Designing events for a younger demographic

Millennials now make up the largest segment of the UK workforce and their attitudes and behaviours differ quite substantially from those of their older colleagues.  For event organisers this gives pause for thought: does the content and design of your events meet the expectations of your delegates?

The annual IBTM World Trends Report includes research on behaviours and values of event  attendees, revealing and predicting key trends in the shape, size and fabric of events. Its most recent edition focuses heavily on the 17 million+ millennials who make up the largest generational demographic in today’s workforce.  And it underlines how the lifestyles and work patterns of today’s delegates should be borne in mind by event organisers.

Ethical trends

Two of the report’s key strands are the reluctance of younger workers to sacrifice their health and work-life balance; and their concerns towards ethically led trends such as sustainability, inclusivity, security and wellness.

Millennials are most attracted to working for employers that are not just paying lip service to these issues but are demonstrably addressing them.   So, to attract, engage and retain the best talent, companies need to show they are embracing the social issues that their employees take seriously.

Meetings and conferences offer the ideal opportunity for businesses to communicate corporate culture and share initiatives that resonate with their audiences – be they employees, customers or both.  And to be authentic and credible, every aspect of the event itself should reflect those same values –  from the location and the building infrastructure to the speakers and the social programme.


We at The Venues Collection are aware of our own responsibility as a business to address global priorities, and the importance of aligning our offering with our guests’ expectations. For a long time, one of our core commitments has been towards delivering sustainable events.  Our  seven conference and training venues have recently achieved the Bronze award in the Green Meetings Standard – administered by Green Tourism, one of the world’s leading eco-friendly accreditation organisations. The Standard enables hotels, conference centres and other venues to chart their progress towards sustainability and covers initiatives from reducing energy use and saving water, through ethical buying and minimising food miles, to eco-friendly waste disposal.

Our parent company, Compass Group UK & Ireland, has set ambitious targets to be Net Zero by 2030 and one of TVC’s latest initiatives has been to introduce a carbon labelling system on our event menus – based on calculations of greenhouse gas emissions at each stage of the food production life cycle.   TVC has a target to make 80% of our meal ingredients grown, reared or made in the UK.


The social side of the conference experience is as important as ever, and delegates’ enjoyment of their stay at our venues is also core to our own goals for hosting successful events. Time and space for social interaction is especially key in bonding today’s fragmented workforce.

And research shows that less of their free time takes place in the bar. It has been widely documented that Millennials prefer to spend their downtime exercising than sharing long drinking sessions in the pub.  According to the Alcohol Education Trust the overwhelming majority of young adults (78% men and 85% of women) go out to enjoy themselves and socialise rather than to get drunk.  We at TVC have noticed that our conference guests are more likely to have an early night so they can get up early and go for a run before the first session of the day, than to sleep through that session hung-over from a heavy night’s partying.

Which is why we place great importance on providing green spaces at each of our venues.  TVC offers a number of properties set in their own grounds where guests can exercise and have access to walking or running routes so that time outdoors becomes a positive element of their conference experience. And for organisers, those green spaces offer great opportunities for teambuilding sessions, social activities and informal dining.


An interesting counterpoint to the social priorities highlighted in the IBTM World Trends Report is that since the pandemic made home working the new normal, the demarcation lines for what we consider to be our ‘workplace’ have become blurred.  This factor, added to today’s 24/7 ‘always-on’ culture makes it more likely that conference attendees will bring their work with them, than treat the meeting as an away day.

With this in mind venues like ours that offer multiple flexible spaces make it possible for delegates to create their own work stations or simply catch up on their emails away from the busier communal areas.

It’s clear from the IBTM World Trends Report that events are playing a larger part than ever  in enabling companies and teams to meet, communicate and interact, to unlock creativity and innovation.  Group meetings have the power to help people connect in deeper and more human ways.

This gives organisers a lot to think about, but from a venue perspective at least, we have it covered.  Our team would be delighted to help you plan your event to achieve all of its goals. For more information, please get in touch:

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