American Express Meetings & Events has run some research on the gaps between how planners feel about technology use in the sector versus how attendees feel.

The ‘Great Expectations’ study throws up differences in the importance of mobile applications for meetings and events, social media and virtual options.

Social media is interesting because while its use by both planners and attendees has increased massively for communication and sharing feedback in real time, only 35% of attendees feel it is very important compared to 43% of planners.

When it comes to posting and reading commentary or reviews on events, attendees seem equally lukewarm with only 39% saying it’s very important compared to 50% of planners.

More than 40% of planners also feel an event hashtag is extremely or very important.

When it comes to apps, again it is the planners that find them more important with 67% expressing this view compared to 55% of attendees. However, both sets agree that the important features of an event app are communication and scheduling with games coming way down the list.

Finally, unsurprisingly the research shows that face-to-face meetings continue to provide the best experience according to 74% of attendees and 85% of planners in terms of value and the opportunities for interaction.

However, the number of virtual meetings is increasing although it seems the channel still needs work with both planners, 49% and attendees, 47%, agreeing it is difficult to participate in a virtual meeting.

Initiatives from a number of travel companies demonstrate the demand for a virtual option with Sabre introducing its virtual meetings platform two years ago.

Attendees say they are interested in virtual meetings with 63% saying they would attend more if the option was available although planners disagree with 48% saying they don’t believe this would happen.

Despite this 45% of attendees feel virtual options should be made available for all meetings while 35% of planners agree.

While the sample is not huge, 336 planners and 161 attendees, it is qualified by planners having organised four events with more than 20 attendees in the past year and attendees having participated in three or more events with at least 20 attendees.

NB: Virtual meeting image via Shutterstock.

Original author: Linda Fox