Archive for Event Technology & Mobility Solutions

Engaging your Workforce through Corporate Responsibility

corporate giving, charity, causes, CSR, Big Brothers Big Sisters

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

Over the last ten years, corporate responsibility has transformed from a single act of charity, such as sponsorships, volunteerism and community involvement to complete, brand-centric philanthropy. If done well, modern corporate social responsibility practices engrain themselves into the culture of an organization impacting employees, customers, suppliers, and even communities.

Social impact has expanded into every part of the business, by function, unit, and even geography. CSR programs can no longer afford to simply be charitable — social impact needs to be ‘built into’ a company’s strategy showcased across many aspects of operations.

Transform Your Business

  • Consider B-Corp Strategies – B Corporations build their companies around social impact
  • Encourage Influencers – Offer individual incentives for executives and employees who take social responsibility personally and mentor others
  • Create a Portfolio – Outline a portfolio of outreach programs at each level of your organization
  • Think Locally – Choose local or brand-centric activities and interest that align with corporate goals and interests
  • Promote Thoughtfully – Use consideration when sharing your CSR endeavors without diluting your message

Engage Your Workforce

The more aligned your CSR activities are with the company’s culture and values, the more they will resonate with the employees. Attendees who are personally invested will leave your meeting, conference, tradeshow or event with a sense of purpose and satisfaction. For maximum impact, we recommend starting your CSR activity in advance with some friendly competition — it is a great way to raise both awareness and funds early. Be sure to recognize top achievers and high performing teams during your event and continue to support the cause in other ways throughout the year.

Select a CSR Activity

Our clients often ask us what are the most popular CSR programs? It is a hard question to answer as the options are endless and each program is unique and customized for your group based on your objectives, attendees, location, and budget. However, below are some programs that have been a hit with our clients over the years:

  • Arrange a Scavenger Hunt
  • Build a Beehive
  • Host a Game Show
  • Run a Race for a Cure
  • Create a Charity Match
  • Build a Playground for Kids
  • Host Fitness Challenges
  • Clean the Local Ecosystem
  • Adopt a Local or International School
  • Host a Clean Water Challenge
  • Provide Packages for Rescue Animals
  • Build a Home with Habitat for Humanity
  • Pack STEM Education Kits
  • Build a Wheelchair
  • Pack Food/Medicine bags for Project Open Hand
  • Paint Shoes with Soles for Souls
  • Register for Pledge It Forward
  • Build Bikes or Red Wagons for Children

Create a Culture of Giving

As part of our corporate Global Giveback, every year we select a different charity to support and theme our CSR activity. This year we are supporting the fight against hunger. At our annual company event, our employees packed more 26,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger. Each month, we designate specific food items which makes it easy for individuals to participate and we track our collective impact. Additionally, our M&IW family is supporting a local pantry through monetary donations, food and hygiene items, and volunteering our time.

Corporations with sound CSR practices have access to many benefits — intrinsic and extrinsic. This incentive drives the implementation of corporate programs at meetings and conferences and events. More so, event marketers see that initiatives are good for business and good for the connectivity of their shareholders.

For more information about best practices in selecting, designing and executing a CSR program for your next event, contact us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

 

 

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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Top 3 Benefits of Partnering with a Women-Owned Business

Meetings & Incentives Worldwide (M&IW) is honored to be a trusted certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the WBDC-Chicago, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) for the seventh consecutive year. M&IW owned by sister team, Jean Johnson and Tina Madden, are committed to a diverse work environment that backs its words with accountable actions.

“We are very excited to offer this additional value to our current and future clients committed to supplier diversity programs,” said Jean Johnson, CMP, Co-CEO and Chief People Officer. By including women-owned businesses among their vendors, corporations, and government agencies, organizations demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier/vendor diversity programs.

While there are many benefits of working with diverse suppliers, there are three that stand out as being the most impactful to a business’s bottom line.

