. Planning a Meeting the Sharing Economy Way | Successful Meetings

Planning a Meeting the Sharing Economy Way

Disruptors like Airbnb and Uber can be an asset to event planners

Tracy Stuckrath

In September, Tracy Stuckrath found herself in a bit of a conundrum. Stuckrath, CSEP, CMM, CHC, president, and chief connecting officer of Atlanta-based Thrive! Meetings & Events, was in Baltimore to speak at a local Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) chapter meeting, as well as to attend the Natural Products Expo East trade show, one of the city's largest events.

But there was a problem: the downtown Hilton where she was planning to stay during her speaking engagement was overbooked, so the hotel transferred her to another hotel, albeit one that was 10 miles away, much closer to the airport than the convention center.

Lucky for Stuckrath, however, she had a bit of a contingency plan. "I was planning to spend my last two nights in Baltimore at an Airbnb so I contacted the host and asked if it would be OK for me to come one night earlier and stay for three nights instead," she says.

Her Airbnb accommodation only cost $84 per night and was just a one-mile walk from the center -- a big plus for Stuckrath, an avid health and wellness enthusiast. Her Airbnb host used her own phone to show Stuckrath how to plot a walking route for her morning exercise and to the convention center.

Stuckrath's accommodation situation, and her desire for a more local, personal, and affordable meeting experience aren't uncommon. Thanks to technology, today's attendees have a variety of alternatives available to them -- all right at their fingertips -- and they know how to get what they need from their meeting experience, whether it's from an event app or a service like Airbnb or Uber. What attendees want from that meeting experience is accessibility to unique experiences, seamlessness, affordability, and convenience. To be successful, planners need to -- if they haven't already -- start thinking about how they can adapt their meetings to accommodate these ever-evolving technologies, and ever-growing demands.


The New Meeting Mindset 
Stuckrath isn't the only person to use Airbnb to attend a meeting or event. In fact, the homesharing company has its roots firmly planted in the meetings industry.

In 2007, co-founders Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky were having a hard time paying their rent in San Francisco, so they decided to advertise three air mattresses, breakfast included, to attendees of the nearby Industrial Designers Society of America conference. Three attendees stayed, each paying $80 a night, and Airbedandbreakfast.com was born.

"The history of the company came from this field, and this demand," explains Chip Conley, head of global hospitality and strategy for Airbnb. "When you have these peak periods of demand due to a larger meeting, we can be a great solution for guests coming to town or local hosts who are looking to make a little bit of extra money, and meet people visiting from out of town."   

Airbnb isn't the only sharing economy service that people are using around the world, either. Take ridesharing app Uber, valued at $40 billion. It conducted more than 140 million rides in 2014 and counted more than 8 million users as of last year.

Uber and Airbnb are just two of hundreds of companies that make up collaborative consumption, or the sharing economy, a market PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates will be worth $335 billion in revenue over the next 10 years.

What do Airbnb and Uber have in common, and why does it matter for meetings? They give people access to things that weren't quite as accessible before, facilitated by new technology, and they are changing the ways in which people want to meet right now and into the future.

"Technology has enabled people to get what they need from each other, rather than from centralized institutions," explains Jeremiah Owyang, founder of San Francisco-based Crowd Companies, an innovation council for large organizations seeking to understand the collaborative economy. In this type of economy, he says, we're not just consumers -- we're empowered.  


It's About Access --  and Control 
The popularity of collaborative consumption isn't fueled by sharing alone. It's driven by a desire for value and access, and it's something we seek every day, whether we're in a meeting or not.

"In the sharing economy, this idea of value is changing," adds Sarah Sladek, CEO of Minneapolis-based consulting firm XYZ University, and a generational demographics expert. "It's more about sharing, yes, but it's also about access -- and not necessarily ownership. When you really think about it, your phone, your tablet, and your laptop are not so much about ownership but about achieving access to information, relationships, shopping, and entertainment -- to any essential or task affiliated with everyday life."

Brian Strickland, CASE, Seattle-based director of strategic accounts for Experient, says it's important for planners to try to find ways to include these shared-economy services and technologies into their meetings and events to give attendees a sense of familiarity and accessibility. "We're doing a very difficult thing for people," he explains. "We take them away from their comfort zones -- their friends, family, home, and day-to-day routine -- when they come to our meetings. We're asking [attendees] to trust us and be on board with us. Why wouldn't we give them the technology that they're used to using on a daily basis?"

