Post by Mark Hubrich, Co-Founder & VP Client & Industry Relations

Back from the holidays, refreshed and excited to start the New year! I always attempt to set goals for the year and also like to reflect about what I can expect with technology and the change it brings to the meetings and travel industry. I recently attended a conference in mid December which had a session on tools for the tablet hosted by Jeff Spellos (always an entertaining and engaging industry speaker) and was surprised to hear the history of the iPad and its impact on the industry. The first iPad from Apple was launched only 2 and a half years ago and it has had a dramatic change in those two years. It went from a nice toy to a valuable tool which can make the meeting process much easier from both the planners as well as attendee’s experience. During his sessions at the conference I took notes on my iPad and brought back at least 20-30 new apps to check out in my spare time. The new Microsoft Surface may be the latest gadget that will be impactful on the industry.

At last summer’s MPI WEC conference, I noticed that in order to become more green and efficient, the conference no longer had printed materials upon check-in. Everyone had instructions to download an app to their smart phone to see the schedule, locations, and to interact with the conference and attendees. Twitter had a real time impact on the conference with comments on the sessions or food and beverage which were quickly addressed by the conference organizers.

I would like to compose a list all of the new apps I’m learning about at educational sessions but it is constantly changing with new discoveries every month. Here are 2 quick links to sites that Mr. Spellos listed to keep abreast of the latest event technology.

In 2013, I think we shall see more of the following trends on the meetings industry:
• More planners are looking into and developing a mobile strategy around their events.
• Implementation of social tools for events. This may include video marketing or a YouTube channel for the event.
• More social curation around events.
• Mobile payment is having more of an impact and making events more efficient.
• New hotel booking tools to improve the rfp and site selection for events and conferences.

The pace of change in technology is increasing and exciting. I’m looking forward to SignUp4 being an agent of change with the new features and tools to be launched from our innovation. I think 2013 will be a thrilling year for sure.