The meetings and events industry is a powerful, growing force with a bright future.
the Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts a 33% increase in planning professionals
through 2020, a growth rate that is significantly above the national average. That trajectory hasn’t grown — and won’t be realized — without the industry taking significant steps to innovate, reinvent and embrace the impact technology has on our future.
The principal definition of technology is “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.” Technology has galvanized the meetings and events industry in more ways than one: it facilitates collaboration, decreases inefficiencies, drives new business, automates tasks, and spurs further innovation.
We refer to the software platforms and technologies designed for the hospitality
community to alleviate time spent on minor details by automating tasks and allowing
planners to focus more strategically on their events Meeting Optimization Software (MOS).
Examples of Meeting Optimization Software
The technological innovations available within the meetings and events marketplace
today have evolved beyond simple, one-service focused products to become pragmatic, sensible solutions for cost conscious, productivity-oriented, data hungry planners while simultaneously enhancing attendee engagement, communication, and satisfaction.
Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) Technology:
The future of events is digital, and this wireless, non-contact system is elbowing its way into that landscape. RFID wristbands are increasingly appearing at festivals and large-scale events, including Coachella and Bonnaroo.
Most RFID wristbands contain short-range (typically 3–5 cm), passive tags and don’t require batteries; instead, they are powered when placed near or tapped against an RFID reader. One tap and the information stored in the tag (credit card numbers, social media accounts, ticket status, etc.) is transferred.
Professional Connection Technology:
Events require staff, and we all know the good stuff is hard to find. Companies like Elance were created specifically to address that need, and to keep you away from the dreaded white pages. With 8 million freelancers available to work and more than 2 million companies currently signed on as customers, the site provides a seamless transactional marketplace that has thus far generated $750 million of work. Meeting optimization software is evident here through directly engaging two services, each with a need for one another, with the click of a button.
Collaborative Planning Technology:
Google Drive has more than 120 million users. The cloud based service has obliterated the need for desktop documents through its extensive suite of applications. This falls under Meeting Optimization Software. umbrella by providing instant accessibility and real-time collaboration on documents used for communication during the planning process.
Meeting Optimization Software Solutions
Meeting Optimization Software Solutions available to the hospitality industry are
vast. Here, we’ve identified 12 of the most important categories for meetings and event planners, and have outlined MOS solutions available for each.
- Venue Sources
- Meeting Design
- Trade Shows & Lead Retrieval
- Event Marketing & Promotion
- Social Media
- Mobile Event Apps
- Mobile Ticketing
- Guest Management & Check-In
- Attendee Engagement
- Live Streaming & Event Visualization
- Event Surveys
7 Venue Sourcing Software Solutions
Venue sourcing is the process in which planners search, review and book properties based upon a range of conditions, including RFP submission, rates, sleeping rooms, meeting space, F&B and location.
- ON-SITE – A sales acceleration and lead generation software that allows customers to visualize meeting space.
- EVENTUP – A comprehensive marketplace for event venues providing access to locations of all types nationwide.
- LIQUID SPACE – a workspace ecosystem at your fingertips. Locate, book, check-in and share great spaces to work, wherever you are.
- CVENT – Offers software solutions to event planners for online event registration, venue selection, event management, mobile apps for events, e-mail marketing and web surveys.
- LANYON STARCITE – Offers advanced Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) software for companies.
- EVENUES – Develops, aggregates, and operates an online public marketplace and booking service for a meeting, event, and unique spaces.
- REGUS – Provides convenient, high-quality, fully serviced spaces for people to work, whether for a few minutes or a few years.
5 Meeting Design Tools and technologies
Meeting Design is the purposeful shaping of the form and content of a meeting to deliver on crucial organizational objectives. The meeting design focuses on content and human interaction and aligns meeting objectives with business objectives.
- SOCIAL TABLES – The leading provider of cloud-based hospitality software that positions venues to work more collaboratively and efficiently with their event and meeting customers.
- ROOM VIEWER – Offers quick, easy and cost effective ways to prepare event diagrams.
- VIVIEN – An intuitive, 3D event design & planning software for event professionals.
- SMART DRAW – Helps organizations of any size save time and achieve bottom-line results by providing easy-to-make charts, graphs and diagrams.
- PARTY CAD 12 – A 3D event design software for the Windows operating system.
