I recently presented back-to-back sessions at the International Association of Conference Centres (IACC) Europe Knowledge Festival, on the subject of Event Return on Investment (ROI).
This is an area that we regularly cover with event professionals, since it is fundamental to ensuring their efforts are recognised with marketing teams and the wider business. It’s also about bringing the event industry in line with the growing focus on data being adopted by the wider marketing function.
However, as I was speaking to the providers of venues in these sessions, the challenge was to relate the principles of Event ROI to their role in the event ecosystem, and give them some clear takeaways they could act upon.
The Four Rs of Event ROI
In previous blogs we have introduced the concept of the Four Rs of Event ROI: Revenue, Reputation, Relationships and Recall. In combination, they cover the four main reasons for running live events in a physical space:
- Revenue: To make money by selling to your audience
- Reputation: To enhance perceptions of your brand in the mind of your audience
- Relationships: To create networking opportunities for your audience
- Recall: To educate or train your audience to remember some new information
When we present these concepts to event managers, this tends to be the typical order we use. Primarily, because it’s the order our audiences come up with them when we ask them why they run events.
Reordering the Rs of Event ROI
For this audience of venue operators, however, we covered ‘Reputation’ or ‘brand’ last – because we felt it was the area where they could have most impact on a positive outcome for event professionals.
Whilst venues can be cleverly designed to accommodate better networking (Relationships), or training rooms set up to be more informal and encourage active participation for better learning (Recall), it’s in the branding effect that venues have a huge part to play.
An Event Manager’s choice of venue has a significant impact on its brand
Without doubt, venue selection contributes to the overall impression of the event, and therefore the brand impact of the event organiser. Event organisers whose primary ‘return’ on their investment is to positively promote their brand in the minds of their stakeholders will see venue selection as a critical part of the whole.
Events with this goal in mind benefit the very best venues – those with prestige brands, high-technology, glamourous locations or a quality overall product. Venues with specific brand attributes, such as university locations (representing knowledge, learning, education, trust, etc.) also add value where the event organiser wants to impart these attributes into their brand.
So what does this have to do with Twitter Walls?
When we discuss Event ROI, we don’t just look at the process of achieving the ‘return’ (brand building, for example), but also how we measure whether it has been achieved.
One of the ways that brand or ‘Reputation’ can be monitored and measured is through social media channels, such as Twitter, and increasingly Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Delegates are publicly providing both feedback and brand amplification through social media, so if an event organiser’s goal is building brand, these channels must actively be promoted.
Social media enhances an event managers ability to achieve brand awareness AND it provides a simple measure of success.
So why is this relevant to conference centres in particular?
First, providing technology such as a Twitter Wall means that the venue is enabling the event manager to be more successful. The presence of a Twitter Wall encourages social amplification, building brand.
Secondly, and perhaps more selfishly for the venue, it fundamentally benefits them!
What are the delegates tweeting or ‘gramming about?
- Amazing looking food
- Beautiful views from the building
- Cool tech on display (including their own tweets on the Twitter Wall)
- Happy smiling people in a great location
- Very happy smiling people holding glasses in a great location
I think you get the picture.
Simple technology such as a Twitter Wall provides benefit to the event organiser, the delegates and the venue.
Plus, of course, all that social activity is a great measure of Event ROI…
Glisser includes a Twitter Wall for free as part of its standard offering – just sign up, create a session, and select your event hashtag. Upgrade to a paid package for Twitter moderation and custom branding to your event or venue.