but its life in cyberspace.”
The data gives corporate clients who are investing heav-
ily in meetings proof that they are bringing value—some-
thing that still matters to top leadership.
“Dollars matter,” Aamodt says. “If you can’t prove that
your work is successful and has returned something to the
company, whether it be brand equity or sales or relationship
building, I think executives are going to question why they
are holding a meeting.”
As business has come back, many meeting professionals
still grapple with a perennial concern—short lead times
(see Page 20). Contracts are being negotiated carefully and
decisions made slowly.
Karen Shackman, president of New York City destination
management ;irm Shackman Associates, has ;ielded a number of recent requests for quick-turnaround meetings from
corporate clients. She got a call in July from an Asian company based in the U.K. about planning 12 days of meetings
for 150 attendees in New York City in late August or early
September. Given the challenges of booking hotel rooms in
the city, where rooms can be pricey, she wasn’t sure it was
“We said we’d look into it,” she says.
Shackman has also been seeing board of directors meetings and emergency product-placement meetings cropping
up with short lead times.
“They tend to be on the smaller side,” she says.
Some meeting venues are ;inding that accommodating
clients who urgently need space is helping their business.
Davinci Virtual, a Salt Lake City-based provider of virtual
of;ice solutions, has been helping corporate clients ;ind
space for regional training and meetings for corporate executives, says Coco Quillen, vice president of operations.
“We’ve really tried to help them with their future needs,”
Dedicated meeting planners provide assistance with
tasks ranging from ordering breakfast to requesting video
“We try to help them through every piece of
the booking,” Quillen says.
When one big beverage company recently
used Davinci Virtual’s facilities for an executive
meeting and training sessions around the U.S.,
but didn’t want to ship its own equipment,
the Davinci team worked closely with its
corporate client to provide LCD screens
and to arrange catering.
“The corporations we are
dealing with use those services quite a bit,” Quillen says.
And like many in the meeting industry, she’s well prepared for
the demand to continue. ■
As president and co-founder of Event Strategy Group, an
experiential marketing agency in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.,
that serves corporate clients, Norman Aamodt is also seeing
them more willing to invest in meetings. The 29-employee
;irm lost 52 percent of its business during the recession, but
saw it come back by 2011. He estimates business has grown
30 percent in the last two years.
“As corporations around the world have changed the way
they do business and become more pro;itable, there is more
money for corporate events,” he says. “Moreover, companies
are realizing the effectiveness of live events. They really
The clients Aamodt serves tend to have a couple of key
“Some industries we’re in that are pro;itable are spend-
ing more money to make it a better experience,” he says.
“With others, it’s about targeting what they are trying to do
and spending money on that. An example is Lenovo. They’ve
got a new brand and are spending money on the brand.”
That spending includes going to trade shows and making
sure the new brand is effectively articulated, Aamodt says.
Nonetheless, he has noticed corporate clients are still
keeping a close eye on the ROI of meetings, to the point of
coming up with creative metrics with which to measure it.
One case in point was a live Lenovo event in Beijing at which
the technology company tracked “shared moments” connected to the event, such as chats on the Chinese microblog-ging site Weibo and media hits. Aamodt says the event had
6. 5 million of these shared moments.
From his point of view, these new forms of measurement
help his business.
“Social media and other media—and the ability of people
to use their phones to vote and discuss things—extends live
events much farther than the live event,” he says. “We’re actually starting to use that as a unit of measure with certain
clients, where we are trying to track
not only what happens at the event
“THEY’VE GOT SOME FAMOUS
SPEAKERS—AN ASTRONAUT AND
A MILITARY GENERAL. IT’S A LITTLE
INTIMIDATING CONDUCTING THE
WAR-GAMING SESSION WITH THE
GENERAL SHOWING UP THE