Backend Technology: The Workhorse of Meeting Planning

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A new BCD Meetings & Events report outlines the building blocks of event management technology.

Technology tools that help planners to work smart continue to evolve. In addition to front-facing tools that streamline on-site meeting management, backend tools implemented early in the planning process are critical for planning efficiency and overall meeting ROI, says a new report from BCD Meetings & Events (BCD M&E).

According to the report, How Technology is Transforming Meetings and Events, event technology is about the attendee experience: on site-activities such as check-in, badges, event apps and real-time surveys. Event management technology is about the planner experience and what drives the backend of events, from initial ideas to meeting request process to actual sourcing, building, execution and reconciliation of the event. It is “the builder that ties every piece of the meeting together,” says the report.

Tips, Tools and Terms

The report includes data insights and explanations of how new technologies are powering event planning tasks that used to be done manually. Among the takeaways:

• Collecting the right data is a complicated process, with many moving parts related to attendees, spend, savings, suppliers, compliance and more. Quality control is essential.

• Collecting “small” data, such as from operational teams, will yield insights on how to improve processes or efficiencies. “Even when it comes to attendee experience data, this comes into play,” says the report. “Everyone is capturing it, yet not many are turning it into an actual story by producing insight around high-level interactions.”

• It’s important to make data accessible to a wide range of stakeholders and decision makers within an organization. According to the report, this will foster a data-driven culture that supports collaboration and desired outcomes.

• Planners should pay attention to a new technology term: M.A.R. This stands for machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotic process automation (RPA). BCD M&E harnesses these tech tools to take over manual tasks, better predict the future, improve financial reconciliation and compliance, and more. “The best part: AI ‘learns’ along the way and gets better over time at the task,” says the report.

• The next big thing in AI, ChatGPT, is poised to transform the conventional chatbot, allowing for more natural conversation and fewer pre-determined replies. “This innovation will prove particularly useful for massive events and conferences, where tens of thousands of people might have unique questions that cannot be answered with stock replies,” says the report. “Delegates will be able to interact with the chatbot as if they were speaking with a meeting planner over the phone, without the need for extensive manpower.”

Summarizing the report takeaways, Ted Stone, SVP global technology and products for BCD M&E, told Prevue “there is an old saying, ‘you only get out what you put in.’ This is especially true in today’s rapidly evolving tech landscape within meetings and events. To achieve the ideal human connection, you need to ensure the planning process is spot on by enabling the right people with the right tools. That is where the rubber meets the road with event management technology.”

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