Archive for Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

ROI of Event Sponsorship: Stakeholders vs. Sponsors

Event Sponsor

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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Cvent and Lanyon Announce Merger – Are You Ready?

Award, Cvent, Technology, Meetings

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

Last week was momentous for Cvent, Inc. and Lanyon Solutions, Inc., two industry leading cloud-based enterprise event management technology solutions, as they announced the completion of their merger. While the companies have met an important milestone in legally and financially merging under Vista Equity Partners, the work of combining their business operations and respective products appears to be just beginning. The announcement cited Cvent’s founder and CEO Reggie Aggarwal has been named the CEO of the new combined company that will operate under the Cvent brand.

“As an early adopter and long-time Cvent customer, we are optimistic the resulting Cvent will continue to be an innovator of cutting-edge event management technology solutions that propel our industry forward,” said Tina Madden, CFO and Partner of Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. M&IW has supported our clients with expertise in both Cvent and Lanyon platforms throughout the entire event lifecycle. We are proud to be two-time winners of the Cvent Planner Awards for Savvy Sourcing and Power of the Platform as well as a 2016 finalist. Additionally, we have employees that are Cvent Certified that will leverage their knowledge to take advantage of new functionality and enhancements.

Over the past two decades, Lanyon and Cvent have delivered some of the most innovative and successful technology solutions including event management, strategic meetings management, sourcing solutions, room block management, and mobile and onsite solutions. Combined, the companies have more than 800 technology professionals and 700 customer-facing support staff. “Our employees have been the DNA of our success and we’re excited to add the talent, experience, and the products of the Lanyon team,” said Reggie Aggarwal. As the undisputed market leader with approximately 28,000 customers in 100 countries, the new Cvent will continue to drive technology innovation while providing customers with world-class levels of support for all Cvent and Lanyon solutions.

At the same time, we also recognize that this news may be met with initial apprehension or uncertainty about the impacts of the merger on your business, whether you are a Cvent or Lanyon customer. At our annual M&IW Client Summit in September, Lisa Palmeri, Vice President of Global Enterprise Solutions, announced our plan to offer more comprehensive Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) and Cvent Technology consulting services beginning the first quarter of 2017. The current offering is being expanded with additional resources and expertise to provide a wide array of support. If you are considering a new Cvent implementation, a transition from Lanyon or another product to Cvent, or you want to optimize your use of meeting management technology solutions, sign up to receive a complimentary one-hour SMMart Action project assessment.

“M&IW is committed to embracing the latest industry technology solutions and remaining at the forefront of thought leadership in this exciting area of our business. As we learn more about the details of the Cvent/Lanyon merger, we will share our observations and perspectives with you,” said Lisa Palmeri.

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

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Why Certify? A Closer Look at the Value of the CIS

Blog_CIS_Certification_Team

Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications & Creative Services

As members of M&IW’s Global Procurement team and Incentive Buyers descend upon Las Vegas (aka Sin City) for #IMEX16, we thought we would take a closer look at the Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) and the value this designation brings our team and our clients. In my discovery, I had the privilege to interview select members of our Global Incentive & Event Services team, specifically Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS, Director; Beth Reetz, CIS, Senior Incentive Buyer; and Senior Program Managers, Cara Turkowski, CIS and Katie Wiesner, CIS.

Let’s hear what they had to say….

A More Knowledgeable and Connected Team

By an overwhelming majority, one of the first benefits served up by each team member was that the CIS designation brought with it a new and valuable network of fellow incentive travel professionals. Cara put it best when she stated, “The class for the certification was a really great way to connect with others in the industry. It is especially helpful when planning international programs, as there are many destination management companies from around the world involved. It reassures me when partnering with them that they take incentive programs as serious as we do.”

The certification process brought incentive professionals with varied experience levels and skill sets together. The group cited that they learned a great deal simply by sharing best practices with each other during the course. Additionally, the more seasoned professionals, such as our M&IW team members, were called upon to share their insights and experiences with the group. This allowed for different vantage points from all around the world.

Katie pointed out that on a day-to-day basis the resources made available to CIS designees are extremely beneficial. The reference materials and newsletters keep the team current on destinations, new hot properties, popular CSR activities and industry insights.

