The use of big data in meetings and events was the topic of discussion at an educational session held at the 46th annual Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) convention in Los Angeles on July 28. The panel, moderated by Anthony Miller, chief marketing officer of Lanyon, discussed the ways in which leveraging big data can vastly improve the effectiveness and ROI of a meeting/event, as well as assist in compliance.
"The capture and use of data will be key," said Miller. "We need data that gives you an opinion."
Some reasons for collecting big data, according to the panelists, were to improve the overall meeting/event experience, increase personalization, monitor compliance as it relates to the healthcare industry and to work with procurement.
Improving the Meeting Experience
Mike Stiles, senior corporate events manager for Adobe in Lehi, UT, said that he utilizes big data, especially registration information and survey feedback, to "focus on elevating the experience of the event." "We look to big data to find ways to make face-to-face meetings even more effective and valuable," Stiles said. "The more we collect information on how to bring more value to attendees and cater to what they're looking for, we get a true ROI. You can never have too much data."
Craig Banikowski, senior manager of travel meetings and fleet for Amgen, said that when it comes to using big data for meetings and events, it's also crucial to "understand divergent needs as critical." He noted, "Big data is an evolution, a consolidation of meetings, events, and transient business travel. True personalization comes from analysis and application of big data."
Mary Lake, a pharmaceutical industry planner, noted how collecting data during all aspects of a meeting is crucial for maintaining compliance. "With the Federal Sunshine Act and upcoming European legislation regarding medical and pharmaceutical meetings coming up in 2015, it's essential to centralize the process and track your data," she told the audience. She said that, in particular, the ability to consolidate her data and to use a platform that allows for the use of multiple languages was especially key to helping her stay compliant with her meetings.
Working With Procurement
Amy Margolis, senior principal of procurement for CA Technologies' Global Procurement in North America, said that her role is becoming a blend of transient business travel, meetings, and events. She said that by collecting an analyzing data about her attendees, spend and so forth, she's been able to better develop vendor management and supplier relation strategies. "We need to show them this data so they'll work with us more on negotiated rates and dynamic pricing," she explained.