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Five Simple Tips for Effective Event Budgeting

Posted By Unique Venues, Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Updated: Monday, February 12, 2018

Thank you to corporate member Unique Venues for this guest blog post.

In a perfect world, event planners would have an unlimited budget to work with to create the perfect event experience. Sadly, it is not a perfect world and event planners need to stick to their budget so they don't run out of money and anger their client. Event budgeting is a skill that every successful event planner will learn, and there are some tried-and-true strategies every event planner should know to perfect the art of event budgeting. Here are several strategies for effective event budgeting:

What Should You Do to Stay On-Budget?

The earlier you do this the better so you can assess and manage your client's expectations. Chances are the client is going to have perfection in mind, which is fine, but it is up to you, the event planner, to educate the client about what is realistic with regard to budget. As an event planner, you should ask the client plenty of questions and work together to determine what is feasible to align the realities of the event as close as possible to what the client wants.

Create a List of Expected Costs and Update the Budget Regularly: Hopefully, you will have experience working on a similar event so you have an idea how to budget expenses. The event venue, catering services, clean up staff, and technology are just some of the costs you can expect to add to your budget. As you get quotes and place orders, be sure to update the budget to reflect costs and think about whether or not you're on track or need to make some changes.

Get a Few Quotes from Various Vendors: If you have a vendor you regularly work with, it's okay to hire them -- especially if you have good rapport and they do good work. However, by getting quotes from more than one vendor, you can save money.

Think Outside the Box: At Unique Venues, we specialize in providing event planners with a number of non-traditional event venue options. Oftentimes, these venues will be priced much more favorably than traditional venues. These event venues include movie theaters, museums, college and university conference centers, and more.

Give Yourself a Little Bit of Cushion: Every event planner will tell you that no event runs perfectly. Give yourself a little bit of cushion (10% is a good number) to account for any curveballs thrown your way that could cause you to go off budget.

 

Tags:  budgeting  event 

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Will it Be ‘Business As Usual’ When the Members of Gen Z arrive on Campus?

Posted By Steve Robertson, Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs, Monday, February 12, 2018
 
Thank you to Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs for this guest blog post.
 
Across the board, universities are relying more and more on conference and hospitality services to introduce students to the campus. The well-facilitated execution of summer and other programs will be the springboard that begins their journey of falling in love with your campus. As your department becomes more sophisticated and professional to keep pace with growing expectations of the university departments, so does your ability to grow and consider other income generating opportunities.
 
You already know that these students are going to be arriving on campus, and you need to be ready for them. But this generation that is coming to the fore now, is like no previous generation before them. In order for you to attract them, and then cater to them when they are here, I’m going to give you a glimpse into what I now know about this group. They are a generation that raises eyebrows, causes confusion, disrupts the norm, and is brilliantly ingenious – they are Gen Z. They are i-Gen. They are here already. Are you ready?
 
THE RECENTLY DISCOVERED DNA OF GEN Z
This generation lives in a time where the biggest hotel has no rooms, the largest transportation company owns no vehicles and the most profitable bank has no currency: AirBnB. Uber. Cryptocurrency.
 
Gen Zers have always had technology at their fingertips. The Internet existed before they did. It’s quicker for them to look things up themselves than to ask a parent or teacher. They prefer to receive guidance from their peers. They can learn skills independently online on a free site, rather than sitting for months in a class at school, waiting for the whole class to keep up. There are so many ways for them to connect with others without ever leaving their house. Consider that for a moment – they can study at home, connect from home, be entertained at home, try new things online from home,… so why would they leave? The manifestation of them choosing home as their platform is that they have no need to leave the house, there’s no need to get a driver’s license. Thanks to the likes of Uber, there’s no stress to get a job to pay for gas, or to save to buy the car in the first place.
 
Shorter programs are more appealing to them at first, sometimes followed by them choosing an opportunity to dive deeper into a specific area. Remember they can get the basics of almost anything online, so when we consider the deep dives, they want to experience it in real settings with meaningful outcomes.
 