Likewise, today's attendees aren't content with just being passive. They want to feel involved and to participate actively in the meeting they attend and, to some degree, have a measure of control like they would in using these apps and services.


It's About Convenience and Cost
"Personally, I use as many of those [apps] whenever I can," says Shawna Suckow, CMP, Minneapolis-based chairwoman and founder of SPiN, the Senior Planners Industry Network, and The Hive Network. "They're great for consumers, and they make going to a meeting more convenient, affordable, and accessible. If I can use Uber, I'll always use it over a cab."

Stuckrath isn't just a frequent Airbnb guest. She's also been a host since October 2012 to more than 30 different guests.

"As an attendee, it's cost, first and foremost, that is a deciding factor," Stuckrath says. "Unless I'm sharing a room with someone, I'm using Airbnb. I love hotel rooms, but I also like connecting more personally to the city and to the people who live there."

 

Sladek used Airbnb, for the first time, for an XYZ University team retreat for eight in Minneapolis last month. "It's a very scenic house overlooking the Mississippi River, and we thought it would be really nice to have people traveling from out of state be able to stay there, and it costs less than a hotel. The floor plan was really bright and open, so we knew we could bring in flipcharts and do some creative things in that space without feeling cramped."

When Evelyne White, co-founder and CEO of New York-based group dining site Bookalokal, was launching her company, she says Airbnb helped her tremendously. "When I was traveling, I'd let someone stay over; it was no skin off my back and it was a resource," she says. "I joke that Airbnb was my first investor."

Suckow believes cost and convenience are driving both meeting organizers and attendees to consider using Airbnb, Uber, and the like for meetings and events. "The sharing economy is making everything more convenient and cost-effective. If we, as planners or attendees, can find more convenient alternatives, we'll take them."

Sladek notes that while the sharing economy has its roots in the Millennial generation, all generations are using these services today. "Society as a whole is moving toward that idea of more experiences and collaboration."


It's About the Experience 
For some planners, having an attendee book a room on Airbnb is a major disruptor to the traditional meeting experience. But that's the point: More often than not, today's meeting attendee isn't content with the traditional meeting; they want something more, especially something more personal.

"The interesting thing about these 'disruptors' is that they require people to think about meetings in a different way," says Strickland. "Traditionally, some planners have thought about their meeting as just that: the reason people come to the meeting is to get continuing education unit credits, or because it's an annual convention, or something like that. What we're seeing now is that technology is leveling the playing field, and giving people the opportunity to think about the 'what-if-we-could-do-this' scenario. They expect more from meetings."



Sharing Potential 
Give the people what they want. That's what Strickland, Suckow, and Stuckrath believe when it comes to incorporating shared economy services into their meetings and events.

"You have to give people what they want, and what they want are these quote-unquote disruptive technologies," says Strickland. "They're using them in all aspects of their daily, normal lives away from a meeting, and we need to give them the choice of being able to use what they want to use. The more choices we can give attendees, the happier they'll be."

 

But how can planners do this without jeopardizing their bargaining power with suppliers, affecting their bottom lines, or putting attendees at risk? Start small at first, advises Crowd Companies' Jeremiah Owyang. "Use it for just 5 percent of your event, and then slowly integrate it as it becomes more useful." Owyang says planners need to understand that the sharing economy often operates on demand. "Event organizers often like to plan for all details in advance, but the collaborative economy is often based on real-time inventory and availability."

Some ways planners can begin to incorporate collaborative-economy resources, he suggests, include: encouraging attendees to use a ridesharing app; staying at an Airbnb when hotels are booked up or are too expensive; booking a venue through a tool like Peerspace; hiring local makers to create local sets or venues; hiring A/V staff on contract through a marketplace like MEDIAmobz; or hiring additional staffers or couriers via Taskrabbit.

Here are some other best practices:
1. Know your audience. Every meeting, group, and individual is different. Someone who loves using Airbnb for personal travel may not be comfortable using it for a meeting, for example. Gauging your attendees' comfort level with using services like Uber or Airbnb is important. "I think attendees are becoming more open to alternatives. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to getting yourself to a meeting these days," says Suckow.

