According to BrandChannel, fast-food giant McDonald's is trying to figure out how to get those 59 to 80 million U.S. denizens ages 23 to 36, aka the millennials, to pig out under its golden arches, creating new foods like the McWrap that it hopes will do the trick. This generation, which will be outspending Boomers in a few years, isn't interested in the same old Big Mac and fries that kept us older folks fat and sassy all these years. And, chances are, they're not going to be interested in that same old convention (complete with conventional menus, to keep with the chow theme), either.
But there are some good signs for the meetings industry, at least those who can keep up with the growing need for experiential learning and peer-to-peer interaction that these guys are going to insist upon. As a report from Edelman points out,
“Millennials see themselves as alpha influencers who shape the behavior of their larger social circles… [and] almost half of the millennials surveyed indicated that they prefer face-to-face conversations with friends and family before choosing whether or not to buy a product. ... Marketers tend to neglect the value millennials place on face-to-face conversations.”
Whether those conversations take place at your meeting or elsewhere will be up to you.
Update: Shortly after I posted this I read this post by Jeff Hurt: Guaranteed to Disrupt Your Conference: The Generational Divide. Interesting stuff.