The global financial crisis has initiated changes in the conferencing industry. Despite the financial pinch and the increase in the use of video conferencing as a tool, there is still no substitute for meeting face to face in a neutral environment.
This trend has ensured that conferences are still on the increase but the outcome of these meetings have more importance as measuring the ROI becomes the focal point.
Looking at business conferencing there are 5 trends for South African companies that will enable them to harness their resources during hard times and ensure business success through smarter events.
1) Cost of Conferencing
The considerations in securing a venue are the costs of using a local city venue against a more remote option but with accommodation included, or a happy medium that is close enough but still out of town. Traditionally the country venues are cheaper but with travel restrictions being implemented by companies the geographic range considered has been significantly reduced.
2) Collaberation and Communication
With smaller budgets on the table for a conference package there has been a greater need for planners and suppliers to collaborate to ensure the company requirements closely matches the delivery of the tailored requirements.
3) Linking of Activities
To get the most from a conference more is being planned in a shorter space of time. A sandwich technique can be an effective tool for getting results by starting with a team build, having the conference and ending with a spa treatment or fun activity.
Kicking a conference off with a team building exercise is a good way to chip off the rough edges and get participants settled in each others company and accelerate networking.
Once the participants have been loosened up the goal of the conference is more likely to be accepted and adopted.
The spa treatment allows the take away points of the meeting to be cemented while relaxing and feeling spoiled. The fun activity is used to de-compress the participants and further interpersonal relationships.
4) Video Conferencing
Having a fast Internet connection in SA has moved from being a luxury to an absolute necessity for a long time now. Technology has advanced and the use of video conferencing, which was clumsy and awkward, is now very much a viable tool. The global accessibility of experts through this medium has led to the increasing inclusion of third party management specialists in a video conferencing discussion.
Along with PCO’s adopting a green policy and venues actively greening their product offerings, the financial cost cutting has furthered the cause of corporate Greening in that travel carbon emissions are reduced and lighter meals are being requested for delegates.