THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONFERENCE PRODUCT CURRENT AND FUTURE TRENDS
Today, a conference product is described as a package of goods and services, but what are the actual elements of a conference product? What purpose do they fulfill and how can these be developed in the future? The conference business is relatively young. However, some studies have shown that the conference market is passing by the maturity stage, which has resulted in a saturated demand and thereby increased the need for suppliers to change, innovate and bring out the uniqueness of the product. Hence, this study aims to enlarge the understanding of a Swedish conference product, today and in the future. The study follows an explorative and qualitative research design, mainly since there were no recognized theories found particularly describing the conference product. With the help of related theories a research model was formed, which contributed with only a certain level of structure that did not restrict the researchers to go into areas that have not yet been considered but were significant for the understanding of this topic. Based on thirteen interviews with carefully selected industry experts, this study reports that the room, the meeting, the food and beverage, the social activities, the atmosphere, the security, and the image are the most important elements. However, the future will require some modifications of a conference product since three overarching forthcoming trends have been identified. These are; enhanced efficiency and effectiveness, a more enthusiastic experience offering and intensified personalization. In general, the focus will be more on the conference’s contribution to a company’s success, which will put more pressure on the conference supplier to provide not only an efficient but an effective conference. Besides the effectiveness in terms of numbers, the conference suppliers should also see advantages gained by creating a more personal offer and at the same time delivering a memorable experience. The role of a supplier will be characterized as a producer rather than a provider of a conference, and a conference will be seen as a result of a more organized and purposeful production, which will heighten the standards of the conference procurements and level of business professionalism. Hence, “the outcome of the conference” needs to be added as a core element of the conference product. The already identified elements will be seen as only supporting ones that will be more synchronized in the future in order to achieve a certain outcome.
Göteborg University. School of Business, Economics and Law
travel and tourism product
Masters Thesis, nr 2004:52