Meeting Mentor Magazine

August 2020

Do You Have the Tech Chops You Need to Manage Today’s Events?

Woman biting pen stressing over technologyData analytics, live streaming, event apps, event management systems … There is no shortage of technology designed to enhance every aspect of the meeting planning and implementation process. In fact, 91% of meeting organizers polled for a recent survey by event management software provider Eventsforce said event tech is a key aspect of their work — and many also said knowing how to manage event technology is important to their job success and career progression. In fact, 68% believe they need to be event tech experts to do their jobs effectively.

But despite its growing importance to their meetings and their careers, only 48% feel they are up to speed on event tech. Three-quarters said they struggle to keep up with all the new products and trends in the event tech marketplace, which they try to do through conversations with peers and colleagues (78%), industry blogs and news sites (50%), tradeshows and industry events (48%), industry podcasts/webinars (39%), networking events (36%), and social media (32%).

But despite their best efforts — and the fact that the majority said event tech budgets and new tech purchases fall under their team’s bailiwick — half said they don’t feel they have the skills they need to make confident, informed decisions regarding event technology. Sixty percent also said event planners should be held accountable for their organizations’ event tech investment, since they are the ones using the systems — though an additional 22% said that while they should be accountable, they don’t have the time or skills to manage event tech purchasing effectively. Just 18% said they thought the event team should take an advisory role when it comes to new tech investment but not be held accountable for purchasing decisions.

Top Tech Challenges
Which event tech tools do planners find the most difficult to manage? Data management topped the list, with 47% calling data analytics and reporting their biggest bugaboo. Live streaming, at 34%, also causes some headaches, as do event apps and on-site engagement tools such as polls and surveys, at 32%. Registration/event management software and project management tools were a pain point for 30% and 29%, respectively, followed by regulatory compliance and data security, email communication/marketing automation, on-site check-in/attendance management, and lead capture.

In addition to the tools themselves, planners said some of the processes also are challenging. Almost two-thirds said the time it takes to complete the procurement/implementation/integration process is a top challenge, followed by getting the event team and other departments to adopt the technology (54%). Managing the migration process when moving from one system to another is an issue for 47%, while 37% pointed to tracking performance of tech systems and measuring return on investment (ROI). A quarter also said it isn’t easy to deal with their tech providers.

Next-Gen Event Tech
Despite their challenges with current event tech, the respondents still were excited about emerging technology, especially when it comes to a mixture of augmented and virtual reality, said half of those surveyed. Other interesting emerging tech they pointed to include artificial intelligence–enabled personalized technology such as chatbots and networking tools (43%), smart wearables (37%), facial recognition tools (25%), and the next-generation, high-speed 5G networks (25%).

But they weren’t confident that the next generation of planners will be any better-equipped to handle event tech challenges than they are, with just 22% saying they think new graduates today have the skills the job requires. A full 63% said they just aren’t sure. Perhaps the answer to the skills gap is to create a new type of event professional, one whose job centers solely on event technology. More than half, 56%, said they think we will see an “event technologist” specialist career niche emerge, while 32% weren’t sure. Just 12% said they do not see this new breed of event technologist arising any time soon.

 

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights. www.meetingmentormag.com

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