Archive for Conferences & Tradeshows

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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7 Secrets to Professionally Managed Meeting Procurement

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Written by Denise Farrell | Director, Global Procurement

Many meeting stakeholders have a general understanding of how outsourced meeting procurement works, but there are things that can happen behind the scenes that may surprise even savvy meeting managers. I have unveiled a few of those “secrets” below to show how these activities may benefit your organization.

Before we reveal the secrets, let’s explore what we mean by “professionally managed meeting procurement.” It can easily be defined as letting someone else, such as an event management company, handle the procurement of your meeting venue. Third parties bring expertise gained from experience in various industry positions and with numerous clients to your meeting. They employ buyers who are specialists, solely dedicated to that craft.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the secrets of professionally managed meeting procurement!

Secret #1: Chances are, third parties have BEEN THERE AND DONE THAT… At least, someone at their organization probably has.

You probably know that there are millions of worthwhile destinations and venues around the world. You can find them just by Googling a location. But then what?

But did you know that it takes an enormous amount of knowledge just to sift through all the possibilities to find the venue that’s right for your event? In fact, a database like Cvent, built for planners, has more than 245,000 venues!

The secret is third parties bring the cumulative knowledge of their entire team to the selection process. Chances are, someone has been to that location, even to that venue.

For example, on average corporate event teams place between 2-100 meetings a year. Whereas, the average third party books thousands of events per year. That’s a lot of knowledge and experience in one place. They have a set of tools and skills that they use to perfect their ability to easily evaluate destinations and venues. Some are external, and others are internal, such as the working with the sales team in the initial contracting process all the way though the onsite experience and billing experience. The third party knows how to communicate to deliver a mutually agreeable contract considering what matters most to the client and marrying that with understanding how those requests will be executed at the hotel level. They can bring both parties to an understanding that provides a smooth execution.

Secret #2: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE PACKAGE. What do we mean by that? Well, it’s important to have ALL the information before deciding which venue will best suit your needs.

You probably know that there are many pricing options available to host your meeting.

But did you know that there are many factors beyond room rates that can have a huge impact on the success of your meeting? How do you choose the venue that is the “best” for your meeting?

The secret is that third parties evaluate a venue based on tangible and intangible factors, such as space, rooms and quality. They also read the fine print.

For example, third parties will confirm if the venue can accommodate the needs of the program, including factors such as; will the meeting space be conducive to the meeting objectives, can the attendees easily access the venue, and will they feel well taken care of once they get there. Additionally, some intangible ways they assist is in their ability to consult and look at the entire package. Does the meeting have to take place in 1 ½ days so near the airport? Is this a group that shares rooms so are enough doubled bedded rooms available? Does the meeting need quiet or space to move? Is it more about aesthetics or function, will pillars in the middle of the meeting room hamper the attendees being able to see or hear the content?  These are the things a third party can help you look for and evaluate.

Secret #3 – Third parties SPEAK “EVENT” IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES… and it’s more than just having translators.

You probably know that it is challenging to book a program at an international destination.

But did you know that many third parties have people on staff who not only speak the language, but also understand the business customs, terminology, common contract terms and potential risks of working pretty much anywhere in the world?

The secret is that third parties book international destinations on a regular basis, and have “boots on the ground” around the world.

For example, things are ever changing and if you have not worked in an area for several months or years you need someone who can provide you the knowledge. A new Russian law declares that all contracts must state that Russian language must prevail.  A third party will have run into this situation and be able to tell you when this would apply to your event. They will be able to work with the venue to have English and Russian terms and conditions listed side-by-side to compare them.

Secret #4 – They RUN A TIGHT SHIP and can help your department be more efficient as well.

You probably know that working with a procurement department includes providing a lot of details, from contract terms, to data points, to funding limits.

But did you know that good third parties keep tabs on all that critical information and can help you with that paperwork? They can also improve your relationship with your procurement department.

The secret is that third parties will not only save you money through efficiency gains, but they can also help procurement better understand what you do.

For example, a third party can evaluate your internal process and procedures using their industry and technology experience. Some third parties can share best practices to help you streamline processes to gain efficiency. They often act as a buffer between the numbers people and the meeting planner, and during that process, help procurement better understand the meetings industry.

Secret #5 – THEY’RE A LITTLE OCD and that level of attention to detail is a good thing sometimes.

You probably know that there are regulations in certain industries that meeting planners need to know.

