7 Tips for Sustainable Events in Post-COVID-19 Group Travel
EVENTS | VOLUME 22, ISSUE 1
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7 Tips for Sustainable Events in Post-COVID-19 Group Travel
Hottest Keynote Speakers
4 Ways to Go Beyond the Trip For Your President’s Club
Measuring Event Success? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions
How to Improve Employee Experience with Corporate Events (& Why Now Is the Time to Do It)
from the desk of
CHRIS JONES The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same Every January headlines, online content and industry groups predict “What’s changing in 2022?” While predicting industry changes is a mainstay of any new year, the past few years showed us it’s virtually impossible to predict what exactly might change.
We’re convinced there’s much more to emotional connections than discounts. Transparent brands tell customers what matters to the business and show they share customers’ values. Doing so unlocks untapped potential, leading to short-term impact and long-term success.
As we enter the new year, what if instead we ask, “What’s not changing in 2022?” Rather than trying to predict the unpredictable (customer trends), what if we focused on one timeless truth that continues to be the same year after year?
Not only does ITA Group understand that meaningful connections matter, we create those moments of magic between companies and team members; businesses and channels; brands and customers. Whether through a gift, action or experience, brands create lasting emotional connections with audiences.
The truth is emotional relevance is the one true key for successful brands with their employees, dealers, distributors, advisors, agents and customers. And I’m sure 2022 will be the same (and 2023; and, well, you get the idea). I’ve seen this truth enable business success time and time again. Pedigree told the world “We’re for Dogs.” Aviva USA decided they’d be “putting people before policies.” Casey’s General Stores reminded customers they were “Here for Good.” In every case, each business improved retention, revenue and margins, and reconnected with customers.
So, as you scroll and notice various “What’s new in 2022?” headlines, try to see the potential of (and be inspired by) “What’s not new in 2022?” That question may encourage reflection on timeless truths to be celebrated and maximized. Deepening emotional connections between your brand and team, channel and customers will always deliver measurable, positive impact—and that’s not changing. Here’s to working together to create connections in 2022!
These brands took specific actions with employees, channels and customers and shared a compelling message that enabled success. And the action can’t be just giving customers a discount on their next purchase. That certainly doesn’t tug at their heartstrings.
Chris Jones Senior Vice President of Customer Experience insights magazine | 1
Tips for Sustainable Events in Post-COVID-19 Group Travel By: Theresa Link, Senior Buyer – Event Purchasing
Before the current pandemic, popular destinations globally had been struggling with over-tourism. Due in no small part to the massive numbers of travelers, local destinations were struggling to keep up with the explosive growth. From depleting local resources to creating pollution and waste problems, there are plenty of reasons the travel industry has been identified as a major obstacle to mitigating the effects of climate change. But today, that could be set to change.
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As traveling diminished in early 2020, evidence shows destinations once struggling with overtourism began recovering ecologically. Air pollution levels are dropping significantly since measures such as quarantines and shutdowns were put in place. But what happens when travel returns to or exceeds pre-pandemic levels? At the COP26 global climate summit, speakers from around the world came together to celebrate the launch of a new coalition through the Sustainable Tourism Global Center (STGC) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
At the summit, they discussed how to transform the travel sector into an industry spearheading the way for a more sustainable future. This has created an awareness of how travel impacts our world as well as a shift in thinking. As event planners, we have a responsibility to pay attention to how tourism impacts local, national and global environments. It’s important to take action now to ensure travel to these destinations can be enjoyed for generations to come.
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So what can we, as event planners, do to ensure that travel is done in ways that bring benefit and not harm? Here are seven ideas to consider:
Make a Commitment to Leave Every Destination Better by Being a Responsible Visitor This means supporting the local economy (shops, farms, restaurants, etc.) to help improve the quality of life for local residents. Work with local experts who partner closely with area providers of produce, amenities and local labor experience.
