Alastair Stewart has commented on Millenials and how they do business in 2016 in Meetings today.
“Millennials are driving change in the location and design of venues,” says Alastair Stewart, managing director of etc.venues in the U.K., which operates 14 non-residential, purpose-driven centers. “They are happy with public sector transport, using Uber over owning a car, see technology as an extension of their right arm, intolerant of slow and outdated technology, and quick to share their views of venues over social media. Food preferences are likely to be for all-day grazing rather than formal meals, with a focus on quality and sustainability.
“When it comes to learning, the style is increasingly collaborative, with cabaret seating preferred and engagement with the speaker continuous and interactive through apps such as sli.do,” he says. “Learning durations have shortened, partly driven by generational preferences and partly by [corporations] seeking to cut the overall costs by reducing course durations and encouraging delegates to make their own overnight arrangements.”
Stewart believes that urbanization is a key trend in conference center learning as well, strongly driven by the Millennial generation and its preference for ample options when it comes to lodging, transport and numerous dining and entertainment choices following a day of meetings. He adds that etc.venues has witnessed tri-fold growth over the past eight years, spurred by this trend, and now hosts 700,000 yearly delegates at its 14 venues—and that other conference centers are taking heed as well.
“In the U.S., Convene is growing rapidly with a specialized urban venue concept,” Stewart says. ”In France and other European countries Chateauform has developed a City model and in Australasia Cliftons is the major brand. These “challenger” brands are taking market share off hotel groups as they move quickly with modern, well-designed facilities that are making some of the older hotels and residential venues look like yesterday’s product.”
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