Top Three Benefits of a Supplier Diversity Program

  1. The Federal Government Offers Tax Incentives

Partnering with diverse and minority-owned suppliers, including WBENC provides many tax incentives from the federal level. Not only does a business receive a tax break, but they also may be able to take advantage of reduced tax liabilities if minority vendors and suppliers are being used for federal or state-funded grants or loans. As a certified organization, we can provide you with all the information needed to leverage this opportunity.

  1. Diverse Partners Can Increase Procurement Channels

Diverse suppliers have deep relationships with other vendors that may provide additional saving across your business. The strength of these relationships and their commitment to quality and innovation often leads to a tangible increase in savings and resources for obtaining goods and services.

3. Strategic Diversity Aligns Revenue & Economic Impact

Supplier Diversity programs offer an impactful and marketable way to differentiate yourself from your competitors to shareholders, employees, and consumers, which may increase business opportunities. Diversity-leading organizations know they need leaders who both understand and reflect the needs of their customers. Women-owned businesses are also one of the fasted growing sectors of our economy. Showcasing your company’s commitment to doing business in diverse markets increases economic growth in many communities.

Why Diversity Matters to Us

We live in a deeply connected and global world. It should come as no surprise that more diverse companies are achieving better performance. “We need to attract, develop and retain diverse leaders who both understand and reflect the needs of our customers,” said Tina Madden, Co-CEO and Chief Customer Officers. Additionally, as a certified WBE, we are dedicated to a supplier diversity strategy that seeks out and utilizes women-owned and minority suppliers internally and within our customers’ events.

 

 

 

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

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Top Tips to Streamline Your Conference Marketing Plan

How to Market Your Conference

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

You may be scratching your head and asking yourself what on earth is holistic marketing and how does it pertain to my conference? Holistic marketing is a strategy which considers the business as a whole and not as an entity with various parts. All communication and activities are aligned and integrated throughout all departments to create a uniform and impactful experience. Many companies do not consider the impact of an aligned strategy and many times, only do what they think is vital, creating an agenda, organizing speaker and other tasks associated with operations.

Marketing alignment is a part of your business strategy and just like top organizational goals, a little consideration makes a large impact on experience and your return on investment. Consider the following key marketing strategies for your next conference to bring your message to the forefront of your targeted audience.

Six Marketing Strategies for Your Conference

1. Event Websites are vital. Your website is your online salesperson. You want to target audience to find and engage with your materials.

Encourage readers to spend more time on the website by:

  • Build a mobile responsive website—In today’s market there is a 90% chance your target audience will view your website from their mobile device. If they find this difficult, you may lose their interest.
  • Hyperlink pages throughout the website—Inpage and off-site hyperlinks add to the legitimacy of your webpage and offers useful information for your audience, ensuring you resonate with them as a thought leader.
  • Set up the registration link to open in a new window—This gives the readers easy access to the last web page they were viewing if your registration process takes them off of your website. Pro-Tip: Use a website builder that seamlessly integrates the registration process.
  • Outline an agenda—Even if it is a basic outline. It can be updated and enhanced as speakers commit to sessions and breakout topics. Showcasing that the agenda will update may encourage users to return to the site again and again.
  • Consider SEOs (Search Engine Optimization)—Help improve your website’s ranking in search results by writing your copy with the natural keywords and phrases that your target market is searching for online. (i.e. location, topics, speakers).
  • Create Content —Blog articles, Podcasts, videos will create additional SEO opportunities for your website. So produce content as often as you can while remaining consistent. Post content that centers around your conference, the speaker’s topics, the industry and hot topics your potential attendees may be interested in.
  • Create Shortcuts—If the conference website is separate from the company website, consider promoting the conference on the company’s homepage with a banner that links to the conference website.

2. Marketing Automation is your best friend. According to a 2018 Radicati Group study, there will be more than 3.8 billion email users before the start of 2019.

