year partnership with Cvent
registrations managed across Cvent instances
website builds in 26 instances of Cvent anticipated by 2024
Meetings & Incentives Worldwide (M&IW) is a global event management company specializing in the end-to-end event management of in-person, virtual, and hybrid meetings and events, incentive engagements and gifting programs, and conferences globally. For more than 50 years, M&IW has provided their clients exceptional services through a highly collaborative customer focus. They also specialize in enterprise program strategy across organizations.
Intent Strategy Group (ISG) is an independent division of M&IW. ISG guides organizations through the development of premier strategic meetings management (SMM) programs, meetings, and event technology solutions.providing consulting services focused on strategic meetings management. “Not only do our clients depend on us for meetings management, but they also rely on M&IW as a key knowledge leader within all aspects of the Cvent ecosystem,” notes Bridget Wagner, Principal Consultant at Intent Strategy Group. They also have several Cvent system administrators who work closely with their clients’ internal teams.
The importance of a longstanding technology partnership
For almost 15 years, M&IW has partnered closely with Cvent to provide customers expert technological solutions to support their event programs. They use almost every product within the Cvent portfolio across various client events, including the Registration tool, Onsite Solutions, the Attendee Hub, Mobile Event App, Surveys, Cvent Supplier Network, and much more. “As a preferred partner of Cvent since 2008, the pulse of M&IW’s operations live in Cvent,” notes Bridget. “We trust Cvent to manage our entire meetings management process which is currently comprised of programs or events from more than 90 companies.”
When the pandemic first began, M&IW’s clients looked to their team for guidance on the best path forward. As they navigated changing industry standards, health and safety updates, and a wave of event cancellations or postponements, MI&W leadership had to quickly rethink their overall business strategy. “We broke stride and leaped ahead due to our holistic knowledge of event management and our core strengths of being agile and flexible,” notes Bridget. They established a taskforce to help their clients navigate the “new normal” of virtual and eventually hybrid events.
Ensuring they had a reliable technology partner was essential in their success. “Cvent remained front and center as a pivotal partner throughout the pandemic,” Bridget says. For example, they used Cvent’s mobile event app and Registration solutions to help clients facilitate the safe return to the office. They were also one of the first organizations to adopt the Attendee Hub platform in late 2020 to support client virtual events. In less than a year, they completed more than 2,300 virtual events. “Cvent’s Attendee Hub being an integral part of our success with those events,” adds Bridget.
Ensuring efficiencies through Strategic Meetings Management Programs
With the return of in-person events, ISG has continued to offer guidance and technology expertise to their clients. In particular, they have stressed the intrinsic value of having a SMMP in place to navigate crises like the pandemic and create valuable cost savings for the business. “A Strategic Meetings Management Program is essential for companies to be able to gather data about their events, but also to put some guidelines and parameters around what an event is,” explains Bridget. She adds that SMMPs can start with guidelines that eventually evolve into more formal event policies. “It scales out to the enterprise,” she shares, adding that efficiency is a key component of an SMMP. “Having event templates and the same branded experience makes things cohesive and consistent, but also makes it incredibly efficient when it comes to things like website builds,” she says.
As the event landscape continues to evolve, ISG guides their clients in adopting new solutions to better support their programs. They migrated clients to new MRFs and helped them prepare for Access Portal adoption. Bridget explains, “We have been working with our global clients on their event technology strategies, migrating to Cvent’s Access Portal and supporting our clients to optimize their usage of Cvent and technology stacks.” Access Portal offers a centralized hub where event managers can house reports, survey data, Meeting Request Forms, event calendars, and more. “For a stakeholder who might not have account access to Cvent, it allows them to access real-time event data and reports,” adds Bridget. The tool allows event managers to streamline processes and get insights into simple meetings so their entire team is on the same page. Self-service capabilities also help increase efficiencies within the business as well as provides visibility into all meetings and events for stakeholders. This ensures the business operates within the standards and formal policies required of a SMMP.