A Confident Client

Clients have more confidence that our team is dedicated to incentives. Holding the designation helps M&IW stand out in the global marketplace. Prospective and current clients have noticed the CIS designation at the end of their names and it has sparked conversations about the credentials and dedication to staying educated in the field and building strong worldwide relationships. Tracy explains, “Obtaining the certification shows our commitment to staying on top of the industry. It holds the industry to a set of professional standards and shows that we are pursuing relevant education and looking to the future needs of our incentive clients.”

Beth shared that it has been very helpful having the designation when sourcing incentive programs. Suppliers in the industry recognize and respect the credentials and treat you as a knowledgeable buyer. This allows the buying and negotiation process to be more effective for our clients’ programs and giving them more confidence in the sourcing and contracting process. All in all, the amount of detail and planning that goes into an incentive program takes an experienced and knowledgeable buyer and having the CIS allows the team to perform at a higher level for our clients.

A Satisfied Employee

Investing in employees continuing education goes far deeper than the benefits it brings; it creates a culture of satisfied and fulfilled employees. M&IW has always valued and promoted industry certifications for their employees illustrated by the 65% of planners and account management at M&IW who hold either a CIS, CMP, CMM, HMCC, etc. This focus helps M&IW create promotable associates leading to a more satisfied and productive team. Cara spoke from her first-hand experience when she stated, “It has really opened a lot of doors for me and allowed me to manage more elite incentive programs. The whole experience has changed the way I approach incentive program design and execution.”

“The CIS designation is important for developing incentive professionals as it demonstrates proficiency in the fundamentals of motivational programs. It is helping to raise the quality of professionals in the incentive industry. At M&IW, we believe it shows to our clients and our associates that M&IW truly cares and invests in the professional development and advancement of our team.” Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS.

A Final Thought

Obtaining designations such as the CIS take time and investment, however, the return is multi-faceted. Invest in your employees’ education and they will invest more in your clients and be leaders among their peers when sharing best practices and resources.

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

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M&IW Campus Week Brings Industry Leading Content

Banner - CW Final

Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications and Creative Services

During the M&IW Client Summit on Thursday, September 8, our resident subject matter experts will be leading engaging roundtable discussions designed to Go the Distance for today’s travel and event professional. We had the opportunity to catch a sneak peek of the topics and presenters. Here is a highlight of what they told us in our one-on-one interviews:

Tech Talk
Hosted by Tim LaFleur, CMP, Director, Mobile Strategy and Global Procurement – Suppliers & Chip Begley, Manager, Program Website & Mobile App Services, IT & Web Design

Our techies plan to cover two extremely hot topics that still cause a bit of confusion and mystery for most planners – Mobile Apps and WiFi/Internet.  Many planners want to know the variety of features and how various solution providers manages those features. When it comes to App solutions the devil is in the details and the details can make or break an effective meeting app. Similarly, there is so much still to learn about WiFi. Our tech experts will demystify the often confusing and misunderstood topic to allow planners to better manage internet needs for their meetings and events.

Participants will take away some basic next level thinking and be able to answer, “What does this all mean for me the planner?” This discussion will dive deep into the practicality of the topic by covering all the considerations that go along with it that can affect your work, the app and the attendee experience.

Talk Tech goes the distance by going further and digging deeper into a commonly discussed topic and challenge for today’s planners.  Much of the discussion that people are having regarding these topics only go about halfway leaving all sides without the proper understanding about what the other is saying.  This engaging roundtable discussion will aim to “Go the Distance” to create good, enriching and intelligent conversations about these topics where there hasn’t necessarily been in the past.

Event Planning Trends and Best Practices
Hosted by Christine Matias, MA, Director, Global Program Management Services, Steve Lorenz, CMP, HMCC, Senior Program Manager, Global Meeting Services & Ella Darby, Program Manager, Global Program Management Services

Our Event Planning Specialists will cover a plethora of topics during their engaging roundtable discussion from paperless meetings to shorter lead times and from the latest F&B trends to virtual meetings. Participants will leave with a great overview of the current trends affecting the industry and a better understanding of how we can all collaborate together to keep up with and change alongside them.

Event Planning Trends and Best Practices goes the distance by bringing to light current trends and trends on the horizon. Planners need to know where these trends are headed to know which road will help them “Go the Distance.”

