How micro-moments are taking event personalisation to the next level: #eventprofstalk Twitter chat recap

An event experience comprises many micro-moments that consumers undertake on their customer journey as they interact with an event. Do event planners look at each customer interaction strategically, making it an ‘experience’? 

According to Google’s report from 2015 ‘Think with Google’, micro-moments ‘are critical touchpoints within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends’. In 2019, ‘micro’ is having its moment again because event and travel professionals have begun to highlight the benefits of having bite-size experiences, using terms such as micro-experience, micro-travel, micro-learning and micro-influencers in their corporate communication.  

It is understood that micro-trends are all about more personalised experiences that help individuals save time, be more efficient and productive and obtain results. Therefore, we wanted to understand better what micro-moments have to do with changing attendee needs and expectations.

To find more about this growing trend in connection with the event industry, we hosted an #eventprofstalk Twitter chat on 7 October 2019 about micro-moments and below share with you the highlights from our community members.

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How can collaboration lead to innovation: #eventprofstalk Twitter chat with Becky Dempsey, Account Manager at The Collaboration Company

Collaboration is particularly interesting for the events industry because event planners work so often with venues, suppliers, destination management companies (DMCs) and clients, yet it sometimes can seem that the various stakeholders do not truly collaborate, but actually cooperate or coordinate an event. Therefore, collaboration is the most misused and misunderstood word in business. 

Collaboration vs cooperation and coordination 

Have you come across phrases such as ‘We’re really good at collaboration, we have Skype, shared servers and online tools, so we can always collaborate?’. According to Becky Dempsey, Account Manager at The Collaboration Company and who will also speak at our annual conference next year, these examples are referring to ‘Sharing information and connection, not collaboration.’ 

Have you come across the phrase ‘All my team collaborate on an event because we have the client in mind and are making sure the event is right?’ Here Becky explained that ‘This is working to a shared goal, so maybe more cooperation than collaboration.’ A further example is when collaboration is confused with coordination, ‘We collaborate with all of our suppliers to ensure the best event.’ Here, Becky suggested that this is yet not fully related to collaboration, but rather suppliers are working in parallel on their own section of the event; therefore, it is more about coordination rather than collaboration.

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‘Business etiquette on social media: authenticity vs professionalism’: #eventprofstalk Twitter chat recap

Authenticity is a widely used word in the business world. Companies strive to be perceived as authentic and human, but being authentic also means being ready to show vulnerability. In recent years, authenticity has become such an overused word that it diminishes its meaning in the business context; after all, do companies really need to be authentic? How can they be authentic? What does it actually mean for a company to be authentic? Do the companies need to be authentic or do the people working there make the company authentic? 

To set this topic strait and clarify these questions, we hosted an #eventprofstalk Twitter chat on 16 September discussing authenticity vs professionalism on social media and asked our community how they define authenticity and when authenticity crosses the line and stops being professional.

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Strategies for finding the right balance between generating PR and profit for events: #eventprofstalk Twitter chat recap

Events cost a considerable amount of time and money to produce. Therefore, it’s necessary to define clear objectives and how to achieve them. Very often, events have two main objectives: generating either PR or profit. If the event can achieve both, it’s a phenomenal success and means that the event has the right strategy in place, committed partners and sponsors, a strong community, engaging content and an effective speaker programme. These factors will help create a long-term PR strategy that can generate profit in a sustainable manner. 

It is not easy to find the right balance straight away, and before generating profit, a strong PR strategy should be in place. To clarify this area and receive more input on the overall approach regarding whether events are designed to generate PR or profit and how to balance both, we put out the question to our community during the weekly #eventprofstalk Twitter chat on 9 September 2019, insights of which we want to share with you in this article below. 

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The fundamentals of event design that will guide #eventprofs to deliver more impactful events: #eventprofstalk Twitter chat recap

Event design is a hot topic this year. It’s good to see that more and more event planners and clients are recognising the importance of event design and approaching their events from this perspective. An event entails more than the logistical part of booking the infrastructure. It’s important to define ‘why’ an event is needed in the first place as well as its purpose. To get to the depth of the subject, we hosted an #eventprofstalk Twitter chat on 2 September 2019, and in the following post, I want to share with you what our wonderful community has to say on the topic of event design. 

