Demand for ‘unusual’ conferencing experiences | The Planner

Conferencing is undergoing rapid change as customer expectations for ‘unusual’ experiences transform the sector. At a recent meeting of professional conference organisers, key role-players discussed trends shaping the industry and showcased innovative new conferencing options to delegates.

Evolving trends in conferencing

Conferences are increasingly being shaped by heightened expectations of sustainability, wellness and innovation. Leading conference venues are integrating eco-friendly practices such as energy-efficient systems and waste reduction to meet the growing demand for sustainable meeting options. Wellness is now a core tenet of modern conferencing experiences, with many featuring activities such as meditation, fitness sessions, and health-conscious catering to boost attendee well-being.

Industry professionals at the meeting discussed various themes including wellness, artistic expression, presentation skills training, and team-building. The event started with a grounding and meditation session followed by mentally stimulating team-building exercises on scenic lawns. A session on dynamic presentation-building techniques took place in a TED Talks-style lounge. The day concluded with afternoon tea and bubbles, and a creative painting activity against the backdrop of stunning views.

Innovative conferencing options

One key takeaway from the discussions was the shift away from traditional seating plans to less formal or mixed seating options. An example shared involved a conference organiser allowing delegates to build their own set-up from a range of mismatched chairs, stools and sofas, which immediately sparked conversation and engagement at the outset of their event.

Cape Town continues to be a top meetings destination, with a recent ranking by CVENT placing the city at number five in a list of the top ten meetings destinations in the Middle East and Africa. This underscores the city’s appeal and the increasing demand for unique and enriching conference experiences.

By combining wellness, creativity, and skill development, the aim is to provide memorable and distinctive events for all attendees. The evolving trends and innovative approaches discussed highlight the ongoing transformation in the conferencing sector, driven by a desire to meet and exceed growing customer expectations.