What Did You Do Differently Last Year?

Author: Barbara Palmer       

In addition to data about quantifiable things like the size, frequency, costs, and types of meetings,  our Annual Meetings Market Survey also captures a wealth of data in the form of comments  in response to a series of open-ended questions.  Last week we published comments about the meeting industry’s biggest challenges.

For this week: 

What changes — positive or negative — have you made to your meeting over the last year because of the economy?

• Added a day as well as additional workshops; expanded available exhibit space. 

• Better contract negotiations.

• Budget control is being exercised [two mentions].

• Cut back on meeting frequency

• Cut videoing of presentations.

• Cvent implementation.

•Focused on non-dues revenue.

• For our largest event in 2016 we had to turn away more than 150 people. We are moving to a larger venue for 2017. This event originally was just for our state but now is becoming a regional event.

•We have implemented a risk-management manual to our events and we have purchased more event insurance for better protection.

• Have had to cut special events (receptions, keynote, concert) budgets.

• Increase in what we budget for food and beverage, and managing other costs more closely.

• Increased offerings at our meetings to attract members to attend because the economy allows more of them to travel now.

• Increased registration fees and meal prices.

• Lowered meeting costs.

• More outreach.

• More technology, no printing, all materials electronic, on-demand name-badge printing, live streaming, more sophisticated mobile app.

• Shorter meetings, more regional destinations.

• Smaller exhibit booths, more effort to engage volunteers.

• Spending more and doing more fun activities for members.

• Started implementing a strategic meetings management program.• 

• Use of more airport hotels with complimentary shuttle vs. booking private car service.

• We are giving our attendees more choices.

• We are looking at co-location or joint meetings with related organizations.

• We have brought in more specific industry equipment to seminars (i.e., women’s health track during a seminar and had specific medical equipment for 3D mammography, ultrasound for mammography and technology to read these images) and added additional tracks to encourage cross training/education.

• We have really increased the number of virtual/digital meetings per year.

• We may shorten our 2017 meeting, have one less speaker, reduce the meal costs.

• We’re having to adjust our F&B budget due to yearly increases in costs. We have also increased the cost of our sponsorships and added new a la carte options.

• We’ve made our convention more meaningful to attendees and exhibitors.