Social Media

Leveraging Social Data to Improve Your Meetings

Big data means big change for meetings and conventions.

Wearable technologies that function as everything from hotel-room key cards to trade-show beacons have been generating quite the buzz. But flashy though they are, they’re not driving change within the meetings industry as quickly as the information that organizations are collecting about their members and attendees, and the effectiveness of their live-event programming.

In “Hospitality Technology: A Whole New Ballgame,” this month’s video for The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Inspiration, presented by PCMA and PSAV, Jason Mendenhall, executive vice president for cloud technology at Switch Communications, breaks down how big data means big change for meetings and conventions. Mendenhall points out that younger people are using technology differently — eschewing email in favor of texting, social-networking, and instant-messaging, for example — and therefore have different expectations for digital communication related to meetings and events.

Meanwhile, society itself hasn’t changed. Mendenhall says: “We still desire the same things: connections, information, and knowledge.” But as attendees increasingly use social networks to communicate and share their event experiences, the amount of data that organizations can collect grows exponentially.

You can leverage these new data streams to improve and grow your programs, which is why it’s increasingly important for your organization to play a key role in determining how data collected before, during, and after your events will be “crunched.” At the end of the video, Mendenhall shares advice he would give anyone in any industry: “Don’t dismiss [technology] as something you don’t think about, or have a say in, or can’t have control over. If you do, you’ll be left behind. Everybody has to be a bit of a technologist.”

Kate Mulcrone

Kate Mulcrone is digital editor of Convene.