Meetings No 20
A Congress is a Workplace
Atti Soenarso: Perhaps it is time to sharpen the tone.
Cover Story
All Under One Roof
Carin Kindbom: “The ‘all under one roof’ business approach is considered a key USP.”
While There’s Life, There’s Hope
Ever present words from the past.
Digital Mindset
AI and Robotics
Futurists: “Firms will need to strike a fine balance between AI and the human workforce.”
Safety and Security
CWT Global Forecast 2018
Security should be high on the planning agenda.
Brain Training
Sharp Brains on navigating brain training.
Business Events Must Adopt Olympic Safety Standards
Learn from previous Olympic events.
Clan vs State
The Clan Mentality is the Norm
Per Brinkemo on state and clan.
Sustainable Growth
The sustainability performance of 40 meeting and events cities.
Lunch With the Financial Times
An ­international “who’s who” of our time.
La Perle by Dragone
Emotions can be both a help and hindrance when creating a show.
AIME Launches Exhibitor Educational Series
Providing a deeper understanding of buyers.
Increasing Value of Meetings in Hamburg
Number of delegates visiting the city continues to grow.
60 Tips for a Stunningly Great Life
Robin Sharma on leadership.
Brain Check
Going Behind the Mind
Tomas Dalström on neuromarketing and digital vs. print advertising.
Where Event Design and Meetings Management Meet
Event quality is back on the table.
Van der Vijver
Locusts or Legacy?
Meeting designer Mike Van der Vijver: Bring the local community and the event community together.
Benny Andersson
On composition.
New Discovery on Memory Consolidation
Challenging a basic assumption about memory encoding.
The Saudi Arabian city of the future.
Obligations, Engagement and Legacy
Roger Kellerman: The word ‘obligation’ is high on the agenda.
New knowledge
Brain research
shows added value live events.
BTM World 2020
transitions to virtual.
post-pandemic momentum
Dubai Tourism forms Business Events Stakeholders committee,
host first meeting as industry resumes activity.
hotel news
Scandic expects
occupancy of 30-35 percent for September.
Covid developer
Scandic Hotels
launches the largest network of coworking spaces in the Nordic countries.
planned for 16-17 Sep
Update on GIAF
- New dates set for 5-6 November 2020.
Sands Expo and Convention Centre
is now a carbon neutral venue.
positive impact
The Hague webinar
celebrates partnerships and first anniversary of Ottawa MOU.
expanding network
ICCA Partners up
with Geneva International Associations Forum (GIAF).
Sponsored Content
Taiwan Ready to Reopen to the World
Over 80 events taking place in Taipei now.
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Where Event Design and Meetings Management Meet

Historically, the primary goals of Meetings Management have been to contain costs and drive savings, mitigate risk, ensure compliance to industry regulations and produce quality events. That’s right. Event quality was part of the initial conversation. However, because the buyer typically bought with a procurement lens and was most concerned with savings and compliance, event quality did not often receive the attention it deserved.

With new customer types emerging and a focus on stakeholder engagement within Meetings Management, event quality is back on the table – taking on central importance as a goal for many programs. These days, in order to have a successful program, organisations must pay attention to the quality of their events in order to drive high attendee engagement and satisfaction. They must also be able to measure that satisfaction and demonstrate the event-specific return on investment (ROI). Savings and compliance are now table stakes, and if individual events do not meet the needs of an organisation’s meeting stakeholders, the enterprise-level Meetings Management program will not succeed.

Event design is a critical element in delivering on all three goals of a meeting. This is especially true for delivering high attendee engagement and satisfaction, which is imperative for developing brand loyalty, lead generation and sales. Meeting attendees come to events with the same expectations they have in their personal lives. Their expectations have been “consumerised” (meaning they expect to be courted and catered to, entertained and engaged). Standing in front of an audience with a run-of-the-mill PowerPoint presentation will not cut it. Excellent logistics and engaging communications before, during and post event are a must, and events that excite are expected. This is where Event Design and Meetings Management meet.

There is an excellent toolkit of design elements that integrate innovative components to make the biggest impression and create unique experiences for attendees. We want them to look forward to attending, enjoy themselves during the event, become motivated while there and rave about it after they leave. A few design aspects to consider are the location of the event, the flow and format of the event, catering, room set-up, entertainment and how the event organisers interact with the attendees throughout the life of the event.

The Space Regarding locations, more and more hoteliers are now offering interesting spaces within their venues and coupling them with a variety of room set-ups that are more conducive to your event goals. Meeting spaces are no longer limited to your standard hotel conference room or ball room. Meet in the hotel kitchen and cook a meal together, or breakout in an outdoor space to brainstorm amongst the group. Work with the catering department to provide unique meals and snacks, arrange for décor and seating that’s conducive to your event type. Consider mixing up your session types by providing targeted and truly interactive attendee content. Transform your breakouts into interactive sessions and vary the format from one to the next by changing their length, moving from classroom-style to smaller groups to facilitate having informal and more targeted discussions. Also, consider unusual venues for your events, such as restaurants and other unique hospitality event spaces like yachts, museums, tree houses, sports stadiums, warehouses, ice bars, arboretums, castles and so on.

The communications How event organisers communicate and interact with their attendees is also becoming an important design element for events, as today’s attendees expect to be recognised and interacted with on a personalised basis. For events where the primary goal is to move customers along their sales lifecycle or to deepen their brand loyalty, attendees expect organisers to know them well. Social media contact with participants and digital event tools are important contributors to this effort. Using the full suite of available platforms in the online space is a good way to build excitement and a sense of community prior to an event. During the event, social media tools can be used to increase and measure engagement, and post event they can be used to continue the sense of community and sustain connections with customers.

The engagement Attendee engagement and tracking tools are another way to enhance the customer experience while simultaneously facilitating measurements. These tools include event apps, second screen applications, beacons and smart badges which provide technical and behavioral data such as marketing effectiveness, event cadence, attendee interest and audience participation. Measuring attendee engagement with digital tools not only provides important data for ROI reporting but also provides up-to-the-minute insight into an attendee’s level of satisfaction and engagement with the event. Real-time attendee engagement and satisfaction data informs the event organisers of needed changes and enables them to make changes to their event design as it progresses. Creating a sense of community, engaging attendees throughout the event lifecycle and using engagement tools to enhance the attendee experience all benefit the attendees and also the event stakeholders, who get insight into effective content and engagement during speakers and sessions, event goals success and critical ROI data. These factors will give the meeting stakeholder every reason to remain within the enterprise Meetings Management program.

The engagement continued While the broader objectives of your meetings program are tied to the company’s overall goals and are typically driven by cost containment, risk mitigation and compliance, we cannot discount the customers to this service. The event attendee is looking for a community to connect with and engaging content that will inform their buying decision, engagement level, etc. The meetings stakeholders are looking for engaged and motivated attendees who will, at a minimum, continue to engage and remain loyal to the brand or commit to your organisation. Event Design is a critical element in accomplishing the stakeholder and overall company goals, as well as ensuring stakeholders buy in, feedback and commitment to your organisation’s Meetings Management program.

Article from BCD Meetings & Events ­published by permission.