Archive for Conferences & Tradeshows

Pros and Cons of Designing in Cvent Flex

Cvent Flex Event Website Design

Written by Staci Simmons | Manager, Marketing Communications & Creative Services

Cvent, an event management software used by many top-tier travel and meetings management companies, recently released its new drag-and-drop website builder—Flex. This new functionality lives up to its name with easy-to-use features and a beautifully designed interface, allowing users to create and publish their own event websites.

At first glance, this is a fantastic opportunity for small businesses and program managers. They have the means to build their own registration websites without a web developer or knowledge of HTML, CSS or JavaScript. Upon further consideration, you may uncover what most web, graphic, and marketing communications professionals already know—it’s not that easy.

In the last ten years, drag-and-drop email, website, and app builders have taken complicated coding and simplified it for the masses. It’s been an excellent tool for professionals who understand the principles of design, saving clients thousands of dollars and countless hours in web development. On the other side of the coin, those without that knowledge may cost themselves thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to figure it out for the sake of “doing it themselves.” Cvent Flex is no different.

If you’ve ever tried to build your own email or website with a drag-and-drop builder, you probably had several “pull-your-hair-out” moments— you’re not alone. Most website builders are harder to use than they appear. They claim to offer an easy way to build a beautiful, functional website, but more often than not that’s not the case.

While Cvent’s design showcases look absolutely stunning, mimicking that level of design and functionality is nearly impossible “in just a few clicks.” Trying to achieve a great design yourself is often cumbersome, and not quite as easy as advertised. At the end of the day, the people who built those showcases are seasoned designers who know how to leverage the tool correctly and know how to maneuver through its limitations in order to create a functional, unique, and on-brand design.

The Pros of Cvent Flex

– Easy-to-use drag and drop functionality
– Allows for easy, real-time editing and updating
– Provides a live preview feature without publication
– Fully responsive on all devices (desktop, tablet and phone)

The Cons of Cvent Flex

– Big Learning curve for first-time users
– Customization options are limited
– Differentiating your event from other templates will be difficult
– Layering text and images for legibility is time-consuming

Cvent does offer many support options to help build and publish your event registration website. If you have the time and means to take creative control, click here to learn the platforms design and development best practices.

If, however, you’d like to focus on the other seventy-five percent of your event’s needs, let Flex be a tool for your friendly, neighborhood web designer. Ultimately, the time it takes for a professional to leverage this tool will simplify your workload and allow you to focus on the rest of your event’s needs—managing its infinite amount of moving parts.

For more firsthand information about Cvent Flex, email Meetings & Incentives Worldwide at marketing@meetings-incentives.com to connect with our event technology and creative service experts.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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6 Important Life Lessons from Event Planning

Life Lessons Event Planning

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategy

Last month our very own Melissa Hahn, Senior Account Lead at Meetings & Incentives Worldwide, was featured in the Daily Herald, suburban Chicago’s information source. In the article, she shares some important life lessons she has garnered over the past 19 years in the trenches of meeting planning and event management.

Melissa’s first lesson, remember that you can’t do it all yourself, is a keen reminder that event planning is considered one of the most stressful jobs. Most people are probably surprised to learn that it closely followed enlisted military, firefighter, airline pilots, and police officers. In fact, according to the CareerCast annual ranking, it has made the list the past six consecutive years and came in fifth place in 2017.

And, while it is true—a career in event planning can be stressful—it is also an incredibly rewarding profession if you just take a few cues from Melissa. Below are the top six life lessons that event planning taught her. CLICK HERE to read the full article.

  1. Remember, you can’t do it all yourself.
  2. Have empathy. Always put yourself in other’s shoes.
  3. Put your health first.
  4. Do not take anything for granted.
  5. Continue to grow. Take a risk.
  6. Always say thank you!

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Program Management & Event Design

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Lighting a New Fire: Finding Purpose and Intent (Part 2 of 3)

WBENC Tuck Executive Course

Written by Tina Madden, CAP | Co-CEO and Chief Customer Officer

As business leaders, we are often caught up in dealing with things in real time. People rely on us to help solve immediate challenges and make quick decisions, all while pushing our team leaders to the next level. It is incredibly difficult to take a break from the work that is in front of us to strategically plan for the future. It’s a commitment to make something abstract the main priority.  In Part 1 of this series, published last month, I wrote about my experience at the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program at the Tuck School of Business, how it lit a fire beneath me and what it means for our colleagues and partners moving forward. I want to take a moment to expand on this further.

