If you have read the DPM Tip and the Exhibitor Tip above, you have probably caught on to my theme this month. And now it’s your turn!
Ann sent over an awesome quote from the November 2022 issue of Convene Magazine, which actually inspired this entire newsletter….
“The event organizers who will be successful going forward are the ones who recognize that they shouldn’t throw away the traditional apple pie recipe we all loved – but they also need to make room for experimentation and iteration. When you make small changes to the method, substitute a new ingredient, or try something completely new, this is a great time to rethink what you are serving up.”
I love this because it’s a great way to end the year and to carefully inspect your meeting elements. It’s been amazing to see so many meeting planners making some significant changes to their events in the last couple of years, and while I don’t want anyone to stop the progress, I do want to encourage making changes that are meaningful vs. making changes to make changes. So let’s go through some of the elements of your meeting that you may want to consider more than most.
Do you ever change the location of your meeting? Why? Why not?
If you’re changing the location of your meeting every year, you are putting a lot of work on your plate. Hotel contracts are excruciating. It’s definitely fun to mix it up, however, if you have found a place that seems to fit both exhibitor and attendee needs equally, I say stick with it… at least for a while. Don’t fix what’s not broken, right? But if you haven’t found the sweet spot yet, don’t give up! Location is crucial to meeting success and if yours stinks, it’s hard to polish a turd.
Are your learning and exhibit hall hours always the same? Why? Why not?
I strongly feel this is something most meetings need to investigate with some serious emphasis. We hear time and time again that education hours are too long and that exhibitor hours are too short. Especially now that online credits are so much more readily available, this could be a great time to cut your on-site educational hours down and increase the time your attendees spend with vendors. Vendors are not getting any attention with virtual meetings, so give them more time in the schedule when you are on site and have an in-person exhibit hall.
Are you getting new voices heard each year? Why? Why not?
There are some meetings that have speakers which, ultimately, carry the event. They are renowned and almost become the face of the meeting because everyone knows he/she is going to be there and they are looking forward to it. So maybe nothing has to change there. But are you recycling the same panel too often, otherwise? I know it’s great to see familiar faces, but we are hearing feedback that meetings with the same faculty year in and year out are getting stale AND that practical content is what the audience is craving. So, consider less academia-type lectures, and maybe incorporate more hands-on experiences with the DPMs who are in the trenches and out of the classroom.
Happy New Year, Friends! And Happy 2023 Planning!
-Sarah Breymeier