But did you know that these regulations are not uniform for all industries or destinations? Attention to detail can save your organization a lot of time, money and headaches

The secret is that third parties should be familiar with these regulations, so they can ensure that you’re following the laws.

For example, a third party should use a consistent sourcing approach and contract language that dovetails with your company’s compliance standards and load all critical items into the systems at the end of a meeting. This will save your compliance department time in locating documents for an audit.

Secret #6 – They PINCH EVERY PENNY for you.

You probably know that there are negotiable items when reviewing a hotel contract.

But do you know all the items that are negotiable, which ones bring the greatest value, and which are easier for hotels to agree to than others?

The secret is that third parties do this all day, know the hotel’s market and the pressures they’re under, often have leverage with hotels because of the number of events they book, and know how to negotiate a win-win contract for the client and the venue.

For example, a third party is able to leverage multi-year agreements to help clients realize additional savings on room rate and enhanced concession packages; package a smaller meeting with a larger one to enhance savings; stay on top of cancellations that might put a hotel in a position to be more open to negotiations; understand which concessions bring value to the client and which ones may not cost the hotel as much.

Secret #7 – THIRD PARTIES CAN SEE THE FUTURE. How? You ask…

You probably know that BIG data is a hot topic in the meetings industry.

But did you know that data is only BIG if you know how to use it?

The secret is that third parties can help you gather data accurately to discover trends that can help you make buying and process decisions.

For example, at M&IW our business intelligence tool and data told us that larger clients with multiple procurement teams were having difficulty managing all the moving parts. To address this need, we developed a consolidated single sourcing program that provides essential governance yet allows the flexibility of multiple sourcing providers. We also determined that small meetings often don’t have the same tools available to be as efficient and as they could be, so we’re investigating new technologies for small meetings.

To learn more on this topic, please enjoy our Industry Insights Webinar on Demand: 7 Secrets of Professionally Managed Meeting Procurement. Or, if you are interested in connecting with our procurement team regarding an upcoming program, please email sourcing@meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Give Your Event a Competitive Edge with Technology Integration

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

Events are a great place to learn about the latest innovations, network with colleagues and other industry professionals, and hear from leaders in the field. Event technology is the lynchpin that connects you to all these things. From apps to check-in software to virtual and augmented reality, event tech keeps attendees in the know before and during conferences and keeps them engaged long after the event has ended.

M&IW knows how important tech is to your event. We also know as more and more technologies are introduced in our space, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones are the best fit for your event and organization. And, more importantly, how to best integrate them for an optimal attendee experience.

That’s why we’re very excited to introduce our new EVENT TECHNOLOGY team. Several departments are joining forces with a focus on researching, implementing and servicing new event technologies that will help our clients grow their business and demonstrate ROI. By bundling services and offering a more strategic vantage point – our clients can make the most of their event technologies.

Tim LaFleur, CMP, is the Director of Event Technology and will lead this team. Tim brings more than a decade of experience in the meetings and event industry as both a meeting planner and technology expert which is a powerful combination. He truly understands event technology and mobile strategy. He designs, builds and manages mobile apps in a variety of platforms including CrowdCompass and Attendify.

Joining the EVENT TECHNOLOGY team is Chip Begley, Manager and Senior Web Designer. Chip is Cvent Certified. Chip has been with M&IW since 2011. He leverages his experience to ensure event websites and mobile apps provide an unparalleled user experience, from branding to features and more. Together with their talented team members, Tim and Chip will consult with our clients on innovative technology solutions that will help them inform, engage, and delight event attendees.

“M&IW has long been at the forefront of the meeting and events industry because we’ve understood the importance of changing tech trends and have used them to address our clients’ needs,” said Tim. “Tech like mobile apps benefits both attendees and clients who put on the event. If offers attendees real-time updates and a convenient, personalized experience, which increases engagement. For clients hosting the event, it offers real-time reporting and analytics, so they can adjust as needed Clients no longer have to wait for post event surveys to determine if their event is successful.”

M&IW’s most popular and trending services offerings include:

Event Websites. Your event site should offer attendees the information they need without digging and provide a pleasing user experience. Your digital touch points should offer consistent, relevant content and branding from registration through the app onsite. M&IW works with you to ensure your users will have a seamless, cohesive experience from registering on a desktop computer to checking event updates on their phone or tablet.