6 Trade Shows & Lead Retrieval Software Solutions
According to the Convention Industry Council’s report, The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy (Jan 2014), in 2012, there were 284,600 conventions/conferences/trade shows in the United States, hosting over 87 million attendees. The solutions for managing these shows are expansive. Lead retrieval devices provide substantial ROI for companies investing in marketing and business development dollars in trade shows.
- BLOODHOUND – Provides a mobile app for lead retrieval and event planning at trade shows and conferences.
- EXPOREP – A powerful backend management system for managing your trade show map and all the data for your show.
- BOOTH TRACKER – The premier booth rental management software for tradeshows, exhibitors, event planners.
- EXHIBITCORE – The portal to all of your tradeshow management and event marketing solutions.
- MAP YOUR SHOW (MYS) – Offers customizable technology for total exhibition management software.
- CONVENTION FORCE – Software for tradeshow and banquet managers including floorplans, reports and vendor sign-up.
5 Tech Solutions for Event Marketing & Promotion
Event marketing and promotion are critical to brand expansion, product promotion, and event awareness.
- LANYRD – Allows you to add events, discover new and exciting conferences and track your friends to see what events they are attending.
- EVENTKLOUD – distributes personalized content, encourages engagement & utilizes data-driven audience intelligence to make your event marketing campaigns consistently smarter.
- CONFERENCEHOUND – A conference discovery and validation engine. We aggregate the world’s conferences.
- BRANDSCOPIC – Captures event recaps and media from your field staff or integrates with advanced capture technologies.
- SPINGO – Combines research by event specialists with user-submitted content to produce a robust and comprehensive event search engine.
5 Social Media Management Tools for Event profs
Social media is a tool that, if harnessed correctly, can facilitate the exchange of information between event attendees and magnify the impact of your program to an audience you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
- TAGBOARD – Uses hashtags to search for and collect public social media within seconds of being posted to networks like Twitter and Facebook.
- TWEETWALL – Full service Social Media Wall provider including comprehensive moderation, customization, sponsorship and advertising options for meetings and events.
- POSTANO – A social media aggregation and display platform.
- EVENTIFIER – Collates all the event-related content from various social media streams.
- TINT – A self-service platform that allows organizations to create social hubs in minutes.
- HOOTSUITE – A social media dashboard to manage and measure your social networks.
- BONFYRE – A free application that allows users to create private networks, share photos and send messages to others.
6 Mobile Event Apps
Two thirds of Americans own a smartphone. A study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers found the average user checks their phone nearer to 150 times per day. Apps are your most direct vessel to your meeting and event attendees’ attention and engagement.
- POCKET PLANNER – A free event and meeting calculator that uses Convention Industry Council standards to recommend food, beverage, service and safety quantities for events based on attendance.
- QUICKMOBILE – Develops mobile event apps to compile and manage information about meetings, conferences, and exhibitions.
- PRESDO MATCH – Provides a networking event app that builds a social network to connect and engage your event participants.
- BIZZABO – A networking platform that integrates social media to build interactive event communities for event organizers and attendees.
- CROWD COMPASS – Develops event, conferencing and tradeshow mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android devices.
- GUIDEBOOK – A web interface enabling organizations to create mobile guides for their customers.
6 Mobile Ticketing Apps and Solutions
Mobile Ticketing is “the process whereby customers can order, pay for, obtain and validate tickets from any location and at any time using mobile phones or other mobile handsets. Mobile tickets reduce the production and distribution costs connected with traditional paper-based ticketing channels and increase customer convenience by providing new and simple ways to purchase tickets.” Remember those stats about cell phones? Make sure your meeting or event has a mobile ticketing option.
- EVENTBRITE – An online ticketing service that enables users to create, promote, and sell tickets for events.
- EVENTJOY – A mobile-first ticketing company that is redefining how people organize and experience events.
- TICKETBUD – An online event registration and ticketing service that puts all event organizers in complete control of how they pay for the ticketing of their event.
- TICKETLEAP – An online ticketing platform enabling event organizers to sell, market and manage their events in one place.
- EVENTBEE – Provides web-based event management software that enables maximum ticket sales to event managers.
- THUNDERTIX – An event ticketing software and box office management system.
5 Event Registration Solutions
Once a painful process for both attendees and planners, technology has created a plethora of options for seamless registration – there are over 300 registration solution providers. Look for software that provides a seamless platform for both your attendees and your team.