Develop a Plan for Your Event That Includes Allocating Resources To Focus on Sustainability Issues & A Strong To-Do List to Ensure Milestones Are Included to Bring About Action Consider establishing a sustainability team to incorporate sustainable ideas throughout your event. Water bottle stations, amenities from recycled products, utilizing diverse suppliers and locally sourcing supplies like food and décor are a great place to start. Using technology, such as a mobile app to reward sustainable attendee behaviors, education tracks or keynotes that tie sustainability to your meeting purpose is another idea to get you started.
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Consider Smaller Cities or Outside-the-Box Experiences While larger cities might be impacted, there may be nearby second tier or smaller cities that offer truly unique and intimate experiences for travelers. Visiting off-the-beaten path locations will set your group apart from competitors. Offer a chance for attendees to visit a newly discovered location with a a more welcoming atmosphere and fewer crowds. Currently, there is surging interest in domestic locations that were previously undiscovered for groups. Imagine your attendees lobster trapping in Portland, Maine, a teambuilding rowing experience on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, or a private State Fair and rodeo experience in Des Moines, Iowa.
Consider the Timing & Seasonality for Your Event Going during shoulder season or even offseason in some destinations can offer stronger rates, more availability and balances the tourist load, which in turn balances the burden on workers and resources. As an added bonus, traveling during the offseason provides income to the local community. In many destinations, there is very little sacrifice in weather during offseason so the benefit may outweigh the risk.
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Use Sustainable Practices Whenever Possible COVID-19 brought with it increased single-use products, and while that may be unavoidable in ensuring a safe event, focus on what you can control. For example, utilize recycled cardboard containers rather than Styrofoam or plastic. Or expand your focus to areas of sustainability you know you can impact, like supplier diversity and local givebacks. Too often sustainability feels like an all or nothing situation. Don’t let that keep you from making changes that are within your control. Whether it’s as simple as avoiding printouts and utilizing digital formats instead or whether you commit to a broader smart procurement strategy that will favor social and environmental supplies and options, keeping sustainability on your planning radar will help to keep the industry moving forward in a conscious way.
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Involve Attendees in Your Endeavors It is important that you explain to your attendees and let them have a voice. Explaining any changes that you are making and why, describing for attendees what your organization is doing to promote sustainable tourism will show your attendees that you care about the future of travel.
Partner With a Professional Organization Who Can Advise You in These Endeavors & Provide Assistance to Ease Your Burden As sustainability concerns continue to grow, so do the number of partners who are committed to promoting sustainable practices. Ensure that your partners including hotels, venues and transportation companies are focusing on helping you with your sustainability initiatives.
As our industry begins to recover from reduced travel during the pandemic, it’s critical we take the lessons learned to ensure some of the previous detriment to our climate is avoided in the future. By taking action now, event planners can create unique and memorable travel experiences that bring benefit to today’s travelers and provide ongoing sustainable travel for the travelers of tomorrow.
Still Curious About Sustainable & Eco-Friendly Events? From paper trails to transportation, all the elements needed for an event can pile up. To reduce your carbon footprint, we’ll share some strategies you can incorporate into you next event to make it more eco-friendly.
Read Our Blog Post info.itagroup.com/eco-friendly-events
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HOTTEST KEYNOTE SPEAKERS By: Mandy Espey, Lead Buyer – Event Purchasing
The right keynote speaker adds something special to your event. They take your message, repackage it and deliver it back to your people with an unmatched power and vigor. Bringing in an outside voice creates a nonreplicable spark and authority. Not only can they help you get your message across but they can help boost motivation, change their way of thinking and leave your people feeling energized and inspired. But how do we know what clients want? Years of experience and leveraging industry relationships.
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ITA Group is constantly searching and evaluating content to bring our clients the very best. Our partner, Angela Cox-Weston, with Midwest Speakers Bureau, Inc., shared her expertise on what keynote speakers are trending. The following pages list thought-provoking, motivational event speaker suggestions that are guaranteed to get your team motivated at your next event and beyond.