Mobile Apps. Today, mobile apps are a necessity, instead of a novelty. They enhance attendees’ event experience, increase engagement, and deliver measurable results. Users have all the information they need at their fingertips. This may include a personal welcome message from leadership, personalized agendas and targeted feature sections, immediate alerts regarding sessions and/or schedule changes, and more. In addition, mobile apps offer extra engagement features, such as live polling, instant messaging, “gamification,” such as trivia and scavenger hunts, and photo galleries to build and sustain excitement.

ARS Moderation. Questions and polling is a great way to get valuable feedback in real-time. Our ARS moderation service works directly with speakers to educate them on the polling/Q&A Crowd Sourcing Moderation service, as well as building the polls and executing it onsite. In addition, reporting will be available post-event, making the data actionable quickly.

Matchmaking (appointment scheduling). When you have information, a product, or service that the client needs, it’s important to make a connection to answer questions and ensure conversions. M&IW’s appointment scheduling will create the business rules needed to facilitate the right match based on the client’s requirements. This makes it both effective and efficient for both our clients and their customers.

Incentive Reclamation Website. Our team will work with you to build a website that can track points and give visibility rights to participant progress based on role definition within a hierarchy. This point tracking can be a simple leaderboard user interface to track who qualifies for a trip or for a cash payout, or it can qualify the participants to be able to select certain items in an online catalog. It’s a clean, easy-to-navigate interface will help ensure engagement.

Mobile App Video Production. Make your event electrifying with video! It’s easy and cost-effective with M&IW. With our video production “lite” package, we’ll send a specialist onsite to record, edit, and create a 4k quality video that can be shown at closing ceremonies or divided into snippets that can be shown throughout the week to give the event an extra boost of excitement. This is a great option for clients who want the cutting-edge production element, but have conservative budgets.

On Arrival. Using Cvent software, this service offers attendees the freedom to check themselves in using a tablet device and a wireless printer. It’s a high-tech way for attendees to self-register and cut down on long lines, helping to improve attendees’ overall event experience. (Note: When using On Arrival, clients will need to provide hardware.)

Event in a Box. Offering the ultimate in convenience for smaller events with less than 500 attendees. Cvent’s Event in a Box includes the check-in tablets, printers and will ship all the hardware to your event. Minimal set up and assembly required.

EM-Array / Educational Measures. Gain valuable insights from your attendees with live meeting engagement technology. Capture and keep audience attention with the most usable interactive system. Engage attendees with more than 25 interactive features. And, measure and improve the effectiveness of your live event.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Give your event a special, fun edge with this cool new tech. Use the AR (augmented reality) portion as a high-tech passport program. Or, use VR (virtual reality) to transport your attendees to alternate locations. The possibilities are virtually endless!

Through innovation in design and skill, M&IW’s event tech team will help our clients:

  • Create high-impact, engaging and memorable technology experiences that are complementary and seamless with the overall event design.
  • Provide attendees a streamlined event experience, mitigating confusion and hassle and increasing engagement.
  • Easily integrate new trends and features into established platforms, helping clients move forward and stay ahead of the pack.
  • Providing thoughtful consultation by truly embracing and understanding the event design and offering innovative technology solutions that make sense.

Learn more, stay connected, and get started:

Interested in hearing more from Tim? He will be presenting Epic Technology Approaches that Create REAL Immersive Experiences at NEXT ’18 hosted by MPI-CAC in Chicago on March 8, 2018. This is a can’t miss one-day educational conference bringing together meeting planners, event producers, and design and experience gurus, to learn from the leading authorities in areas from planning techniques and strategies, to the latest cutting-edge tech trends. Visit NEXT’18 to learn more and register.

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Using the latest technology can help your event go off smoothly and ensure attendees have a memorable event experience. With so many new offerings, our EVENT TECHNOLOGY team will work with you to develop strategic solutions and the tech tools you need to boost your ROI and make your event a success. Receive the latest news about emerging event technologies directly to your inbox, SUBSCRIBE to our mailing list. Or, CONTACT US and let us know how our team can be of service.

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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Top 5 Takeaways – PCMA Convening Leaders 2018

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Written by Jill Pearson | Manager, Digital Marketing & Media

Since 1956 the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has been dedicated to driving global economic and social transformation through business events. This year, at their annual event, PCMA Convening Leaders 2018, they cranked up the volume in the Music City. There is no denying this was an epic year! So many things added to its success, from the vibrant location of Nashville, to the music, speakers, networking events and noteworthy content. This conference focused on the engagement factor of events, the most critical piece of connecting your audience despite the challenges we face today, with digital distractions and increased attendee expectations.

