By David Taylor, managing director, Grass Roots Meetings & Events
When they are successful, meetings and events can have a really positive impact on business performance. The delegate’s own experience is a critical part of achieving that success. Events may differ in location and content, but the delegate experience should always be consistently impressive – as if each attendee had a personal guide, on hand to ensure every expectation is met or exceeded.
The delegate journey can now be charted throughout the lifecycle of an event so it’s important to ensure that this journey is as seamless as possible. This can be easy to co-ordinate on your own when dealing with just a handful of people. But what if you have to handle 500, 1,000 or 5,000 people? Or what if you have a calendar of events with a variety of scenarios?
It pays to change your thinking
When it comes to the organisation of such events, it pays to change your thinking. Innovating, consolidating and enhancing your approach will go a long way to helping you achieve your goals. Many people may not have considered delegate management services, especially if they are dealing with smaller meetings. But it is an art form that comes into its own for large, complex events, an extended calendar of events, or events where there are intricate variations – such as high security, payment processing and tiered packages.
Derive event success and ROI
Of course the evaluation of your delegate’s experience, and of the event itself, is impossible without meticulous data management. Both are intrinsically linked, time-consuming and often not part of an organisers core skill set. Yet these are the very foundations on which to derive event success and ROI. You will also gain insight into participant experience and can use the data to understand delegate movement, see where they go, what content they engage with and ultimately understand them as individuals.
Data needs to be consistently collected across the portfolio of events, and easily interrogated. Organisations with multiple brands and business units are finding these requirements relentlessly challenging, and the ability to deliver effective solutions may well be beyond the resources and capability of in-house teams. So it pays to look for experienced external partners.
Combine technology with customer service
Of those available to work with, many see a delegate management solution as a product, and consequently solutions are often restrictive and expensive to adapt. Really, each event is different, and each solution should primarily focus on achieving the business objectives. Through conversation, research and investigation, delegate management service providers can help to pinpoint exactly what needs to be done – and the ideal way to do it to get the best possible results from meetings and events activity. By fusing technology products with customer service an efficient and effective solution can be created, and will deliver results if implemented correctly and managed well.
Successful delegate management sets the scene for enhanced performance in the years to come, empowering organisations to make informed strategic decisions about their meetings and events activity.
David Taylor is managing director of Grass Roots Meetings & Events – specialists in strategic meetings management and delegate management. An industry figurehead with over 25 years’ experience, starting at Hotel Brokers International (HBI), he became sales director as they joined the Grass Roots Group. After a period of integrating GRG services with WPP in 2015 he was made managing director of the M&E division in 2016. As much as he loves his work, he is equally as happy watching his son play rugby, stoking the barbeque or following his beloved Ipswich Town play football!