While the industry had an extended break from in-person meetings over the past year, they are finally starting back up as we get further into 2021. And with live events finally coming back, now’s the time to look at these meetings to determine what kind of return companies are getting on these often-expensive investments, said Sally Mainprize, SMM, DMS, owner of Iron Peacock Events.
“My hope is corporations will really focus on strategy and what they want out of meetings and events, which puts more focus on the return on investment (ROI),” she said. “Going forward, it’s important to know why you’re doing a meeting and what you’re getting out of it.”
The only way to truly know ROI and what the company is getting out of it, Mainprize said, is by measuring it with the help of a certified ROI professional. They have the tools and knowledge to gather specific data that looks at the overall value of every aspect of an event.
“We literally measure it so that companies know the value of what they are doing and can either keep doing it or make changes. It’s so important, and it’s not done to a full extent as it should be,” she said.
ROI reviews should be a routine part of a normal business environment. But if they aren’t, coming out of a pandemic is certainly an opportunity to begin. With meetings and events having to go virtual, causing many aspects to be looked at and planned differently already, now is the perfect time to institute needed changes before live events come back fully, adds Lisa Burton, Meeting Expectations senior vice present, meetings division.
“Maybe the event already needed to be refreshed a little bit, so now’s the time to look at it with a new lens,” she added. “Really look at what has been successful in the past and see how it can be adjusted for the current environment. There’s a lot of new thinking and a lot of new opportunities that can be implemented to still have a successful program.”
According to Mainprize, an important element to consider is the difference between hosting virtual meetings over the past year versus the traditional in-person event. Did revenue increase or decrease? If it stayed the same, then why?
“With data, we can know where a live event may have been falling short and we can focus on it, make strategic changes, and improve it. We can do that now because of the challenges we’ve had. It really is a good time to shake things up,” Mainprize said.
With budgets tight, it is a critical time to understand ROI as companies are trying to determine the value their events will provide attendees.
“There’s nothing negative about understanding where you stand with your ROI,” Mainprize said. “It’s just an upside because once you know, you can do something about it. You can be confident you’ll achieve your objectives and your meeting or event will contribute what you expect to the lives of your attendees.”