Going into it this program, I knew the basics of what to expect. I knew we would work on business operations and marketing strategy, hear from various business experts, and learn about some of the challenges and solutions experienced by our peers. But what I didn’t expect, was that I would get so passionate about empowerment. Empowerment has always been a part of my purpose as a leader, but I discovered during this program that there was more I could be delivering and that my excitement for creating purpose runs deeper than I could have ever imagined.

During the program, we were asked to consider what legacy we wanted to leave and how we could continue to give back. In experiencing the ‘transformative’ moments my peers had during this program and thinking about my own leadership journey, it became clear to me how fascinated, and passionate I was about women empowering other women. I saw women being lifted by their peers. I saw breakthroughs because of the support and ideas being shared among the group. I saw very established women leaders let go of the “woman-doubting guard” they had been carrying and honestly realizing that they were right where they were supposed to be. It wasn’t just luck. It was hard work, dedication and focus, not happenstance.

So, there you have it. The legacy I want to leave is to become the best women leader I can be and intentionally work to support other leaders. It is a harsh society today. In an age of technology, transparency, and social media there is a lot of criticism on what we are all doing “wrong.” What if we stopped focusing on what we are doing “wrong” and start to focus on what we are doing right and how to continue to create opportunities and successes? Magic may happen.

What does this mean for all of you?

At M&IW, we are very passionate about our culture. It is essential to my sister, Jean, and I as Co-CEOs that we create an environment where our employees, leaders and executive teams feel empowered and empower others. To continue to build and sustain a culture free of criticism to let creativity thrive, one full of support even when mistakes are made, one that allows different types and levels of leaders — program leaders, account leaders, thought leaders, and people leaders – to all THRIVE. The best leaders really do see beyond what people currently are to what they have the potential to become. This applies to our clients and suppliers, as well, because we are in partnership together to create amazing outcomes through the power of human energy and live events.

I look forward to sharing the final part in this series next month in which I will dive deeper into our business and vision into 2019 and beyond.

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Benefits of Attending IMEX America 2018

conferences, attending, benefits, IMEX, 2018

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

Offering dozens of brilliant speakers, days of fresh ideas and continuous inspiration at 180-plus educational and networking events over four days, IMEX America is a must attend event in the industry. M&IW had a large team of meeting industry professionals within various disciplines attend this year’s event. We couldn’t wait for their return to dive in to discuss their experience, biggest take-aways and how they can use their newfound knowledge to better serve our clients. And, of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t share it with our community.

Here is what our team had to say about IMEX America 2018:

Q. What were your biggest take-aways?

“Networking! It was so great to meet hoteliers that I book business with regularly and meet new friends at different properties/chains.” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“Face to face communication is still and always will be the best way to do business. In this time of increasing efficiencies, email and phone are going to be our primary modes of communication, but it is fundamental to build relationships and live meetings help us to better communicate the needs of our client, as well as sharing our issues, concerns and successes.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“It was amazing to see the respect our partners and colleagues have for our organization. I felt a lot of love for M&IW. It was priceless experiencing the interactions our entire team had with other attendees and suppliers.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. What were the newest trends or hot topics that were widely discussed?

“Busy, busy, busy. All hotels, especially US hotels, expressed that the industry is busier than ever and have very little availability for large programs through 2020. Some hotels could name only one or two weeks in the entire 2020 calendar year where they knew they had availability.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“It was apparent that wellness and self-care are definitely an emerging event trend. There was a dedicated meditation and self-care room that was available during the entire conference. There were two rooms with low lights, essential oils and sound-proofing. One room featured padded mats and pillows. The other room featured quiet stations that allowed for intimate discussions. An amazing moment of calm to escape the event chaos for a moment if needed.” – Sarah Piggott, CMP – Meeting & Tradeshow Specialist, Attendee Registration
“I loved the cool custom-made gifts. They displayed amazing samples at IMEX and were super impressive with the level of customization that we do for our clients.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. What was your favorite moment during the event?

