The 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast from American Express M&E points to positive sentiment in most meetings sectors, including plans for growth and increasing investment.
Convene’s Annual Meetings Market Survey for 2018 forecasts growth in attendee and exhibitor numbers.
The summer 2018 edition of Meetings Outlook from Meeting Professionals International echoes the optimism with predictions of favorable business conditions and growth over the next year.
The favorable business climate sees industry profs asking how they can leverage technology to ramp up productivity and enrich attendee experiences.
To answer this question, here are 4 key considerations for evaluating event tech. Use them to choose the right solutions for your business and reap the benefits of a growing market.
1. Know where you want to end upStart by identifying what you want technology to do for you. Prioritize business needs and invest where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck. For example:
- Want to optimize registration and engagement? Attendee-facing tools – like registration and marketing technology or mobile event apps – often provide the fastest, most visible return on investment.
- Need to boost productivity? Look to venue sourcing solutions as well as project, resource and budget management tools. They’ll help you and your staff handle a heavier workload in tune with growth projections.
- Want to enhance your brand image in the eyes of attendees? Chances are the place to look is right in front of you … Mobile apps have disrupted the playing field and become the gold standard for events. Today’s apps are much more affordable. And they’re as diverse in functionality as smart phones. Apps supercharge personalization to ratchet up attendee engagement and satisfaction.
- Is understanding your customers better a top priority? Then think about solutions like blue-tooth-enabled Smart Tags. They capture 10x more data around onsite attendee behavior than other technologies. Get insights based on the sessions customers attend and exhibits where they spend their time. You’ll gain a rich, timely picture of your customers’ interests and the products that engaged them most.
2. Avoid hidden feesHow would you like to lease a car and find out afterwards you’d pay $100 for every oil change? Like flat tires, hidden event tech charges often happen at the worst times – such as right before you go onsite. When subscribing to technology, bypass hazards by knowing all fees at the outset. Ask providers for detailed estimates, including:
- Support charges – Will they increase after your team’s 5th/10th/20th call?
- Incremental fees for new registrations if you add staff as business grows
- Storage charges for graphics or other files
- Charge for upgrades if your provider rolls them out midyear
- Product sun-setting that would require you to pay for new software
3. Elevate your role as trusted advisorTechnology is a great way to enhance your role in the eyes of your company or customers. Consider how the solution will improve collaboration with them. For instance, will it enable you to:
- Leverage transparency to get quick feedback. So you stay in step with evolving needs and assure the best experience for their M&E spend.
- Showcase your progress throughout the venue sourcing process. Or, will you have to wait until work is done – only to have to redo (and then redo again)?
- Report easily on milestones in registration, engagement and ROI. Will you be able to quickly provide data-driven proof you’re achieving your goals and moving the needle for the business?
4. Stay away from disjointed solutionsOur industry tends to undervalue the labor that goes into producing successful meetings. No wonder event planning ranked among CareerCast.com’s 5 most stressful jobs of 2018.
Why suffer employee burnout and churn? End-to-end solutions simplify the entire process. Your staff will breathe easy with one login, one support team and one database to manage the thousands of details that go into managing every event.
Unfortunately, many managers buy single-point solutions and wonder why their people can’t deploy them effectively. The problem is the new technology doesn’t talk with their other tools. Worst-case scenario: Employees upload software outside the platform and try to merge solutions. The result is massive rework and data loss.
How to avoid tech investments gone bad?
The answer is integration. Make sure your new technology works seamlessly with your other event tools. It should integrate with sales and marketing platforms like Salesforce, too.
Closing ThoughtsWith smart tech choices, you’ll make life easier for your team. You’ll improve data capture to level up personalization. And you’ll have more satisfied attendees and more sales and marketing success.
This has been a good year for meetings and events. Maximize the opportunities of a growing market and enjoy an even healthier 2019!
More 5-minute reads on how to get the greatest return on your event tech spend: