May 08, 2019

Top Trends Shaping Higher Education Event Planning (2) Complex Events


This is the second of a three-part series exploring trends in facilities and event scheduling on college campuses. Last time we looked at how the number of events and meetings continues to increase and how event management teams can respond effectively to that growth using technology. Another of the top three trends affecting collegiate event scheduling is increasing event complexity.

Event hosts today are looking to get the attention of attendees and maintain it from the moment they take their seat to the time they walk out the door. One of the keys to achieving this goal is the availability of advanced technology. Hosts expect to have access to the latest and greatest systems to make their events a success. This is no surprise given that anyone with a smartphone can be the producer of a “live event” wherever and whenever they choose to conduct one. With that as a minimum standard, you’ve got to enable an exceptional experience when it comes to the services you provide.

But, you’re not alone. This is a trend across the event industry and not one limited to gatherings on college campuses as the Fall 2018 Meetings Outlook Report explains. And, given the pace at which technology changes, the hunger for the newest innovations is sure to grow.

Tips for Managing the Expanding List of Meeting and Event Requirements

So, customers are expecting more out of their events. This means they are expecting more out of you and your staff as well. How are you going to meet those expectations? In order to deliver a great experience, you will need:

  • A clear understanding of the customer's needs
  • A way to track and manage all details
  • A staff that is empowered to execute your plan
  • A way to monitor progress both before and during an event

Let's dive into each requirement for more details.

Understand the customer’s needs.

This starts with how you collect the information in the event planning process. Whether a request is made by phone or using an online form submitted to the events department, it is important that you get at least the information you need to begin planning initially. This will provide the framework for your event. But, especially with complex events, you will need to obtain more details since the technical requirements for the event will tend to “come together” as the event date approaches. From verbal conversations to digital messaging, it’s critical that you accurately record this information.

Track and manage details

Once the necessary information is gathered, it is essential that you have a place to store it. An event management system is ideal for recording and updating details as needed. While there are many such systems on the market that do an adequate job of storing information, ease of use – both for the requestor and your staff - is a key differentiator.

But, let's define “ease of use” since that can be a vague concept. In the context of event scheduling, it means that a system:

  • Is up and running quickly
  • Requires minimal training
  • Is intuitive to navigate
  • Allows for data to be added or retrieved efficiently

Execute the plan

In order to execute the event plan, staff must not only be trained on how to deliver the services, they must be empowered to do so. This requires access to real-time information on what the customer has requested and what has been provided. A team member’s ability to pull information from the event management system quickly and from wherever they are is a key to success.

Typically, this means accessing the information in a digital form. Details in an advanced event management solution can be accessed from a mobile device virtually anywhere in today’s highly connected world. Consequently, teams have up-to-the-minute details on how preparations are going and any last-minute changes.

Monitor progress

The final step of delivering a great experience is the ability to monitor the progress of service deliveries. Staff should be able to provide real-time updates on the status of their work. This allows event coordinators, managers, and other service providers to identify bottlenecks and take action to correct the problem before it affects the established event timeline.

Again, staff should be able to do this from wherever they are using their phone or tablet. This capability is something that is just beginning to take off in the industry and will, no doubt, lead to better experiences down the road.

Scheduling Software That Simplifies the Management of Complex Campus Events

Being aware that events are getting more complex and that customer expectations are rising means your scheduling operations are moving in the right direction. The next step is implementing the tools you need to simplify the management of those events.

In the final installment in our series on the top trends affecting campus event scheduling, we’ll take a look at another change driven by the evolution of technology: the rise of the on-demand culture. This movement is one that can put a significant strain on service providers. Fortunately, it’s one that is being addressed by the development of true software as a service (SaaS) solutions, as we’ll explain.





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