Meeting News - October 19, 2009 - (Page 25)

By Seth Harris VantagePoint that measure the business outcomes of the event. MN: Are clients asking for more data and measurement services? Beauchine: Clients that are centralizing meetings through procurement want measurement of spend, primarily. They aren’t as interested in the business outcomes. They want to know what they spend on events in terms of hotel, car and air. They want to get their arms around it because they want to leverage that spend. MN: What are you seeing in terms of strategic meetings management implementation? Beauchine: Because of this economy, more companies are getting their arms around the meetings and events of all their divisions. Only 13 percent of those companies outsource those meetings for operations. About 45 percent of companies know what that spend is and get their arms around it. They all don’t have strategic meetings management programs, but they are starting to circle the wagons. MN: Why is measuring the effectiveness of an event a main area of focus? Beauchine: It is particularly important now because of what’s happened with the AIG effect. The marketplace is being redesigned. Incentive travel programs have been very successful tools in the marketing handbook. They’ve changing by becoming more cause-marketing-related. They are still having fun, but are delivering on a cause. We are seeing quite a bit of that, and with every proposal we do for a client, we are suggesting that. MN: How else are incentive programs changing? Beauchine: They are changing the flavor. Some are moving out of resorts and into cities. Some are still staying. Resorts happen to be built for group activity. They are of high value right now. Hotels are wheeling and dealing because they want the business. It’s a good time to experience a property that you might not have been able to experience before. MN: Has the negative public perception of meetings, events, and incentive programs passed? Beauchine: It’s not that black and white. We’ve had clients that have been completely unaffected by it because their shareholders, stakeholders and employees know that these trips have been valuable to their company. A lot of companies know that and are ignoring what the media might say about that. Most of our clients are not TARP recipients. We are very strong in high-tech, pharma, automotive and retail. Some of the automotive companies were TARP recipients and have redesigned. We are not as big in the financial sector, so we were less impacted. I’m not saying there aren’t people out there who canceled this year, because there was, but the ones who did cancel their incentive programs are back for 2010. r MeetingNews 25 Assessing Meetings’ Full Impact Carlson Marketing’s Fay Beauchine pushes for more event, incentive measurement Carlson Marketing president of engagement and events Fay Beauchine recently spoke with MeetingNews associate editor Seth Harris about the company’s data and measurement efforts and the current state of the incentive and meeting industries. MeetingNews: What data are clients looking for and measuring? Fay Beauchine: In some cases, we’re bringing to our clients the suggestion that they should measure more than they are. All clients set a budget and then measure performance against the budget. We suggest that they measure the change of behavior of the audience that attends the event. For example, with an employee learning event, you hold the event because you want them to learn more. Setting objectives of what you want the employee to do because they came to the event is really important. It’s easy for sales because you measure what they sold, but what about all those other events? In some cases, we’re suggesting more measurement because there is a scarcity of dollars for the budget. We know you are twice as likely to get the budget for the following year if you measure the impact of your event. It’s not just satisfaction—how they liked the food, location and so on—but what happened to those people who came? Did they do things differently after? We set up objectives Fay Beauchine been successful because they have a very low fixed cost and a high variable cost. In other words, when you design an incentive program to get employees to sell more or do more, you have maybe a 30 percent investment and the rest of the cost only is recognized when people have sold more and qualified for the trip. If they don’t sell more and don’t qualify, then you haven’t extended those funds. Corporations consider incentive travel programs a highly valuable part of marketing spending that improves productivity and sales. That hasn’t changed in this economic downturn. However, incentive programs as we know them have run on a deluxe basis and were built in a time of abundance. Now, we are in a time of scarcity, so they are taking on a new design, and people are changing the programs. They still are highly exciting. Some of the activities are October 19, 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - October 19, 2009

Meeting News - October 19, 2009
Meeting Post
Meetings Spotlight
Event Profile
Construction Cites
Meeting People
Association Watch
Gaming Destinations
Dateline: Florida
South Regional
Dateline: Guadalajara
Travel Dashboard

Meeting News - October 19, 2009