Can you still remember or imagine a world not being digital? I know it’s a matter of age, but I can remember the introduction of the fax, email, internet and mobile phones that all revolutionized the way we interact, work and meet with each other.
Nowadays in the meeting industry almost everything seems to be digital from planning, communications, registration, finance, purchasing, et cetera. But taking a closer look at the way you work on your meetings, are you already 100 percent digital?
In my experience most meeting professionals work with all kinds of digital tools and devices, yet are often far from working 100 percent digital. Of course most of your meeting planning is being done on computers, but to what extent do digital tools really automate or influence it?
A bridge to far
I see more and more planners gathering information online and even online purchasing is on the rise. I have even seen venues using artificial intelligence in how they offer meeting planners their locations and services.
But when it comes connecting your delegates in online communities, making data-driven strategic decisions, working decentralised and completely in the cloud is still often a bridge to far.
Digitalizing your meeting planning is not easy and requires you to build and develop digital skills and knowledge throughout your whole organisation. As this inevitably leads to a much higher dependency on technology for the end result of their meetings, planners tend to be more reluctant in their aim to digitalize.
And don’t forget that the adoption of these digital tools by your delegates or members will play a key role in the success of your digitalization as well. Who doesn’t remember the real time twitter feeds on screens only showing a few welcome messages during the whole conference.
Step by step
My advice would be to digitalize step by step. As a first step, start adopting the easier and more accepted digital tools and always keep in mind that digitalization should always make your meeting planning more effective and give you a strategic advantage. This way you will learn more over time what is useful and what is not.
Should you digitalized your meeting planning 100 percent? I don’t think so. The human touch is just too important in the meeting industry and something that simply cannot be digitalized.