2. Be balanced. SXSW's Shea says, "Even though I wouldn't steer planners away from working with sharing-economy companies -- I encourage them to keep a balance in terms of their suppliers."

3. Set clear expectations. "Both on the hosting side and guest side, I've seen some people walk in and expect it'll be a hotel, and it doesn't work," says Bookalokal's White. "You want to make sure they are open to using somebody's stuff, and being around someone's personal belongings. If it's at all weird, tell them to use a hotel," she adds. "Ask them to define themselves as more traditional and conservative or more adventurous."

4. Mitigate loss or attrition in your room block.
 "These can disrupt the revenue flow for a lot of meeting planners," says Strickland. "It's hard on event organizers because now they may have to partner with two or three different companies, which dilute the revenue they may generate from just one provider."

Suckow suggests bundling lodging with registration. "What I might do is set standard registration at $1,000, but if you also book three nights in a hotel in our block, your total cost for registration is $800. You have to give attendees an incentive to stay in the room block."

Services like the Roomer Partner Network allow planners to share their unused rooms with other travelers or planners around the world.

5. Think beyond Uber or Airbnb. Take Bookalokal, for instance. This group dining platform allows planners to put together their own private events for attendees in a person's home or a local restaurant, or it can also work to allow attendees to join an open event where the diner gets to dine with strangers. Mariska Ketseloo, executive director of Meeting Professionals International's (MPI) Belgium chapter, used Bookalokal to organize a small pre-meeting dinner for her board and other MPI members at a home in the center of Brussels. "The whole group loved it," Ketseloo says.

There are also ways to utilize shared-economy services for things like parking and even booking your meeting venue.

6. Think of how you can share resources. Planners should start thinking about ways in which they can use collaborative consumption to come up with solutions for their own needs. Says Suckow, "Why aren't we looking at shared trade show booths, décor, signage, A/V, buses, shuttles, etc.? The implications are huge for our industry, and there are all kinds of opportunities waiting to happen."

Adds Experient's Schirmacher, "When I look at the potential of having technology that easily links planners together -- I think if these are all things we might be able to go in together on a bid. They're making it easy for people to find other people."

Being open to these new ways of meeting is half the battle. "Look at how you can embrace this, one step at a time, make things better, and ask attendees for their input," Suckow says. "It can only help you for the next one."



Questions or comments? Email [email protected]



This article appears in the November 2015 issue of Successful Meetings.


Can It Work for a Meeting?  
The short answer? Yes. But it's not one size fits all. The fact of the matter is, whether we like it or not, the sharing economy is here to stay, and attendees are using it and will continue to use into the foreseeable future.

"A planner standing in the way of someone being able to use these services is just going to be more and more frustrated," says Suckow. "As planners, we want to control all aspects of our meeting for many reasons -- liability, financial reasons, etc. There's risk involved, and we always want to know where attendees are and how they are coming and leaving. All of those things are important, but these services are winning. Trying to hold on desperately to traditional methods of planning a meeting is like trying to hold onto a fistful of sand." Adds Stuckrath, "It's not about you as a planner. It's about the attendee experience. If you can't make that experience the best it can be, no matter what, you haven't succeeded as a planner. Planners today need to look at all of their options."


SXSW Makes the Case for Sharing 
While Aibrnb and Uber may not necessarily work as a solution for all types of meetings, they have worked quite successfully for some, including the popular South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film, and interactive festival, held every year in Austin for the past 29 years.

 

Over the past few years, SXSW has formed various partnerships and sponsorships with companies that include Airbnb, HomeAway, Uber, and Lyft, primarily because there was a need for their services, says Mike Shea, executive director of SXSW.

"An event like SXSW has created huge compression in the hotel market here in Austin," he says. "There aren't enough hotels in the downtown area for us and because of that, our attendees have turned to non-traditional properties and accommodations. It's become a necessary thing, so we've used that as an opportunity to turn to some of these companies and find ways to incorporate these companies into our accommodations."

Shea says, "I'll admit I was slower to embrace short-term rentals, in part, because of that level of risk. But we've come down on the side that it's a good thing for us to partner with them. People know where to find those services online, whether we promote them or not."

He says that when Uber and Lyft launched in 2013, his attendees embraced those services wholeheartedly. "We found, anecdotally, and through our post-event surveys, that a quarter to a third of our attendees used a ridesharing service at one point or another during SXSW that first year they launched."

