Up All Night
What keeps you up all night? In the television comedy series, “Up All Night,” balancing the demands of baby and work is the cause of sleepless nights. This year’s World Economic Forum survey of 469 experts and industry leaders found more than 50 global risks in five categories (economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological) that keep global leaders up at night.
Last month, financial and insurance meeting planning executives gathered in Boston at World Research Group’s conference for that industry segment and discussed challenges that probably keep many of them tossing and turning all night. They were the same as those that corporate meeting planners across the board have been talking about at every industry event for at least the past year. The ongoing economic turmoil and uncertainty generated by this election year combined with evolving technologies, expanding global markets and travel complications have resulted in a range of business, operational and, for some, regulatory issues that stretch the skills of most planners. Short-term meetings and availability, increased focus on ROI, high airfares and political turmoil overseas, face-to-face versus virtual—this is the stuff of sleepless nights.
There were no definitive answers at the Boston conference, though there was a consensus around forecasts and action plans. Everyone is still “playing it by ear,” but growth is expected to return to pre-2008 levels slowly and steadily, with a greater focus on clear budget guidelines and ROI. Knowing your market is the best predictor for what your attendees want from meetings in terms of content, delivery and destinations. The best way to manage generation gaps and the demands for social media, mobile delivery and technology in general is to introduce small changes, one step at a time.
An unspoken but clear outcome was the confidence that emerged from roundtable discussions as planners shared their experiences, insights and resources, proving the value of face-to-face meetings and, in fact, what they do. Maybe they all returned home to a good night’s sleep.
What keeps you up all night?