The growing presence of millennials in the meetings industry has prompted ICCA to create special programmes that will appeal to this segment of attendees who come with unique event preferences.
In an interview with TTGmice at the ongoing IT&CM ChinaÂ Noor Ahmad Hamid, regional director (Asia Pacific) of ICCA, described the millennial attendee: â€śThey do not like lengthy sessions and one-way communication. They want content to be delivered in a more interactive and creative manner. They want to be more involved and engaged (in the creation and execution of a programme).â€ť
Noor remarked that understanding these preferences are â€śimportant because we have to provide content that is also appealing to the younger generationâ€ť.
To capture the younger audience, ICCA has started to include sessions built for millennials during its annual ICCA Congress.
â€śAt our congress in Prague last year, we ran a session for the millennials, and as part of it we got them to come up with things they wanted to see at their session in the future. This gives them a chance to design their event. Their ideas will be incorporated into the ICCA Congress this year in Dubai.â€ť
But ICCA isnâ€™t new to catering meeting content to the industryâ€™s future leaders. It has been organising the Forum for Young Professionals in Barcelona for a decade and the International Meetings Seminar for six years.
â€śThe Forum for Young Professionals features (the usual things, such as having) speakers and panelists who address hot topics in the business. But whatâ€™s unique is the numerous workshops and round-table discussions that encourage participation. This format works well for millennials,â€ť he said.
When asked if these preferences are unique to the millennials, Noor said â€ścontent has to be dynamic for all agesâ€ť.
He also reckons that preferences are similar across millennials from around the world.
â€śAsian millennials would want content that is meaty, interactive and inspiring as much as their peers in the West. However, we have noticed that Asian participants tended to be a little less interactive.
â€śThis is rapidly changing though. At our International Meetings Seminar in Melbourne last month, which drew participation from Australians and Asians, we had a very engaged audience,â€ť Noor shared.
Noor pointed out that changes to ICCA event formats will not alienate delegates of other age groups.
â€śWhile 70 per cent of our events team is made up of millennials, we have an advisory group that comprises both very experienced industry players and millennials. This structure allows our content to satisfy participants of all ages,â€ť he remarked.