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Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!


Posted by Kevin Iwamoto on 12/22/2015

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As I’m sitting here writing my last blog post of 2015, I thought I would share both my top 3 highlights from 2015 and what I believe will be the most relevant SMM trends for 2016. Ready? Here goes!

Top Three (Personal) Highlights of 2015:
 
  1. Successful integration of all of Lanyon’s strategic acquisitions — We focused on bringing together Lanyon, Active Network BSG, Passkey and GenieConnect to create the first combined technology grouping of leading transient and meetings/events technology.

    The fact that we were able to successfully pull it all together — without negatively impacting our customers — speaks volumes to the strategic leadership of our executive team, as well as the Lanyoneers whose tireless dedication and commitment to our clients and partners is what keeps our doors open.
 
  1. Lanyon Live — Our annual industry thought leadership conference showcased just how much we’ve accomplished this year — and how we were able to pull it all together — not just for our customers and partners, but for ourselves as well. The conference set a high benchmark that we’re all committed to exceeding for 2016. Don’t miss out next year!
 
  1. Winning the “Travel Weekly Gold Magellan Award” for my SMM and Industry Blog — I’ve been privileged and fortunate enough to win the Silver Award twice, but really felt winning the Gold would be impossible, given all of the excellent industry blogs that are out there. This achievement is shared with my fellow Lanyoneers in Marketing, specifically Patrick Mendoza (Director of Corporate Communications), Harley Rubin (Director of Content Marketing), Cindy Rucker (Marketing Design Specialist), Andreas Hjalber (Marketing Analytics Specialist) and the newest KBT (#KevinsBlogTeam) member, Maddy Hessel (Content Marketing Specialist). It takes a village, and our Lanyon Marketing village is filled with talented and giving people. I’m very blessed!


My Top Trend Predictions for 2016:

This time next year, we’ll review my list and see how accurate or wrong my predictions were. Here goes:
 
  1. Data and analytics transparency and reportability will continue to drive new marketing strategies — as well as the demand from the C-suite for ROI, ROE and ROO.  

    The more defensible and reliable the data is, the more the demand for change management in measurement and execution will drive changes in the way meetings and events are planned, reported and measured (not to mention budget allocation). The proverbial “But that’s the way we’ve always done it!” is just not going to fly, period.
 
  1. The Sharing Economy is here to stay — whether we like it or not.  Consumers like the latest technology-driven innovation companies. Older business models — especially those who are still heavily into “bricks and mortar” assets and governance — are increasingly struggling to remain relevant.  

    2016 will see more integration and innovation as to how and when these new Sharing Economy companies become more mainstream. Case in point, during city-wide sellouts, hotel companies used to charge exorbitant prices for their room inventory. But now, with Airbnb leading the way, normal homeowners can rent out their homes for significantly less — which impacts the ceiling rates that hotels can charge during peak sellout periods.   

    My house in Silicon Valley is a short walk and a few train stops away from Levis Stadium — home of the next Super Bowl. I’m seriously considering taking a vacation during the big game and renting out my townhouse via Airbnb!
 
  1. The Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions will continue to be an area of growth for SMMP. Having observed successful North America and European SMMP globalized launches, we can already see established, multinational clients with more mature SMM programs encroaching on — and planning for — the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions. As meetings managers, event planners and their partner suppliers get more regional successes under their belts, the confidence and appetite to pull off successful SMMP deployments in these last bastion geographic regions is growing.

    Additionally, factors like corporate pressures to document cost savings, supplier rationalization and process consistency push this movement forward. I’ve already done several successful roadshows, roundtables and workshops on this topic — and I’m booked for more of them in 2016!

     
  2. Continued changes in data security, including payment and banking fees. With all of the recent headlines around data security breaches at hotels, retailers, etc., this issue is only going to become more front-of-mind for global companies.  

    The changes in Safe Harbor status will also drive more rigid regulations that ALL companies have to adhere to in order to conduct international business.  Hackers and malware are everywhere, the general consumer is under attack — but even more so are corporations and governments. On the banking front, the demand for less charges and fees — both from the consumer and corporate markets — are already driving significant changes in the banking card industry.

    There’s lots more to come in this area — we’ll stay on top of these changes in 2016 as you and your company programs will be impacted.
 
  1. Marketplace consolidation will continue — and even escalate in the coming year. First, it was travel management companies, then the airlines, and now it’s the large hotel companies that are merging their portfolios and rationalizing their operational costs. While consolidation is good, the history of consolidation hasn’t always favored the general consumer’s pocketbook or corporate budgets. Less choice generally means higher prices — however, the upside is supplier rationalization, dealing with less suppliers, and supposedly higher quality products and services. Time will tell.

    And in case you haven’t noticed, there’s an excess of meeting and event app companies, registration technologies, professional service companies, etc. out there. The supply and demand and economies of scale will accelerate the mergers and acquisitions in the meetings and events industry, too.  

    Fasten your seatbelts – it’s going to be a bumpy ride — and interesting to watch!

In closing, thank you all for a great 2015!  I’m looking forward to continue to share my thoughts and ideas for our industry in 2016. I sincerely want to thank Lanyon senior executive leadership, especially Anthony Miller (Chief Marketing Officer) and David Bonnette (Chief Executive Officer) for allowing me to have an independent and individual voice via our corporate portal. That in itself demonstrates Lanyon’s commitment to thought leadership for our industry.

Have a happy and safe New Year — see you on the road in 2016!
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