Bridget believes that understanding the value of a SMMP was especially important during the early days of the pandemic. She explains, “Being able to collect data about events and understand what events are actually happening at one time, it of course helps with duty of care. It also helps with understanding our sourcing needs, particularly at a time when we had a lot of cancellations and postponements to track.” Understanding how the budget was being utilized for liabilities and reallocated for cancellation spaces with credits within the Cvent Supplier Network was also incredibly valuable for their clients. The ISG team is therefore eager to showcase the recent advances in the tool for their clients. Bridget insists, “With Meeting Request Forms, there have been a lot of new features that have come out in the last few years, which have been super helpful for clients.” She adds that these new features have been instrumental in increasing adoption and improving internal processes. “With the new feature set, they’re able to consolidate down to one form which makes things easier data and reporting-wise,” she offers.
Self-serve RFP’s mean increased efficiencies for event managers and requesters alike. “Multiple layers of sub-questions with different levels of visibility ensure a better requester experience,” adds Bridget. This is only further reinforced by using a single integrated solution like Cvent to support an organization's SMMP. “Cvent really is the market leader in event technology,” insists Bridget. She adds, “It’s one system where you can have your event management, event intake form, and registration. It’s one system where you can do sourcing and where you’re able to have cohesive reporting. It’s ultimately one area for your data - one single source of truth.”
Powering industry events with the Cvent Attendee Hub
In the new event landscape, M&IW’s Global Procurement teams continue to consult with clients on best practices in using Cvent for their evolving events program. Bridget notes, “We never abandoned our core lifecycle of event management: MRF, workload management, event registration website, attendee management, and reporting all housed in Cvent.” In fact, she argues that the “best business decision” they made early in the pandemic was to host their own client events virtually. “From live-streaming to hybrid, we tested the new role technology now played in events,” she says. “Our Event Technologists continue to remain at the forefront of event technology, especially Attendee Hub for the many of our clients who continue to conduct virtual and hybrid events.”
They first hosted their own M&IW Summit, a two-day client and partner event, in late 2020 using the Attendee Hub. “Using Attendee Hub was the right decision for the event’s success,” insists Bridget. “We had over 428 clients, partners, and employees register and we pushed the envelope with live content, recorded presentations, interactive breakout sessions, audience engagement, and a trade show component hosted by 75 vendor partners.” She adds that the success of the summit inspired additional spin-off events to continue in support of the virtual event planning journey, including Wellness Seminars, a Holiday Celebration, and eventually their Hybrid Events Reimagined Forum in March 2021.
The value of Cvent as a trusted technology provider
They also ultimately relied on Attendee Hub and other Cvent solutions to support their clients across various event types and formats. “An incentive trip, an awards ceremony, a national sales meeting, and a product launch: each of these events hung in the balance as the world shut down during the pandemic,” explains Bridget. They needed to quickly establish a viable option for all of these events to pivot to virtual as clients struggled with the decision to cancel or delay. “We needed to offer dynamic content of live and pre-recorded presentations, networking, and fun engagement,” says Bridget. They also needed a platform that would provide security and a seamless user experience, as well as in-depth reporting analytics. Equally important, they had to prove the value of those virtual events during a time when clients were concerned about labor and cost-intensive production.
To address their clients’ concerns, the dedicated taskforce established that the integrated Cvent platform could provide the needed networking functionality, opportunities to showcase suppliers in a tradeshow setting, support for engaging keynote speakers, and educational breakout sessions. Bridget adds that Cvent was already a trusted provider as the approved technology platform for 26 of their clients. “When they asked our opinion on the newest technology company that had been recommended to them, our advice was always the same: stick with what you know and trust, and that was Cvent,” Bridget adds.
Creating valuable experiences using integrated Cvent solutions
Using Cvent’s Registration solution, they first built user-friendly registration sites with consistent branding to suit their clients’ requirements. This also allowed them to maintain SMM data integrity. “We were also very cognizant of cybersecurity and data protection,” adds Bridget. The Registration solution ensured all attendee data was automatically synced in the backend for data accuracy. The intuitive registration process also reduced friction for attendees and created efficiencies for the M&IW team so they didn’t waste valuable time manually syncing lists or modifying registrations.
