Ellide Smith, CMP, vice president, event operations at streamlinevents has run more than 240 high-touch, C-level executive events a year. The editors at MeetingsNet asked her to share some observations on creating events for these VIPs, along with tips for dealing with an economy that may be slowing down.
MeetingsNet: You’ve worked on many C-level events in recent years. What do executives want most from the events, and how does that affect your meeting design?
Smith: C-level executives want to have access to peers and to share, learn, and solve challenges affecting their respective industries. They are not interested in gimmicks or tchotchkes. For them, it’s about having truly valuable content and the opportunity to build relationships that will help them push their agenda forward within their company and industry.
MeetingsNet: Do executives like using technology at the in-person meetings they attend?
Smith: With thoughtful selections, events for executives can be both high-tech and high-touch. For example, event apps make everything accessible on the attendee’s smartphone.
MeetingsNet: The economy may not be as robust in 2020 as it has been. Are you seeing any changes to how companies plan their internal meetings as a result?
Smith: We all learned our lesson from the Great Recession. Companies are now being extremely cautious about the types of events they hold. They also want to include proper measurements of success as well as a thorough assessment of financial risks associated with low year-over-year attendance.
MeetingsNet: Where can corporate planners save some money without attendees noticing?
Smith: One sure-fire strategy is to cut down on attendee swag. Most of these items end up in a wastebasket or at the bottom of a closet never to see the light again. A second area where planners can economize is by partnering with preferred vendors to ensure budgets are being fully executed in a way that doesn’t include unnecessary frills. It’s always good to sit down with vendor partners and go through the budget and customer journey line-by-line.
To read the whole interview, visit MeetingsNet.com.
And visit our Executive Events page to explore events tailored for the high-touch experience, like the CIO Board meeting where executives learned to blend wine as just one of their networking opportunities.