Meeting Professionals International Say Virtual reality is NOT an Essential Tool for Event Planners
About 40 percent of event planners don’t think they will likely incorporate virtual reality (VR) into their events.
The event organizers cite price and suitability for reasons against adopting the technology, along with other technology, from data gleaned from Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) Meetings Outlook 2016 Spring Edition.
While 21 per cent of the respondents said they would use – or at least ‘most likely’ use – VR, 31 per cent said they wouldn’t rule it out.
Marie Botvinick of MPI’s Orange County Chapter said that it involved a bit of a gamble: “Technology is so important in our industry. A lot of times we are ahead of the curve. We are learning it in our industry before it is presented to the world on a daily basis.”
“Technology is so important in our industry,” says Marie Botvinick, CMP, CMM, founder of D’or Solutions in Solana Beach, Calif. “A lot of times we are ahead of the curve. We are learning it in our industry before it is presented to the world on a daily basis.”
Most respondents (57 per cent) believe that online attendance numbers would increase, while 36 per cent think they would remain the same. A tiny proportion (7 per cent of respondents) said virtual attendance would decrease.
Even though views towards online meetings were mostly positive, so too were attitudes towards live attendance. A similar 58 per cent believe that live audience numbers will increase and 31 per cent say it will remain flat. Only 12 per cent think that attendance numbers will decline.
With regards to the sharing economy, almost half of respondents (48 per cent) said they wouldn’t use sharing economy services other than Uber or Lyft due to safety concerns.
Budget spend was also positive, with 59 per cent saying budgets would increase, 28 per cent saying it would be flat and 14 per cent saying budgets would shrink.
The Importance of Technology
Even though technology was deemed important for events, with social media being the more prevalent trend, only 31% of event planners were ‘considering the use of VR’.
Only 8% of event planners claim they will use virtual reality, with 38% having no plans to integrate it into their programs, according to the spring edition of the MPI Meetings Outlook report.
Rather than using printed signs to announce meeting rooms, Bob Walker has been favoring digital versions when possible. It’s not because of the “Gee whiz” factor, he claims; it’s practicality—as digital signs save on not only printing cost, but also the labor to post and retrieve paper signs.
With conditions in the meeting and event industry buzzing, many meeting professionals now have the luxury to be able to focus their attention on best practices such as this—particularly in the use of technology—as well as growth.
What is giving meeting professionals this amount of breathing room to search for best practices is the current seller’s market according to Bill Voegeli (MPI Georgia Chapter), president of Association Insights, the Atlanta-area research firm that conducts the Meetings Outlook survey. The survey discovered that 32 percent cited the seller’s market as a top issue.
“The market continues to be in a position of steady growth,” says Voegeli. “As long as you have this seller’s market, you have this steady slow growth. We are seeing a healthy industry for a prolonged period of time. None of this can happen when budgets are shrinking and people are hiding and getting fired. It can only happen in the market we have right now, which is a safe growth market.”
“The digital network gives you the opportunity to do that seamlessly,” according to Walker (MPI Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter), a vice president at Freeman, the Dallas-based integrator of solutions for live events.
About 70% projected that business conditions over the coming year will be favorable. Around 43% believe that domestic corporate meetings will see the biggest growth, with 24% believing that domestic association meetings will lead the pack. Not all sectors are expected to see high growth, government meetings are especially expected to experience the biggest decline.