“The concert put on by Marriott! All acts were amazing – but Journey was my favorite!” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“I greatly enjoyed having a special dinner with my host group and learning about hotels in special destinations in Asia and Europe. Several in which I will have a chance to visit in person over the next year.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“Being invited to toast the anniversaries and success with two of our valued partners. It was very cool to be considered a special partner and be valued to be present at those moments.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. How did the event help you grow in your area of expertise?

“This event helped me grow because it allowed me time face-to-face with hotels that I do not see on a regular basis. It gave me time to create a deeper partnership with that hotel/sales manager that will benefit both my client and the hotel. We also were able to brainstorm ways to make the small meetings fit within the hotel as well as work for my client.” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“Making face-to face connections and shaking hands really solidifies many of my partnerships. Now we are able to communicate and work together on a more personal level which makes business that much easier and more effective. We have a better sense of TEAM and partnership.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

“I came home with much more information than I had when I left. It helps to sit down with a hotel and see visuals of the property and how that property could be a potential good fit for my groups. Learning about location of the hotel and what is nearby for groups for offsite events, dinner, and shopping was an added bonus!” – Jennifer Kamps – Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“By meeting face-to-face with so many of our supplier partners and expanding my relationships and connections in the industry, I feel this will directly improve my ability to find good availability and negotiate on behalf of my clients. I also expanded my knowledge of legal issues on Smart Monday and learned about some new destinations.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

In Closing:

M&IW is committed to the professional development and personal enrichment of our team members. The focused nature of learning at a conference gives our team members tools and skills which cannot be taught in-house or online. The recurring theme we hear is the ability to network. There is no direct message, Skype, email or tweet that can rival a face to face meet up. Social media makes it easy for us to stay connected with our current network, but it also hinders branching out and expanding our networks.

As an innovative organization, it is imperative for us to stay on top of emerging trends and positive changes in our industry. So, keep an eye out for our team at other industry-leading events. Upcoming conferences are posted on our homepage. If you want to set up a time to connect with any of our team members attending, email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Group Airline Tickets: Cost Versus Value

Cheap Group Airline Tickets Versus Value

Written by Staci Simmons | Manager, Marketing Communications & Creative Services

Booking flights seems easy enough for an experienced traveler, but what about booking group airline tickets? Those who commonly travel for work know a thing or two about shortcuts and “road warriors” may have some ideas on how to manage the process:

  • Setting up flight alerts to find the best travel routes
  • Researching more than one online platform for the lowest rate
  • Going directly to the airlines to take advantage of unique offerings
  • Booking through your organization’s online travel platform or preferred portal

These are all great front-end tactics for booking flights—the internet is a powerful tool. It takes a bit of time and logistics to build the best flight itinerary for the price—but it’s worth it. And, we agree.

Managing group airline tickets, on the other hand, is a beast unto itself. Professional travel agents will tell you that organizing multiple itineraries, arrivals, and departures around fixed events takes patience, dedication and a lot of coordination. It is a time-consuming affair, and the event will start whether your team is there or not.

Consider the time invested in building the perfect flight itinerary using online tools for just you and a guest. Now multiply that by 100 or 1,000 attendees. It’s safe to assume that your time is better spent on other endeavors; marketing, sales, operations, management, compliance. And again, we agree.

This is where the need for value quickly overrides the lowest price available. Value is not about booking the cheapest airfare for a few individuals, it is about:

  • Managing and booking your entire group’s flights within budget
  • Coordinating multiple connections from multiple locations
  • Ensuring your guests arrive safely and on time
  • Problem-solving when flights are over-booked, delayed or canceled
  • Communicating with on-site staff regarding air changes
  • Updating hotel accommodations and ground transportation with arrival and departure information
  • Hands-on care and personal support for each traveler
  • Accurate reporting on air expenses and cost savings for your group

Coordinating flight arrangements for your meeting, conference or incentive program can take considerable effort. Luckily, M&IW’s group air department has you covered. All of our group air coordinators have previously worked for an airline, and collectively, average more than 10 years’ experience. We’ve built the relationships needed to manage the intricacies of group travel successfully. Let us show you how.

Visit www.meetings-incentives.com or contact a team member at (262) 835-3553 to learn more about M&IW’s group air services.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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M&IW’s Alexander deHilster Joins BizBash Hall of Fame

Written by: Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategy

Alexander deHilster is one of the most talented event designers in the industry. His list of accomplishments, customer accolades and awards spans more than 20 years. In 2011, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by Illinois Meetings & Events Magazine. And, fast forward to September 12, 2018 live at the BizBash Hall of Fame ceremony in Chicago, I was able to catch up with Alexander to ask him about his humble beginnings, favorites design projects, and how it feels to join an elite group of professionals.

