Increasingly Smart Events:Â While around 200 million people attended 1.8 million events at a direct cost of $263 billion in 2011, only around 25% of companies actually look at what they spend against their budgets.Â â€œIn 2013, we expect to see more organizations choosing event technology that helps them increase efficiency, extend engagement and grow their business across various types of events in their portfolio,â€ said JR Sherman, Senior Vice President of Business Solutions at ACTIVE Network. â€œWe anticipate there will be an increased demand for technology solutions that ensure â€˜smart eventsâ€™ from the top downâ€”and the bottom up.â€
Strategic Meeting Management Tools Drive Efficiency:Â With the average organization spending around 9% of their total budget on meetings and events, tools to analyze, chart and report on costs will drive efficiencies. Much in the same way automation tools have increased marketing, sales and customer service efficiencies, event planners will increasingly rely on automated tools to understand costs surrounding events and look to streamline and consolidate where they can.
Consolidation of Event Management Solutions:Â Usually companies will rely on numerous points of interaction for event management. Using one tool to manage meetings, another to source vendors and yet another to measure attendee participation and satisfaction.Â â€œOver the next year, we expect companies will invest more money in consolidated event technology solutions that offer a one-stop-shop for organizers,â€ Sherman said. â€œIdeal solutions will have the ability to provide organizations with a single view into their strategic meeting management, attendee and engagement management and vendor sourcing, freeing up event planners to spend less time on manually pulling information from disparate systems and more time creating exceptional events.â€
Increasing Use of Mobile Devices:Â According to Garter, 2013 will be the year that mobile officially overtakes the PC as the most common way to access the web. This also makes it imperative for companies hosting events to integrate mobile before, during and after an event to accomodate attendees use of these devices. If you’ve been to a conference lately, you surely have noticed glancing around the room, the number of people looking down at their smartphones has skyrocketed. It’s not just you. Attendees will demand a mobile app that lets them connect to other attendees, speakers, and exhibitors while at the same time letting them share their experiences via social outlets and get timely, relevant event information on the go to help navigate exhibits and trade show floors.
Technology to Provide the Hard Data used to Justify Event Spending:Â While the value of face-to-face interaction is well understood, hard data and actual numbers will be needed to justify spending on events where more detailed ROI metrics are needed to convince decision makers. Technology will make this possible in 2013.Â â€œTechnology makes it possible to gather in-depth information on attendeesâ€™ interests and attitudes. With that data in hand, organizers can gauge whether their event strategy is working and alter it if necessary to help maximize their return on investment,â€ Sherman said. â€œOrganizations will have the ability to take advantage of these capabilities to measure their results and fine-tune their meeting plans to get the most out of every interaction with attendees.â€