This successful event was experienced firsthand by our very own Mae Ibe, CMP, Director of Conferences & Tradeshows earlier this month. These are Mae’s Top 5 from PCMA Convening Leaders 2018.

1. Steaming Live Content – PCMA implemented streaming content, live and on demand, from the event. A continuing trend to get involvement from your members who cannot attend. Studies show that streaming this content does not discourage face-to-face attendance. Keep your whole membership engaged by providing conference content.

2. The Attendee Journey – The attendee journey is the newest way to capture your attendees’ movement throughout the event. Newest technology does not use Bluetooth, so attendees do not need a cell phone or Bluetooth device to gather the data. Track CE credits, collect data that will help you plan future meal counts, and keep abreast of the most popular breakouts so you know what your attendee is finding beneficial.

3. Strategizing Your Room Block – Studies show 1 out of 3 rooms are outside the room block. Are you strategizing your room block based on your location? If you are a big fish in a small pond, you can be aggressive on your room block. If you are a small fish in a big pond, you may want to be a little more conservative since your attendees have more options. Think about the leisure destinations and how that will affect your pre and post nights. Educate your attendees on why they need to stay in the room block; financial benefit for the organization, safety and security, future data, etc. Plan a different experience for those who book in the room block. Work with the local CVB to determine the economic impact of your event.

4. Attendee Acquisition – Instead of competing with other organizations for attendance, you are now competing with the “no event.” You need to make sure your attendees see your event as the must-attend event. Have you taken the customer journey into consideration? Does the customer know who you are? Your marketing message may not be describing your event and/or organization the way you think. Remind them throughout the year who you are, not just in the months or weeks leading up to the event. Your attendees must have an emotional connection or they won’t be engaged and want to attend year after year.

5. Video Testimonials – video testimonials are still a great way to connect with your attendees, but use trailers instead of long drawn out messages.

In addition to these top 5 takeaways there were two noteworthy areas of discussion one digital and one in person. M&IW experienced a substantial increase in social media responses based on posts from this event. Using the #PCMACL hashtag helped connect attendees, read tidbits of sessions that were not attended first hand, and pick up tips on new trends whether onsite or just following the online discussion. The #EventBoss initiative was also a huge hit! Great job on getting the word out socially PCMA. It greatly enhanced engagement and the overall experience.

Finally, innovation was a BIG discussion item. How do we innovate? What qualities do you need in employees to encourage innovation? It is predicted that 1 in 3 companies won’t be around in 5 years. You must be innovative and embrace change, so you are not one of the statistics. Attending leading industry conferences and live events is definitely one way to stay plugged in and discover new insights.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions

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How to Create a Give Back Movement in a Virtual Company

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

Like many organizations who embrace corporate social responsibility, M&IW has long understood it is our responsibility to be a good corporate citizen through charitable giving and community involvement. Over the years, we have supported numerous worthy causes.

Create a Culture of Giving

As our organization grew, we saw both a challenge and an opportunity. With once a primarily local workforce, our team would support a cause very near and dear to our hearts and located in our hometown, the Racine Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. For more than decade, our M&IW team has been racing for a cure and raising the bar on their fundraising efforts totaling more than $100,000. However, as we expanded with a global virtual workforce, it became more difficult for employees to feel personally connected and participate in our charitable giving initiatives. But, then something happened. M&IW was recognized as one of the fastest growing privately-held companies in America. Jean Johnson, CMP, our Co-CEO and Chief People Officer attended the Inc. 500 | 5000 Conference and was inspired by Adam Grant, bestselling author of Give and Take.

Jean set an ambitious goal to create a best-in-class giving program and increase our global philanthropic footprint. In 2014, she launched Project Global Give Back. Since the program’s inception, our employees have given of their hearts, time and money to many great causes in the communities that they live and work. They also supported our corporate annual charity, Make-A-Wish of Southeastern Wisconsin, and helped grant wishes for two special little girls.

Think Bigger #50Years50Charities

This year, the stakes have gotten even higher! In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, we launched the Project Global Give Back 50 Years 50 Charities campaign. “At M&IW, we are in the business of bringing people together for great outcomes and believe in the power of human energy,” said Jean Johnson. “So, this program is very fitting for our organization and aligned with our culture. We have assembled 50 teams with employees located across the globe who will impact 50 different charities throughout the year. And, most importantly, they are having fun with it – everything from their team names, volunteer activities, creative fundraising efforts, and more!” To check out the charities selected CLICK HERE to view our video.