In response to what contributed most to his success, he replied “thinking out of the box, coming up with crazy stuff and working with amazing vendors who help me bring my visions alive.” Read the full interview below.

Q. When did you first get started in the events industry? Was it a calling or did it happen by chance?

My first “event” was organizing a 5K run/walk at the age of 15 when I didn’t know that event planning existed. I worked as a volunteer at a youth organization who wanted to host an event to raise money and they needed someone to plan it. Event planning has been a natural fit for me. I’m sure I got it from my parents (well, not the cooking part as I can’t cook, but do love food) as they hosted large parties at our home for 50 or more guests. Each party had a different theme, my dad would cook for days a meal that fit the theme, my mom managed all the logistics, and guests would arrive dressed the part. But, the first real event I planned was 22 years ago when I moved to New Orleans and worked for a DMC, Travel New Orleans.

Q. Of all your events, which one was your favorite or stands out from the rest?

I’m always asked that question and it is hard. It’s like, who is your favorite child, or in my case, which one is your favorite dog. They are all my favorites for different reasons. However, there are three or four that do stand out the most in my long career. And, two were for the same client.

1. A fundraiser at Finkl Steel, a working steel factory. While trucks came through delivering steel and cranes and saws would move the steel and cut them in pieces, we were setting up our event. It took about a week. We built a 30’ volcano out of wood, with build-in screens for projectors and dancers behind them and fireworks coming out of the top. 40’ doors to separate one space from the next space. Hanging sushi buffet stations of ice for cocktails, a never-ending flow of entertainment on a multi-level stage, with a gospel choir, Dave Brubeck and others.

2. Same client, but now at Green Dolphin Street. The club is open each day till 2 am. On a Friday I had moving trucks ready outside till the last guests left. Our event was to be on Saturday night at 7 pm. All tables, chairs and banquets (yes, they needed be unscrewed from the walls), all existing light fixtures and chandeliers removed. The bar was covered with a stage for additional seating, custom chandeliers with florals hanging at the bottom of each chandelier strategically placed above each of the 6-tops and the existing stage covered in white vinyl. The Green Dolphin Street sign covered with a custom sign and the entire building covered in red silk – ala Christo.

3. The Library Club was transformed into a very elegant room with one long dining table seating 60 guests. Over a dozen projectors were used, evenly placed on the left and right side of the room, to project still and moving images onto the curved ceiling. Each projector only showed a portion of the image and all images had to blend together to make it look like one. It took forever to get them all focused correctly. The theme was a culinary journey through France with different imagery for each portion of the night and with each of the 7 courses being served. From full day time, to sun set, champagne cellars for the toast, a display of the windows of the Notre Dame in Paris, lavender fields for the dessert, ceiling covered in roses while “la vie en rose” was performed and a ‘fireworks’ display after the awards program was over.

4. My last one was at the Geraghty and the theme was “Under the Cosmic Sea.” It was a blend of “space” and the bottom of the “sea.” All very organic. Floor to ceiling projections surrounded the entire room, with constantly changing images, a 55’ round and 15’ tall aluminum structure placed in the middle of the room through which guests could walk through, covered in stretch fabric, underneath it hundreds of feet of ropes through which video imagery and lights were sent, over-sized sea anemones and a humongous octopus enveloping the aluminum structure. With the shiny floors and all the tables covered in mirrors, no matter where you were in the room, lights and images were constantly changing and reflected onto every surface. That’s probably my most favorite event.

Q. How does it feel to inducted into the BizBash Hall of Fame?

Amazing. I was speechless when BizBash called me. I don’t like being in the spotlight, unless I’m the one asking for it. I’m the behind the scenes person to make it all happen. Most of my very décor driven events, I’ll stay to the side at the entrance to a room and listen and look at how guests respond to see how well I did.

For more information about BizBash and the Hall of Fame inductees, CLICK HERE. Please join us in congratulating Alexander DeHilster, Event Design Manager with M&IW, and the other honorees for their contributions to our industry.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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Project Global Give Back, Ain’t No Stopping Us Now

Written by: Kristie Rogers | Manager, Recruiting & Training

If you asked me what M&IW’s biggest strength is, my answer would be simple – it’s the hearts of our employees. It is not uncommon for the M&IW family go above and beyond for our client, but they go above and beyond for our communities as well!