LEAVE FEELING: INSPIRED Inspirational speakers draw out emotions in your audience and leave them feeling like they are capable of accomplishing anything. They energize listeners with stories that inspire peak performance, move your audience to action, and create a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose.
Kindra Hall is President and Chief Storytelling Officer at Steller Collective, a consulting firm focused on the strategic application of storytelling to today’s communication challenges.
Donald Miller is the CEO of StoryBrand and every year helps more than 3,000 business leaders clarify their brand message. He’s widely considered one of the most entertaining and informative speakers in the world. His audiences are challenged to lean into their own story, creatively develop and execute the story of their team, and understand the story of their customers so they can serve them with passion.
David Goggins is a retired Navy SEAL and is the only member of the U.S. Armed Forces to complete SEAL training, the U.S. Army Ranger School and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training. He has spent the past two decades exploring the outer limits of human performance, both as an elite Special Operations member and an accomplished ultra-endurance athlete.
Kindra is one of the most sought after keynote speakers trusted by global brands to deliver presentations and trainings that inspire teams and individuals to better communicate the value of their company, their products and their individuality through strategic storytelling.
Don’s thoughts on story have deeply influenced leaders and teams for Pantene, Ford/ Lincoln, Zaxby’s, Chick-fil-A, Steelcase, Intel, Prime Lending and thousands more.
David has completed more than 30 endurance races, including multiple ultramarathons, triathlons, bike races and arduous mountain ascents, setting new course records and regularly placing in the top five.
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LEAVE FEELING: EMPOWERED These keynote speakers understand the obstacles you face, the powerlessness you feel, and the journey you must travel because they have traveled the same road also. They can provide you with the inspiration and the skills to take control of your life, no matter if these obstacles are at your job, in your community or in your personal life, and empower yourself to greater things.
LUVVIE AJAYI JONES
Too many leaders, teams, and organizations are stuck. Instead of achieving greatness, they remain stagnant, failing to reach their potential. That’s where Molly Fletcher comes in. She is a trailblazer in every sense of the word—a rare talent of business wisdom, relationship brilliance and unwavering optimism.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a true jack-of-all-trades. From renowned athlete to award-winning actor and New York Times bestselling author, Dwayne has it all down. But all his success overshadows the work he put in to achieve it. He struggled with financial and family problems growing up, but never lost his drive to succeed.
Luvvie Ajayi is known for her trademark wit, warmth, perpetual truth-telling and trouble making. Putting into words the thoughts few dare to say; the veteran blogger could give a masterclass on disruption. Internationally recognized, she has graced stages around the globe for some of the world's most innovative companies and conferences, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, MAKERS, SXSW and the Obama White House.
A popular keynote speaker, she shares the unconventional techniques that helped her thrive as one of the first female sports agents in the high stakes, big ego world of professional sports and now a successful entrepreneur.
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Now widely considered one of the all-time greatest wrestlers, Dwayne has found just as much success on the big screen as he did in the ring. Today, he inspires us with his advice and tips for success.
Her wildly popular TED talk “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” has over 5 million views and climbing.
LEAVE FEELING: SMARTER A good keynote speaker is someone who entertains while informing. But a great one is someone who leaves everyone in the room feeling like the world outside that conference door is theirs to command. These speakers help audiences to grasp new ideas, skills and techniques, which leave the audience feeling smarter, cleverer and more excited about possibilities.
A dynamic and insightful speaker and author, Jeff Bush is known for his unique ability to translate difficult and confusing information coming out of Washington D.C. into winning growth strategies for business owners, executives and high net worth investors. Jeff is a 30+ year veteran of the financial industry. By the end of his career on Wall Street, he was managing a $50+ billion sales organization.
Gopi Kallayil is the Chief Evangelist, Brand Marketing at Google, working with Google’s sales teams and customers to help them grow their brands through digital marketing. While Gopi is affiliated with one of the most recognizable entities in the world, his ability to enlighten, educate and enrich the lives of others through the spoken word is all Gopi.
