webmasterJanuary 3, 2017January 3, 2017According to an October 2016 Meetings Mean Business survey of 300 business owners representing 24 industries, face-to-face meetings are vital in identifying leads, building relationships and ultimately gaining more customers. Here is an overview of the survey results and what meeting professionals can learn from this information. Survey Results 91% of business owners plan to spend as much or more money on travel to meetings in 2017 as they did in 2016. 87% said in-person meetings have a meaningful impact on building relationships. 78% agreed connecting face-to-face with clients and prospects improves their ability to run their business. 77% said in-person meetings yield a good Return on Investment. 75% agreed that negotiating agreements are better-handled face-to-face. 71% stated they can find new hires at meetings. 68% said they value attending or presenting at educational events. 68% enjoyed the networking. 63% liked engaging with the community (i.e. association, chamber of commerce) 60% said exploring new business opportunities can only happen face-to-face. 59% stated new employee training is best served in live meetings. What Meeting Planners Can Learn from Meeting Survey Results On a macro level, all this information is good news! On a micro level, let’s look at each one of the bulleted items listed above and what they mean as you plan for 2017 and beyond. Owners are keeping travel budgets the same or allocating an increase, which should allow for greater attendance at conferences and meetings beyond your region. Now is a good time to review the 2017 conference and trade show schedule with your manager. Meeting planners and business professionals should ask to attend meetings that may have been previously turned down due to travel restrictions. Figure out ways attendees can build relationships. Whether it is through a creative gamification or icebreaker app on iPad rentals or giving meeting participants more free time to naturally meet with each other, all are good methods to encourage relationship building. ROI is important. So before setting sail on that face-to-face meeting, be certain to discuss with your team what the measurable goals are for the meeting or trade show. The fact that most business owners agree meetings yield a positive ROI, should work in your favor. Negotiations are usually tricky so seeing and hearing what others say, as well as, reading body language is vital to a successful outcome. Getting off site, setting up the space properly and utilizing event rentals to bring in virtual participants and record meeting activity can help move the process along. Finding new hires can happen at job fairs which can be a new add-on to your existing association meeting. Grant an open invitation for attendees to speak at your next conference. Have guidelines for what you are looking for in a presenter and an application and review process. Maybe crowdsource this function to take the entire process out of your hands and into the attendees’. Continue to attend association conferences both locally and nationally. If you receive resistance to attend, invite the business owner to come with you and ask if he/she would be would like to speak at the next event. Conduct training meetings face-to-face for overall impact and retention of details. According to American Express Meetings & Events, training events have had the largest budget increase for the last two years. Hartford Technology Rental Can Assist with Your Meeting Are you ready for 2017? Contact us at 888-520-5667 and we will provide the right rental solution you need to make your next meeting a smashing success!