Here are some tips on email marketing:

  • Build a mobile responsive email template—Do not risk losing a registering attendee because they can’t read the email from their mobile device.
  • Create clear CTAs—Always have a call to action. Make sure it is clear what the intent of your message is and what action you’d like your audience to take. Make sure links and buttons clearly say Register Now, Learn More, View Agenda, Meet Speakers, etc.
  • Be Creative—You have a short time frame to get your point across. Capture your reader’s attention by simplifying your message, adding short videos or linking to more information so you can track interaction.
  • Be Considerate—While email is still one of the highest forms of communication, be sure you respect the inbox and space your emails out accordingly. Spread out your emails by at least a week as to not annoy your audience.
  • Give Thanks—If this is a repeating conference, send emails after your event thanking people for attending. Include a Save the Date for the following year and offer a survey to see where improvements can be made.

3. Social Media is a great place to promote your event, interact with attendees & followers, and drive traffic to the conference website. Like content marketing, post about the conference, but post other topics as well. Keep posts simple and encourage team members and industry influencers to like, share and comment on event posts.
 
4. Event Hashtags can boost impressions and improve the searchability of your conference. Create a conference hashtag and use it every chance you get. Hashtags are individually searchable and on some social sites, can be followed. They increase social media engagement and attract new followers.
 
5. Geofencing and Retargeting may help you reach your audience. Due to the General Data Protection Regulations and other data protection privacy laws, gone are the days of purchasing a list of leads to increase conference awareness and registration. Target users by location or interest using these paid search advertising techniques.
 
6. Post Conference Marketing can be extraordinary. The conference might be over, but there is still marketing to be done. It is very important to gather and file all the collateral collected during the conference. This includes; photos, videos, testimonials, survey results, etc. This year’s collateral is next year’s promotional material.

Promote your Conference with Confidence

Each conference is as unique as the audience that attends. It is important to try a variety of marketing tactics and track its impact on registration and engagement. The key is to ensure you have a dedicated distribution and content plan for your website, email marketing calendar, social media, paid advertising and post-conference goals.

In conclusion, do not over commit. Choose a few of these elements and go all in. Do not spread yourself too thin or you may lessen your impact on your audience. Marketing is an art; not an exact science. The key is to test and measure and then focus on what works for your event, target audience and geographic location. If you are interested in learning more about our conference and event marketing services, please email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

 

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

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How to Better Engage Attendees at Mandatory Meetings

Engaging Attendees at Mandatory Meetings

Written by Christina Wicklund | Event Marketing Project Lead

Let’s face it, some meetings are mandatory; attendees do not have a choice in the matter. These types of meetings can be challenging even for the tenured planner. How do you get an attendee to want to register for a mandatory meeting? How do you keep them engaged during the meeting? How do you offer a calming more comfortable learning environment? I presented these questions to three SMEs on our Global Enterprise Solutions team to discover the current tips and tricks for making the most out of mandatory meetings.

Jessica Menzer, HMCC, Strategic Account Manager, had plenty of insight to offer based on her 15 years of experience in meeting planning. “As we are all aware, registration is vital to a smooth-running meeting. All factors of an event are based on the quantity of attendees – room size, seating style, quantity of food, transportation to offsite events, staff on hand, the list is endless. It is essential invitees register, that is why marketing is imperative for events, including mandatory ones.”

When asked how she entices attendees to register for a meeting they don’t have a choice in attending. Jessica stated “start with a Save the Date invite with plenty of time in advance. Choose an appealing destination with a hotel located near attractions, shops and restaurants.” She continued by suggesting the use of airport hotels that are easy to maneuver to and from the airport, especially for 1-day meetings. In addition to the points above, Jessica recommends to always reveal some agenda content in advance of the event. By focusing on clear communication and the value of the mandatory meeting, planners can generate excitement and drive registrations for even the most reluctant invitee.

Once the attendees have registered, the question becomes how planners keep them engaged during a meeting that they must attend, Paquita McCray shared a plethora of ideas. Paquita has been working in this industry for more than 15 years, she is also a Strategic Account Manager at M&IW. One of Paquita’s suggestions is interactive meeting technology with electronic tablets for all participants. Tablets, such as EM-Array, have multiple uses and keep attendees interacting throughout the event. When using tablets at a meeting make sure the following items are installed prior to the start of the meeting.