One thing, however, he hopes he can have more of a discussion about with Uber and Lyft, is surge pricing during peak demand periods. "There's an opportunity for surge pricing to get out of hand if we don't have the conversation with them."

Additionally, when it comes to crafting the overall meeting experience for his attendees, Shea says, "Technology has been a huge game changer in the way SXSW presents itself for attendees. Because there are so many different types of conferences and events out there, the landscape has become super competitive. I think our attendees want more from us in terms of bigger names, more compelling types of presentations that are more cutting edge, more controversial. Our attendees are very sophisticated for the most part, and we do our best to keep up with them."


Only a Matter of Time 
Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, HomeAway -- all are finding ways to enter into the meetings industry, and it's no longer a question of how, but when.

In September, Uber announced it has enrolled more than 5,000 companies into its Uber for Business program since launching in 2014. Uber for Business helps companies integrate corporate accounts into the Uber app so users can bill rides directly to their employers.

In July, Airbnb launched Airbnb for Business, and Conley says, that as of August it has more than 3,000 accounts for companies ranging from Google to Morgan Stanley. "When these corporate accounts sign up for Airbnb, they can specify filters they want us to use like only staying in a place that has Wi-Fi or a place that's the entire home or apartment, and not a bedroom in a home," explains Conley.

By the first quarter of 2016, Airbnb hopes to launch a similar platform exclusively for meetings and events that will include landing pages or widgets whereby planners can easily add Airbnb to their meeting's hotel inventory, as well as be able to filter any listings provided, and work directly with a contact at Airbnb.

In September, Uber launched UberEVENTS, for meeting and event organizers, allowing them to purchase and secure passes ahead of an event to send to attendees via email. Guests who receive the code can enter it under the promotions section of the Uber app to hail a ride. Similarly, Lyft, another ridesharing service, has Lyft for Work, which enables the service to create a codespecifically for an event (location, time, code name) so the organization is only billed for credits used.

On Sept. 3, Twinsburg, OH-based Experient announced its partnership with Airbnb to include it as an option for meeting and business event attendees. "There's a demand from our customers to engage with Airbnb," says Gary Schrimacher, CMP, Experient senior vice president of association sales and marketing. "My belief is that this peer-to-peer platform, this shared economy, is just starting for the meetings industry. There's so much potential."

But Is It Safe?
Is the sharing economy really better for everyone? Some would disagree.


Krista Reimer, CMP, founder and owner of New York-based destination management and events company, Blue Nest Events, says she's "had great success" with both Uber and Airbnb for personal use. But when it comes to using Airbnb or Uber for her meeting and event clients, she draws a line. "I know the suppliers I work with on a personal level, and know they're going to be held to a high level of accountability. They understand the difference between the corporate and leisure traveler, and the needs between the two can vary immensely. Uber is not going to give you a contingency plan, nor is Airbnb going to give you any concessions should your level of expectations not be met."

While Stuckrath has had mostly positive Airbnb experiences, she says a recent stay in London gave her pause. The room she booked was not as advertised, and she had difficulty getting in touch with her host. "I called Airbnb and they found me a hotel and put me up there for the night."

She adds that as a host, she feels secure knowing that Airbnb has a $1-million host guarantee for liability insurance. The fact that all communication between guests and hosts must go through the platform, and that Airbnb also asks for emergency contact information, provides additional layers of security.

Airbnb's Chip Conley notes Airbnb has its own dedicated Trust & Safety department of more than 250 former law enforcement officers, lawyers, and FBI agents, in addition to 2,000 people who work in its Customer Experience division, around the clock.

Airbnb, Conley says, isn't trying to replace the hotel, either. "What we've tried to focus on is not consistency and predictability; we focus on dependability," he says. "Consistency is doing the same thing over and over again; you know what you are going to get and it's very tangible. For us, to try to hope the homes will be all the same is silly. We can have dependability: you have a sense of what you are going to get, it's nice for what you're looking for, and when you get there, the host delivers on what they say they will deliver on."

Additionally, net promoter scores for vacation rentals and homeshares are very high, notes Conley and Carl Shepherd, co-founder and chief strategy and development officer at Austin-based HomeAway, which operates VRBO. "Right now, our guest satisfaction is larger than the world's largest hotel companies," says Conley. "That gives planners confidence."

