Planning a meeting in Las Vegas or attending a convention in Las Vegas and having to organize satellite events?
Ensuring Positive ROI with Audience Contribution
In each issue, Meetings & Events Las Vegas is sure to devote coverage about return on investment (ROI). As precious time, resources, and money goes towards planning an event, we understand the need for this effort to create value for your company. As important as hosting an informative and enjoyable meeting is creating one that results in positive ROI.

As the event is being developed, it is important not to have a singular focus that centers on internal operations and excludes the material and informational needs of your audience. To properly incorporate these needs it is best to go directly to your attendees for data and sentiments. After all, how can a meeting planner accurately gauge the success of a meeting or event if audience reaction is not taken into account? One way to do so is to gather data from attendees before, during, and after the event.

In the weeks leading up to the event, meeting planners and/or managers should make contact with their attendees. Correspondences do not have to be limited to travel arrangements and event logistics since this interaction is an ideal opportunity to gather data which could inform part of your meeting.

What are attendees' expectations? What would they like to be covered during the course of the events itinerary? What did they not find beneficial at the previous years meeting? The answers to these questions will put the event planner in an advantageous position as the events content is being evaluated and approved.

A current industry trend being used at forward-thinking companies is real-time text voting — a technology that can be enacted during the actual course of a meeting. For example, a presentation will include a question posed to all audience members who will send their answers to a pre-determined number that can be accessed by the presenter before the end of the discussion. This type of on-demand input puts the attendees in a participatory role and positively shapes their experience. The audience is less likely to require enticement for real-time voting since their opinion will yield immediate results.

Informal questions asked to key audience members can also help planners and managers take the temperature of the collective crowd. You want to be sure to direct your questions to those who are known to have informative opinions and usually echo the attitude of the majority. These causal conversations are helpful to make small adjustments throughout the course of the event.

Once the meeting has adjourned the most frequently used method of gathering audience feedback is through surveys and questionnaires. Asking attendees to put their thoughts on paper is an excellent way to see how an event played out in the eyes of someone who participated in the meeting, but was not involved in the planning process. Because surveys are anonymous, attendees are less likely to be inhibited when it comes to revealing how they feel about a particular event experience. This honesty allows planners to see what they did right from an objective standpoint, but also shows what areas they need to improve on.

Surveys can be distributed onsite or they can be disseminated in electronic form. Post meeting emails are usually more successful than onsite paper surveys since the audience members may have time restraints for return travel or feel a little burnt out after the duration of an event. The responses from emailed surveys can easily be logged by the organization using appropriate software or specially designed forms created by the IT department or webmaster.

Be sure to offer an incentive for filling out the survey. Assuming that each attendee will feel compelled to give insight on their own accord is wishful thinking. Offer a giveaway or the chance to win a prize. Trade show exhibitors commonly use free conference passes for the following year to get participants to fill out the survey and ensure that they come back for the next event.

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If you have expertise in a particular area relevant to planning meetings and or events, you may submit a 400 to 750 word "how-to" article for possible inclusion in any of our magazines and/or our websites.

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