Planners Trying to Balance Hard and Soft Meeting Metrics

  • 08.27.10
A strong majority (60 percent) of meeting planners attending the 21st Annual Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International’s (HSMAI) Affordable Meetings® National Conference & Exposition at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. on Sept. 8-9, 2010, responded to the event’s pre-show survey by stating they feel increased pressure to show metrics that exemplify the success and ROI of an event.

These findings also remain consistent with findings from the pre-show surveys conducted prior to this year’s Affordable Meetings Mid-America and West. The specific outcomes requested by meeting planners attending the national show fell into three categories: event satisfaction rate, attendance-repeat attendance rates and metrics related to net revenue.

"A strong trend emerged from the survey. Planners appear to face the increased challenge of quantifying and rectifying hard or financial variables with soft or evaluative metrics when it comes to planning and assessing events in today's economic climate,” said Dr. James Houran, president of 20|20 Assessment™. “Driving the bottom line at any cost is not the approach in today's market. The focus of planners is more strategic and takes into account, in a balanced methodology, the logistical and interpersonal aspects of events. It's about transforming conference experiences into brands."

Also according to the conference’s pre-show survey, conducted by J. Spargo & Associates and analyzed by 20|20 Assessment, respondents feel modern technology is most helpful in the planning industry for online registrations, social networking, eRFPs, e-mail blasts, marketing, blogs, conducting virtual meetings and utilizing e-commerce through online stores. Respondents suggested that technology saves time and enhances organization, while at the same time streamlining business processes, more accurately capturing or manipulating information and allowing a database of legacy data to be built.  It also allows a wider audience to be reached, they said. Planners attending the show this year expressed interest in learning new innovations in the technology area both in the educational sessions and from the exhibitors that would help them better manage their show outcomes.

Attendees at Affordable Meetings National have the opportunity to choose from 28 educational seminars addressing advanced, intermediate, medical, government and technology issues. These cutting-edge seminars are presented by an outstanding faculty of educators who understand the rewards and challenges of the meetings and events industry. HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings National will also feature the Event Technology Expo™ (ETE). Attendees can discover the latest in online registration, video conferencing, social networking, Web and podcasting, lead management and much more. Special exhibits and seminars cover the most vital tech-related issues and trends.

Nearly 1,800 attendees, representing meeting and event planners from a variety of organizations, with a majority representing corporate, association and independent sectors and the balance from government, non-profit, education, religious and medical/health care organizations, trade show management and the military, are expected to visit HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings National 2010 show. Attendance at HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings National is free of charge for qualified meeting planners.

Prior to this year’s Affordable Meetings National, attendees can utilize HSMAI’s One-to-One Meeting Concierge which works individually with planners to schedule appointments with exhibitors they are most interested in meeting with during the show. The One-to-One Meeting Concierge program is just one of the new features of the 2010 Affordable Meetings shows. In addition, HSMAI’s Affordable Meetings has introduced a Meeting Guarantee program which gives each exhibitor a customized report of qualified meeting and event planner buyers, CMP and senior leader breakfasts, a geographically organized trade show, and educational tracks geared toward today’s meeting planners.

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