Planner Expectations in Evolving Technology World
By Gregg H. Talley President & CEO, Talley Management Group, Inc. | August 07, 2011
I know, I know - it's frustrating, planners seem to want it all and want it all for free. But what's really going on in our world and how do we meet each others needs in a way that works for both the facility and the planner?
Let's get one niggling little thing out of the way - free internet in the sleeping rooms; really, it's time. In today's world it is simply an expectation of business travelers. You all have heard it - if the limited service properties can do it, why can't the full service properties? We know you are negotiating it away in your corporate contracts and in some group contracts, and most of us work with air cards or tethered cell phones to avoid the charges anyway, so let's agree you made your money. Now it may very well become a competitive disadvantage given expectations of both individual business travelers and group buyers.
With that out of the way let's turn to the meeting and public spaces. There is a lot going on with properties and chains looking to make major investments in event technology equipment and services, often billed as "solutions", a term I generally find dubious and misleading once you dig into the details. The continuing challenge for all of us - on both sides - is that with no real evolving standard we both are searching for the "right solutions" (see, just no avoiding it!) from a huge list of providers in both equipment and services and, oh yea, the half life of all of these "solutions" is only 18-20 months. Meaning the next "new thing" is right around the corner threatening to make our investments obsolete.
What do we know? The findings of the 2011 IMEX in Frankfurt Hosted Buyer Social Media Survey (taken from the post-show exit survey) suggest that the uptake of social media for professional use has accelerated significantly compared to last year. Among the respondents, Facebook has risen in popularity with 71 per cent of hosted buyers now using it either for networking or business promotion purposes, rising from 60 per cent in 2010. Twitter is another social media platform that has increased in popularity, with 41 per cent of respondents now using it regularly, compared to 27 per cent in 2010. So clearly more of us are using social media as a tool pre, on sight and post and we are converting to it ever faster.
Corbin Ball, meetings technology guru and CEO of Corbin Ball and Associates, notes that the use of social media is one of the two biggest technology trends in recent memory.
"The two hottest trends that are happening right now are mobile technology and social media," he says. "In the 30 years I've spent watching technology, those are the two most explosive booms I've ever seen."