Not all event tech is created equal. Some promise better functionality; others are catchy with naturally intuitive interfaces. Instead of simply opting for the latest product or one used by competitors, a firm must pick the right tech that meets its requirements.
Here are some tips on choosing the most suitable technology for your meetings and events.
Single market issue
Consider tech that can be deployed across various markets and regions. For instance, certain platforms are focused solely on the Chinese market with customised meeting functionalities like sourcing and reporting. This would not pose an issue for domestic meetings but problems arise when the planner needs to source hotels outside of China. Also consider other factors such as whether the tech supports multiple languages and includes inventories from other regions.
Some firms may be using programmes that can only execute one-off tasks such as sourcing. Such siloed methods will be limiting and the firm may need to find a programme that can fulfill multiple applications such as budgeting and attendee management. Some platforms offer end-to-end services that streamline the entire process from budget inputing, audience registration and supplier sourcing to audience tracking. Seek those out.
Data entry and management
Let’s not sugarcoat the truth, data entry is a mind-numbing and thankless task. Some firms outsource data-inputting to agencies while others do it internally. For client-facing interface, it is important to ask questions about the structure, the number of steps involved to complete an entry and the flow of the process. The best data entry programme will be one that offers customisation to planners.
On the other hand, data is only useful if it can provide planners with actionable insights.
Firms need to choose a platform with functions that support efficient data reporting, tracking and analysis. Again, the platform must organise data output into categories customised according to the firm’s requirements, which could range from distribution of meeting spend to most frequently used locations and hotels. These parameters will help planners identify the patterns and finer details of meeting spend, which will in turn contribute to better cost leverage.
Test, test and test again
It is crucial to evaluate your needs before committing to a specific tech. For example, some meeting tech offers focused search functionality with extensive search fields while there are others that are more intuitive in input analysis and user prediction. To find out which search function is the most useful, it is better to check the search results before inking the agreement with your tech supplier.
Sam Lay is senior director, CWT Meetings & Events, Asia Pacific.