- ETOUCHES – A cloud event management enterprise software covering every major function in the event life cycle through 15 modules.
- UNGERBOECK – Provides an all-inclusive event management software system for venues and facilities that integrates CRM, sales, finance, booking and many other services.
- XING EVENTS – Offers conference and seminar organizers event management software for online ticketing and event registration.
- CVENT – An event management platform enabling planners to manage all aspects of an event, including registration.
- REGONLINE – An event management software solution for organizing events, meetings and conferences.
6 Guest Management & Check-In Solutions
The facilitation of the most hospitable environment for event and meeting guests begins long before the event with attendee outreach, and follows a complete life cycle through to the follow up communications, while seamless check-in is your opportunity to make a great first impression on your attendees.
- SOCIAL TABLES CHECK-IN – The fastest check-in app on the market.
- BOOMSET – A mobile event management platform that helps event planners during events.
- CHECK IN EASY – Easy iPad/iPhone application for simple guest registration, check-in and management at events.
- ZKIPSTER – The first bespoke guest list software, serving event planners and PR professionals.
- ATTENDIUM – A guest list app & service designed to simplify guest list management at venues and events.
- GUEST MANAGER – Event management software for event check-ins, barcode ticket scanning, online ticket sales, RSVPs and much more.
7 tools and Apps for Attendee Engagement
Attendee engagement is the art of impacting participation between guests and your meeting or event and is critical to the success (and future) of your program.
- FEATHR – Helps conference organizers and attendees connect, network, and keep in touch with speakers and other attendees.
- POLL EVERYWHERE – A real-time web, SMS, and Twitter polling service that lets users submit votes or comments to a PowerPoint or Keynote slide.
- SLI.DO – A web application for speakers and event organizers to engage their audience with real-time questions, comments, and polls.
- LINTELUS – Browser-based slide sharing software that enhances audience engagement and increases retention.
- LIVECUBE – Utilizes engagement technology to motivate audiences with points, badges and real-world rewards.
- SOCIALTAGG – An integrated event platform redefining how people check into and network at events.
- INXPO – Helps brands interact with employees, customers, prospects, and partners in a social environment by creating a two-way dialogue.
6 Live Streaming & Event Visualization Solutions
The dramatic growth of second screen technology and hybrid meetings has permeated nearly every meeting and event, and should be top of mind for all future programming.
- USTREAM – Provides a live interactive broadcast platform.
- LIVESTREAM – A live video-streaming platform, allows users to watch, like and share live events via a suite of hardware and software tools.
- CINCECAST – Provides cloud-based conferencing and webcasting solutions to produce and share size-independent original file content.
- INTERCALL – Provides quality conferencing solutions — audio conferencing, web conferencing, and video conferencing.
- 6CONNEX – Software designed for virtual destinations that enable virtual trade shows, events, and career fairs.
- ON24 – Provides webinars, webcasting and virtual event services and solutions.
6 Event Surveys Tools you should consider
Paper surveys take time, resources and collection methods are oft inefficient at best. Online form providers are vast and can save your team valuable time and money.
- WUFOO – A web application that helps anybody build amazing online forms.
- TYPEFORM – A cloud-based application for users to create and respond to surveys and other types of forms on any device.
- SURVEYMONKEY – A cloud-based online survey and questionnaire tool that helps users gather survey-related information.
- SNAP SURVEYS – Providers of survey software and feedback management solutions.
- QUALTRICS – An industry leading provider of Online Survey Software.
- SURVEYGIZMO – An online survey software tools a platform enabling researchers to build forms, collect data and analyze.
The Future Of Meeting Optimization Software
As technology continues to proliferate within the events and meetings industry, the products that will be introduced will be the embodiment of Meeting Optimization Software. You will have virtual tools in your hands (or eyes, or wrists, wherever wearable technology takes us), a pulse on your attendees through an app, and a deeper connection to your programming on a mobile device. There is a lot of ground to cover, and it needs to be done in a highly efficient and timely manner.
Take a moment now to consider the apps and products you currently use. How many of them fall under the definition of Meeting Optimization Software? The truth is that you’ve likely been engaged with the concept and didn’t even know it.
That’s because the future of Meeting Optimization Software within the hospitality industry is now. Meeting Optimization Software harnesses the best technologies available to make events and programming successful. What are your plans to keep up with the technological innovations permeating the events and meetings industry?