Changing times in meeting management
Ah, the good old days of meeting and event planning. The kick-off typically involved gathering the event planning staff for some time spent brainstorming, followed by the creation of one big to-do list. Venue? Check! Speakers? Check! Food and drink? Check! Branded swag? Done and done!
Yet you know the saying: the times, they are a-changing. As event and meeting planning continues a fundamental shift toward a strategy-first approach, meeting management is undergoing a similar change. According to the American Express 2017 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, the change centers on a shift from the granular to the big picture.
“Meetings strategies now go beyond sourcing, event planning, and travel to include creative communications, attendee management, data gathering, reporting and analysis,” according to the report.
What does that mean for you?
In a nutshell? There’s much more to meetings and events now than logistics and an event agenda. Meetings and corporate events are more complex, both in the details of the event itself and in the impact that meetings and events can play in helping a company fulfill its business goals.
Take, for example, annual automotive dealer meetings. We work with several global auto brands, and these events play a critical role in gathering dealers and educating them on the year ahead.
Yet driven by increasing demand for experience-driven meetings, auto brands are shifting from an annual meeting to an immersive brand summit that’s steeped in carefully crafted messaging and touch points. These strategic changes help elevate a meeting from a traditional tradeshow feel to a high-level executive meeting, an experience that proves more engaging and memorable for attendees.
A brand summit is undoubtedly more complex than a typical annual meeting, and it’s an ideal example of why meeting management now requires a focus on the bigger picture. All parts of the event need to be cohesive and thoughtful, starting with identifying business goals and developing strategic messaging. Those critical themes must then be woven throughout the event, encompassing everything from the venue and agenda to the food, entertainment, and swag. And equally important? Post-event management and follow-up to keep attendees engaged and gather feedback and insight that can help refine and improve future events.
Change to be excited about
If it all seems a bit daunting at first, that’s a natural reaction. Take a deep breath, and then let yourself get excited about the possibilities. The meetings and corporate events landscape continues to change—there’s no doubt about that. But we’re in the midst of a period of excitement, of opportunities, and of the chance to make a meaningful, lasting impression on your attendees, all for the benefit of your business. It’s time to start thinking of the big picture. And if you need a little help stepping outside of your comfort zone and exploring what’s possible, that’s why we’re here.