Small Meeting Hotel Contracting
Hosted by Vicki Schmitz, VICKI SCHMITZ, HMCC, Manager, Global Procurement – Hotels

Small Meeting Hotel Contracting will reveal best practices in contracting specifically for small meetings. A high percentage of our client’s meetings are 75 guest rooms on peak or less and in most cases, these meetings have less than three months of lead time. During this engaging discussion, we will offer best practices that have helped today’s small meeting planner streamline the contracting process in order to expedite the final contract and give our clients the tools and resources to effectively prepare and plan for a successful meeting. Our featured hotel partners will disclose how they manage their small meeting contracts so participants will get an inside look from the hotelier viewpoint leading to a real discussion on ways to collaborate together to achieve success on both sides.

The audience will learn ways their industry partners are handling short term meetings and be able to take some of these ideas back to their own team to implement. In most cases, we all face the same challenges – especially in a seller’s market.   From a sourcing perspective, we all run into similar obstacles… limited availability, competitive rates and less flexibility.

Go the Distance is a constant theme for Sourcing. Buyers continue to strive to find clients the best possible options for their meetings to assist in achieving their meeting goals. We continuously work with our hotel partners to find the best possible fit and pricing. Understanding the dynamics from all angles and how to best collaborate together is where we all can “Go the Distance.”

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

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7 Questions to Ask Before Implementing Cvent

Cvent Award 2016 Finalist

Posted by Dan Tarpey | Sr. Director, Strategic Solutions

Imagine this… You have finally made the decision to invest in a sophisticated meeting management technology, you have gone through training and implementation and you Freeze! Now what? How do you maximize the investment in this dynamic solution and make it relevant to your business and workflows?

From mapping the SMM process and creating the meeting request forms to reporting and consolidation of spend; to the tactical operations of website builds, attendee management, surveys and On Arrival, there are dozens of items your team will need to tackle and even more lurking around every corner.

Here are just a few things to think about after implementation and training:

  1. How to prioritize tasks for sourcing, registration, meeting management and spend tracking?
  2. Who is part of the ongoing Cvent Admin Team to manage updates and workflow improvements?
  3. Why logic should be implemented within the tool to create the appropriate workflows?
  4. How will process forms be used to help with your workflow and assignments?
  5. What metrics and data points will be needed to track ROI on the solution?
  6. Who will manage and document workflow and process improvements internally?
  7. What is the best way to customize templates for RFPs, registration sites, budgets and reports?

A bit overwhelmed after reading these initial items to consider?

Don’t fret! M&IW knows what it takes for an organization to perform at its best and Go the Distance! M&IW was awarded Cvent Plannie Awards for Savvy Sourcing and Power of the Platform. Our certified associates have in-depth knowledge of Cvent’s capabilities and what you need to know to get the most of out of your investment.

We are offering a no-cost, no obligation consultation to address your most pressing Cvent questions. After this conversation, we guarantee you will walk away with answers and new insights; what you need to know before you implement, the best way to get started, and why it is important to demonstrate the value of Cvent to your C-suite? If this sounds of interest, simply CLICK HERE to sign up.

Posted in: Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Top 10 Reasons to Collect Relevant Data

Data, Analyses, Insight, SMM

Written by Jill Pearson | Digital Marketing Manager

Data analytics is the science of collecting and examining raw data with the purpose of drawing conclusions about the information. These analyses are used by organizations to make better business decisions, especially where change is the outcome. In Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) there is a plethora of data available for collection, analysis and reporting, however the relevance of the data depends on the questions requiring answers. Thus, answering the ‘why’ of needing the data is a great place to start. Below is a list of Top 10 Reasons to Collect Relevant Data from our expert contributors, David Sachs, Director of Analytics and Lisa Palmeri, VP of Strategic Account Solutions.

1. To support the need for a change in operations or process.

People often fear change, especially without supporting data to validate the need for it. Many times we see a need for a change in a process within our organizations but approaching policy-makers with your opinion or gut instinct will not hold much ground without concrete data to support it. In today’s metrics-driven world, data is required in order to institute change or justify a business case for it.

