June 01, 2020
By Madison Layman

Meetings and events are time-consuming, expensive, and full of unanticipated crises. But they are also a key driver of engagement, revenue, training, and business impact – both for employees and customers and prospects. When faced with unforeseen challenges, organizations must be prepared and be able to act quickly. Whether you are responsible for event logistics, finances, or lead flow, you need to have the right systems in place to make your job more efficient and access the data needed to make decisions when planning for future meetings and events.

Key questions to ask yourself when planning your future event program:

  • Can you visualize your entire meetings and events program?
  • Can you confidently answer the call when a stakeholder says, “Let’s run an event” or “Let’s cancel an event?”
  • Where do virtual events fit into your overall strategy

Contents

Rebuilding After A Crisis

A crisis can create chaos for an organization, but it can also expose areas of opportunity. As organizations are faced with re-evaluating their event program strategy, it’s a great time to implement the systems and refine processes you need to not only help you recover and get more organized, but also be better prepared for the future. Creating a clear-cut crisis management process for your meetings and events will give you a plan of action for the next time, and the right systems will provide you with the information you need to make data-driven decisions to help you recover.

Having a centralized event management program helps during a crisis

  • Gain visibility into all global meetings and events
  • Capture and automate communication channels
  • Identify anyone traveling from a high-risk area
  • Keep everyone informed and communicate with your attendees
  • Track the financial implications of cancellation
  • Reuse cancelled space to save money later

Meetings Management for Total Control of Your Event Program

Meetings and events are a valuable tool for every organization. 24% of the average B2B marketing budget is focused on events, which means companies want to see a return on their investment into their total event program.

There are inherent benefits to your organization by more strategically managing meetings:

  • Be deemed compliant if audited
  • Save money or better leverage your meeting spend in negotiations
  • Increase sales through more effective events
  • Consistent branding
  • Improve your relationship with customers
  • Ensure the safety and security of your employees and customers

Meetings management gives meeting and event planners and marketers the ability to understand what’s happening across all of their events. The right technology will help you manage the entire event lifecycle, streamlining approvals and execution, delivering best-in-class attendee experiences, and giving you the insights you need to confidently drive your business forward.

Visibility and Control

You can’t manage what you can’t see. Ensure you have visibility into all your meetings and events. For any typical event there are multiple moving parts, some very large and some smaller details that can fall by the wayside if not carefully tracked. Keep everything in one place where you can filter and pull reports on a moment’s notice. When you have to get your arms around every planned meeting or event quickly, you’ll be glad you had them organized in one place.

Cost Savings: A Better Event Budget

When it comes to event spend, there’s no room for mystery. With visibility into your overall spend, you can see what you’re saving or spending across each individual event as well as your holistic events program. By streamlining processes, you can reduce event costs by using standardization and automation to control your event budget. Events have hundreds of different budget line items, but by tracking them, you can gain control over your event budget and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Where meetings management helps you cut costs

  • Venues: Venues consume 25-30% of event budgets. To find event venues, create a strategic sourcing process to compare bids, leverage preferred partners, and use canceled space credits.
  • Smaller meetings: Ensure time and money savings by keeping a close eye on these events. While they aren’t always the biggest or most visible events your organization may or may not plan, they can total a big chunk of your budget you’re not seeing.
  • Total program: When you use a budget management tool, you’re able to track everything. This can help you identify areas where costs can be cut, as well as better track all expenses from events.

Proving ROI with Meetings Management

With insight into your total meeting and events program, you can prove return on event (ROE) to stakeholders using centralized data and make data-driven decisions about your events. The standardized processes and procedures of a meetings management program ensure high-quality meetings and events that result in employee loyalty or, in the case of external meetings, deliver on business objectives such as revenue attribution or brand loyalty. As marketing events become more integrated into SMM programs, integrating meetings technology with lead management tools such as CRM and marketing automation technology allows you to attribute revenue to meetings and events. Event management technology also helps to more accurately track meeting and event costs, giving you the ability to track spend metrics such as cost per lead, cost savings, cost per person, return on investment, and return on event. When it comes to the all-important business of planning and running meetings, this is it.

Risk Mitigation

All events are vulnerable to risk, whether that’s financial, regulatory, contractual, reputation-based, attendee safety and security, or duty of care risks. With a meetings management partner who understands regulations, you can feel confident that as you’re building out your next event or meeting, it’s compliant with all applicable regulations. By having clear and organized data at the ready, you’ll be able to make quick decisions about your event program by identifying which events are at risk and how to mitigate that risk for your organization and attendees. Many organizations spend days assembling critical information like cancellation deadlines, attrition dates, room block commitments, cancellation fees, and more. The same discipline and technology that gives you visibility into your event program also gives you quick access to data and vendor contractual information, so you can better mitigate risk. 

Efficiency

Planning an event, or five or more, takes valuable time. Efficiency is imperative. A meeting management tool allows you to automate many of your manual event management tasks, collecting event details, automating the approval process, creating registration templates, email marketing tools, and social engagement features. It implements consistent processes, so that meeting planning is standardized, saving hours of time and freeing up planners and other stakeholders to work on additional events. It ensures adherence to legal and organizational guidelines with a formal meeting tracking and approval process, which in the end, allows you to manage and reduce risk.

Customer Experience

Your company wants to provide a consistent and high level of service for meetings to drive internal and external customer engagement. A meeting management program is also about delivering an exceptional customer experience. With centralization and process comes consistency. You want to create an event experience, whether virtual or in-person, that embodies your organization’s brand. Event management technology makes the overall experience better. It improves registration, event marketing, event execution, and data and security. It’s all about creating a meetings and events program that can be controlled.

A meetings management tool improves the attendee experience through

  • Compliance with data and security regulations
  • Branded, consistent attendee experience that represents the company
  • Smoother event with the use of event tech
  • Mandated use of preferred vendors
  • Learn from past events through feedback surveys to plan future meetings and events

Meetings Management for Event Program Success

With the right systems and processes in place, you’ll be able to visualize your entire meetings and event program, cut down on costs, mitigate risks, increase efficiency, and improve the customer experience. Event management technology gives you peace of mind when responding to a crisis and allows you to create a strategic events program that brings value to the business. Take a look at your event program to see if a meeting management solution is right for your organization.

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Madison Layman

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, my passion for writing began before I could read, with a nightly verbal diary dictation transcribed by my obliging parents.

When I'm not writing, you can find me binge-watching TV shows, baking elaborate desserts, and memorizing pop culture facts.

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