  • Agenda – ability to update as needed
  • Hotel Map – meeting, breakfast, lunch, dinner and break room locations clearly marked
  • Presentation Slides – attendees can take notes and save slides for future reference
  • Audience Response System (ARS) and Live Polling Questions
  • Speaker Bios
  • Surveys, Session Evaluations and Certificates of Attendance
  • Interactive Games – Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune format is popular and questions can be customized based on the objective and content of the meeting

Additionally, many global mandatory meetings have multilingual participation. Setting up multilingual capabilities for attendees will help with engagement. To ensure clear communication, provide translation services when needed. When attendees submit questions and opinions through the tablet, give them the ability to enter questions in their local language. Ensure prior to the event that the tablet is programed to translate the question to the group/moderator.

A must-have on everyone’s list, especially for mandatory meetings, is a mobile app. Mobile apps generate engagement throughout the event – pre, during and post. Apps provide attendees up-to-the-minute information and event navigation at their fingertips. This form of technology also enhances and brings events to life via the energy of registered attendees, which is very helpful when applied to mandatory meetings.

Paquita also recommends scheduling presentations to rotate speakers; nothing is worse on one’s attention span than sitting through the same speaker for three topics, especially if the content is dry. Adjust the presentation styles and make sure speakers are dynamic. Review the decks prior to avoid speakers duplicating information.

The last great piece of advice that Paquita offered is to make sure you schedule in adequate breaks and white space. If there is a longer presentation, break it up into part one and part two with a break in between. Attendees often lose interest or focus on their own work rather than focusing on the presenter if there is too much content in one sitting.

Steve Lorenz, CMP, HMCC, one of M&IW’s Sr. Account Leads with 28 years’ experience, suggested to always book a room with natural lighting when possible. As we all know this isn’t always possible, when that is the case, decorate the entrance, stage and room with plants to provide a calming more comfortable learning environment. He also recommended breakout sessions or workshops where attendees are separated into participant types. This gives the client the ability to cover information that is more specific to each participant, such as having an investigator session separate from a study coordinator session with medical meetings. Doing this keeps the attendees engaged and interacting with their direct peers.

By utilizing these tips from our M&IW’s subject matter experts, planners will generate pre-meeting excitement, attendee engagement and offer a conducive learning environment at their next mandatory meeting.

 

Posted in: Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design

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2019 Meeting Industry Trends to Watch

Whats Trending in Event Management

Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

With 2019 upon us, and to help you prepare you for an amazing year of change, transition and growth–we’ve gathered meeting and conference trends from across the industry we feel are notable and that we will continue to track through 2019. (1)  

Below are a few of our favorites and insights:

  • Global Outlook – Although there is conflicting information in recent reports, there are indications of a global slowdown that will likely be triggered by what is going on in the EU concerning some of the unknowns with Brexit. This will likely not impact the US market immediately but may have effects on our industry because of the strength of the dollar making it more difficult for international travels coming to the US.
  • Top News in Hotels – Rates are going to continue to run high globally because of demand. Revenue per Available Room, also known as RevPar, is increasing globally and across the US. Some of the hottest cities for 2019 in North America are Las Vegas, New York, and Orlando. Additional US locations to watch this year include San Diego, Toronto, and Nashville. Globally, high demand cities for the upcoming year include São Paulo, Mexico City, London, Shanghai, Singapore, and finally, Moscow made the list because of their competitive rates based on the inventory from the Olympics.
  • Air Booking & Group Travel – Airline ticket costs are on the rise because of fuel costs. The trend to allow individual mileage rewards toward a company’s airline fulfillment is emerging. Group online booking tools are gaining popularity for their ability to connect ground transportation to ticketing and group air travel making managing air travel and ground transportation for attendees seamless. More and more meetings and conference locations are being decided on based on an air cost analysis. Finally, airline capacity is increasing to meet the increase in traveler demand.
  • Technology –There is a 60% increase in technology growth within the meeting and conferences space. Phy-digital is the future where the physical and the digital world collide. Live meetings with the integration of digital technology are far outperforming traditional virtual technologies. It is estimated that 75% of meetings planners will have some sort of phy-digital technology in their meetings. Finally, more event technologies on the horizon include event bots, facial recognition, voice-activated apps, go-pro robots and much more.
  • Mobile Apps – Mobile apps are getting increasingly sophisticated with features such as facial recognition. Areas of anticipated growth within mobile apps include the agenda, pre- and post-attendee engagement, attendee behavior tracking, networking capabilities, and safety features.
  • Meeting and Event Management – Some of the tried and true trends of the past remain constant including unique venues, local product sourcing, sustainable food and beverage options, unique room sets and innovative seating environments. Two of the newest trends are the personalization of the experience regardless of the size and localization; meaning bringing the local culture into the event and embracing the surroundings outside the hotels four walls as part of the attendee experience.
  • Safety and Security Practices – California is releasing new and updated digital privacy laws coming in January 2020. GDPR is still trending with new countries being added and the Brexit implications. As it relates to event-level emergency policies and procedures, “duty of care” is still top of the list. The Exhibits and Meetings Safety and Security Initiative (EMSSI) continues to evolve and release industry-wide guidance for the cyber safety and physical safety of the meetings industry.
  • Business Intelligence (BI) – BI and data analytics is still king. The rise of data scientists as a role within the industry is the newest emerging trend. It is no longer enough to collect and analyze data. This new role of data scientist will take the way the meetings industry utilizes data to help make smarter, more informed decisions to a whole new level.

If you would like to learn more about these topics and trends as well as others not mentioned here, you can watch the replay of Shauna McNaughton, HMCC, Sr. Director, Strategic Account Management, presenting Powerful Trends that will Impact Your 2019 Strategy.

 

(1) Sources used for M&IW Insights Report include BTN Articles, MGM’s Michael Dominiquez, CWT Annual Report, AMEX Annual Report, SmartMeetings, MeetingNet

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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Two Weeks in Thailand — The 2019 SITE Global Conference

SITE Classic Incentive Travel Thailand

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

This month, M&IW Director of Incentive Services, Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS, had the pleasure of attending the 2019 SITE Global Conference in Bangkok, Thailand where more than 375 industry professionals from around the world met to discuss current and forecasted trends in incentive travel. 

The biggest takeaway from the conference was how successful incentive programs integrate into an organizations structure and align with overall business and sales objectives. Travel programs make sense from a business perspective; measuring organizational effectiveness and combining continuing education and professional development, while increasing operational sales and performer loyalty.

SITE Classic 2019 - Bangkok Here we Come!

While in Thailand, Tracy had the opportunity to connect with peers at all levels of the industry. This included tourist boards, airlines, cruise companies, hotels and convention centers, global DMCs, transportation companies, inspirational industry speakers and educators to discuss some of the most significant topics in incentive travel.

Core Incentive Travel Topics Included:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Incentive Program Design
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Human Resources
  • Managing Incentive Travel Programs
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing Communications
  • Risk & Crisis Management
  • Site Management
  • CSR & Sustainability

Breakout session and talk tracks at the SITE Global Conference dug deep into each of these topics followed by peer discussions and one-on-one networking. From these immersive meetings, Tracy had some key takeaways for our clients and community:

Develop a Balanced Scorecard—Build a holistic way to measure your operational effectiveness at all levels of your organization.

Leverage Big Data—Security, safety and technology integration is leading to more metrics than ever, use this data to create a more impactful corporate culture and segment the types of incentive programs your company offers.

Embrace Authenticity—The definition of luxury is changing. The era of big brand logos is now far less impactful than authentic, unique and personal experiences.