In the past, we have worked, as a company, for causes such as Make-A-Wish and Relay for Life. Together, we’ve granted two wishes for children in 2016 and have raised thousands of dollars towards cancer research since 2001.

As we celebrated our 50th anniversary, we brainstormed how we could push the envelope and make our 50th year Global Give Back program one to remember. We created the 50 Years/50 Charities initiative. The company was split into 50 teams based on their global location. Each team ranged from four to eight people and were given the opportunity to choose a charity that was close to their hearts. Some chose national charities, such a Big Brothers Big Sisters. Other teams chose local charities, such as the River Bend Nature Center in Racine, WI and the Chestnut Tree House in Sussex, UK. The teams had an entire year to give back to that charity.

Of course, there was also a bit of friendly competition. Teams were competing to raise the most money for their charity or contribute the most volunteer hours. Some teams raised money for their charity by selling bracelets, raffling off baskets of goodies, holding bake sales, and collecting in-kind donations such as school supplies. Others gave back by volunteering as a team, harvesting vegetables for a food pantry, spending time with underprivileged youth, and walking dogs at their local animal shelter.

When it came time to tally the funds raised and time spent volunteering, I was astonished at the results. Together as a company, M&IW volunteered 1,913 hours and raised $28,630 for charities all over the world! It gave me goosebumps to look at the numbers and think about the difference that our company made in just one year. I am so proud of the passion that M&IW has for giving back! The Fox Cities team, Big Hearts, Little Hands, selected Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region and were awarded the 2018 Community Partner Award. “The Meetings & Incentives Worldwide team has been a tremendous blessing throughout the past year. They have volunteered their time at BBBS events, organized a basic needs supply drive in 2017 and a school supply drive for 2018, helped to paint and organize the BBBS Appleton office, and adopted a family in need last holiday season. They barely finish completing one volunteer project before they ask for another. They are a model of philanthropic giving and we are thankful to have them as one of our key partners,” said Lindsay Felon, Executive Director, BBBS.

Our 50 Years/50 Charities drive may have come to an end, but there is no stopping us now! So how do we top that? This year, our focus is on WORLD HUNGER. More than 815 million people, or roughly 1 in 9, suffer from chronic hunger. Even in the United States, 41 million people struggle with hunger.

Our Community:
The first initiative was close to our Global Headquarters in Wisconsin. Our Co-CEO, Jean Johnson, CMP, is helping to start a food pantry in the heart of Racine, WI. At our M&IW Summit, employees were encouraged to donate hygiene items and non-perishable food which were delivered to the food pantry. The shelves will now be stocked when they open later this year. If you are interested in learning more about this give back initiative or supporting the cause, please email marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

The World:
The second initiative was global. We worked with Rise Against Hunger to pack 25,144 meals for children all over the world. That’s right, we put on some stylish hair nets and got to work! It was a really rewarding experience to work as a team to package these meals for those in need. To see our amazing team in action, check out our RISE AGAINST HUNGER video.

We invite you to join us in ending WORLD HUNGER by donating to your local food pantry, starting a food drive at work, volunteering to pack meal,s or make a donation to Rise Against Hunger at www.riseagainsthunger.org.

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Cvent CONNECT 2018 Recap and Highlights

Written by Dan Tarpey, HMCC | Vice President, Marketing & Sales

Our M&IW team just returned from Cvent CONNECT, one of the most well-attended conferences targeted to event professionals and geared toward user groups and system experts. We experienced essential face-to-face connections with our clients as well as potential clients, gained crucial industry knowledge, and of course, had some fun along the way!

Cvent CONNECT is an opportunity for users of any level to connect, collaborate and learn. Many of the sessions are focused on novices to provide a solid foundation for using the tool successfully. The advanced sessions, however, contain the juice! This is where our team discovers how to optimize, streamline and fine tune processes to get the most out of the platform.

As an organization, we are extremely excited to take all we gained from this event and put it back into the services we provide to our valued clients. Enjoy some of our team highlights.

What’s on the Cvent Horizon?

