The meetings and events industry is a minefield of different business models and technology systems, with agencies, event suppliers, TMCs and corporate clients alike trying to find the most efficient mix. On top of that, there are compliance requirements brought on by industry regulations, such as those of the pharmaceutical or financial services sectors, or general legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Since it deals with large volumes of personal data, meetings and events are particularly impacted by GDPR, CCPA and other data protection rules around the world.
Meeting and event planners have to find the most appropriate venue for a client event brief… then plan for the event, including managing 3rd party suppliers… then manage delegates attending the event… then manage the event itself… before conducting post event feedback to calculate the ROI of the event. It’s a challenge to do this for one event, but planners often work on multiple events concurrently… and need to report across multiple events.
With all event suppliers presenting reports in a different format, it is a real challenge to work out the total cost for one event, let alone multiple events.
All the challenges faced by corporate events teams are compounded by the fact that agencies have to manage multiple corporate clients, each of which may have a different commercial model, a different preferred supplier list and different event types. Plus there are the challenges of managing commercials with both suppliers and clients, including bill back, commission, management fees, rebates, over-rides, deposits, payment terms, etc. But the biggest challenge is to work out how profitable an event has been, when factoring in staff costs.
Invariably, there will be a legacy back office system in place which will have an impact on what they can do in the ‘front office’ and how they can do it.
Then there is an inherent conflict of interest when an agency manages the events of a corporate clients as a ‘free’ service by claiming commission from suppliers – the agency wants to maximise its income, while the corporate wants to minimise the cost of the venue!
The challenge faced by TMCs is to automate and streamline their meetings and events business in line with business travel – however, this is not as easy as it seems, due to the inherently ‘high touch’ nature of meetings and events.
The Solution – Technology as an Enabler
The solution for Corporate Events Teams, Meetings and Events Agencies and Travel Management Companies is technology. However, the challenge is to work out which technology platform to use, and an appropriate adoption strategy. For example, does the corporate or agency opt to migrate to a single technology platform which supports integrated event management, venue sourcing and delegate registration, or use multiple systems. Data migration and the sheer nature of the industry (i.e., confirmed events may be years in the future) may make it impractical to move from an existing system to a new one.
There is no simple answer to how best to use technology for any organisation, as it often depends on their ‘starting point’. Smartec Business Solutions works with organisations to find the optimal way of working, using technology as an enabler. The focus is always on the BUSINESS, with technology used as a TOOL to maximise EFFICIENCY and PRODUCTIVITY, with the ultimate aim of BUSINESS GROWTH.