More than $122 billion is spent annually in the meetings industry in the United States. Thanks to technological advancements, hardworking employers across the country, and innovative women business leaders, the meetings and events industry is continuing to rise.
People are addicted to technology more than ever. In fact, four of out of five consumers use smartphones for shopping. This trend is affecting the meetings industry as well. Businesses and meeting organizers are relying more and more on mobile capability, virtual reality software, and other high tech devices to improve the efficiency of these important meetings.
According to Successful Meetings, the meetings and events industry is likely to perform even better in 2018.
In early October, the 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast was published by the American Express Global Business Travel. The forecast predicts major industry growth as a result of higher competition, robust investments, and a desire for consolidation of spend by buyers.
“Following the shifting sentiment in 2017, next year should be more positive around the world in terms of spend, number of meetings, and attendees,” said Issa Jouaneh, senior VP and general manager of American Express Meetings and Events. “Economic and geopolitical influences will continue to create uncertainty, but we anticipate ongoing industry resilience and continued focus on successful experience.”
Female business leaders are leading the charge in the meetings industry.
Here are some of the most influential perennial leaders in the meetings industry, per Meetings and Conventions:
Nan Marchand Beauvois
An integral part of U.S. travel, Marchand Beauvois is the vice president of national councils, the general manager of the Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO), and managing director of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition. She has done wonders for the U.S. travel and meetings industry but has also revolutionized the way global meetings are held.
Melissa Van Dyke
As president of the Incentive Research Foundation, Van Dyke has transformed the organization into a research powerhouse for innovative meetings. She uses data to better understand current and future platforms, which could be used as ways to improve meetings and events both digitally and in the real world.
Sexton has been the president and CEO of the Professional Convention Management Association for 12 years. Her organization has experience with different event technologies and has encouraged people around the country to take some of their ideas back to their day jobs and implement them as best they can.
As CEO of the IMEX Group, Bauer knows how great this industry can be for women.
“You’re not in a minority — that makes a big difference,” she said. “There still is some work in this industry in terms of making sure there are enough female role models and encouraging younger women to go for leadership positions.”
Scholar is able to successfully do her job as global director of virtual technologies, meetings, and congresses and events for a global pharmaceutical firm. She also is a strategic meetings management coach. She also is pursuing a designation as a social media specialist.
“I love to learn as much as I can,” she said.