With the value of Cvent firmly established for their clients, the Attendee Hub became central to the success of these events. “We partnered with Cvent professional services to produce the virtual content during the event, and they were able to pull in three high-level keynote speakers into the platform in real time,” Bridget says. Within the Attendee Hub, attendees could view sessions as well as engage using embedded features like moderated Q&A, live chat, and polling. Here, they could view key information through custom cards and pages, complete session and event-level surveys, and participate in networking. They could also easily access session materials, speaker details, sponsors and exhibitor information, and much more. Push notifications ensured event organizers were able to communicate with their attendees in real time. Moreover, attendees could connect with one another through one-to-one messaging, instant networking, and attendee recommendations.
One of these events in particular included a virtual supplier showcase. In order to provide suppliers and partners the opportunity to network with clients, M&IW utilized the Appointments tool and virtual booths to replicate the traditional onsite supplier showcase. With Appointments, exhibitors could include embedded meeting links for single-click access. They could also include custom notes and questions to better qualify their leads. Attendees were then able to accept, decline, or edit their appointments as well as sync them to their personal calendar. With everything integrated directly into the Attendee Hub, attendees accessed and managed their appointments right within the platform.
Using virtual booths allowed exhibitors to embed videos, upload documents, and meet with attendees through collaborative video chat. Exhibitors could also drive inbound leads through contact forms and embedded social media links designed to foster continued engagement. Cvent’s Exhibitor Resource Center ensured exhibitors could self-manage key tasks like uploading content, updating staff information, setting up email communications, and managing their appointments. Exhibitors were also able to access detailed reports via the Exhibitor Portal to track leads and measure engagement.
The clients saw impressive results, with more than 750 appointments scheduled with 53 supplier-partners. “Our objective to provide our clients an opportunity to experience a robust, dynamic virtual event was achieved,” notes Bridget. “Our team and our clients learned valuable insights on the reality of virtual events and understood the importance of a professional meeting management team is needed for the success.”
Preparing for the future of the new events landscape
As they guided their clients throughout the pandemic, the M&IW team wanted to continually strengthen their skillsets while adapting to changing industry requirements. They relied on Cvent’s training and certification programs to do so, adding more than 75 certifications within their team. They also launched an internal training on virtual meeting management using Cvent modules, created a Virtual Toolkit with updated Cvent processes and best practices, promoted a new Speakers Bureau solution, and led a client roadshow presentation on trends and the future of the events landscape with Cvent at the core of the content. In addition, they launched multiple internal programs to ensure their staff remained at the forefront of industry standards such as training sessions, Learning Labs, and more.
Throughout the pandemic, the strength of the partnership between M&IW and Cvent was evident. “We believe in the platform, the data protection, and the advanced opportunities the technology provides our clients,” Bridget says. She adds that the support they receive from their Cvent account team was consistent and reliable despite the many challenges they faced. She insists, “Our Client Success team remained committed to M&IW, from a quick check-in to sharing the newest product announcements. They provided an exceptional level of customer service and there was sincerity in our interactions as we looked to them with the same need for answers as our clients looked to us.”
As they look back on the last few years, Bridget and the M&IW team are confident in the advancements they have made for their clients and their business. “M&IW sustains above average industry savings of 28-30% of contracted liabilities,” she offers. In comparison to their pre-pandemic metrics, they source on average over 500 RFPs through the Cvent Supplier Network and contract over 3,500 RFPs through their clients’ Cvent instances. They also managed 122,000 registrations across instances and anticipate a more than 3,490 website builds in 26 instances of Cvent between 2017 - 2024.
As they look at the near future, M&IW is excited by the prospect of new advances in event technology. They regularly participate in beta tests for new Cvent products or features, helping to shape product functionality. “That’s something really valuable that I think our partnership has allowed us to do,” notes Bridget. She adds that her team is excited about the return to in-person events but continues to see the value of virtual and hybrid.
With this in mind, M&IW and specifically ISG aim to continue providing industry-leading experiences for their clients. As they begin their fifteenth year of partnership with Cvent, Bridget is looking forward to the next generation of events. She says, “As a tenured event management agency and partner of Cvent, we continue to lean on reliable, trusted partners to guide us to the next phase of the industry – the same way our clients will depend on us to provide the roadmap to the future of events.”