2. To gain visibility to the unknown.

Industry professionals are smart! Our intuition often guides us when making key decisions, however data is useful in proving our instincts right. Actionable insights add clarity to the unknown which will support or challenge a theory, both of which are invaluable in decision-making.

3. To reduce risk.

Why is it that an employee cannot purchase a stapler without following certain protocols, but they can enter into a hotel contract for a meeting with little or no scrutiny? Often, people tasked with planning meetings and events in an organization are not meeting professionals, but rather meeting planning is a part of their job responsibilities. As such, they are not experts in understanding and negotiating the terms of a meeting contract and sign agreements that may not support the best interests of their company. This practice exposes both the individual signing the agreement as well as the organization to risk should an issue arise with the contract, or in the event the meeting cancels and penalties are assessed. There are also terms that, if not properly addressed or omitted, could jeopardize the safety or well-being of attendees of that meeting. Having historical bid data or analytics that identify suppliers with whom it’s safe to do business, or to support professional procurement practices, can reduce or eliminate this risk all together.

4. To demonstrate compliance with regulations.

No one wants to be called out for non-compliance. Whether it’s following company policies, regulatory guidelines, accounting principles, or laws, being compliant is key to job security. This is especially critical to health care and life sciences organizations who need to demonstrate compliance to Health Care Professional (HCP) transfer of value transparency laws. It’s not enough to have regimented processes for transparency, government entities want to see that the data is reported in such a way that it meets the letter of the law(s). That is why at M&IW we have a dedicated HCP reporting department whose sole job is to support the compliance needs of our clients.

5. For Executive Management support of a new idea.

Executive management, especially in publicly held companies, are being tasked with ensuring that all the decisions they make support quarterly earnings! It’s fun to be the initiator of a new idea with the potential to dramatically streamline a process, improve the bottom line and increase those earnings. Many such opportunities exist when implementing a Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP). As mentioned in point #1, suggesting new concepts may be admirable, but they won’t go very far without analytics to support them. It’s not enough to illustrate historical evidence that the innovation could improve the bottom line. Often predictive analytics are necessary to project how that idea will benefit the organization going forward. Leverage data to build a business case for specific elements of an SMMP that will yield the highest ROI or provide other tangible benefits to the organization.

6. To build stronger partnerships with key suppliers.

Knowing what you spend and with whom is the first step in establishing preferred or strategic supplier partnerships. These relationships work best when they provide a win-win for both parties. Suppliers are looking for increased market share (a larger piece of the pie as compared to their competitors) in exchange for discounts and other financial incentives. This leads us to a common failure with SMM implementation. Most SMMPs go in with a consolidation approach that is challenging, especially in today’s suppliers’ market, to build compliance around. While it’s good in theory, management also doesn’t want to micro-manage or otherwise mandate the use of suppliers. A better approach is to align with partners with whom your organization naturally gravitates towards, whether because they provide a level of service meeting managers and attendees can depend on, they are geographically well-positioned, and/or they offer financial benefits already that may be improved upon as market share increases. Regardless of the approach in selecting key suppliers with whom to partner, having the data that supports who to approach in the first place is a critical success factor.

7. To leverage greater amounts of spend in order to put into place spend controls.

How do you determine spend controls or thresholds? Establishing spending baselines can be challenging if you are limited to using industry benchmarks simply because there aren’t many meetings-related benchmarks available to reference. Reviewing your organization’s spend data on common elements such as guest room rates, meeting space rental and meals, by city and/or time of year, can lead to spend limits or controls that make sense.

8. To validate cost avoidance and savings.

Cost savings and avoidance are often cited as the number one reason organizations will deploy a managed meetings program. Unless you have a consistently applied methodology to track and report in these areas, you may be challenged in understanding if real savings is being achieved. Data validates your cost savings and avoidance efforts and can serve to identify trends and opportunities for more strategic negotiations or cost-cutting measures. When it comes to saving money, knowledge is power.

9. To validate ROI.

As previously mentioned, measuring the performance and success of a managed meetings program includes the ability to report out on Return on Investment. ROI can be measured in several different contexts. Starting at a high level, measuring an SMMP’s overall program ROI based on the cost to run the program as compared to the savings and cost avoidance delivered. Often, companies deploying meeting management software are tasked with validating the ROI on technology expenditures versus efficiency gains. At a more granular level, ROI may be measured for certain types of meetings in which a financial benefit is an expected outcome. This is commonly measured in sales and marketing related meetings and events, where increased sales and revenue are compared to the cost to operate the meeting.

