Disney Meetings & Events is on site at #IMEXAmerica2023! We are so excited to connect with you on the tradeshow floor this week. Today, our team spent the day hearing from top industry experts and thought leaders at the annual #SmartMonday sessions. This year’s standout sessions focused on hot topics in the meetings & events industry, including: sustainability, food & beverage, event trends, and incentive travel.

Here are some of our biggest takeaways from the Smart Monday sessions.

What’s Trending and What’s Changing?

It’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of event trends – see 2023 trends that aren’t going away anytime soon. Karen Gonzales from IAEE observes that although a lot has changed in the meetings industry over the last few years, the need for face-to-face connections continue to be strong.Many attendees seek connection during meetings. There are many ways to encourage networking and connection between attendees- whether it is through a virtual trivia game like Kahoot!, or through intentional networking hours between meetings to get valuable face time and connect on learnings.

Disney can help you make an impact with your attendees that will last beyond the meeting room. Whether you are hosting a small meeting or a large gathering, Disney has the tools and resources you need to craft a memorable event. With a one-stop-shop for all your meeting and event planning needs, you can keep your planning under one roof and have access to expert knowledge across Disney to accomplish your goals.

Incentive travel helps your team bond, unlock their potential, and encourage growth personally and professionally. Why should you prioritize planning an incentive trip? Padraic Gilligan of SITE Global shares important insights from the 2023 Incentive Travel Index: 68% of buyers agree that incentive travel was previously used primarily for “hard power” benefits (i.e. financial ROPI, increased sales and market share) but now, it’s mostly about “soft power” benefits, such as focusing on company culture, employee engagement and relationships.

Karen Gonzales also shares that research shows that the destination is a motivating factor for increasing attendee participation. Disney Destinations are the ideal incentive destination – learn more about the heart behind incentive travel at Disney from Director Amy Pfeiffer here.

The Lasting Impact of Meetings & Events

One of the most anticipated elements of a meeting or event is the food and beverage offerings. Providing your attendees with exciting, energizing, and nutritional food and beverage will make them feel valued and cared for. According to Mark Cooper from IACC, "food and beverage can be the glue that knits together a meeting or event." Attendees feel valued when they have a choice. This can be part of the registration process, or incorporated into the dining experience- such as an action station where food is prepared in front of the guests. Trending menu items that have taken the world by storm are elevated non-alcoholic beverage options, plant-based menu items, and fusion cuisine, focused on diverse global flavors. Learn more about Disney Meetings & Events’ new food & beverage options and ways to customize your menu.

Sustainability is at the forefront of meeting professionals’ minds today. Disney Meetings & Events is committed to sustainability – learn more about our initiatives here. When you plan with Disney, we have the resources you need to create a digital-first meeting that is sustainable and eco-friendly- read more about our commitment to #GreenMeetings here. Our sustainability efforts go beyond recycling and mobile resort room keys- it’s even implemented into our food and beverage offerings. With locally sourced ingredients, you can have peace of mind knowing that environmentality is prioritized. Courtney Lohmann from Courtney Lohmann Consulting shares that one of the ways your event can be more sustainable is by offering seasonal, culturally inclusive cuisine that is unique to the region- ultimately helping to reduce food waste. Meetings and events can make a lasting impact on attendees and the world; Disney can help you unlock your evergreen potential.

At Disney Meetings & Events, you have access to boundless creativity, imagination, and storytelling experts. Unlock creativity and collaboration when you partner with Disney. The heart of The Walt Disney Company is storytelling. When you plan with Disney, we will help you discover the best way to tell your company’s story and connect with your attendees. Tucker Bryant from Tucker Bryant Ventures shared the Poet’s Keys: curiosity, figurative thinking, and expression. Curiosity is at the heart of everything we do at Disney Meetings & Events. We want to collaborate with you to make the impossible possible.

We look forward to connecting with you and hearing your story, whether it is at #IMEX23 this week or online. Connect with us on FacebookLinkedInInstagram, or Twitter using #DisneyMeetingsAndEvents.

We're eager to help you create the perfect meeting or private event for any size group, theme, and objective. To speak with a Disney Meetings & Events representative about our pricing and options available at our Disney Parks & Resorts destinations in Florida, California, Hawaii or at our international destinations, please contact ussubmit a request for proposal or sign up to stay in touch and continue learning more about Disney Meetings & Events.