Make it Personal

This month, we are featuring “Big Hearts, Little Hands” and the direct and lasting effect they will have on the lives of young people. They selected Big Brothers Big Sisters. For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to success and thrive in life. “I have been a Big Sister for nine years,” said Joy Kubat, Team Captain. “I saw a need within my Little’s family for access to basic items like shampoo and paper towels. Her family often sacrificed essentials to make ends meet. Recognizing the impact we could make to families in need, we chose BBBS. I am so grateful for the efforts of my amazing coworkers: Connie Nau, CMP, Nicole Raudabaugh, CMP, Carissa Hackel, Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS, Naomi Tucker, CMP, and Mae Ibe, CMP.” Recently, the team took a little time away from work to gather every day necessities from caring homes and assemble 50 bags for the local branch. They will be participating in the upcoming Taste of the Town and partnering with the Wisconsin Chapter of Meeting Professionals International to be the selected charity for the association’s Spring Education Day in May of 2018.

We hope our story of continuing to focus on local giving whiling adopting an approach to support our international expansion inspires you to create your own ways to touch the communities where your organization resides. We are very proud of all our M&IW family and excited to share our progress in future posts. To see more from our amazing teams in action, be sure to follow #MIW50Years50Charities and #MIWGivingBack on social media. Or, interested in learning more our Project Global Give Back, supporting the cause, donating, or attending an upcoming fundraiser event, reach out to us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

 

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

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What You Need to Know About Apple’s App Rule

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Written by Tim LaFleur | Director, Event Technology

If you have used a branded mobile app for your event, or are considering one for a future program, you have most likely heard about the new Apple App Store container rule that is shaking up the industry. More and more of our clients are incorporating mobile apps for a richer and more engaging experience for their attendees. So, understandably, they have asked us what this means and what can they expect? The simple answer – it depends. But, let’s break it down.

What does the rule say?
In June, at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, they announced changes to their App Review Guidelines. Of specific interest was Section 4.2.6: “Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.”

What does the new policy mean?
There continues to be debate as each app company has their own take based on their reading of the rule and/or subsequent conversations with Apple. On the face, it appears providers will no longer be able to submit “one off” single branded event apps into the App Store. While this rule is broad and far reaching it in part touches all app development companies in some way.

As it pertains to our industry, it is widely believed this was put into place to clean up the App Store from many outdated or orphaned apps in preparation for the launch of their new store and have more control (i.e. not unlike the Play Store “Cover Letter” policy from earlier this year). Conference app companies are responding in a variety of ways based on their understanding of the rule. Most of the thoughts swirling around fall into one of three buckets.

Thought 1:
The most common thinking is that event apps now publicly distributed in the App Store will have to go into a larger container app. And, it would need to be a container app branded by the development company versus the event host. This has led some to proclaim that the death of the white labeled single event app is at hand. Additionally, there are concerns over the loss of event branding and security since all apps are placed in one container. In response conference app companies are working hard to mitigate the security concern with shortcuts directly to your specific app inside the container. However, the loss of event branding remains a very real concern for event marketing professionals.

Thought 2:
Some app companies have interpreted this rule less about whether the app is created by a commercialized template or app generation service, and more about whose Apple License is being used. There is a thought that if the app is being published from the event host’s Apple Developer License it will be allowed as either a multi or single event branded app. Others, while they agree in theory, they do not see it as being as broad as this. They feel there are boundaries to this approach.

• App must be published from company or organization’s developer account
• Needs to be a container app and have at least five (5) events included
• May only have one (1) container per organization
• After a few are published, organization will start seeing rejections from Apple

Thought 3:
And, last thought is “our apps are customized and they all differ.” They believe there is enough customization and uniqueness so their apps to not be affected by this rule. However, I am unsure if this philosophy holds true. As I understand it, there will be three main checks Apple will do make sure an app is not coming from a commercialized template or app generation service.

So, what now?
The deadline for this rule to take effect was initially September 30, 2017. However, Apple extended the deadline to December 24, 2017. This is a very nuanced and evolving situation so I would encourage anyone who already has an agreement with an app company to engage with them regarding their interpretation and how they are handling it. Even if you have already spoken with your app company, you might want to re-engage regarding what might have changed since your first conversation to see what other options exist for distribution such as private distribution versus public distribution. Have a backup plan should they be wrong in their interpretation of the rule.

