Chapter 2: Exploratory research The following chapter presents the results of the environmental research, and the findings of the literature study will be discussed. The information requirements will be mentioned together with the research questions.
2.1 Environmental Research 2.1.1 Current Trends in the Meeting Industry
There are five current trends dominating the meeting market in 2021. Although briefly explained below, these industry trends will come back over the course of the report. This will create a better understanding of how they relate back to the project. Hybrid and Virtual meetings are here to stay While 2020 mainly revolved around virtual events, 2021 saw a rise in hybrid events. A combination of doing work online and in the office will see a rise in the future. Event planners can organise an event in-person with a limited number of guests in one location while also providing an online hub for virtual attendees to interact freely (Caramuru, 2021). Personalisation of Services With this age of real-time responsiveness, agility, and multichannel communication, customers expect companies to stay on top of all the information we provide and require. Most importantly, it is expected of them to do so consistently throughout the Customer Journey (Boudet et al., 2019). Furthermore, turning a conference with 50 to 100 attendees into an event that speaks directly to each one of them is no easy task to accomplish. As a conference expands in size, participants may feel as though it is no longer about them (McMillin, 2019). Moreover, they cannot truly develop hyper-personalised experiences unless they examine who is using the service you provide. Why are the guests coming, who is not interested, and how can we get them interested? They can then use the collected data to gain a deeper understanding of what their attendees think and feel (Shariff et al., n.d.). Technology Rapid technological transformation and a growing profusion of digitised gadgets and services have accompanied human development in recent decades. “Frontier technologies” like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) robotics, and nanotechnology appear to be facilitating the speed of development which might help businesses and hotels personalise their interactions with customers (Langford & Weissenberg, 2018). Safety and Hygiene While safety and security are important aspects of any event, they frequently take a back seat to other issues on meeting planners' lengthy to-do lists. Budgetary concerns can also reduce security considerations, particularly if the cost of other essentials rises. Although this has been a pattern for some time, the epidemic has elevated it to a new level of significance. Attendees must feel secure, not only physically but also in terms of the technology employed (Howard, 2021). Moreover, it is impossible to plan for the safety and security requirements of an event too early or too often. Early engagement with the venues under consideration will provide not just the breadth of security required, but also a deeper understanding of how the venue conducts security (Tables, 2021).
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