  • FLEX has a release date of October with full functionality slated for Q1 in 2019.
  • Direct Book Solution and Project Stargate (new Portals and MRF’s) coming in 2019.
  • Certain components of Lanyon will be integrated into Cvent for a better tool.
  • Lastly, 15 core languages are coming to an RFP near you soon!

What does it mean to be Cvent Certified?

M&IW is a Cvent Certified partner and proud to have several individuals with Cvent Event Management Professional Certifications. We are also extremely happy to share that Chip Begley, Sr. Manager, Event Technology, earned his Cvent Management Advanced Certification for Enterprise level users. The test includes everything from the admin functions, best practices for complex registration set ups, event budgets, multi-language events, advanced rules, managing speakers and sessions effectively, discounts, taxes and service fee configuration, travel/hotel modules, onsite features and more.

What is our team is most excited about?

When Kelly Moore, Meetings Management Consultant, was asked what she is most excited about, she replied “my biggest take away is the FLEX project and the general availability of the tool coming up in October. The training camp session allowed for hands-on practice with an excellent moderator/instructor. The tool itself will make things much easier for those people who need to make and manage attendee registration sites and is far less intimidating than the current tool.”

Chip agreed, “embracing the FLEX revolution, which is the latest and most modern version of the Cvent UX. FLEX is an intuitive drag and drop concept that allows you to manipulate and customize the registration experience which is fully responsive and operational on desktop, tablet or phone.  For my team, we’re excited for the opportunity to spend less time coding and more time designing.”

Marte Meighan, Meetings Management Consultant, chimed in “additionally, Cvent is making progress on adding new SMM functionality that will change the way our clients use their MRFs today. Some examples include decision tree logic, multiple levels of sub-questions and sections appearing based on previous questions/answers. This will allow companies who have existing MRFs to re-evaluate and refine their forms. New clients will now be able to create more streamlined and straight forward MRFs from the start.”

What advice would you give to a first-time attendee?

“Choose your sessions wisely, but don’t be overwhelmed by the number of them,” said Kelly. “Whatever you choose, you’ll learn something valuable. If attending with a coworker, divide and conquer to get the most out of the content being offered. And, make time for the Innovation Pavilion to get one on one time with product experts.”

What other trends emerged?

On the key components of the event is the Leadership Summit which was comprised of 285 industry leaders within the meetings and hospitality industry. Lisa Palmeri, our Vice President of Global Enterprise Solutions was in attendance and shared the following four key trends:

  • Personalization (the power of live in a digital world)
  • Experience (to be remembered)
  • Privacy (GDPR, it’s a human right in the EU!)
  • ROI (Cost per attendee going up, all the above costs more money)

From a sales and marketing perspective it is a great show to connect with many of our current clients and potential clients. We have been exhibiting at the event for the past five years and this was certainly the largest in terms of overall attendance. A big thanks to our M&IW team – Lisa, Chip, Marte and Kelly for sharing their expertise and experience.

All in all, the Cvent CONNECT provided a valuable networking opportunity with clients and potential clients as well as a good view into what is on the horizon with the Cvent platform.

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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A Proven Strategy to Increase Meeting Engagement

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

We have all been there. Attending a daylong meeting or training event in which we know what to typically expect – hours of sitting and listening to presentations. Some may even joke at times that it is “death by PowerPoint.”

According to recent surveys, adult attention spans have shrunk by up to 50% in the last decade. There are varying statistics on the length – everything from 7 seconds to 10 minutes. Despite the actual figure, it is no wonder the meetings industry has been uber-focused on how to increase meeting engagement, especially when presenting from the stage. Couple that statistic with the fact that meeting engagement helps participants not only learn, but also retain the information. And, it is critical for fields such as healthcare or finance professionals that rely on continuing education (CE) credits for their professional licenses.

At M&IW, we are faced with the same opportunity every year at our annual event on ways to deliver an amazing event experience. What’s more, we also push to demonstrate industry-leading meeting engagement techniques with the use of unique presentation formats and cutting-edge technology for our clients throughout our very own and exclusive annual meeting. It is for that very reason, we design the agenda to include different presentation formats, TED-style talks of 20-minute presentations, panel discussions, storytelling and hands-on workshops. Additionally, as a technology-driven organization, we use some of the best event technologies that aid with presentation engagement.