As a highly in-demand keynote speaker, Andy has had the privilege of speaking to a wide range of organizations, trade associations and firms. Andy helps clients break down the chaos and complexity of the world to comprehend its impact on their business. Andy has over 35 years of experience in the financial markets and communicating how they work to top firms in financial services, energy, agriculture, technology and the U.S. government.
Before that, Jeff was the youngest managing partner in the 150-year history of The New England Financial. Jeff’s dedication, forward thinking, and strategic abilities have resulted in performance records, industry awards, and industry accolades.
Combining Western and Eastern philosophies, Gopi’s presentations are thoroughly engaging, bringing an awareness to today’s business issues. With a fast-paced career in the high-tech industry, it’s refreshing to find a speaker full of wisdom, committed to mindfulness in one’s personal and professional life.
Today, he’s a consultant and keynote speaker with a wide range of clients including financial services, energy, manufacturing and construction. Andy moves people from the chaos today to confidence in the future.
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LEAVE FEELING: CLAIRVOYANT Want to know what the future holds for your career? For your industry? For the planet? Futurist speaks like the ones below will use state-of-the-art research and data to make intelligent predictions about where your industry is heading and how you can take advantage of the workplace of the future.
Jim Carroll is one of the world’s leading international futurists, trends and innovation experts, providing strategic guidance and insight to some of the most prestigious organizations in the world for over twenty years.
Mike is the CEO of Tomorrow, a global consultancy on designing companies for the 21st century. He advises leaders on how to thrive in the current era of disruptive technological change. Mike’s bestselling books include “Futuretainment” and “The Dictionary of Dangerous Ideas.” Rather than focusing on the distant future, Mike focuses on the next five years—scanning the near horizon for disruptive technologies and consumer innovations on the verge of hitting critical mass—then translating these into usable business strategies.
As a leading expert in technology trends and a recognized authority on global business trends, Patrick’s work focuses on providing insights into the technological forces transforming businesses and industries around the world.
He is recognized worldwide as a “thought leader” and authority on: global trends; rapid business model change; business transformation in a period of economic uncertainty; and the necessity for fast-paced innovation.
As a global nomad, speaker and consumer trend scout, Mike Walsh brings a truly global perspective to every event.
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As Founder of Trend Mastery, a strategic consulting agency, Patrick helps his clients identify ground-breaking business opportunities. Patrick was recently invited to speak at TEDx in Sacramento on the topic of Learned Intuition.
LEAVE FEELING: MOTIVATED Motivational keynote speakers inspire and motivate audiences with storytelling, humor, self-deprecation and emphasizing human values. These speakers win over their audiences with no ego involved to allow audiences to dream and be excited about the possibility of a future vision.
Mel Robbins is the host of the daytime syndicated talk show, “The Mel Robbins Show,” which aired nationwide in September 2019. She has spent the past decade coaching, teaching and motivating millions of people around the world. Her practical, no-nonsense advice and life strategies provide tangible results and skills that help people push through the everyday challenges we all face in life, work and love.
Daymond John has become globally recognized for his relentless commitment to promoting, supporting, and motivating entrepreneurs. He initially made his mark as the entrepreneur and branding expert behind the groundbreaking lifestyle brand, FUBU, which has eclipsed more than $6 billion in global retail sales.
Female activist and youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai is a woman unlike any other. But her story, one of pain and danger, is all too common for the girls of Pakistan. After the Taliban banned women from education, Malala took it upon herself to change the lives of millions of girls. She now uses her platform to spread awareness for women’s education, promoting the importance of gender inclusion and raising money for good causes.
On stage, Mel draws from book, The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, by offering detailed takeaways on how simply taking five seconds can be the first step to changing a life or career.
From the streets of Hollis, Queens, Daymond started a global movement from the basement of his mother’s house by capitalizing on the then fledgling hip-hop culture. FUBU was undoubtedly a key development for the streetwear market, which today is a $20 billion industry.
As far as speakers go, few are as inspirational or aweinspiring as Malala. Audiences of her speeches come away empowered, encouraged by her story to rewrite their own lives.