10. Drives innovation in event attendee experiences.

Collecting data from an attendee level is a must to the success of future events. Today’s meeting attendees expect to engage with their fellow attendees before, during and after an event. They expect to connect using social media, to be recognized and to experience some degree of personalized service while at the meeting. Event apps are becoming very sophisticated and are able to offer many innovative solutions. With the massive amount of data apps are capable of collecting; event professionals can gain valuable insight into attendee’s preferences and drive new innovative initiatives. Data drives attendee satisfaction thus supporting your events’ ROI.

Download our Collecting Relevant Data to Affect Change handout to learn more. It features the top 10 list along with SMM scenarios for capturing data and the best practices of successful organizations. Interested in receiving additional resources and updates to your inbox? Simply click the Subscribe Today button below.

Posted in: Company News, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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WiFi 101: Have Enough Bandwidth for your Event?

Technology WiFi Bandwidth

Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications and Creative Services

Next week, our very own Tim LaFleur, is presenting at MPI-WEC on the very engaging topic of WiFi and what planners need to know to really understand it and tips on how to negotiate it with venues, hotel partners, and suppliers. Speaking with Tim about WiFi is seriously as exciting as it would be to talk to Steve Jobs about the iPhone. As Director of Mobile Strategy, Tim lives, breathes, eats and sleeps technology, and lucky for us, he is always willing to share his vast knowledge on the topic with our audience. Here are a few things Tim and I discussed.

Some of the key points he made are…

Personal experience with WiFi doesn’t always translate into WiFi experience at events.

WiFi is all around us in our daily lives. The majority of us have personal networks at home and are very used to going into the nearest coffee shop, restaurant and sometimes even outdoor park to pick up a free and reliable WiFi network. Mobility has blurred the line between personal and professional environments, so it is easy to understand why it is a common misconception that the WiFi at a meeting or event is easily accessible, ready-to-use, fast, and even free.

What used to ruin a meeting quicker than anything else is bad food. Now it is bad food and bad WiFi.

Free isn’t always free.

If the WiFi doesn’t provide enough bandwidth, network strength or throughput to support the participants, the meeting or event experience is in serious jeopardy. The cost of free WiFi can be an expensive opportunity cost.

But we have enough bandwidth, right?

Bandwidth is such a commonly used termed, even to typically describe one’s ability to complete their workload, that the question begs to be asked, ‘do we really understand what bandwidth is?’ Upload speeds, download speeds; sure we get the basic concept. A planner doesn’t need to know everything about how a network works. However, they do need to understand enough of the terms and technology to have an intelligent conversation to know what they are getting. A good WiFi experience isn’t simply about bandwidth. It is also about network strength, throughput, latency, bandwidth and how it is partitioned. All too often, a planner who is speaking with a venue technician doesn’t have a full understanding of what they are receiving and the venue technician doesn’t necessarily understand the dynamics of the meeting needs. It is critical for the success of the event that we continue to close this gap or our programs may suffer as a result from slowed networks and a lack of connectivity.

Bandwidth, throughput, partitioning – please explain.

The simplest way to explain bandwidth is to relate it to the size of a water hose. There is only so much water that can fit through the limited size of the hose. When the water that comes through the hose is sectioned off and allocated toward people that is the same thing as using some of the bandwidth of the network.

Throughput, on the other hand, is how much data can actually transmit through an access point or the hardware that transmits the internet signal.Throughput is limited by how many people can connect to a certain access point.Typically, each access point allows for 75-100 connections at a time. If too many devices are trying to connect to the same access point, users can experience a DOS (denial of service) and not be allowed into the network.

We have all experienced a slow network or the inability to access the WiFi when the person sitting next to us is not experiencing any issues.This is a result of a common occurrence when the network hasn’t been designed properly to allow for enough bandwidth or throughput or is just experiencing a high volume of traffic or is noisy due to old or outdated hardware.

