Convention Center Trends for 2025
March 16, 2016 / Adam Paulitsch
What does the convention center user of the future expect? Rather than conforming to the limitations of a traditional space, meeting planners, hosts and attendees are already shaping the future of convention centers by expecting flexibility and adaptability in spaces that match the unique factors and needs of their events. Convention center users want the ability to customize their event experience.
Several user demands are driving change in the meeting and convention center industry, each of them pushing toward a more holistic event experience for users that will shape the industry over the next decade:
Destination experience and amenities: Meeting planners are making two choices when they select a convention center: space and destination. Bringing the destination into the space is essential for developing a unique and exciting experience. Attendees crave options beyond their meeting spaces and want to connect with the culture, people and feeling of a destination.
For example, Populous’ Los Angeles Convention Center plans offer access to beautiful LA weather and connects visitors directly to entertainment districts that allow them to engage with the destination just outside the window. This is a first-of-its-kind outdoor ballroom that can be used as rentable space:
Hospitality: Convention center users are coming to expect a more boutique meeting experience, where space reflects the attributes of the location they’ve chosen for their meeting. Fluorescent-lit, non-discrete rooms fail to inspire, but natural light, color and access to outdoor spaces can make the average meeting-goer’s experience something they won’t soon forget. When a convention center is well-designed, a 15-minute break between sessions can include a beautiful walk in fresh air, a healthy snack, gourmet coffee, or a trip to an open, naturally lit space to have a short one-on-one.
Wellness: Pushing forward means taking better care of users while they’re visiting. Convention center visitors are coming to expect amenities that support their health: better food options, exercise rooms, yoga rooms and healthier integration of technology.
For example, the wellness stairwell below takes a typical convention center experience and turns it into a positive, engaging wellness challenge.
Adaptability and flexibility: Buildings should be able to host varied event types, adapting to the needs of the user. Flexibility in layout – the size and arrangement of rooms, for example, can make all the difference for meeting planners and attendees. Planning an adaptable space allows room to grow and adjust as the industry, and technology changes.
For example, the diagrams below show how the Anaheim Convention Center’s second-level multipurpose space was designed with adaptability and flexibility in mind. The single space can be transformed to accommodate many different events, like banquets, plenary sessions and meeting space. The high level of adaptability allows the convention center to accommodate the needs of multiple meeting planners at one time.
As meeting planning and attendance evolve, the user should be at the heart of all architectural decisions. Customization, adaptability, flexibility, integrating the heart of a destination, considering wellness, flow and experience all drive to create an exceptional experience for the convention center user.