2021 Educational Programme


AMI Summit: Future of association meetings and the potential of online communities

01 Oct 2021
Industry Trends & Innovation

The cancellation of in-person meetings has forced association meeting planners to tear up the script in the last 18 months. But what is going to happen next?

During the first part of this session, we’ll discuss the questions most asked about the future of association meetings. What will delegates want? Do in-person experiences still matter or is virtual a suitable alternative? What are the factors that will decide how – and why - we meet? We will also discuss the role online communities have to play in making meetings a more engaging and meaningful experience for attendees.

During the second part of the session, delegates will join a breakout room to discuss one of the following topics:

*Solution-based meetings: What is your next meeting going to achieve? How can we make meetings more impactful and goal-orientated? How can we justify our in-person meetings to members, stakeholders, and decision-makers in a world of instant digital communication and climate change?

*Accessibility: By forcing associations to go digital, the pandemic introduced association meetings to a massive new audience. How can associations ensure they don’t lose this new audience when they return to in-person events? Should attendance criteria change to make meetings more inclusive?

*Sustainability: How do large in-person international gatherings prove their worth in a world facing climate catastrophe? How can associations demonstrate the value of in-person meetings while minimising the environmental impact of their event portfolio?

*Beginning, middle and…? Event planners are now building online communities around events, which can enhance the meeting experience and what are the main pros and cons of this strategy and what do associations need to think about before embarking on it?

*Is hybrid the answer? What role can hybrid play in making associations meetings more accessible and sustainable? Will this format lead to more hub-and-spoke meetings? Does it signal the end of the mega-meeting? Or is the format just way too complicated and expensive for most organisations?

James Lancaster, Editorial Director - Northstar Meetings Group UK
Nikki Walker, Global Vice President Engagement - MCI Group
Sharon Ashton, Events Director - Eurordis
Bregje Frens, Association Director - Conferli


Virtual exclusive

Session type

Panel Discussion,Workshop