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LEAVE FEELING: ENERGIZED Facing a wave of change and looking for ways to encourage team members to embrace new directions and accelerate efforts as they look to disrupt their marketplace? These keynotes are all about embracing bold change and adopting new innovative ideas with tons of energy.
PAUL J. LONG
Kenyon Salo is one of the top trainers, facilitators and keynote speakers in his field of inspiration, motivation, adventure, leadership, team building and sales. One of only five members on the Denver Broncos Thunderstorm Skydive Team, he is seen each week flying into Sports Authority Field at 60+ mph, ending with a soft tip-toe landing on the 10-yard line.
Paul Long is a speaker, author, podcaster and master of shenanigans. He has developed a concept called Fundamism, simply defined as the FUNdamentals of a F.U.N. and optimistic lifestyle. When implemented, Paul’s philosophy has been proven to reduce attrition, attract great talent, improve customer experience and drive employee engagement.
He brings to the stage over 20 years of successful audience engagement through humor, awe-inspiring moments, prolific storytelling and ‘edge-of-the seat’ content.
Paul is not only great in discussing operational growth theory, but in his corporate leadership experience he’s also seen success putting his FUNdamentals into practice.
His goal is to deliver high caliber, powerful and heart touching content to each person in the room.
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KEYNOTE SPEAKERS ARE HIGHLY SOUGHT FOR A REASON Finding speakers who “always deliver” and are reasonably priced can be tricky. Many speakers are tough to secure because they are incredibly gifted, offer genuine insight and content, in addition to having reasonable fees and expenses. In short, they’re highly sought out. Clients always return to these trusted speakers because they have proven impact with attendees. Finding the right keynote speaker for your event isn’t as simple as picking a famous name, there must be a strategy and process behind the decision-making to ensure you get the right person to achieve the aims of your event.
For a more detailed list of keynote speakers, check out our full blog post (We even included videos of each speaker). info.itagroup.com/event-speakers
Collect Valuable Data To Personalize Your Attendee Journey Opportunities abound when you use data to deliver a curated, meaningful
attendee experience. While some data collection methods can be sophisticated, sometimes a simple approach is enough to yield the right results.
Take Our Hyper-Personalized Event Experiences Quiz info.itagroup.com/travel-quiz
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Ways to Go Beyond the Trip for Your President’s Club Making it to the prestigious ranks of the President’s Club takes a lot of hard work and determination, which is why you want to reward those most dedicated employees with memorable experiences that are not soon forgotten. When it comes to motivation, a President’s Club program functions a bit differently—more as a recognition program rather than an incentive program. It’s a status symbol achieved by top performers, and consequently any good President’s Club program should be built with this in mind. Provide Value Before, During & After the Trip While most are familiar with President’s Club members being rewarded with extravagant, all-expense-paid vacations, your President’s Club should be representative of your team’s culture and distinctive enough to be desirable. Experiences connect us to our surroundings. But if winners are bogged down by home and personal responsibilities that prevent them from enjoying the trip, they won’t be able to make those emotional connections that lead to lasting memories.
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Most programs only consider the main prize; however, by including other exclusive smaller rewards like the following examples, you can further drive consistent excitement and engagement. Leave Errand Worries at Home A member of the President’s Club isn’t going to just wake up the day of the trip and board a plane. Any extra task-taking-on or chore-finishing duties that can be handled well ahead of time are all part of the travel experience. And these life-administrative duties can all be accommodated by the organization. Depending on the length of the trip, hire folks who can take care of the chores while participants are away. This might include someone to tackle outdoor tasks (mow lawn, clean gutters, wash windows, etc.), a pet-sitter, housecleaner, financial planner— whatever helps participants focus on the reward they’ve earned. Sometimes removing home stress is a vacation in itself. So inexpensive. So memorable. Things you can add to your currently planned program: >
Virtual assistant for scheduling
Personal assistant for administrative work tasks
Personal assistant for home tasks
Keep Luggage to a Minimum While on the trip, there are things attendees may need. So go ahead and gift them ahead of time. Have item(s) waiting in their hotel room—or arrange a pre-excursion shopping day complete with personal concierge to make sure they have everything they need for the trip. Depending on where your destination takes your attendees, you can provide: >
Camping equipment, kayak, high-end bicycle, etc.