How we can help…
As a third-party event planning company who specializes in mobile design, we are in a unique position because we work with and have been in conversations with many different app providers. They all believe theirs is the perfect solution. Yet, no two companies have the same interpretation. Ultimately, the goal is to mitigate risk of app rejection by crafting a plan to cover several different scenarios. If you have questions, concerns, comments or just want to know how we believe this rule may affect your event, based on all of the differing philosophies and approaches, contact me directly at tlafleur@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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ROI of Event Sponsorship: Stakeholders vs. Sponsors

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Written by Jill Pearson | Manager, Digital Marketing and Media

Sponsorship, by definition, is the financial or material support of an event, activity or organization by an unrelated partner. Sponsoring a relevant event is a great way to increase brand awareness and strengthen relationships. This, in turn, helps generate consumer preference and foster brand loyalty. A company can reinforce awareness among its target market by sponsoring an event that attracts a desired target market. A sponsorship can be a meaningful part of a brands success, but also material to an event’s success.

Sponsoring an event is no means an act of charity – they must show some form of positive return on investment (ROI) for both stakeholders and sponsors. With ROI in mind, we would like to explore two separate perspectives in the sponsorship journey: the event stakeholder and the sponsoring organization.

As we near M&IW Campus Week, our annual company event, we reflect on the role of our industry partners. From an event stakeholder viewpoint, sponsors are of the utmost importance as they not only help to generate revenue for the event itself, but also offset costs for items that will enhance the overall attendee experience. For example, because of our platinum sponsors, we are including live meeting analytics from Educational Measures, over-the-top decor and style concepts from Kehoe Designs, professional event production from DMP and collaborative team building sessions from Banding People Together.

While sponsor and exhibitor relationships are key to these types of events, they can also be tricky to manage. To be successful, it is crucial to understand what matters most to the sponsoring organization. Do they prefer promotional opportunities leading up to the event, brand visibility on the registration site, advertising on a mobile app, relationship building with key contacts, ability to present at the event or sit on an industry panel, and of course, being able to connect with attendees post event.

You want to ensure they receive a solid return from their both investment and participation so that they continue to sign on year after year. And, it is also important to make sure that the sponsors and exhibitors selected are a good fit for the audience. Otherwise, the attendees will feel like the event was “sold” without consideration of their interests and time sport-life. Because we provide hotel sourcing and contracting services for our clients, hotels and resorts are a perfect fit. In fact, we have three platinum sponsors in this category: Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Rosewood.

Likewise, sponsoring organizations need to know that the audience is a fit for them. “To be successful, our employees need to be knowledgeable about new products, event-related services, hot destinations and more says Lindsay Perez, Assistant Manager, Program Management for Global Operations. She explains that “event sponsors and exhibitors gain valuable face time with those who have their ‘boots on the ground’ so to speak. They benefit from a rare opportunity to get in front of the individuals that use their services. Or, from a more general standpoint, individuals who may have key input, make recommendations to our clients or are involved in the decision-making process. It’s an overall win for the attendees and the sponsors, alike.”

A lot of organizations, including ours, use a tiered system to help differentiate the level of exposure or marketing that an organization will receive based on their support. This helps the hosting organization to keep the playing field level and manage expectations of the sponsoring and exhibiting companies.

“While it’s beneficial to participate as an exhibitor in the Supplier Showcase to network and make personal introductions, being a sponsor brings this educational value to the next level. It gives the organization an opportunity to be front and center of all M&IW employees and a chance to highlight the value they can offer to us, as a company, and to our clients,” explained Vicki Schmitz, HMCC, Senior Manager of Hotel Procurement. This is especially true for companies that have just started working with M&IW, a sponsorship can help them foster relationships and generate business opportunities faster.

We also have industry partners like Marriott International that have participated for several years. So, we asked Elizabeth Moynihan. CMP, Global Account Executive, her thoughts on the criteria her team uses when deciding to become a sponsor? Elizabeth responded, “Marriott values our long-term global partnership with M&IW. As strategic partners, we understand the importance and mutual benefit of sponsoring Campus Week. We take many components into consideration when determining our level of support. The opportunity for our hotel partners and GSO to engage face-to-face, and further cultivate and strengthen relationships is invaluable. We enjoy participating in Campus Week annually, and appreciate the opportunity to be a platinum sponsor.”