Adopt Inclusivity—Inclusivity is a critical concept for incentive programs. Incentive travel changes behavior and builds motivation at all levels of an organization.

Incentivize Diversity—In today’s markets, businesses who wholeheartedly embrace diversity and corporate responsibility continue to see economic growth.

Make Your Own Trends—Rather than choosing between the latest “hot-spots” in travel, consider an out-of-the-box adventure for your team that immerses travelers in localism and culture.

Incentive travel contributes significantly to economic growth and partnerships within and between organizations. Organizations must think globally both internally and externally. It is no longer enough to ‘gift’ your top performers with high-end travel—inspire the rest of your team to reach higher, offer unique experiences and create realistic metrics at each level of your business to properly create stakeholder benchmarks.

Click here to learn more about the SITE Global Conference in Bangkok. For more information about incentive travel programs, visit meetings-incentives.com or call 1+ 262.835.3553 to speak to a Meetings & Incentives Worldwide team member.

 

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

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Lighting a New Fire: Finding Vision and Strategy (Part 3 of 3)

WBENC Tuck Executive Course

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

When I reflect on this history of M&IW, I think about my father and grandfather—their courage and perseverance to start a family business more than 50 years ago. I think about their unwavering principles and values that have stood the test of time and continue, to this day, to run deep through our employees and our company’s culture. However, there is one attribute that particularly stands out and that is grit.

Grit is a character trait that is deeply ingrained in our family, and also one that we strongly value at M&IW. To us, grit is the courage to go first, the resolve to always do the right thing by our clients even if it is difficult, and the strength of character to admit we may not have all the answers, but you have our promise that we will work together in partnership and figure it out. It is having the perseverance to fail, pick yourself back up and keep going.

After completing the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program, I had a realization that while our company has continued to grow and innovate, we have reached an inflection point with a unique opportunity to shape our future. I asked our executive team to redefine the objectives that will drive future strategies, create more alignment across teams and departments, as well as provide us with a means to track our performance and ongoing success. Through this exercise, we came up with three focus areas: GRowth, Innovation, and Talent. And, guess what? There you have it—our new meaning of Gr.I.T.

As M&IW evolves, apparently so does our definition of grit. Our goal over the next few months is for our leaders to continue to define and refine. We will put objectives in place to grow our business and build relationships, lead the industry in innovation, and recruit/retain the best talent that aligns with our culture and values.

It amazes me as we begin this journey of mapping out our future success how transformative it is! Even in the early stages. Which is the reason I share this with you now even before we have it all defined, because we realize it is not our final destination that matters most, it is the journey and learnings along the way.

And while we are at the beginning of refining these objectives; our mindset is solid. We are focused on putting the practices in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of M&IW for the next 50 years.

So, what does our GRIT mean for you?

Through this exercise into 2019, we are going to get really clear on how to best serve you. This will result in more innovative service offerings, enhanced customer service, and streamlined operations all with the goal in mind to help you grow your business. Because, we firmly believe in our vision to transform organizations through the power of human energy, one event at a time. And, because we believe in our mission to focus on aligning enterprise and event customers while designing and executing innovative solutions to drive continuous improvement and deliver exceptional experiences. We are excited to continue to partner with our clients in the year ahead and deliver amazing outcomes.

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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Tis the Season for Giving…

Global Giving Fighting Hunger
Written by Jill Pearson | Manager, Digital Marketing & Media

Since the inception of our Global Giveback initiative, M&IW team members have shown it is always the season for giving. However, around the holidays, most of us feel increasingly inspired to support those in need.

This year we focused our attention on ending hunger domestically and abroad. We launched a yearlong food drive and each month designated items for our employees to donate. Our December featured is canned green beans as the traditional holiday dinner would not be complete with grandma’s famous “green bean casserole.”

At our annual company meeting in August, our 250+ amazing team members helped assemble and package more than 28,000 meals. So, you can imagine our delight when we received word that RISE AGAINST HUNGER was sending a container holding 285,120 meals to the Dominican Republic in support of CitiHope International.