It is also important to note that mobile devices don’t ever really go idle when WiFi is enabled. There are always apps running in the background that are utilizing the bandwidth and connecting to an access point.So if you have a room of 1000 people connected to a couple access points and transmitting a little bit of data, it can take up significant bandwidth and throughput.

Finally, partitioning is also a key term and idea to understand. A facility may give you an overall figure for the total bandwidth. However, asking how the bandwidth is partitioned between meeting space, hotel staff and guest rooms, for instance, is extremely important to understand to be able to design a network to support the event needs. Additionally, it is important to recognize if the partition is flexible and if it can be changed to be able to allocate additional bandwidth to specific areas.

Plan and design your event network just as you would design your food & beverage needs.

The biggest mistake planners make is to simply base the needs of the network off the number of attendees.In-depth conversations regarding the program needs are imperative to the success of the network. Are we talking about basic internet surfing, downloading, polling, and/or streaming? What types of apps will be used? Where will users be located (all in one room in separate spaces)? These are all key questions to consider and to discuss with the facility or supplier partner to ensure the network is designed to meet the event’s needs. Just as a planner wouldn’t simply tell the CSM that they need food for 500 people without explaining how many at each meal function and any special food sensitivities nor should a planner skip over such important details of the WiFi needs.

Breaking down the cost of WiFi

The conversation regarding the cost and WiFi services provided needs to begin during the RFP, sourcing, and contracting process.There are two basic methods for the pricing of WiFi. It is typically either the total amount of bandwidth allocated across unlimited users or based on the total number of concurrent connections.There are pros and cons to each method, however the number of connections tends to be easier to plan around. Having these conversations up-front will go a long way to keeping costs under control while providing planners with the appropriate network needs.

People tend to look at internet and events in two ways, either a cost of doing business or a profit center. Planners tend to think that it should be a cost of doing business and properties tend to think it should be a profit center and this is where negotiating becomes important. All conversations around the network should be addressed at the time of contract signing.

A final note

WiFi is now the fourth utility. There is power, water, heat/AC and now you have WiFi. Planners wouldn’t put on an event without the other three critical utilities so don’t skip out on the fourth one.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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WiFi 101: Do You have Enough Bandwidth for your Event?

Technology WiFi Bandwidth

Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications and Creative Services

Next week, our very own Tim LaFleur, will be presenting at MPI-WEC on the very engaging topic of WiFi and what planners need to know to really understand it and tips on how to negotiate it with venues, hotel partners, and suppliers. Speaking with Tim about WiFi is seriously as exciting as it would be to talk to Steve Jobs about the iPhone. As M&IW’s Director of Mobile Strategy, Tim lives, breathes, eats and sleeps technology, and lucky for us, he is always willing to share his vast knowledge on the topic with our audience. Here are a few things Tim and I discussed.

Some of the key points he made are…

Personal experience with WiFi doesn’t always translate into WiFi experience at events.

WiFi is all around us in our daily lives. The majority of us have personal networks at home and are very used to going into the nearest coffee shop, restaurant and sometimes even outdoor park to pick up a free and reliable WiFi network. Mobility has blurred the line between personal and professional environments, so it is easy to understand why it is a common misconception that the WiFi at a meeting or event is easily accessible, ready-to-use, fast, and even free.

What used to ruin a meeting quicker than anything else is bad food. Now it is bad food and bad WiFi.

Free isn’t always free. If the WiFi doesn’t provide enough bandwidth, network strength or throughput to support the participants, the meeting or event experience is in serious jeopardy. The cost of free WiFi can be an expensive opportunity cost.

But we have enough bandwidth, right?

Bandwidth is such a commonly used termed, even to typically describe one’s ability to complete their workload, that the question begs to be asked, ‘do we really understand what bandwidth is?’ Upload speeds, download speeds; sure we get the basic concept. A planner doesn’t need to know everything about how a network works. However, they do need to understand enough of the terms and technology to have an intelligent conversation to know what they are getting. A good WiFi experience isn’t simply about bandwidth. It is also about network strength, throughput, latency, bandwidth and how it is partitioned. All too often, a planner who is speaking with a venue technician doesn’t have a full understanding of what they are receiving and the venue technician doesn’t necessarily understand the dynamics of the meeting needs. It is critical for the success of the event that we continue to close this gap or our programs may suffer as a result from slowed networks and a lack of connectivity.