Our M&IW Campus Week taking place August 21-24, 2017 which includes our Client Summit and Supplier Showcase is the one time of year we bring together in one place our talented associates, valued clients, and industry partners. If you are interested in learning more about sponsor opportunities still available, please email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com and we will send you the prospectus.

 

 

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

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Dissecting Effective Event Design

By Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications and Creative Services

When the novice planner is asked about the purpose of event design the answer is typically to make the room look good and create a pleasant environment. A fine answer, but is that really all there is to effective event design?

“Not at all, event design should be all encompassing and have purpose which is generally to create an environment that conveys the message and the theme of the event while staying true to the program’s overall objectives. Whether the event is a celebration, awards ceremony, meal function, workshop or general session there is always a message that needs to be conveyed. The audience does not solely listen with their ears, but they also ‘listen’ with their sight, their sense of smell, their touch, and sometimes even their sense of taste. Successful event design encompasses all the senses to produce an environment that clearly conveys the message of the program and achieves the goals. It is about engagement not simply making the room look good,” explains Alexander deHilster, Senior Event Designer with Meetings & Incentives Worldwide.

At M&IW, Alexander and his team work collaboratively with our clients and event design partners to do exactly that. In the true collective spirit of M&IW, we asked one of our long-term event design partners to provide some additional insight on effective event design.

Timot McGonagle, Senior Event Designer of Kehoe Designs, reiterated Alexander’s point with the following thoughts and tips:

The Benefits of Effective Event Design:

1. Creates an emotional attachment that produces a more permanent and lasting impression on the guests ultimately creating greater return on experience for the guests.
2. Allows the guest to feel physically part of the event while it is happening evoking the important emotional connection with every event.
3. Increases learning and aids with retention since all the attendees’ senses are engaged they can hold attention longer resulting in increased retention overall.
4. Clearly conveys the message of the event and leaves no room for interpretation.

When asked about how to attack effect event design, Timot gave the following response. “Current trends lean toward an immersive experience. Boundaries between individual event disciplines are very blurry. For instance, we see more and more that audio visual, décor, food & beverage all play a role in event design. A screen is no longer solely used to communicate content, but can be a visual work of art or message board for the program’s objectives. True event design is working in a cohesive manner and blending all facets of the event to reach the objective.”

Alexander and Timot also both agree that it is best to be in close contact with the client to discover goals and request all materials on event from graphic support, theme, messaging, and anything else that can inspire the design. Ultimately the design reflects the nuances of the message.

Do’s and Don’ts from our Senior Event Designers include:

1. Do conduct a site visit before designing. Each project has its own energy as does every space. Immersed in the actual venue helps to bring out the creative vision.
2. Do make every detail count! Find a few details and layer them for a more cohesive event.
3. Do Utilize elements that will play to all the senses.
4. Do hire professionals to get the most value out of your investment.
5. Don’t make event design an afterthought. Bring all the team players together early in the process.
6. Don’t forget to discuss budget up front. There are many ways to approach event design. And, budget often determines the right path to start.

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

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Connecting a Virtual Workforce with Cyber Learning

 

 

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

We believe live meetings and events transform organizations. We know what happens when companies transform, when they look beyond what they already know. Our purpose is reinforced through our three “C’s” – Customer Obsession, Collaboration and Culture. We also believe our employees should experience a positive personal transformation during their career.

“Based on the growth of M&IW in the past five years, we recognized a need to provide broad based learning on a multitude of topics to increase employee satisfaction and ensure retention. So, we added a fourth core driver – Cross-Platform Cyber Learning. This means challenging and connecting our global virtual workforce to learn and develop through the benefits of consistent educational content and delivery to ensure engagement, career growth, retention and to reward achievements,” said Jean Johnson, CMP, Co-CEO and Chief People Officer.

“What exactly is cyber learning?”

It’s a good question with a broad answer. Cyber learning draws on a wide array of technologies, applications, and learning theories to create experiences that improve, foster, and assess learning. To support our new initiative, we have implemented a learning management system – microlearning.

“How is microlearning different than cyber learning?”

Microlearning is a technique of delivering learning content in short, bite-sized bursts (from three to five minutes), several times per week, or even daily. Neuroscientists have determined that we can only absorb four to five pieces of information into short-term memory at any given time, so by breaking it into short chunks, it’s easier to understand and assimilate.

