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Meeting Planners Underusing Technology

illustration next generation Id.A study conducted by Meeting Professionals International found that although the majority of meeting planners surveyed believe technology enhances a coordinator’s ability to plan, most are not using technology themselves to the extent that they could be.

Around 60 percent said they understand and appreciate the event management tools available via technology today, approximately 50 percent indicated their companies had increased budgeting for technology costs, and more than 60 percent said they have adequate staffing for employing event technology. But over 70 percent say they spend less than a quarter of their time working with technology, and nearly the same number still rely on manual processes like spreadsheets to synchronize program data.

The problem, research suggests, could be that initial efforts to adopt technologies may have resulted in negative experiences due to complications created by needing Wi-Fi, bugs in the technology, platforms that could not integrate with other platforms, or technology advances too quick to keep up with easily. In the fast-paced world of event management, relying on a technology that proves unreliable can upend an event, and many planners may opt to use more trusted measures such as manual collation of data just to be safe. However, the report says, using emails, Word documents, spreadsheets, or handwritten notes decreases operational efficiency and increases data inaccuracy.

Researchers say more training may be essential to technology adoption, as well as the hire of individuals who are technology specialists rather than event generalists. In addition, research conclusions say that a more holistic approach in which companies budget for event technology at an organizational level rather than as a one-off part of the budget for each event.

The full report is available at www.mpiweb.org.

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