For a private boat castaway, prepare fishing gear, flippers, swimwear, goggles and sunglasses
For a horseback trail ride, offer cowboy boots and hats
For a birdwatching or stargazing trip, provide binoculars or, telescope
Note: If you’re gifting larger items, be sure and handle shipping logistics. That eliminates any stress immediately so your traveler has only the amazing reminder of their experience. Clothing is another great option to offer. Many folks can’t help but pick up some new duds for an upcoming trip. So why not help them save money (and time) by providing a subscription to a clothing rental service. This option offers attendees access to popular fashion brands without the commitment. Other ways to make the trip a little better? Convenient tech gifts for gadget gurus like, wireless mini photo printer, wireless chargers, smartpen with transcribing notebook, smartwatches, noise-masking sleepbuds and smart water bottle. Don’t Underestimate Personalized Recognition Experiences Your employees worked hard to earn President’s Club. Take some time on the trip to thank them again, and remind them they are valued. Making participants feel special—whether it’s a token of appreciation or something larger— is a great way to tie the experience back to your organization.
Take recognition a step further by providing personalized rewards. For example: >
Offer private Italian leather glove fittings while in Italy
Bake the perfect croissant in a class led by a Michelin-star pastry chef in France
Set up high-end electronics, sunglasses, clothing or jewelry boutiques with experts who will work with winners one-on-one to help them select their choices Make Lasting Memories
In other words, it’s not over when it’s over. After attendees get home and the vacation high wears down, there may be culture shock. There may be jet lag. Or a hundred errands to run (though, not if you took our advice in #1. The first few days back after a long trip can be stressful. Thoughts of “I need a vacation from my vacation,” come to mind. So why not give it to them? Depending on where they went, treat them to after-trip luxury: >
Provide a basket of local food and snacks from the country or region visited
Upgrade the next trip’s plane tickets if they win again next year
Give a month’s worth of personal training or yoga sessions to get back to “real life”
Long-lasting memories are built through repetition. Organize a post-event seminar, survey your attendees or set up a photo-sharing contest to follow up on an incentive trip. Post-event activities shouldn’t necessarily relate only to those who were on the trip. Let them share their impressions at public events to boost awareness. President’s Club programs are a great way to reward and recognize your top talent. Don’t shy away from upgrades and add-ons that turn moments into memories before and long after the trip. insights magazine | 17
MEASURING EVENT SUCCESS? ASK YOURSELF THESE 5 QUESTIONS By: Anna Boggs, Analytics Advisor
When it comes to measuring the success of an event, it’s imperative to plan ahead. If the purpose of your event is to increase product knowledge, you can’t determine whether it was successful or not if you don’t gauge product knowledge before the event. Not only will effective event measurement demonstrate achievement of goals and objectives, it will also give you invaluable insight as you begin to strategize the design of your next event. That is, of course, only if you’re measuring the right success factors. Ask yourself these five questions to identify the true metrics that guide your event toward success and prove event impact.
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What Event Objectives Are You Planning to Measure?
The objectives you’re planning to measure should directly relate to the overall goal of your event. If the purpose of your event is to launch a new product, you’ll want to measure objectives related to brand exposure and product knowledge. Or if the purpose is to motivate your sales team, you’ll want to measure objectives related to event engagement and feelings of inspiration. Here’s a list of potential key event success metrics to keep in mind—before, during and after:
Qualified Marketing & Sales Leads
What Tools & Systems Can You Leverage to Support Your Event Measurement Plan? Sales are the backbone of every business. And sales are also involved in many strategic events. That’s why it’s more important than ever to tie your customer relationship management software (CRM) to support your measurement plan. A CRM or marketing automation software will prove invaluable in securing the data your event needs. But data is gathered through more places than just marketing and sales. Tech-centric tools and features, such as apps, RFID tracking, interactive attractions or other immersive experiences can not only give your participants an incredible experience but collect valuable data about their preferences that can be used to optimize the event.
