Before you get swept away in the whirlwind of holiday parties, New Year’s events and the usual year-end festivities, it’s important to get ready for the upcoming year. The year 2017 will be here before you know it, along with new trends, so make sure your events aren’t stuck in 2016. Kindred Resorts & Hotels has compiled a list for meeting planners to find out what’s in and out in 2017.
1. Destination-focused, experiential team building
In 2016, we wrote about the rise of destination-focused experiences in team building. In 2017, this trend will be more popular than ever. More and more attendees, especially millennials, are tired of the usual trust falls and brainstorming sessions—they want immersive, authentic experiences to remember. Cooking classes, community service projects that benefit the local community and cultural food tours are all great options to boost camaraderie.
2. Outdoor activities
What better way to experience a destination than to take your team outdoors? Attendees will appreciate the opportunity to get fresh air, explore the location and possibly burn a few calories, as well. Try whale watching off the Washington state coast, walking through majestic redwood forests in Northern California or whitewater rafting in Colorado Springs.
3. Healthy, local food and beverage
With terms such as gluten-free, organic and local sweeping through grocery stores across America, it’s no surprise that attendees are demanding more health-conscious meal and snack choices.
Thirty percent of Kindred properties surveyed reported a decrease in requests for soda and an increase in demand for healthier options such as water, smoothies and organic juices. As for dietary preferences and restrictions, gluten-free menus have been the most requested option at Kindred hotels, followed by vegetarian menus.
1. Formal events
Formal black-tie events are on the decline as planners are choosing to hold more casual gatherings such as beach barbecues and clambakes. Though these casual events don’t work for every group, they occasionally offer a nice change of pace from the traditional suit and tie gatherings. Attendees also appreciate the increased flexibility to mingle and network among their peers.
2. Traditional meeting rooms
Although there will always be strong demand for traditional meeting spaces, planners are beginning to embrace more flexible, experimental and unique venues. Planners we’ve talked to emphasized the need for a “wow” factor that makes a hotel or venue stand out from the competition. Attendees demanding one-of-a-kind experiences will love flexible indoor-outdoor spaces and renovated classics such as a repurposed brewery and revamped train station.
“Across the board, 2017 booked business is up and the group trends we are seeing are centered around experiences and health,” said Bree Brostko, managing director of Kindred Resorts & Hotels. “Meeting planners are looking to break off from the traditional boardroom conferences and offerings and [instead] get outside, experience the destination and truly get a taste of the local culture and cuisine.”