Shepherd notes the net promoter score for vacation rentals is near 84 percent. "Vacation rentals are of the same level or quality as a convention hotel."


Can It Work for a Meeting?  
The short answer? Yes. But it's not one size fits all. The fact of the matter is, whether we like it or not, the sharing economy is here to stay, and attendees are using it and will continue to use into the foreseeable future.

"A planner standing in the way of someone being able to use these services is just going to be more and more frustrated," says Suckow. "As planners, we want to control all aspects of our meeting for many reasons -- liability, financial reasons, etc. There's risk involved, and we always want to know where attendees are and how they are coming and leaving. All of those things are important, but these services are winning. Trying to hold on desperately to traditional methods of planning a meeting is like trying to hold onto a fistful of sand." Adds Stuckrath, "It's not about you as a planner. It's about the attendee experience. If you can't make that experience the best it can be, no matter what, you haven't succeeded as a planner. Planners today need to look at all of their options."


SXSW Makes the Case for Sharing 
While Aibrnb and Uber may not necessarily work as a solution for all types of meetings, they have worked quite successfully for some, including the popular South by Southwest (SXSW) music, film, and interactive festival, held every year in Austin for the past 29 years.

 

Airbnb has sponsored
Mike Shea's SXSW Festival
Airbnb has sponsored Mike Shea's SXSW Festival

Over the past few years, SXSW has formed various partnerships and sponsorships with companies that include Airbnb, HomeAway, Uber, and Lyft, primarily because there was a need for their services, says Mike Shea, executive director of SXSW.

"An event like SXSW has created huge compression in the hotel market here in Austin," he says. "There aren't enough hotels in the downtown area for us and because of that, our attendees have turned to non-traditional properties and accommodations. It's become a necessary thing, so we've used that as an opportunity to turn to some of these companies and find ways to incorporate these companies into our accommodations."

Shea says, "I'll admit I was slower to embrace short-term rentals, in part, because of that level of risk. But we've come down on the side that it's a good thing for us to partner with them. People know where to find those services online, whether we promote them or not."

He says that when Uber and Lyft launched in 2013, his attendees embraced those services wholeheartedly. "We found, anecdotally, and through our post-event surveys, that a quarter to a third of our attendees used a ridesharing service at one point or another during SXSW that first year they launched."

One thing, however, he hopes he can have more of a discussion about with Uber and Lyft, is surge pricing during peak demand periods. "There's an opportunity for surge pricing to get out of hand if we don't have the conversation with them."

Additionally, when it comes to crafting the overall meeting experience for his attendees, Shea says, "Technology has been a huge game changer in the way SXSW presents itself for attendees. Because there are so many different types of conferences and events out there, the landscape has become super competitive. I think our attendees want more from us in terms of bigger names, more compelling types of presentations that are more cutting edge, more controversial. Our attendees are very sophisticated for the most part, and we do our best to keep up with them."


Only a Matter of Time 
Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, HomeAway -- all are finding ways to enter into the meetings industry, and it's no longer a question of how, but when.

In September, Uber announced it has enrolled more than 5,000 companies into its Uber for Business program since launching in 2014. Uber for Business helps companies integrate corporate accounts into the Uber app so users can bill rides directly to their employers.

In July, Airbnb launched Airbnb for Business, and Conley says, that as of August it has more than 3,000 accounts for companies ranging from Google to Morgan Stanley. "When these corporate accounts sign up for Airbnb, they can specify filters they want us to use like only staying in a place that has Wi-Fi or a place that's the entire home or apartment, and not a bedroom in a home," explains Conley.

By the first quarter of 2016, Airbnb hopes to launch a similar platform exclusively for meetings and events that will include landing pages or widgets whereby planners can easily add Airbnb to their meeting's hotel inventory, as well as be able to filter any listings provided, and work directly with a contact at Airbnb.

In September, Uber launched UberEVENTS, for meeting and event organizers, allowing them to purchase and secure passes ahead of an event to send to attendees via email. Guests who receive the code can enter it under the promotions section of the Uber app to hail a ride. Similarly, Lyft, another ridesharing service, has Lyft for Work, which enables the service to create a codespecifically for an event (location, time, code name) so the organization is only billed for credits used.

