November 11, 2021
By Saumya Chaudhary

Simple and small meetings have always played an important role in an organization’s total event program. But on the path to recovery, they will hold a more prominent place in getting back to in-person events

According to a study conducted by Cvent and GBTA in April 2021, small meetings could recover faster than large events. Fifty-two percent of respondents anticipate that the number of in-person small meetings (with 50 or fewer attendees) at their companies will return to the pre-pandemic level within a year. Comparing this to the sentiment around large events (more than 50 attendees), 46% anticipate that it will take roughly two to three years for them to return to the pre-pandemic level.

What are Simple and Small Meetings?

A small and simple meeting is usually defined based on various factors, including budget, number of attendees, venue requirements, and complexity of cost negotiations, among others. But as we look to 2022, another important factor to keep in mind will be the volume of such meetings as compared to larger in-person events.

But “small” and “simple” don’t always mean “easy.” In addition to the factors above, planners must also consider F&B planning, invitations, registrations, engagement tactics, post-event surveys, and more. And with the last 18 months of mostly virtual meetings, where would webinars now fit into your total event program?

As you prepare for simple and small meetings in 2022, whether virtual, in-person, or hybrid, it’s important to learn how self-service technology can help event owners save time, streamline processes, and provide an impactful and unique attendee experience.

Gain Visibility by Centralizing Your Meetings Management

Teams can derive tremendous value from being involved in the event planning process that goes well beyond the central meeting management program. But how can event planners and meeting stakeholders ensure visibility into these meetings? How can they know if these meetings are compliant with their company meeting policy? How do they report the total meeting spend to their internal stakeholders to prove ROI? 

Today, the right event technology solutions can help meeting stakeholders easily support all such tasks. For example, Access Portal™ is created for stakeholders or event owners as an entry point to receive company policies, view meetings requests, submit meeting analysis reports, and more.

It not only helps centralize meetings requests but also ensures compliance with company policies and duty of care. Event stakeholders can also report on the entire event lifecycle and have a clear understanding of the sales pipeline and closed business attributed to your event.

Leverage Self-Service Meetings Technology in 2022

As the number of simple and small meetings increase, it gets trickier to track their volume. In 2022, as your teams start getting back in person, there might be dramatically more small and simple meetings than what a central planning team can reasonably accommodate. This is where event owners start wondering if they can find the right tools to collect registrations and manage these meetings themselves.

Self-service technology will play a huge role in making that happen. A few goals that might help event owners understand how self-service solutions can help small and simple meetings are: 

  • Improve IT security and ensure compliance with company policies.
  • Be efficient and get more responses more quickly.
  • Ensure consistency in branding to avoid further data inconsistency.
  • Ensure visibility into your simple meetings, avoiding blind spots created by using spreadsheets or free survey tools for attendee tracking, budget spend, etc.

Market Meeting Rooms with Instant Booking Solutions

If you’re a buyer or a supplier focused on simple and small meeting spaces and want to avoid the traditional RFP process, an instant booking solution is one of the simplest ways forward.

An instant booking solution not only saves time and cost, it also lets you offer live inventory to help win your small meetings business – all without an RFP process. It also makes the sales process smoother with pre-set terms and conditions that make contracting easier. As a venue supplier, here are two things to keep in mind while choosing your instant booking solution:

  • Ensure that the tool allows for integrations and has the right technology so you don’t have to double enter and manage inventory in multiple places. A solution provider with real-time access to inventory can make it easy for suppliers to provide that information in the tool.
  • Ensure that the instant booking workflow is incorporated seamlessly and holistically into your event technology platform.

Webinars as Simple and Small Meetings

Webinars have an important place within small and simple meetings because they allow you to share a more intimate moment with your audience and ultimately facilitate impactful interactions. But let’s not confuse “simple” and “small” with “underwhelming” and “unrehearsed.” As an event owner, you still need to be intentional with your content to get the most out of your webinars

Where Do Webinars Fit into the Total Event Program in 2022?

Not all events will be webinars, but all webinars are events. So, if you’re not looking at every touchpoint with your audience in your total event program during a webinar, you might be missing the opportunity to gather greater insights about your audience and tell a cohesive story later on. 

For example, if you’re planning a hybrid user conference later that year, you might want to understand which webinars had performed the best and expand on those. It’s a great place to start the planning process and see how your webinars can fit into your total event program. 

How Can You Create More Impactful Webinars?

During your webinar, creating thoughtful engagement for your audience at every step of the journey adds up. Right from the initial email invite to the registration process, and later from the live presentation to the post-show playbook, always seek to create moments that will set you apart from the noise.

These engagement opportunities are steppingstones that you lay across a raging river full of other brands competing for your audience’s time, attention, and money. Therefore, invest in a webinar solution that allows you to create a branded journey that is easy and pleasant for your audience and can produce engaging content that goes beyond someone simply talking over a slide deck. As you think about how you can engage your audience, make sure your webinar solution includes an analytics component that gives your teams actionable insights based on the behavior of every single attendee.

The Future of Simple and Small Meetings

As marketers and event planners, if we started treating our simple and small meetings as complete events, our audience would follow suit. We must move away from viewing these meetings as low-effort presentations. The world of simple and small meetings and webinars will be dominated by organizations that start creating engaging and thoughtful content worth showing up for.

Today, the event benchmarks that we’re all aiming for are similar because we’re using the same tactics. If we start strategizing for simple and small meetings that are well-planned and full of thoughtful moments, our audience will start showing up, anticipating a real, live interaction they don’t want to miss. This is how brands will create unbreakable bonds with their customers in 2022 and beyond.

To learn more about creating impactful simple and small meetings, watch our on-demand webinar.

Saumya Chaudhary

Saumya Chaudhary

Saumya is the Team Lead for Content, Enterprise Marketing at Cvent and is passionate about exploring storytelling as a brand strategy. 

You can find her immersed in a good book in a small café, hiking through offbeat Himachal towns, obsessing over women writers, or in deep conversation with her birds.

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