If you’ve ever seen a meeting planner in action, you know it’s no secret that their work in pulling together a successful gathering is no small feat. They’re there from concept to fruition, balancing creative and logistics, and serving as the go-between many stakeholders and parties to ensure everything runs smoothly, while all business objectives are being met. That’s why we’re showing some much-deserved appreciation to our meeting planner community this National Meeting Planner Day, by highlighting the top 10 ways in which planners have helped companies succeed in the last two years. Celebrate with us as we walk you through the incredible ways that planners get things done.
1. Hybrid & Virtual Events
From the early days of 2020, meeting planners have had to rethink their approach to making events happen by leveraging new formats, such as virtual and hybrid events. To deliver a virtual or hybrid event that may be just as impactful as an in-person event, planners are leveraging new tools and platforms to deliver consistent programming across multiple mediums – like planning two events at once. The next time you attend an online or hybrid meeting with zero glitches, make sure to thank your meeting planner who made it all happen.
2. New Technology Needs & A/V Tech needs
With new event formats comes the need for new event technologies, such as sophisticated live event equipment and increased cybersecurity. Meeting planners work with vendors and tech experts to test equipment, make contingency plans, and host dry-runs, coordinate speaker pre-recordings, branded event pages, breakout rooms, and even live production graphics. Immersive experiences, whether in person or virtual, are made possible by meeting planners.
3. Audience Engagement
One of the best ways to measure an event’s success is by looking at how engaged the attendees were during the event. Were they quiet and disconnected, or excited and full of energy? Did it seem like they were interested in what the speakers had to say? From thoughtful seating arrangements and programming that promote meaningful exchanges, to premium features such as live chat and expert support, each event element is thoughtfully orchestrated by planners, with the guest experience in mind.
4. Preparing Programming for a Wider Audience
Now that more events are taking place virtually, the sky is the limit for how many attendees can be accommodated. To cater to a greater audience, meeting planners need to work across multiple time zones and languages to help get their client’s message across. This means arranging event assets in different languages to setting up real-time translation services for live events, for hundreds to even thousands of attendees, and then continuing to coordinate and engage with attendees long after the event with recorded materials, surveys, and emails. All efforts contribute to each event’s overall business objectives.
5. Safety Protocols
While we’ve come a long way, health and safety has continued to be a major priority for all gatherings. Meeting planners are responsible for continually staying up to date on the latest public health standards and regulations and ensuring that their guests are as safe as possible. This often means that planners have to work flexibly to switch venues, change up the event layout to ensure social distancing, or even pivot entire events to be virtual. All of which meeting planners handle with grace.
6. Travel logistics associated with the pandemic
Travel protocols seem to be changing as often as public health mandates, and it’s important for meeting planners to be prepared for any unexpected cancellations or roadblocks. In more ways than ever before, planners are being flexible with guest attendance policies, enabling virtual attendance, and even offering coverage for emergency flights should health, and safety concerns arise. These additional elements on top of their core responsibilities may add up, but have now become a core component of most planner lives.
7. Data Collecting
To plan a successful event for both the speaker and attendee, planners must identity who the attendees are to gain valuable insight into their audience. This can be done through strategies like online registration systems, which can collect basic to in-depth information, post-event surveys, mobile apps that help track everything from attendance to engagement, and even web analytics to understand which pages from the event site were most popular. This data is important for planners to know how their event went and how they can improve their event for the next time.
Budgeting might look a little different for meeting planners now as they must consider more variable factors, such as venue changes, virtual and hybrid technologies, and safety measures. How much PPE do they need to budget in? How much outdoor space do they need to meet public safety standards? Inflation is also driving up prices, which is forcing planners to be even more creative, resourceful, and flexible as they take on a new approach to budgeting for events.
9. Eco-Friendly & Sustainability
You might not have realized, but many meeting planners are also proactively taking steps to produce more eco-friendly events, from reducing their paper and plastic trail, choosing green venues, and choosing locally sourced food and beverage options that are kinder to the planet. They even take into consideration how many recycling bins are available on site, and what branded giveaways will contribute the least waste.
10. Increasing Inclusivity & Diversity
Attendees may be more likely to attend an event if they know that their speaker panel is diverse and unbiased, and it’s up to the meeting planner to bring these perspectives into the programming. Not only are meeting planners looking to diversify the panel, but they’re also looking to make their events as accessible as possible for the attendees. This can include selecting a space with elevators and wheelchair ramps or working with virtual platforms that facilitate visual or hearing for people with impairments.
Convene has been working with planners for over 12 years to help create unforgettable experiences through premium venues and meeting technologies. To learn more about our meetings and events products, visit www.convene.com.