In a recent study by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) event planners, third party vendors, and sales managers identified WiFi, Virtual Meetings, Social Media, and Mobile Apps as important considerations in determining where to host offsite meetings and events. Second to those were audience response systems, badge screening, and cloud computing, with audio/video support and computers as a “given.” Insights on the top 4 technology aspects are detailed below.
- Social media, mobile apps, and virtual meetings are dependent quality WiFi connections.
- Event planners view quality WiFi contingent on bandwidth allocated to their event.
- Venues report that planners often underestimate the number of attendees using WiFi.
- Half polled felt pricing was excessive or that WiFi should be free.
- Virtual meetings are not seen as a replacement for face-to-face, but good for internal company meetings and others where networking wasn’t necessary.
- Major benefits cited by respondents were lower cost and more attendees.
- Most uses included meetings with smaller groups, time constraints, and little or no need for networking.
- Social is seen as emerging technology for meetings and events.
- Over 30% of event planners use social media to engage, build communities, and market.
- Utility can be dependent on the overall demographic and corporate culture of attendees.
- Social is especially useful for larger groups—adding value and opening informal peer-to-peer learning opportunities.
- Good for online networks of interested individuals and groups not able to attend.
- Over 33% of interviewees state that mobile apps help increase collaboration in facilitating interactions between attendees and presenters—replacing other polling and audience response systems.
- Create an “exchange dynamic” where the audience and presenters can interact.
- Apps reduce print and paper costs by replacing distribution of materials, program schedules, and site information.
- Mobile apps increase the ability to target specific audiences.
In regards to WiFi, quality and availability are key selection criteria for event planners. Although venues may struggle with the initial investment; virtual meetings, social media, and mobile apps are ineffective if the Internet connection isn’t stable. Although covering properties with WiFi may be expensive, it can be supplemented with a tiered pricing and is well worth the investment.
How are you updating your technology infrastructure for meetings and events?