The View from Here - Driving Events with Innovation

 SITE Foundation Event Technology

360-degree video and attendee event apps may get all the press when it comes to events and technology, but external facing technology is really only half of the story.

Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of the development and deployment of programming – whether it’s for communications, budgeting or negotiation.

SITE recently interviewed a number of members to understand how they integrate technology to create a competitive edge or improve an overall experience.

Process as Technology – thinking smarter about Sales-to-Service.

Cate BanfieldAs Director, Event Solution Design & Strategy, BCD Meetings & Events, Cate Banfield recently oversaw the redevelopment of its Sales-to-Service process – which means it’s not only the technology that’s important, but how it’s used. “That’s been my baby over the last year,” she begins.  “We wanted to be very intentional in our conversations so that we could work smarter – not harder.” The updated system integrates everything from a “robust Meeting Request Form that gets completed at the start of every project” to integration with existing software like Cvent. “It was important for us to look at what we did well and find ways to do it better throughout the process.”

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Mind Mapping – making ideas visible.

Bent HadlerHadler DMC CEO Bent Hadler’s Denmark-based team integrates technology from the very beginning of a project. “We use a mind mapping system connected to Trello, which is a tool to make sure we are all sharing info and ideas.” Trello is the entry point. Like many leading organizations Hadler has proprietary software to drive key aspects of the event and incentive management process. "To make sure everything meets the needs of the client, we use a specially designed software that is linked to our calculation and CRM system. That way, everyone is in the loop at all times for planning and development.”

Ping LuRegistration – a global focus.

China Star Ltd.’s founder Ping Lu talks about the importance of home grown Chinese technology for accessibility and value. “We use three Chinese technologies for registration – Medcon, 31Event and EventTang. We chose these because we are able to communicate with program engineers more easily. We have used traditional American technologies, but found they were quite costly for communication.”

Communication – it’s about connection.

Terry Manion“I think the one piece of technology that we all seem to be going away from…,” begins Terry Manion, Vice President at Meridican, “…is the telephone. It’s the greatest piece of technology. You really shouldn’t negotiate over email. You can’t fully understand a DMC proposal until you get them on the line and talk about things like distance to the venue. You need to talk to clients. You need to talk to suppliers.”

Telephone

Ping Liu offers an alternative take on telephone technology. Her team has embraced the popular Chinese platform WeChat. “It’s used by the entire population, including my mother, who is 85. We use it with hotels, venues, restaurants, drivers and guides. It makes it easyfor smooth communication.

What’s Next – flexibility from larger platforms.

The future of platforms like Cvent and Event Air intrigues Cate Banfield. “eTouches has made some pretty interesting acquisitions lately – we’ve been watching them.” Organizations are beginning to integrate other technologies – like etouches recent purchase of the Loopd engagement platform. Combinations of technologies will differentiate as large platforms move forward.

 

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