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The article below, I felt was really on spot and wanted to share with you all. You may feel that you know all this, but in reality are we all really being strategic? Are we really delivering? It is from the Scottsdale Plaza Meeeting Alliance website. Do you agree with what they say? Comments?

Organizations recovering from the economic crisis will have more freedom to invest resources in meetings and events, but they will also pay closer attention to return on investment, concludes a white paper published by CWT Travel management Institute.

Given their expertise and measurement orientation, people in the financial services industry might be the first to ask the question “Why even hold the meeting in the first place if we can’t be sure that it will pay for itself?” It is a good idea for meeting planners to understand the concept so they can help their clients demonstrate that any event will not only pay for itself, but have tremendous overall value above and beyond its cost.

ROI, of course, measures the worth of meeting in terms of its monetary contribution. That is, the number of dollars gained or lost as a result of the meeting after accounting for all the associated expenses. In today’s tough economic climate, business leaders are being forced to thoroughly analyze the payback of every dollar spent. This means the ability of meeting planners to create economic value for their clients has become, to borrow a phrase from Ford, “Job One.”

So how do meeting planners help maximize ROI on events?

Through a strategic but engaging process that incorporates the following planning and execution phases, according to Carmen Filippa, owner and founder of UK-based Wilde Creations.

     1.  Trimming and Streamlining

Engaging with business heads to identify and plan only those business events that will contribute to the overall business strategy.

     2.  Strategic Focus

  • Identifying the business objectives of each meeting or event
  • Defining the business value or outcome that is required
  • Setting measures that will determine whether the desired outcomes were achieved

     3.  Personal Engagement and Customization

Personal and meaningful engagement with all participants before and during the event will ensure guests do not just feel like a number. Aspects of an event that allow for customization to particular guest preferences will go a long way in making guests feel special.

     4.  Strategic and Creative Design Process

  • A strategic focus to ensure all the meeting or event objectives are met
  • A creative process that ensures all the sensory aspects of the event meets and even exceeds guest expectations. Rather than boring meetings, a bit of creativity can inject inspired energy into the meeting process.

     5.  World Class Execution

World class delivery is so much more than ensuring logistics run smoothly. It means unprecedented service levels and the highest quality on all event elements. Over and above this, it means that great care has been taken to ensure the needs of the guests are met. This personal touch is often the differentiator from a guest's perspective and always leaves a lasting impression.

     6.  Delivering Results through Continuous Improvement

After the event, a thorough assessment must be conducted to gauge whether the objectives were met. This is a crucial aspect of the process as it enables reflection which leads to learning and continuous improvement.

The business landscape is changing and so are the rules of engagement. Meeting and Event Planners that respond appropriately and effectively will set the industry standards and ultimately capture market share.