ROI has historically been a big deal in meeting planning. We expend a lot of time, energy, ingenuity and money to create events; much of that time is preparing our attendees, wooing them with promises of time well spent and counting on that all important turn out and participation. When everything is said and done, we want to be able to show the powers that be that it was really worth the effort.
Most ROI is rather cut and dry; it comes down to the numbers – how many attendees, resulting revenues, cost savings and such. But what about the intangible, how do you measure this? You do this through surveys. By surveying your group, you learn their take on the meeting first hand. You find out if, from their point of view, the meeting was time well spent, if they gained personally from the meeting, if they would like to see any modifications, or if they would like any particular subjects addressed at the next meeting.
Intangible ROI is important to measure, it allows the planner to peek through the attendees’ eyes and track what went right, what went wrong, what needs to be duplicated or stepped up and what needs to go by the way side, never to be visited (ever) again. Intangible ROI does not deal with the financial aspects, but with the experiential. Travel Market Report recently interviewed James Houran, PhD. According to the article “Houran studies intangible ROI because his portfolio in executive search includes performance management. For several years, his research has included surveying planners attending Affordable Meetings conferences hosted by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI).” He finds this to be an important area as it helps companies to “develop and deliver branded experiences when putting together events.”
Some of the items he has learned from the surveys he’s conducted are:
* Face-to-face meetings maintain a value that cannot be replicated in electronic platforms.
* Attendees are excited to take what they’ve learned and actually use it in their business.
* Meetings continue to provide valuable networking opportunities and personal development.
The ultimate result of Houran’s research is to “be able to measure whether an attendee had a low, medium or high ROI based on his or her experience at a meeting.”
So, do you measure intangible ROI? If so, how? What tools do you use: paper surveys, internet, mobile? What sorts of questions do you ask to gauge your attendees’ experience? Thank you for sharing!