When & How Often Are You Going to Measure Event Impact? Registrant Conversion Rate
Attendee Conversion Rate
Engagement Metrics Website visits, shares, likes, etc.
If you just measure progress once or to key event goals only, you’re missing out on some incredible data. To best collect that data, make measurements at periodic intervals, rather than just once. For example, if you measure pipeline growth or sale lift post-event, you may not be seeing the complete picture of growth as a result of attending the event. This is because sales take time. However, if you do the same measurement immediately following the event; again six months later; and, again nine months later, your data confidence and ability to segment sales data and differentiate lift between attendees and non-attendees exponentially increases. Whatever intervals you choose, make sure they’re standardized from event to event. This will provide more accurate benchmarks for the future. insights magazine | 19
How Will You Learn About What Your Event Attendees Liked?
How Will You Repeat Event Success In the Future?
You can’t just guess what it is about your event that your attendees really enjoyed. You need to figure it out. And the best way to do that? Ask.
Whatever you do, make your event measurement a cyclical process. Planning for after the event can feel like miles down the road but be ready to act upon what you’ve learned.
Don’t underestimate the power of polling. Create a quick email survey and ask your attendees what they thought.
After you’ve identified your goals and measured throughout the event, don’t let those results rot away in an Excel document. It’s time to act with them.
Example questions include:
How? There are two major avenues:
How satisfied were you with the event?
How useful did you find the information presented at the event?
Would you recommend it to a friend?
Are you likely to attend in the future?
How much have your professional skills improved because of this event?
How would you rate this event’s organization?
Was the event better, worse, or about what you expected?
What sponsors do you recall seeing at the event? (This question helps quantify and justify sponsor participation)
Survey and simply ask your attendees what they thought. What worked? What didn’t? You’ll be surprised at what you find out.
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AVENUE #1 If you’re lucky enough to avert problems while on site, alter elements before they become a problem. (Did participants have questions left unanswered on one topic you featured in a mainstage presentation? Invite the speaker to come back up on the mainstage to respond to questions on Day 2. There’s nothing like feeling heard to make attendees feel like they belong.)
AVENUE #2 If you catch problems after your event is over, use what you learned to guide the strategy of your next event. (Do your attendees dislike/like the keynote speaker? Take their feedback and find someone new next time.)
Do Your Post-Event Surveys Only Ask For Attendee Likes & Dislikes? You may be missing out on insightful feedback by asking only surface-level questions. To better measure event success, ask attendees targeted
questions during pre- and post-event surveys to truly understand what
the audience wants from the event and your organization. Get relevant post-event survey feedback today.
View Our White Paper info.itagroup.com/post-event-surveys
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How to Improve Employee Experience With Corporate Events (& Why Now Is The Time to Do It) By: Christina Zurek, Insights & Strategy Leader 22 | insights magazine
The world is in a tenuous state. Yet, despite continued uncertainty, I can’t help feeling like a gleeful child the night before their birthday as I optimistically look to our eventual return to “normal.” And there are few things I’m more excited about than a return to event experiences and ITA Group traditions, including our holiday celebrations, impromptu happy hours and, of course, our annual Sales Kickoff and All Employee-Owner Meeting held each fall (more on those events later). I’ve seen the positive, powerful impact these gatherings have had on my own employee experience. After a successful event, I feel more aligned to our organizational goals, pride in our shared successes and connected to our community. So today, I wanted to share some insight on why you should still be planning and holding these types of events—even if you’re worried they won’t quite feel “normal” yet, either. I’ve seen the positive, powerful impact these gatherings have had on my own employee experience. After a successful event, I feel more aligned to our organizational goals, pride in our shared successes and connected to our community. So today, I wanted to share some insight on why you should still be planning and holding these types of events—even if you’re worried they won’t quite feel “normal” yet, either.