Bandwidth, throughput, partitioning – please explain.

The simplest way to explain bandwidth is to relate it to the size of a water hose. There is only so much water that can fit through the limited size of the hose. When the water that comes through the hose is sectioned off and allocated toward people that is the same thing as using some of the bandwidth of the network.

Throughput, on the other hand, is how much data can actually transmit through an access point or the hardware that transmits the internet signal. Throughput is limited by how many people can connect to a certain access point. Typically, each access point allows for 75-100 connections at a time. If too many devices are trying to connect to the same access point, users can experience a DOS (denial of service) and not be allowed into the network.

We have all experienced a slow network or the inability to access the WiFi when the person sitting next to us is not experiencing any issues. This is a result of a common occurrence when the network hasn’t been designed properly to allow for enough bandwidth or throughput or is just experiencing a high volume of traffic or is noisy due to old or outdated hardware.

It is also important to note that mobile devices don’t ever really go idle when WiFi is enabled. There are always apps running in the background that are utilizing the bandwidth and connecting to an access point. So if you have a room of 1000 people connected to a couple access points and transmitting a little bit of data, it can take up significant bandwidth and throughput.

Finally, partitioning is also a key term and idea to understand. A facility may give you an overall figure for the total bandwidth. However, asking how the bandwidth is partitioned between meeting space, hotel staff and guest rooms, for instance, is extremely important to understand to be able to design a network to support the event needs. Additionally, it is important to recognize if the partition is flexible and if it can be changed to be able to allocate additional bandwidth to specific areas.

Plan and design your event network just as you would design your food & beverage needs.

The biggest mistake planners make is to simply base the needs of the network off the number of attendees. In-depth conversations regarding the program needs are imperative to the success of the network. Are we talking about basic internet surfing, downloading, polling, and/or streaming? What types of apps will be used? Where will users be located (all in one room in separate spaces)? These are all key questions to consider and to discuss with the facility or supplier partner to ensure the network is designed to meet the event’s needs. Just as a planner wouldn’t simply tell the CSM that they need food for 500 people without explaining how many at each meal function and any special food sensitivities nor should a planner skip over such important details of the WiFi needs.

Breaking down the cost of WiFi

The conversation regarding the cost and WiFi services provided needs to begin during the RFP, sourcing, and contracting process. There are two basic methods for the pricing of WiFi. It is typically either the total amount of bandwidth allocated across unlimited users or based on the total number of concurrent connections. There are pros and cons to each method, however the number of connections tends to be easier to plan around. Having these conversations up-front will go a long way to keeping costs under control while providing planners with the appropriate network needs.

People tend to look at internet and events in two ways, either a cost of doing business or a profit center. Planners tend to think that it should be a cost of doing business and properties tend to think it should be a profit center and this is where negotiating becomes important. All conversations around the network should be addressed at the time of contract signing.

A final note

WiFi is now the fourth utility. There is power, water, heat/AC and now you have WiFi. Planners wouldn’t put on an event without the other three critical utilities so don’t skip out on the fourth one. Interested in learning more about this hot topic or receiving a complimentary copy of our Internet Health Checklist, sign up to receive news, invite and updates from M&IW.

Posted in: Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting, Upcoming Events

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Welcome to our New Blog — M&IW Industry Insights!!

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director of Marketing and Strategic Development

We are thrilled to introduce you to our new blog — M&IW Industry Insights. This is the place where we’ll share our thoughts on ideas that will shape your business and disrupt the industry. Look forward to fresh, timely, and relevant content on our latest news, happenings, activities, and emerging trends from M&IW thought leaders.

At M&IW, we bring people together for successful outcomes. But more importantly, we believe live meetings and events transform organizations. We also know success is best achieved in true collaboration with our valued clients, talented associates and industry partners. As part of that philosophy, we are creating more opportunities for you to interact with us. Stay tuned for upcoming events, free webinars, and valuable resources.

To make sure you are always up-to-date on M&IW, we invite you to join our email list. Not ready to commit? That’s okay. Simply explore all of the great information on our website, watch our brand essence video, or connect with us on social media.

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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