina Bauer … says personalization will continue to grow in importance," reports Successful Meetings contributor Julie Barker. "Planners will need to 'make sure everyone has their chosen experience within the larger event.' To this end, you can 'tailor the messaging and information' that you give to individual attendees. The data you collect on attendees' past choices can help you do this for future meetings, which 'ultimately makes the events more successful,' Bauer points out."

Technology can be a valuable tool toward achieving this end. "Watch for Apple's iBeacon and similar technology, which 'allows meeting planners and vendors to send push notifications to mobile devices in close proximity,' to transform the meetings industry … by making events and conferences more personalized than ever before," continues Barker, quoting Nan Marchand Beauvois, vice president of National Councils and general manager of ESTO at the U.S. Travel Association. "'It's being used in many capacities in the industry, including attracting attendees to conference booths, and letting attendees know about upcoming speakers.'"

The more personalized your meeting is, Barker concludes, the more current and relevant it will feel -- in 2017 and beyond.

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