Jeannie Griffin, VP for Product & Technology Solutions at BCD Meetings & Events, sits down with us to talk about meetings and events technology, AirBnB and Rosie from the Jetsons.
Q: What changes have you seen in the market over the last few months/years in how companies are sourcing their meeting and event spaces?
A: In general, we’re seeing that clients who previously haven’t committed to a full blown meetings management program are still looking to empower their employees to source efficiently. There is more concern now than ever for employee satisfaction – giving them the right tools to work effectively. A lot has changed in the way technology is being used in the process as well, which has changed the way business is being done overall. For example, travel programs that allow you to book how you want and give you “credit” back that you can donate to charity if you stay within guidelines. Given that, the palatability of allowing folks to book direct has changed in the past 18 months so we looked to address this emerging need.
Q: Are there any trends that stand out in how meeting spaces are being sourced?
A: Desire for digitization of information for easier access and comparison. Products that allow for self-service, but more importantly are simple and easy to use. Everything we do now touches technology, and there is a desire to be hands on and engaged.
Q: If you had to highlight one pain point from a client’s perspective, what would that be?
A: 2 years ago I would have said change management, but now we are seeing users who are more and more adaptable and love to have products at their fingertips. I think today, there is a need for simpler tools as mentioned previously. I personally feel any activity I do for purchasing should be done in 5 clicks or less. With products it’s about showing the right information at the right time in the process.
Q: Where does the industry fall behind in addressing these issues?
A: While cost savings and compliance are still critical, we need to understand and embrace that the way meetings are being booked is changing. Clients want to see the data and reporting, but they also want to have productive and happy employees who can manage simpler procuring processes on their own – and meetings is one of the commodities that has been talked about for years. We need to be better at addressing both simultaneously.
Q: Are there tools or companies out there that do this well?
A: AirBnB at its roots is a company that comes to mind here. They knew the consumer landscape for personal bookings had changed and that they needed to put the value of choice directly into consumer’s hands. Stepping into the market, they needed to build trust but they knew that consumers (ie travelers) had changed-we love self-service, options, and simple to use products.
Q: Where do you see technology as a whole advancing in the next ten years?
A: My personal assistant (I’m thinking of an AI-type Rosie from the Jetsons) will iron my clothes, take my dog for walks and help me with my life–I hope! Interestingly enough, I see people wanting more real quality time and automating the tasks that make life mundane. I think automation will naturally happen in the event space, it has already begun!
Learn more about how BCD M&E is helping clients put the power of choice in sourcing back in their hands here.