HOW EMPLOYEE & CORPORATE EVENTS IMPROVE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE In our research, employees shared that during times of uncertainty and disruption, they crave acknowledgement, validation of their efforts and inspiration from their leaders. While the pandemic is an unprecedented disruption, organizations have coped with the implications of market, economic and organizational churn throughout history and, through all those times, have developed strategies to inspire and motivate employees when they need it most. Here are three reasons events support the needs mentioned above and, ultimately, improve employee experience: 1. Clarifying Organizational Expectations Human beings want to understand what is expected of them, a belief that goes far beyond just wanting to be “in the know” and is rooted in a biological need for the perception of control. Events are a great way to share your goals and expectations because not only is everybody hearing a consistent message, but they’re also experiencing it in a high-impact way. 2. Creating Culture-Driven Shared Experiences Few topics have been discussed as much as the importance of sustaining company culture during the pandemic. The communal nature of events presents a unique opportunity to bolster your cultural norms and behaviors. 3. Establishing Your Company as an Employer of Choice As the war for talent escalates, organizations offering appealing and innovative employee experiences will win.
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WHY YOUR EVENT OBJECTIVE SHOULD BE YOUR FIRST PRIORITY It can be tempting to fixate on the type of event you’re having and work backwards into the attendee experience from there. While the event format is important, your event strategy should first prioritize key objectives. Start by asking yourself and other stakeholders important questions about why you’re having the event in the first place and the desired outcome. The two most common objectives for our clients’ (and our own) employee and corporate events include:
1. Reinforcing shared behaviors and goals, especially in the wake of a significant change (e.g., M&A activity, a culture change initiative or major disruption) 2. Appreciating above-and-beyond performance, either for select individuals or organization-wide Once your event objective is clear, you’ll be better positioned to make decisions about the experience your people should have—whether that’s virtual or in person.
Wondering if your organization is ready to return to live events? Check out our advice to help you decide. info.itagroup.com/return-live-events
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EXAMPLES TO INSPIRE YOUR NEXT EMPLOYEE EVENT EXPERIENCE As with other aspects of employee experience, some pandemic-spurred changes will last long term, and events are no exception. Expect to see a combination of virtual and live events in the future and be ready to use each as needed based on your objective and needs. Here are three event experience examples to ensure, no matter what the future holds (or what your unique workforce needs may be), you can include events as part of your employee engagement strategy.
1 How To Unite Employees In Disparate Roles With A Virtual Event Following a series of M&A activity, a healthcare system was looking for a unique way to align their 20,000 employees around a shared mission, values and organizational brand. Since employees were mostly based in hospitals, it wasn’t possible to bring them all together in one location, so we helped them create satellite event experiences. Read the Full Story Here: info.itagroup.com/simulcast-event
How to Recognize Top Performers While Ensuring Peace of Mind in Unpredictable Times
How to Boost Employee Enthusiasm & Buy-In for Company Goals Using an Immersive Event
One ITA Group client remained committed to finding a way to maintain its decades-old top performer recognition—a mainstay known for rewarding both employees and their families—despite the pandemic.
My final example is close to home—it’s one of ITA Group’s own employee events.
After completing a thorough risk assessment, stakeholders determined the event would move forward with heightened risk mitigation factors to ensure attendee and community safety. Read the Full Story Here: info.itagroup.com/healthy-event
A multi-day event, this annual experience is a time for all team members to join in activities designed to improve our skills, increase collaboration and reinvigorate our passion for another year of helping clients accomplish their own objectives. Equal parts learning and having fun, it’s the highlight of the year for most of us. Read the Full Story Here: info.itagroup.com/employee-event
If we’ve learned one thing from this challenging time, it’s the importance of meaningfully connecting with each other. Employee events offer an opportunity to foster those connections while also working toward your organizational and employee engagement goals, including building your culture, improving employee motivation and elevating the perception of your organization as an employer of choice.
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