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Evolving Automation in Meetings & Events

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Apart from traditional business functions, automation is making waves in the Meetings & Events space and has already revolutionized some of the processes.  Is this the next step into automated events?


There has been a lot of technological developments in business travel over the past decade, enabling corporations to automate the end-to-end process. But what about Meetings & Events? M&E related sourcing process is automated for some time with many dedicated sourcing platforms but there are clear signs that the Meetings & Events space is attracting investors who are pouring money into technological developments. But where are the gaps in automation and what areas are currently under focus?

Data gathering used to be massive pain point for majority of the travel managers, who had to spend a lot of time in manually pulling out relevant data from various sources, in order to keep a good view of what is going on. Currently there are multiple solutions enabling systematic data collection across multiple events. This enables companies to compare and analyze multiple events together and against each other. And we are not talking only about traditional M&E sourcing-related metrics such as savings against the first offer, average price per attendee, contracting history etc. Marketing departments are keen to see what people do at their events, who they interact with, which sessions they attend, which booths they visit and how long they stay. This should ideally be linked with the sales pipeline enabling proper event ROI calculations. 

Measurement of on ground attendee experience and engagement has started with polls and other gamification distributed via meeting apps. The drawback is that these solutions do not provide a full picture as not all participants would download and use the meeting app. Later on, meeting-specific content, started to appear on the social media platforms, which had a positive effect on the visibility. But good results were achieved only after introduction of smart badges and RFID-enabled floor mats. These technologies enable organizers to see the real time data with heat maps and hang times, using which - they can influence attendee experience. E.g. automated distribution of session materials, in case attendee registered for the session has missed the same, modification of F&B arrangements in case a session goes longer and so on.

Another area where recent automation contributed to massive reduction of cycle times is registration. Registration, traditionally manual, is going digital with tablets and experience is not much different from an airline or hotel check-in kiosks. 

As you can see the developments are massive and fast-paced and I am curious to see what I am going to experience at my next event.

Comments

Very good article...almost sounds like an excerpt from a Sci-Fi story..but this is real now...looking forward to see more from you.

Ctibor you have aroused great curiosity by writing this nice blog on a very holy cow spend category. Please do write a series and educate us on all the aspects here e.g. which suppliers are leading such automation, which platforms are doing so, what are costs benefits and pains to encounter and after all is it worth going for automation

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