AI and the Meetings Industry: What Planners Need to Know

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Keeping up with technology is an ongoing challenge. Here’s the latest intel from AllFly and Reposite on effectively using AI tools to streamline meeting planning.

The AI universe is evolving at such a rapid-fire pace that what is relevant today will be out of date six months from now. That was the opening statement at a recent event at STK Steakhouse in Miami Beach, sponsored by SITE Florida & Caribbean. After a fun icebreaker led by CityHunt, an overflow crowd settled in for a presentation from AllFly and Reposite on how to effectively make use of AI tools for planning meetings and events.

AI Takeaways

• There are many iterations of AI and it has been around for a long time. For example, facial recognition to unlock an iphone, robotic vacuum cleaners, talking to Alexa or Siri on mobile devices and much more. It is a vast high-tech universe with six different categories: machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, image generation, robotics and expert systems.

•Machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision are the most relevant AI categories for meeting and event planners.

•Machine learning can help personalize site selection. For example, Reposite customizes RFP’s by matching planner requests with the best supplier fits. An AI algorithm scans all the data points on the RFP entered by the planner and instantly matches them with supplier profiles. Over time, the algorithm becomes personalized based on user preferences— just as Netflix does when users rate shows.

•Natural language processing (NLP) is a subset of AI that focuses on the interaction between computers and humans through natural language. It involves tasks like speech recognition, language understanding and language generation. The most popular examples of NLP tools today are Open AI/ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini (previously known as Bard). Meeting and event planners can leverage these powerful tools for destination selection, creating event agendas, crafting event invitations, blog posts, social media posts, speaker bios, translating languages, AI powered chatbots to answer attendee questions, contract reading and understanding, crafting post-event follow up surveys, analyzing and summarizing data and more.

•ChatGPT and Gemini have some different functionalities. Planners who are not yet using NLP may want to start with Gemini, which is free of charge and pulls more live info.

•Computer vision is a category of AI that enables computers to interpret and understand the visual world. It includes facial recognition, which can streamline attendee check-in, and facial analysis which can provide real-time analytics to help answer such questions as: What content is hot, and what is not? How deeply are we engaging attendees?

• In addition to Reposite’s AI-driven RFP program, other tools for planners include AllFly’s Forecast that enables planners to quickly budget airfare; Sythensia, to make AI-powered training and presentation videos; and Zenus for facial recognition at event check-in.

•As AI gets smarter and smarter over time, it will come closer to interacting like a human being, offering ever more effective meeting planning tools.

“The key takeaway,” Alexa Berube, Co-founder of Reposite, told Prevue, “is that planners need to educate themselves on AI because it will will make them wildly more efficient and get substantially more done in less time. But it will not replace the need for meeting and event planners because there are still so many things it cannot do. It cannot provide personal contact information so industry relationships are more important than ever. It cannot provide group room block rates at a hotel or the cost of a private dining room at a restaurant. It cannot confirm guest room availability. It can help generate ideas but only based off things previously done. It is the planners and industry partners who are the idea generators, using AI tools to work more efficiently. Otherwise, we’d just be dealing with recycled internet material.”

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