Ben Hambidge, Director at Ordinate, on how tech can help measure the value of your meeting, and find your perfect match.
There’s hard research that tells us that the value of a face-to-face meeting is better than any other form of marketing when it comes to closing sales and we, of course, know that, being in the industry we’re in.
In-house corporate event managers attending some of the biggest tradeshows around the world know all too well the value of a meeting, and how vital it is to make sure the right member of their business is placed in front of the potential client who walks onto the stand.
When the opportunity to host thousands of meetings in an incredibly short space of time arises, like an industry-leading exhibition, serendipity is not a strategy that is going to ensure real return on investment for your company.
Take Farnborough Airshow, in the UK, which hosts more than 80,000 trade visitors during the five-day event. It is one of the largest airshows in the world, which boasted US$192bn in deals announced at the last edition of the show.
As an event manager attending such an event, how can you ensure that you’re maximising the most value from the potentially thousands of meetings on site? How do you measure the value of a meeting and match accordingly? Is it by client and their potential spend? Furthermore, how do you track that meetings success post-event?
These were all challenges faced by the events team at Bombardier Aerospace who regularly attend Farnborough and Paris Airshows, and have in recent years turned to technology to help them solve these challenges.
Previously, Bombardier’s events team had a dedicated person responsible for the onsite meeting room schedule. In order to request, change, or even just find out about a meeting, everyone had to see Sandra. She’d use an Excel spreadsheet, and would email it round to staff, but then as soon as she made the next change, everyone else had a copy that was out of date. An ongoing challenge many event managers and meeting professionals can relate to.
In addition, meeting spaces were not allocated until a few days before the event. A small group of admin staff then assessed the requests together, and prioritised the spaces according to importance, need, and size of group. A very manual, labour intensive process balancing an ever-changing schedule.
The risk for human error was huge. And the time spent? Way too much.
Now, administrative staff are provided with access to the web system months out from the event, so they can build a portfolio of invited guests and manage the requests for meetings from the staff. Some divisions of the company import this information from its internal CRM system.
As well as the small team of ‘editors’, many other staff are given read-only access to the live schedule. Sandra has much more time now to focus on other things.
And what about the walk-ons?
Ordinate has also revolutionised the arrival of Bombardier’s guests. Customers aren’t kept waiting longer than necessary as reception staff have access to both the guest list and meeting schedule. They can make any required name alterations, then print multiple badges at the touch of a button.
Bombardier also made full use of the messaging and tracking systems; staff on reception can see instantly on screen whether the relevant salesperson is in the building, and even pinpoint his location to within five metres.
Sylvie Gauthier, Director of Communications for Bombardier Aerospace, commented: “Ordinate makes a significant contribution to the success of our presence at major aerospace events. The systems in place help our team work very effectively with our suppliers on-site, allowing us to focus on providing the best customer experience in our chalets.”
Bombardier Aerospace is not alone; we’ve seen one leading client at the Paris Air Show increase meetings by 75% from 2015 to 2019. Another client at Farnborough Air Show were able to reduce their administration team by three people thanks to using Ordinate for their organisation and planning, which was great for costs and flexibility for the team.
Event technology is much more than a nice-to-have. At its core, technology should improve the lives and provide value for those using it. And for meeting and event professionals this has never been truer. 2020 is approaching fast and it’s a great time to ask yourself: “Can technology help increase the value of the meetings at my next event?” And the answer is most definitely, Yes.