Let’s start from the basics: What is event design? 

According to Irina Graf, founder of The MICE Blog and Event Planners Talk, ‘Event design is looking at each individual aspect of an event to visualise how attendees will interact with the event and their journey. It’s carefully choosing the elements that will complement each other to design a seamless experience for attendees.’ 

Becky Dempsey, Programme Account Manager at The Collaboration Company, shared that she ‘always seen event design as the venue, content, format, layout and atmosphere that all goes into communicating your message in the best possible way.’ 

For Pauline Kwasniak, digital marketer, writer, speaker and event planner at TurnedSee and Mbooked, event design is ‘a visual strategy of an outlook, schedule and the whole concept of an event. It includes everything from marketing, plan, policy, speakers, objectives, wishes to suppliers. For me, event design is a strategy to deliver that event with all aspects.’ 

Valerie Wagner, founder of the Hotel O Motion blog and podcast, shared that for her, it’s ‘the interaction of all actors with a focus on the goal/result of the event. How can I design an event? How can I convey the message? When participants are asked after the event what that event was about, what should they say? Around these aspects, the event will be “designed”, using all means of communication at one’s disposal.’ 

LeAnna Toups-Bennett, project manager at Louisiana Department of Education, shared that ‘Event design is all factors of an event that, when combined, portray the event’s brand, purpose and mission.’ 

Robert Bagust, Worldwide Congress Manager at Bristol-Myers Squibb, emphasised the importance of having a purpose, ‘It’s starting with “purpose”. You cannot think about (event) design until you know what it is you are trying to do. Perhaps you are trying to solve a business challenge; an event is just one option to consider…nail this clearly, then comes design. For the event design phase, it’s about putting into place all the required elements to help you achieve the objectives you’ve set out… the design is then “everything”…’

Robert Dunsmore, Freelance/independent Creative Director, added that one of the important attributes of event design is culture ‘The culture, idea platform, voice and personality of your event—everything else is just infrastructure.’

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How an online event became an offline conference: interview with Event Planners Talk founder on Hotel O Motion podcast

It’s just under one year to go, and we are very excited and ready for our most thought-provoking and business-driven MICE conference, which will take place next year from 27–30 August in Bern, Switzerland. A couple of weeks ago, our founder Irina Graf was interviewed on Valerie Wagner’s podcast—Hotel O Motion—about the journey of designing this event from when it all began in 2014 as a weekly Twitter chat and will next year take place as a multi-day international conference. You can listen to the full podcast on the Hotel O Motion website and major podcast platforms, with a summary of this interview being available in this blog article. 

The discussion began with a short introduction regarding how Irina initiated The MICE Blog, which is a corporate event planning blog dedicated to those working in the MICE sector and who wish to stay on top of industry news, learn about new destinations, venues and the latest trends. Irina stated, ‘I began the blog in 2011 as a hobby while doing an internship at an event agency in Munich. Not long after that, I moved to London to undertake a 3.5 year BA in international events management. Maintaining the blog alongside the studies allowed me to build my knowledge and network of the MICE sector in the dynamic city of London and be part of this community. Upon graduating at the end of 2014, in 2015 I turned it into a full-time business. In August 2014, I began a Twitter chat called #eventprofstalk (initially, the hashtag was #EventPlannersTalk but was shortened later to #eventprofstalk) to discuss various industry topics. From 2015, it became a weekly chat, and I slowly started building a community specifically around this Twitter chat. The online audience was invited to participate in the discussion on Twitter and answer six questions around a specific industry topic. The community grew organically as people started engaging with the topics and, most importantly with each other, to forge business relationships; I have personally got to know many of my business contacts through this channel.’

‘The online presence led to launching the first live event in February 2015 in London, and 17 events later, from 2015–2019, in 2020 we’ll host our first international event in Bern, Switzerland.’ 

