APR 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Page 15 of 67

MARKET SEGMENT REPORT: MEDICAL & PHARMACEUTICAL MEETINGS ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 8 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 16 CORPORATE MEETINGS The last five years have ushered in a healthy outlook for corporate meetings. Industries are bolstering efforts to engage customers and employees outside the walls of their business locations and while value remains central to any strategy, the success of today's meetings is increasingly connected to one key factor: participant experience. While experience is paramount, the challenge for meeting planners is designing experiences that provide appeal across the five generations that exist in today's workplace. "Trying to accommodate all generations is difficult as the younger millennials are not engaged with such offerings as live bands and karaoke," said John Nichols, manager of social events and promotions with the 3NINE entertainment venue at Orlando-based Rosen Plaza. "They prefer more interactive events with an enhanced experience. More mature generations prefer face-to-face opportunities and an environment where they can talk and build relationships." Donna Holder, one of the founders of Historic Banning Mills, a Georgia-based outdoor adventure destination, noted that each event is different and the most effective strategies consider the dynamics of individual groups. "This allows us to create a customized program that will be the most beneficial to the group's goals and participants," she said. "We are very careful to communicate clearly to the group what will be required of them and the possible rewards that can come out of adventure activities." Understanding Generational Nuances Experiences that provide immediate gratification and visually stimulating atmospheres are appealing to attendees in their late 30s to late 50s, according to Nichols. Often coined Generation X, this group tends to enjoy activities that allow them to use their phones, download immediately and post to social networks. In contrast, Boomers—the generation preceding Generation X—are more into face-to-face networking and an environment in which conversation is encouraged. Holder explained that younger generations— millennials, for instance—are looking for something "real" or anything that is experiential in which they work toward completing a feat. "They are looking for unique thrills—fun—and thrive off a sense of accomplishment," she said, adding that outdoor experiences are a good fit since so much work today is done inside. "It is amazing to see the participants' hesitancy to give up all of their electronic devices at the beginning of an adventure versus when they complete the adventure and are not even thinking about those items which they are typically so attached to." With these variances in interests and Unique, Creative Experiences For All Age Groups By Selena Chavis Strategic Engagement Historic Banning Mills

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