It’s Not Just Technology – Getting Back to the Basics of Event Management

Group of business people meeting during a conventionIt’s an exciting time to be a meeting planner!

Meetings technology has been rapidly evolving, driven by dramatic growth in cloud computing, mobile devices, and moved along by the parallel growth in the overall world of technology.

Every month, meeting organizers are being bombarded with all types of new tech to consider! Every month there is a blog or magazine article talking about what is new, what is coming and what is on the horizon in meetings technology.

We’re all talking and discussing things like augmented reality, body heat mapping, the Internet of Things, beacon technology, wearable devices, event intelligence, and that oldie but goodie, virtual meetings.

It’s exciting, it’s fun, and it has great potential to make our meetings more effective, efficient and less costly. What’s not to like?

The short answer is while there is a lot to like, there’s a lot of reasons to exercise some caution!

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It’s 2017 – Do You Really Need a Third Party Vendor for your Onsite Technology?

thirdpartyTo better service their participants and stakeholders, meeting planners are constantly challenged by the need to implement new technology for their meetings and events.

Previously, whether it was onsite check in, self-service check in, attendance tracking, exhibitor lead retrieval and mobile apps, the only real option for most meeting planners was to bring in an outside, third party vendor.

Technology was too new, or too equipment intensive, or too specialized to deal with. Who had the time and the staff to deal with all of it? It was a bargain to spend five or ten thousand dollars to get the job done and make your clients happy.

But, there was a downside to all this, a dirty little secret no one really wanted to deal with.

  • It wasn’t the cost, even though it was quite costly to bring in a third party vendor. After all, your client or your attendees paid the bill, what did you care?
  • It wasn’t the performance, since everything, mostly, worked as advertised.

The REAL issue was your data integrity and accuracy!

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What’s Up with Lead Management?

badgeLead Management is a broad term to describe the collection of leads at trade shows or exhibitions and what you do with those leads after they have been acquired.

So, what’s the difference between lead retrieval and lead management, and why is this important to today’s technology savvy meeting organizers?

In brief:

  • Lead retrieval simply refers to the collection of leads.
  • Lead management refers to collection of leads and how you process and organize that data to maximize your follow up sales processes.

Lead management includes:

  • Lead Collection
  • Lead Profiling
  • Lead Follow Up

According to a research study sponsored by Lynch Exhibits Inc., 98 percent of all exhibitors at shows collect leads in some fashion. The same study found that less than 70 percent had any formalized plan for lead follow up and only 47 percent tracked leads through the resulting sales cycles. More notable, the same survey showed that only 28 percent measured the success of their lead retrieval efforts.

Lead retrieval tools and services have been around for many years, and for many of those years, the processes and technology have remained pretty much the same.

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When the Magic is Gone…How to Break Up with Your Meetings Technology Partner!

november-imageIt’s been a great run.

You’ve been with your registration and meeting management technology partner for quite a few years. At first, it was exciting and productive. For the first time, you were able to collect registrations online, manage their details, run reports and even do things like print name badges and export to Excel!

You were giddy with the riches your technology partner offered.

Even when they started asking you to sign multi-year contracts to get preferred per-person registration fees, you didn’t mind. You were going to be with them forever!

Even when your meeting planner business grew, and your costs continue to grow with no end in sight, you sighed and simply tried to the make the best out of it.

However, one day you woke up and realized that the magic was gone.

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Volunteer Management and the Busy Meeting Manager

Portrait Of Volunteer Group

We’ve all been there before…you’ve signed up a new client and you are knee-deep in preparing for the event. You’ve opened registration, you are working out the venue details, managing sponsors, exhibitors and speakers and much more!

Your call center team is busy on the phone helping out attendees when you get that phone call you KNEW was coming – someone wants to register and tells you they come every year to the conference for free, because they are volunteer staff.

You chat with your client, and they confirm that they get two or three dozen volunteers each year who get free conference registration in exchange for volunteering at the at the event.

“How did it go last year?” You ask your client…

It turns out, not so well. Volunteers didn’t know what their jobs were, some didn’t show up on time, some left early, and there were lots of other volunteer related challenges.

You smile. Been there, done that.

“Let me help you out,” you tell your client. “Let me organize a volunteer program that really works.”

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Taking Care of Your VIP and Hospitality Programs

vipsAs a professional event manager, you know how to manage online registrations, onsite check-in, accommodations, travel, functions and much more.

But are you ready if (and when) you are tasked with managing the requirements and logistics surrounding your VIP and hospitality groups?

The job is daunting! You know that there are endless tasks and to-dos surrounding arrivals, ticketing, logistics, and more. How do you keep up with the many responsibilities and requirements?

VIP and hospitality programs will usually incorporate many traditional meeting management practices, but the overall approach a manager will take is often focused on very specific requirements. In many circumstances, you may be tasked with overseeing arrivals and logistics for a group of VIPs arriving for a major sporting event, such as the Olympics or regional events.

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