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Bye Bye Social Media, Welcome Social Web and Community Management: How can online communities be cultivated in the event industry? – #eventprofstalk Twitter chat with Valerie Wagner, Founder of Hotel O Motion

Several recent industry discussions have demonstrated that companies retract from social media because they want to find different ways to strengthen relationships with their customers, primarily offline. For example, that was the case with the pub chain JD Wetherspoon and the cosmetics firm Lush in the UK. Additionally, increased attention is shifting to closed groups, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, where the focus is on strengthening community relations. Is it a trend that event planners should observe more closely and explore more ways of building their communities ‘offline’, or is it just PR hype?

To understand the latest developments of community management, both online and offline, we teamed up with Valerie Wagner from Hotel O Motion to host the #eventprofstalk Twitter chat about ‘Bye Bye Social Media, Welcome Social Web and Community Management: How can online communities be cultivated in the event industry.’

Valerie is a blogger and a podcaster specialising in digital hotel management. She has built an online community of hoteliers who receive constant updates from her about how to optimise their processes and customer experience in the digital age. During this chat with Valerie, we discussed why some companies choose to go offline and find new ways to communicate with their audience, as well as what new tools are available for community building. Many membership clubs, associations or networking groups of like-minded people do not always have a social media strategy and despite this fact, they successfully keep their members engaged via newsletters, information boards, print advertising and most importantly, events. How can corporate events strengthen their offline communities even further? This important question and others were discussed during this chat. 

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How to attract and retain young talent in the events industry: #eventprofstalk Twitter chat with Robert Kenward, Chief Talent Officer & Co-founder at YOU search & select

Last week, we co-hosted the regular #eventplannerstalk Twitter chat about ‘How to attract and retain young talent in the events industry’ with event recruitment expert Robert Kenward. Robert has worked within the recruitment and events sector for over 17 years and explored the world of hiring from all angles — namely as a candidate, client and recruiter. For the last three and a half years, he has run the recruitment agency ‘YOU search & select’ where he connects top talent with leading agencies within the live events, experiential and integrated communications sector.

From many talks with industry professionals, it has become apparent that a number of agencies face challenges in terms of attracting and retaining talent. In a highly people-driven business, are we falling short on securing top candidates for our businesses? 

Before starting to discuss the challenges of attracting talent, we wanted to define what ‘young talent’ in fact means. 

Young talent is not solely related to age, but also to the level of expertise and industry experience. According to Robert, ‘young talent is someone who is new to the industry or is a junior, mid-level entry candidate who has little direct experience but has bags of enthusiasm and transferable skills.’ Irina Graf from The MICE Blog added that ‘these are usually candidates with less than five years’ work experience but with basic knowledge of event management and a willingness to work and learn.’ Valerie Wagner from Hotel-O-Motion suggested that ‘these are newcomers or career changers who are new to event management or event planners with experience but new to new formats and new event orientation. Learning is a constant process. Talent shouldn’t be a question of age, and HR has the basic task of retaining talents and using them correctly.’ 

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First site visit to Bern and introduction to our three main conference venues

Bern

At the beginning of May, we officially announced our conference date together with publishing the registration link, marking the official start of planning and getting ready for the first international and multi-day Event Planners Talk conference from 27–30 August 2020 in Bern, Switzerland. 

Bern is the Capital of Switzerland, and as such, it has infrastructure to accommodate world-class events. Additionally, its heritage, culture and leisure offering make it a desirable MICE destination. Not only is the city an absolute gem to discover, but the entire Bernese region also offers a rich and diverse environment for combining business with leisure, thanks to its nearby lakes and mountains. 

We are thrilled to host our first international event in Bern and explore the region with all its hidden gems! 

Bern is also a compact city, where most of the venues are accessible on foot, or within a short ride by public transport; that’s a huge advantage for experiencing the city to its fullest and incorporating the aspects of sustainability and urban mobility.

But first things first, we want to introduce our venue partners who you will have the chance to experience by yourself during your stay. Our programme will take place across these three venues, so we have great variety and a bit of moving around instead of passively sitting throughout the day in one room! 

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