For the past three years, we have used a live meeting engagement and analytics technology. It is an interactive tablet solution that is one of the best in the industry. What makes it so different from other event technologies such as audience polling or audience response systems, you ask? While ARS is great for engagement, and we use it on a regular basis, it is typically for just few minutes or sporadically polling the attendees during a presentation. ARS does increase engagement during that session, but not the entire program. Whereas, second screen technology, EM Array, provided by our partner, Educational Measures takes it to the next level. EM Array is proven to capture audience attention and increase meeting engagement through the entire day by allowing participants to directly interact with the content on the tablet in front of them.

The best part is that the EM-Array analytics that measure and improve the effectiveness of the meeting are top-notch. They illustrate how the technology increases audience engagement 10x more than traditional learning. Furthermore, the analytics can be utilized for continuing education, compliance and reporting. I have personally found this technology to amplify my own experience during our daylong meetings. The fun participant features that keep you engaged includes the ability to ask and answer questions; take notes directly on the presentation slides; participate in surveys, simulations and games; capture and save slides and resources; and rate slides, content and speakers. That is only the beginning, from a meeting stakeholder perspective the features become even more exciting with the ability to engage with surveys, simulations and games; dialogue with live and virtual audiences; capture every click and comment; and compare both live and remote meeting impact.

A while back, we caught up with Ryan Mazon, the Senior Vice President, Business Development at Educational Measures. We asked Ryan to give us a few tips on where to start when implementing a meeting improvement program. He replied, “before chasing meeting greatness, you must first define what exceptional meetings look like to your organization. Start with the end in mind; don’t hold back. What would the most amazing meeting look like? What would impress your audience? How should people feel when they arrive, participate and leave the meeting? What do you want people to say about your meetings and events? Having an end in mind will keep you on a track toward excellence.”

We also asked what types of meeting improvements are occurring because of data analytics? Ryan said, “data is the lifeblood of meeting improvement programs. It can guide to improvement and guard from unnecessary expenditure. To determine what to measure remember that every metric can be tied to a business process. Every business process can be measured. Every business process can be improved based on time savings, cost reduction, resource allocation and innovation acceleration. The values of each component of the meeting will lead to a set of key performance indicators that can be tracked over time.”

Since being introduced to EM-Array several years ago, we have not only incorporated it into our signature event, but also brought it forth to our clients. Many of these clients have said that the use of the technology has increased audience engagement, provided more business intelligence, and delivered ROI for their meetings.

All-in-all at M&IW, we are excited to finally see a technology come along that turned a second screen into an engagement-driving tool. Perhaps it will help audience participants to put away their own second screen and absorb the important messages coming from stage that are designed to help them grow in their professional careers.

For a closer look at the technology, consider joining us for our 2018 M&IW Summit: Client Connect taking place in August. We will once again be partnering with Educational Measures to assist with increasing audience participation and engagement. If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming event or Educational Measures, email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Program Management & Event Design

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Is your Organization GDPR Compliant?

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategy

We live in an increasingly digital world where the value of personal data is immense. At M&IW, the safety and security of our customers, employees, and attendees has always been a priority. We have long understood the importance sensitive and personally identifiable information (SPII) and have taken steps to ensure its protection.

However, a lot is happening in the world of the internet and data security. As a result, the EU government has been working on a new legislation known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that goes into effect on May 25, 2018. This reform is intended to help EU Residents to improve control of their personal data.

“Even though this regulation only applies to citizens that reside in the European Union (including the United Kingdom), we believe it will become a new global standard for data privacy,” said Jean Johnson, Co-CEO and Chief People Officer at Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. “We are approaching GDPR proactively by applying these EU digital communication standards both domestically and internationally.”

M&IW is Privacy Shield certified, and we have worked with Radius Worldwide to complete our analysis of our processes and systems for the GDPR. This analysis and creation of an action plan ensures that we will be compliant with the GDPR regulations by the required deadline as set forth by the EU/UK. To learn more, please check out our report entitled, GDPR 101: The Basics. You may also view our Website Privacy Statement which describes the current policies and practices of Meetings & Incentives Worldwide with regards to Personal Data.

Additionally, we are happy to share that our Data Protection Officer, David Guse, CPA, has achieved the ISO 17024-accredited EU GDPR Foundation (EU GDPR F) qualification from IBITGQ.

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Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Group Air Travel Management, Incentive Travel Programs, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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