ConventionSouth

APR 2014

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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places they go for answers . The daily use of social networking sites via smartphones is also on the rise. Attendees can also network through social media before, during, and after the event, which can be a relationship game- changer. Adding your voice to this conversa- tion creates new opportunities to listen and learn from your attendees. Learn even more about attendees. Compa- nies with sophisticated event management solutions can now track costs, registrants, attendance trends, subsequent sales and more. Whether an event has 25 or 250 atten- dees, meeting planners are responsible for registering them. It has become more than taking down names and creating a badge per attendee. Technology enables lead re- trieval and integration with various tech- nologies, such as specific sessions each person plans to attend and if or how they are participating. The post-event online survey sent to attendees days or weeks after the event may not be the most cutting edge tool, but the data can be the best intelli- gence in improving all aspects of future meetings, including the quality of and effectiveness of core messaging. Hybrid meetings growth explodes. Face- to-face meetings still matter because they are more likely to keep attendees listening, yet they are more effective with hybrid compo- nents. A hybrid meeting is one that has a real-time, face-to-face as well as a virtual component and is growing in popularity. Many larger events, for example, are being streamed live with backchannel conversa- tions on platforms such as Twitter. The beauty of a hybrid meeting is that even registrants who can't attend can experience it virtually, which will extend the life of the meeting. It also can preserve the content so that prospects can go online and check in months or even years later. Follow up with feedback. When recon- necting with attendees, don't be over- promotional about your company and services. Offer content they can use in your blog and post-event communication. Continue and strengthen your relationship with participants. Find a sub-group who enjoyed your event and invite them back to a virtual meeting. Select the right ones with a post-event survey that asks for their opinion and suggestions. Create a virtual discussion group that will reinforce a peer-to-peer dynamic. This way you can continue to offer value to your prospects long after your event's closing session. ■ A P R I L 2 0 1 4 ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 15 CORPORATE MEETINGS 08-22 CS APRIL 2014_Layout 1 3/27/14 3:30 PM Page 15

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