Sustainability, F&B among top meeting planner concerns

A survey of almost 400 meeting planners by Destination Hotels & Resorts identified 2013 trends including the importance of location, sustainability and a hotel’s culinary offerings.

Here are some of the survey’s findings:

Location, location, location

While planners consistently referenced budget parameters as their biggest challenge, “location” led as the most important consideration in selecting a venue (with “rate,” “flexible space” and “amenities” following closely behind).

Being green affects the bottom line

Eco-friendly practices are not new to the meetings industry, but meeting planners are well ahead of the general leisure travel market in evaluating green practices as part of their booking decision, the survey found. While 45% of planners said eco-friendly practices are “somewhat important” when choosing a venue, an additional 18% said they are “extremely important.”

What’s on the table matters more than who’s in the kitchen

More than 78% of planners identified culinary offerings as an important part of their selection process, with 30% of them noting it was “extremely important.” Surprisingly, after years of seeing big-name chefs attach their moniker to hotel and resort restaurants, meeting planners were very clear on one thing: they don’t care. Less than 10% cited a “signature chef” as an important factor in how they evaluate culinary options. What do they care about? Smart, well-planned CMP packages that focus on health and nutrition (43%) as well as specialized dietary offerings (35%).

Building a team adventure  

Healthy eating options aren’t the only lifestyle factor that meeting planners are focusing on in the coming year. When asked about team-building trends, more than half (54%) indicated that adventure/active options were of the greatest interest.

Meetings go social

Half of meeting planners cited social media as an integral part of the planning process and check TripAdvisor and online reviews before deciding on a hotel or resort.


More than 36% noted an increase in technology integration with meetings compared to a year ago, with strong indications that the trend will continue. Streaming media, web conferencing and on-site video production were the most common uses, with more than 25% of meetings relying on at least one of those.