What Did You Do Differently Last Year?

We asked meeting professionals to tell us what changes they made last year — positive or negative — in response to the economy. Do any of these look familiar?

In addition to data about quantifiable things like the size, frequency, costs, and types of meetings,  our Annual Meetings Market Survey also captures a wealth of data in the form of comments  in response to a series of open-ended questions.  Last week we published comments about the meeting industry’s biggest challenges.

For this week: 

What changes — positive or negative — have you made to your meeting over the last year because of the economy?

• Added a day as well as additional workshops; expanded available exhibit space. 

• Better contract negotiations.

• Budget control is being exercised [two mentions].

• Cut back on meeting frequency

• Cut videoing of presentations.

• Cvent implementation.

•Focused on non-dues revenue.

• For our largest event in 2016 we had to turn away more than 150 people. We are moving to a larger venue for 2017. This event originally was just for our state but now is becoming a regional event.

•We have implemented a risk-management manual to our events and we have purchased more event insurance for better protection.

• Have had to cut special events (receptions, keynote, concert) budgets.

• Increase in what we budget for food and beverage, and managing other costs more closely.

• Increased offerings at our meetings to attract members to attend because the economy allows more of them to travel now.

• Increased registration fees and meal prices.

• Lowered meeting costs.

• More outreach.

• More technology, no printing, all materials electronic, on-demand name-badge printing, live streaming, more sophisticated mobile app.

• Shorter meetings, more regional destinations.

• Smaller exhibit booths, more effort to engage volunteers.

• Spending more and doing more fun activities for members.

• Started implementing a strategic meetings management program.• 

• Use of more airport hotels with complimentary shuttle vs. booking private car service.

• We are giving our attendees more choices.

• We are looking at co-location or joint meetings with related organizations.

• We have brought in more specific industry equipment to seminars (i.e., women’s health track during a seminar and had specific medical equipment for 3D mammography, ultrasound for mammography and technology to read these images) and added additional tracks to encourage cross training/education.

• We have really increased the number of virtual/digital meetings per year.

• We may shorten our 2017 meeting, have one less speaker, reduce the meal costs.

• We’re having to adjust our F&B budget due to yearly increases in costs. We have also increased the cost of our sponsorships and added new a la carte options.

• We’ve made our convention more meaningful to attendees and exhibitors.

Barbara Palmer

Barbara Palmer is senior editor and director of digital content.