By David Taylor, managing director, Grass Roots Meetings & Events
After giving The Meetings Industry Report a short sabbatical, we decided to dust it down and bring it back this year. While it’s a big and relatively costly undertaking for us, we learn so much from the data generated and from the experts contributing to the report that we decided it merits the work involved. Importantly it also helps us keep on top of industry trends and to shape our thinking, which is vital in today’s ever changing landscape.
Poor delegate management has consequences
Lots of interesting information comes out of the survey and one of this year’s more worrying statistics was that a third of the responders thought that their delegate management tools were average or poor. Given that delegate management is arguably the most important component of an event, this is indeed an alarming statistic. Get the delegate management process wrong and you could see yourself with a host of problems ranging from poor attendance, to cash flow issues and disgruntled delegates on the day.
The life cycle of an event has grown ever more complex encompassing research, selling, registration, planning, content design, co-ordination and evaluation and much more. Why then would you allow yourself to fail with your first touch point with a delegate? But many event organisers do just that, either during the pre-event online registration process, or during the onsite registration.
Invest and you will profit
When budgeting for an event, the technology used for the registration is often an afterthought and awarded a shoestring budget. It’s frightening to see how many organisers still work with spreadsheets and little else. A good registration website will drive attendance, create interest and extend the life-cycle of the event. A bad one will have the opposite effect, whilst also reflecting negatively on the company(s) associated with the event.
Delegates now want a far more interactive event experience and to feel a part of the event. Without the right technology it’s impossible to collate meaningful delegate data and measure success (or otherwise) and follow up delegates appropriately.
Don’t accept second best
My advice to organisers then would be to refuse to accept second best when it comes to budgeting around your delegate management process. Compromise on this and the event itself is likely to be compromised. The pace of change in this area means there are now numerous ways to engage with your audience – none of them have revolved around an excel spreadsheet for some time though.