CitiHope International is an organization that nourishes lives through food assistance and other services in the Dominican Republic. To learn more, please visit the partner/country spotlight and click on the Impact Stories tab and click and drag on the World Aid Map at https://www.riseagainsthunger.org/world-aid/.

Additionally, we recently joined Jean Johnson, CMP, our Co-CEO, in supporting an effort closer to home. Giving to the Nations initiated a program called “Filling the Gap…” Their goal is to raise $250,00 to provide healthy food, hygiene products and basic household goods for local families in our hometown of Racine, Wisconsin who are having a hard time making ends meet and facing tough financial choices. CLICK HERE to learn more and donate to the cause.

Ending hunger is only possible if we continue to grow the movement. Since 2005, volunteers have helped distribute more than 310 million meals worldwide through Rise Against Hunger. We can end hunger by 2030, but we can’t do it without you. Please visit their website www.riseagainsthunger.org to get involved or donate.

We look forward to Giving Back in 2019!

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

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Pros and Cons of Designing in Cvent Flex

Cvent Flex Event Website Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pros of Cvent Flex

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

The Cons of Cvent Flex

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

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

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

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

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

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Introducing Cvent Flex — What You Need to Know

Cvent Flex for Event Website Design is Live

Written by Chip Begley | Senior Manager, Event Technology

As of October 31, 2018, Cvent released Flex General Availability meaning all Cvent accounts now have the Flex registration option. This will become the new “standard registration” and the previous version is renamed to the “classic registration.” In order to bring the latest information on the update and full transparency into the new process, I have compiled a list of questions and answers on the topic.

What is Cvent Flex?

Flex is the name of the new event registration module within Cvent which is being called “a modern and innovative way for event planners to build, design, and manage modern mobile-responsive event websites and enhance the registration process.” With the release of Flex comes a complete redesign of the technology that uses a whole new thought process to building websites.

What does Cvent Flex mean to me?

Cvent’s intention with Flex is to provide a simpler and easier process for building registration websites. And, while this will fully be the case in the future, M&IW expects a learning curve for our clients and our team as we implement the new platform. For reference, we all recall when Microsoft would change their Office programs.

Many of us would spend precious time looking for the location of the new navigation menu. Flex is not simply a navigation menu redesign, it is a full redesign of the way the registration site module will operate and the learning curve will be slightly more than learning where a new menu item resides. Please be aware that this may initially have an effect on design hours.

Our team is already diving into the new platform to continue to provide exceptionally designed sites. Along with M&IW’s Creative Services Team we are looking forward to bringing our clients high-quality, multi-functional, responsive registration website designs.

What does Cvent Flex mean for M&IW?

M&IW is excited for the opportunity to design more and code less. Where we’ve been great at manipulating the HTML/CSS in the Classic Registration, Flex will give us the opportunity to design and brand more than just a registration site. Through the use of color palates, fonts and images we are able to create messages that drive home the purpose of the website and paint a larger picture of the event. Additionally, our Web Design team will continue to work very closely with our Creative Services team and our graphic designer to create professionally themed designs.

What else do I need to know?

Currently, M&IW is still able to create sites in Classic Registration and in Flex. The latest update from Cvent is that Classic Registration will sunset sometime in 2019, however, dates are fluid.

A final note, when switching over to Flex for our client’s registration sites, not all features are currently available from the previous classic version. We expect 100% parity in 2019 before the Classic version is sunsetted. Cvent is committed to enhancing the platform as it matures. Prior to ‘sunsetting’ the Classic version, Flex will not only have the same functionality as the Classic module; but will also provide more features and functionality within Flex than currently available.

In conclusion, our team is readily available to answer any of your questions or concerns. Please feel free to contact your M&IW representative to discuss any questions or concerns. For additional information, CLICK HERE to view our Industry Insights Webinar OnDemand, “It’s Flex Time! What you Need to Know about Cvent Flex.”

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

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