“Why is it beneficial to organizations?”

After an extensive vetting and selection process, we determined Grovo was the best solution for M&IW. The Grovo platform was launched on February 6 and since then our employees have viewed more than 3,000 microlearning videos! “We are already getting a great return on our investment and could not be more excited with the knowledge and consistency in learning it has provided,” said Connie Nau, CMP, CRP, Sr. Director of Talent Engagement.

You might be asking, if M&IW is in the business of live meetings and events, why cross-platform cyber learning? It is a tool as virtual and flexible as we are, it can enhance our new hire on boarding process, provide ongoing “upskill” opportunities, leadership training, career development and personal growth. Our team members don’t work a traditional 9 to 5 weekday schedule and they travel across the globe with our client programs. Grovo is self-paced, on-demand, and ensures compliance. It is not a replacement for face-to-face meetings nor does it diminish the power of human connections. In fact, it makes those interactions and live experiences that much more meaningful.

“When does personal transformation happen?”

Personal transformation is an ongoing process. It requires a systematic approach. A caterpillar does not become a butterfly by accident. Such a major transformation happens over time and involves a series of essential steps. Regardless of what we want to change, a true personal transformation always begins on the inside.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions

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What it Takes to be a Medical Meeting Expert

Pharma_Forum_2017_Medical_Meetings

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

Several of our M&IW team members are getting ready for their annual journey to the most compelling and comprehensive meeting management event for the life sciences industry. In its 13th year, Pharma Forum represents the world’s largest gathering of stakeholders with more than 800 attendees in 2016 dedicated to elevating the design, planning and execution on a broad range of medical meetings through three days of education, engagement and empowerment.

“With decades of medical meeting planning experience in the increasingly complex and highly regulated pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare and life sciences industries, this is a critical educational conference for our organization. M&IW is proud to continue our partnership and support of the Pharma Forum in 2017, and we look forward to bringing the education and networking of this event to even higher levels,” said Dan Tarpey, HMCC, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Dan is a “repeat attender” of the conference for the value it delivers not only to our team, but also to our clients because of our increased breadth of knowledge and depth of experience. Pharma Forum is the leading engagement opportunity for meeting and event professionals that are part of the healthcare sector. The collective experience and brainpower of the presenters, corporate planners, third-party professionals, and industry suppliers far surpasses any conference of its kind in the industry.

In addition to professional conferences, at M&IW we continue to look for opportunities to engage, partner and grow with our clients for better outcomes. In fact, a couple of years’ back we hosted a Healthcare Meetings Compliance Certification course. Almost two dozen individuals within our sales, account management, global operations and finance areas along with some of our clients participated in the training. To convey this crucial information, we enlisted the training expertise of Patricia Schaumann, CMP, CSEP, DMCP, HMCC who was the Director of Professional Development, Healthcare Sector at Meetings Professional International.

The HMCC course is a perfect fit for M&IW with approximately 60% of our meeting volume in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry. The education platform examines the fundamental information on healthcare compliance regulations, laws and techniques for managing healthcare meetings. After the training, we asked our team about their experience. “Since I’m involved on the front end, it was eye-opening to hear some of the issues and challenges that planners face onsite,” explained Vicki Schmitz, HMCC, Assistant Manager of Global Procurement. Whereas, Jessica Menzer, HMCC, Account Lead, keyed in that the rules we follow aren’t necessarily laws, but client interpretations of laws.

Angie Gross, HMCC, added a unique perspective as she is immersed behind the scenes as our Manager of Healthcare Compliance and Reporting Operations. Angie felt this training gave everyone the same information and provided crucial compliance regulations information that will assist in reporting efforts and provide heightened credibility when presenting reporting best practices to clients. “Often when clients and planners are unaware of the actual legal guidelines they all do things a bit differently. M&IW has worked out a system on streamlining this process based on current regulations and making sure planners in this area of expertise are armed with HMC information,” explained Angie.

“Accredited knowledge is powerful!” explains Naomi Tucker, CMP, HMCC, Sr. Strategic Account Manager. “The HMCC course gave us the credibility and knowledge to educate our clients on the standards as it applies to the law on Open Payments. And, by continuing our professional development and staying current on changing regulations in the field, we can guide our clients on what they need to do to be successful, yet compliant, for their meetings.”

 

 

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance

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