2020 Vision: The Hottest Meeting Trends for the Upcoming Year

Event meetings are a thriving trend with solid footing to continue upward growth. From teambuilding exercises, TED-style talks, to destination meetings, companies and organizations are striving to stay on-trend while zeroing in on the return on their investment. Sure, a cool business trip can temporarily satisfy a worker’s short term need for refreshment but similar to having dessert for dinner, if there is no “meat-on-the-bones”, their satisfaction will be short-lived.

2020 Meeting Trends

Meeting trends are heading bigger and bolder. Festivals are replacing conferences and ballrooms are stepping aside to destinations. Although offsite meeting expectations are exploding, budgets often stagnate which leaves planners in a quandary. At The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center, we have the unique ability to embrace the robust trends while staying fiscally responsible, keeping in mind your overall goals of education, team camaraderie, and the return on your investment.  

Let’s explore the 2020 meeting trends with a clear focus on how to deliver meetings that are valuable for attendees and the hosting organization alike. 

Cape Town, South Africa, colleagues conversing about charts


In a virtual world that is moving faster than ever, the old commonplace concept of the handshake has been tossed to the wayside. Face-to-face meetings are becoming less common, replaced by phone calls, texts, and video conference calls. This lack of personalization has the potential to lead to impersonal practices and disjointed processes. To combat this new norm, meetings are trending toward experiences that focus on in-person interaction, often offsite, to advocate relationship building and collaboration.

Not only is the “face” of meetings leaning toward in-person experiences but the trend seems to be taking one step further. Capitalizing on the offsite meeting location, many organizations are mixing business with leisure to encourage bleisure-style getaways. These not only promote team bonding but also individual refreshment and renewal. 

meeting trends


To deepen the meeting experience, organizations are also incorporating unique and genuine teambuilding encounters. The purpose of a teambuilding activity is two-fold. First, it helps your team connect on a deeper and more authentic level. When your team participates in a teambuilding exercise, they quickly gain a new and deeper understanding of their peers. This newfound knowledge can be utilized moving forward to give clarity and vision for day to day workflow and is invaluable for project work. 

Second, for the company leadership, it also helps you to assess just how well your team works together. What are their strengths, weaknesses, and even gaps that need to be filled? Building on the strengths, addressing weaker areas, and strategizing to fill any holes that are found. When your staff is aware that you are doing all that you can to equip them to excel, they tend to take more ownership of their position, increasing productivity and authenticity. 

At The Inn at Virginia Tech, we are not new to working with event planners to create teambuilding experiences that meet all of the needs of you and your staff, from tailgate parties to wine tasting competitions and more!

meeting trends


Your best and brightest employees are likely also health-conscious. It is common knowledge that a healthy lifestyle leads to increased productivity and better overall well being which is much less draining on a company. 

Because of this healthy mindset amongst team leaders, another leading trend for meetings in 2020, has a strong focus on health and wellbeing. Meals are typically nourishing and with allergy-free options. Mealtime can be maximized by offering local cuisine that is as fresh as it is nourishing. Yoga, meditation, and massage are popular but it is not uncommon to step up the game and offer a 5K, or other outdoor sport to get hearts pumping! 

meeting trends


Basic technology is common and used at all venues but even technology is advancing in the meeting space. You can now build an app for your event that includes maps, special offers, contests, and event information. Seating technology allows you to seat guests strategically. 

Live polling is an activity that is growing in popularity. Basically, live polling allows the meeting planner to organically create the agenda as the time progresses, using real-time crowdsourcing for direction. It can be labor-intensive but the benefit is that it provides exactly what your attendees are enjoying or needing, thus adding value to the overall event. 

Silent Conferences are a creative way to offer more events while utilizing less space. Essentially, a silent conference allows multiple speakers to be talking in one room while the attendees use specialized headphones to toggle between speakers, allowing them to pick and choose their topic. 

As much as technology takes mainstage at events, another trend gaining traction is tech-free zones. The idea is to use technology to manage the nuts and bolts of the meetings but also offer your employees the much-needed complete breakaway from electronics.

Our technology gurus are ready to help you with setup, takedown, and everything in between! 

inn at virginia tech


You’ve heard that it is good (and likely encouraged your staff) to think outside the box but when it comes to meetings the wave of the future is to think outside the room! 

Walk out of that stuffy meeting room and look at the other spaces available. Rooftops, outdoor green areas, and beaches are just the beginning of the areas you can utilize to host your meeting. If you are near a peak, hike or hitch a ride to the top and listen as the awe-inspiring views stimulate fresh ideas. Ignite inspiration around a campfire, kindling camaraderie. 

Conference spaces filled with long tables may be a bit passé but that does not mean that this room is no longer a popular option!  Modernizing with bright, natural light, intimate seating, and modern technology helps keep ideas flowing. Transform blasé spaces with interactive whiteboards, large displays, and innovative seating — or a casino! The sky is the limit!

RELATED: How to Squeeze the Most Value Out of Your Meeting Budget


“Globally, respondents indicate growth in all meeting types. While there are some shifts with internal meetings reducing in some regions and product launches growing in others, it is clear that events and meetings have cemented their place as a critical driver of communications, growth, and engagement for organizations globally.”

An offsite meeting, done well, will leave a lasting impact on your staff which adds lasting value for your company. The long-term impact creates loyalty and loyalty leads to a legacy. Legacy lends itself to content workers who work harder for you, creating a long-term impact with your customers, starting the circle again. 

At The Inn at Virginia Tech, our meeting planners are here to help you create the perfect meeting. Our team strives hard to surpass your expectations, building an experience your team will not soon forget. Give us a call to brainstorm and plan your offsite company meeting. Let’s do this! 

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