On Sept. 3, Twinsburg, OH-based Experient announced its partnership with Airbnb to include it as an option for meeting and business event attendees. "There's a demand from our customers to engage with Airbnb," says Gary Schrimacher, CMP, Experient senior vice president of association sales and marketing. "My belief is that this peer-to-peer platform, this shared economy, is just starting for the meetings industry. There's so much potential."


Sharing Potential 
Give the people what they want. That's what Strickland, Suckow, and Stuckrath believe when it comes to incorporating shared economy services into their meetings and events.

"You have to give people what they want, and what they want are these quote-unquote disruptive technologies," says Strickland. "They're using them in all aspects of their daily, normal lives away from a meeting, and we need to give them the choice of being able to use what they want to use. The more choices we can give attendees, the happier they'll be."

 

Many attendees and planners already
use Uber for their transportation needs
Many attendees and planners already use Uber for their transportation needs

But how can planners do this without jeopardizing their bargaining power with suppliers, affecting their bottom lines, or putting attendees at risk? Start small at first, advises Crowd Companies' Jeremiah Owyang. "Use it for just 5 percent of your event, and then slowly integrate it as it becomes more useful." Owyang says planners need to understand that the sharing economy often operates on demand. "Event organizers often like to plan for all details in advance, but the collaborative economy is often based on real-time inventory and availability."

Some ways planners can begin to incorporate collaborative-economy resources, he suggests, include: encouraging attendees to use a ridesharing app; staying at an Airbnb when hotels are booked up or are too expensive; booking a venue through a tool like Peerspace; hiring local makers to create local sets or venues; hiring A/V staff on contract through a marketplace like MEDIAmobz; or hiring additional staffers or couriers via Taskrabbit.

Here are some other best practices:
1. Know your audience. Every meeting, group, and individual is different. Someone who loves using Airbnb for personal travel may not be comfortable using it for a meeting, for example. Gauging your attendees' comfort level with using services like Uber or Airbnb is important. "I think attendees are becoming more open to alternatives. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to getting yourself to a meeting these days," says Suckow.

2. Be balanced. SXSW's Shea says, "Even though I wouldn't steer planners away from working with sharing-economy companies -- I encourage them to keep a balance in terms of their suppliers."

3. Set clear expectations. "Both on the hosting side and guest side, I've seen some people walk in and expect it'll be a hotel, and it doesn't work," says Bookalokal's White. "You want to make sure they are open to using somebody's stuff, and being around someone's personal belongings. If it's at all weird, tell them to use a hotel," she adds. "Ask them to define themselves as more traditional and conservative or more adventurous."

4. Mitigate loss or attrition in your room block.
 "These can disrupt the revenue flow for a lot of meeting planners," says Strickland. "It's hard on event organizers because now they may have to partner with two or three different companies, which dilute the revenue they may generate from just one provider."

Suckow suggests bundling lodging with registration. "What I might do is set standard registration at $1,000, but if you also book three nights in a hotel in our block, your total cost for registration is $800. You have to give attendees an incentive to stay in the room block."

Services like the Roomer Partner Network allow planners to share their unused rooms with other travelers or planners around the world.

5. Think beyond Uber or Airbnb. Take Bookalokal, for instance. This group dining platform allows planners to put together their own private events for attendees in a person's home or a local restaurant, or it can also work to allow attendees to join an open event where the diner gets to dine with strangers. Mariska Ketseloo, executive director of Meeting Professionals International's (MPI) Belgium chapter, used Bookalokal to organize a small pre-meeting dinner for her board and other MPI members at a home in the center of Brussels. "The whole group loved it," Ketseloo says.

There are also ways to utilize shared-economy services for things like parking and even booking your meeting venue.

6. Think of how you can share resources. Planners should start thinking about ways in which they can use collaborative consumption to come up with solutions for their own needs. Says Suckow, "Why aren't we looking at shared trade show booths, décor, signage, A/V, buses, shuttles, etc.? The implications are huge for our industry, and there are all kinds of opportunities waiting to happen."

Adds Experient's Schirmacher, "When I look at the potential of having technology that easily links planners together -- I think if these are all things we might be able to go in together on a bid. They're making it easy for people to find other people."

Being open to these new ways of meeting is half the battle. "Look at how you can embrace this, one step at a time, make things better, and ask attendees for their input," Suckow says. "It can only help you for the next one."



Questions or comments? Email [email protected]



This article appears in the November 2015 issue of Successful Meetings.