• Meetings Should be More about Talking, Less About Technology

    FROM THE Fall 2017 ISSUE

We often hear how Millennials love technology. In fact, they don’t know life without it. 

But while these future business leaders appreciate the power of technology to enhance knowledge and facilitate life’s simplest tasks, technology shouldn’t overshadow the important role of meetings, finds a new report by Imago Venues.

The report asks whether the meetings industry is doing enough to inspire this generation, and the resounding answer is no.

Imago Venues conducted the survey of meeting participants and event organizers, who indicated their motivations to attend meetings: learn first-hand from industry experts; develop relationships; and learn something valuable that could bolster their careers.

In fact, most millennials indicate face-to-face meetings—rather than those provided virtually a la technology—are the most effective venues to achieve the goals listed above.

“Social media activity will not necessarily motivate people to attend meetings, but 65 percent of students, 61 percent of delegates and 51 percent of organizers believe it is a good tool for creating awareness,” the report says.

“However, the results show that organizers are not promoting the right kind of messages via this platform. Posting information for its own sake is not sufficient. Engagement is key and sharable content that raises awareness of key issues has a much wider impact with millennials.” Meetings should use technology to encourage creativity and conversations, but that shouldn’t be the main draw or focus, respondents said. 

Rather, content should.

When it comes to content, participants want shorter sessions that offer inspiration, leadership and passion. And choosing the right speaker is key to providing such content, respondents suggest. 

Most of all, meeting attendees want speakers who are passionate and enthusiastic. Second most important is the ability of that speaker to engage the audience, followed by an expert who offers innovation and new ideas.

Our future business leaders don’t consider the technological delivery of information as the most important factor of face-to-face meetings, mostly because they can find information online elsewhere. Instead, they seek guidance on how to grow professionally and personally, and view meetings as the best source. 

“We need to have a stronger collective approach, as an industry, to the objectives of meetings and events; to recognize both the objectives of the organizer and the delegate; and consider whether the delivery achieves both in equal measure,” the Imago Venues report concludes. “Otherwise, we are simply facilitators of a product and not the creators of inspiring experiences that we can and should be.”


MACVB Annual Educational Conference finally reaches the shores of Mackinac Island.

As I rode in the carriage from the Shepler’s Ferry terminal to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, my mind wandered to a scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” In said scene, King Arthur and his sidekick, Patsy, approach a castle while galloping and banging coconuts together. After a few moments passed and my mind wandered back to the tree-lined streets of the island, I realized it was the clippety-clop of the draft horses pulling our carriage that brought on my thoughts of Python.


First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month. 


A conference or convention venue might be described by meeting planners as offering ease and convenience for multiple reasons. It may be because its address is easily accessible from numerous compass points. Or perhaps it’s the destination—with a variety of opportunities for activities and entertainment close-by. And of course, it could be that the venue itself offers a peaceful, easy setting with all the comforts you could want. 

Well, at Treetops Resort, it’s all of the above.