Conference Planner's List of New Year's Resolutions 2016

Dec 4, 2015 3:34:31 PM

Kim Estep


 As the end of the year approaches, The CN staff has been busy compiling a list of resolutions we think the Meetings Industry should pledge to undertake in 2016. Read on and see if you agree...

How many meeting planners pledge to...
  1. Lower the cost of Exhibitor's Wifi at Events

 The FCC crackdown on illegal hotspot blocking at conferences, conventions and trade shows has been well-publicized. We hope in 2016 we will see all event venues come into compliance with the prohibition on blocking or tampering with personal wireless hotspots. Exhibitors have long been asked to pay very high fees for internet access on exhibit hall floors – we’ve seen prices as high as $1,100 for one wireless connection! Now that the federal government has made it clear to industry participants that hotspot signal blocking is illegal, it's time for exhibitors to be allowed to make full use of the wifi tethering option on their smartphones without needing to ask permission or having to pay a penalty. We understand that the venues' reluctance to do so is due to a perceived lack of wifi spectrum, but with more spectrum going up for auction in early February, we hope a compromise will be reached.


  1. Create A Sustainability Plan for All Events 

Ok, we understand this is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, so to that end we at least hope to see more event planners, organizers and sponsors pledging to incorporate environmentally responsible practices into the planning, organization and delivery of their events. Attendees, especially millennials, strongly desire this - so environmentally-conscious event planning and design isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for business.  


  1. Recruit And Sign Up More Women Speakers 

This is a resolution that needs to be implemented right away, especially in tech industry conferences. How can event planners accomplish this?

Sandi MacPherson, the female founder of Quibb, launched the 50/50 Pledge movement in an effort to equalize the numbers of male and female speakers at tech industry conferences and events. The 50/50 Pledge organization is compiling a database of professional women in technology who are high-quality speakers. This directory encourages and assists conference organizers in discovering the best-suited women speakers for their events. 

Convention Nation is a conference industry startup with a female founder/CEO, and we support the 50/50 Pledge goal and all other efforts to showcase more women as speakers at professional, and especially tech-related, events.  


  1. Improve Attendee ROI With Appropriate Technology 

Technology is changing the events industry in many different ways. In evaluating which new technological tools to incorporate into events, we hope planners will consider first and foremost the value to their attendees. While it's cool to showcase the next "shiny object", our own research has uncovered costly technology priced into event registration fees (or paid for by sponsors), without benefiting the attendees much. In the coming year we’d like to see more purposeful use of beacons, mobile apps, and slick registration systems to engage with attendees and deliver the event experiences they want. Of course that will mean asking attendees what they want...which leads us to our next resolution.


  1. A Pledge To Facilitate Person to Person Networking Activities 

Technology can greatly enhance the attendee experience, but we hope event planners don’t forget the importance of in-person networking at events. Different personality types network differently, and not everyone finds a new connection at a cocktail party. We think more attendees will be satisfied if they can participate in structured meet-and-greet activities. We like roundtable discussions, speed networking sessions, and "meet your speaker" sessions that facilitate face-to-face interactions among attendees and subject matter experts.


These are some serious resolutions that require commitments from many different parts of the meetings industry, but accepting what's not working is the first step towards finding a solution. We’d love to hear from conference organizers on what you’re doing in any of these areas so we can share your ideas and successes with the Convention Nation community! Send us your comments here, on our web site, or below.


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