As I am sure you have anticipated, you have to work harder to get them out of home, and wanting to get onto your campus. Once they are in some form of collaboration or a social environment, they actually blossom. They are wired to collaborate and connect, but it’s getting them there in the first place that takes a skilled coach, a program of special interest, or an event that is desirable amongst their peers.
 
CONNECTIVITY AND PURPOSEFUL PROGRAMMING IS KEY
It’s all online for them, so connectivity is not even a negotiable. If the possibility of having wifi isn’t an absolute given, they won't come. This leads me to Programming and how it’s linked to their connectivity. They want to share it, tweet it, snap it, or instagram it, so you should program in such a way that they can use their devices to share their experiences, give you feedback or participate in an activity.
 
Consider engaging them with peers from around the world to give them perspectives and discovery opportunities in a free style form. Lastly, being purposeful or meaningful is a priority for Gen Z. They want to make a difference, they want to care for their environment, they want to cause change, so consider their philanthropic nature when programming.
 
FIRST STEPS TO PREPARE FOR THEIR ARRIVAL
  • Understand the upcoming generation, by unraveling the new combinations of their DNA.
  • Once you have an understanding of what makes them so unique, you will be able to educate departments about them, or consider their priorities as you work on your own programming.
  • Design your programming in such a way that Gen Z has an urgency to experience the program. They have to want to get onto your campus.
  • Provide shorter programs to entice them, but anticipate more staff turnover.
  • Ensure that all parts of the program run seamlessly.
  • Show that you also care about the environment. Find out whether this is a message that the President deems important as a school, and then build that into the curriculum.
  • Make safety even more of a priority. It is a major concern for this generation. They have witnessed much violence in their lives, albeit on their social media platforms.
  • In a world that is so instant, customer service is paramount. As soon as they experience it, they share it. So treat them like honored guests. Your story depends on it.
 
In conclusion, it’s the programming you do today that is going to make them come tomorrow. Remember, they’re like no other generation before them. You have to figure out what makes them tick, program accordingly, and then design a creative approach to make them want to come.

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What Are Some of the Basics for Creating an Effective Website?

Posted By Unique Venues, Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Thank you to ACCED-I Corporate Member Unique Venues for sharing this blog post.
 
Each year, our team at Unique Venues takes the time to assess the websites of the venues we work with in order to determine who is doing something special. This year, there were so many amazing websites to choose from, but our team ultimately decided the venue that did it the best was Bishop’s University. We want to congratulate Bishop’s University on the award and look forward to seeing what our partner venues will come up with in 2018.
 
What Makes for an Effective Website?
 
If you are looking for a way to stand out among other college venues, having a great website is an excellent place to start. But what does it mean to have a website that will entice visitors to stay? Let’s examine this for a moment and show how Bishop’s University accomplished their objectives.
 
Your Page Needs to Be Technically Sound: Having a beautiful website is important. But if you have so much media and content on the homepage, it could affect the page’s load speed. This is especially the case for mobile users who may not have the most reliable connection. Bishop’s University website loads incredibly fast without sacrificing on design, making sure visitors don’t click back out of frustration.
 
Visitors Should Know Where to Go: When designing a website, excellent navigation is a must. If a visitor goes to your page and doesn’t know where to navigate, chances are they will just leave. Bishop’s University features top-level navigation with four tabs, including a search function, to enable visitors to access the part of the site they wish. It is also very easy to go back to the homepage from any page. Speaking of the homepage, there is interlinking throughout to guide visitors to where they need to go.
 
The Website Should Be an Excellent Multimodal Presentation: If a visitor goes to your site and it is just one big block of sentences on every page, this will likely be intimidating for them. People who surf the web are scanners. They’re looking to absorb key concepts and themes in seconds. They also expect multiple forms of content, including writing, pictures, and video. Bishop’s University does this very well, and it pairs various forms of content together to achieve its branding objectives.
 
There Should Be No Errors: Finally, we must say this because we see this all too often on websites that we otherwise generally love. If there are spelling errors, run-on sentences, or other basic grammar problems on the website, this is a major problem. Web designers and content writers working on the site should ensure all information is accurate and there are no glaring errors that may take away from the professionalism of the site. In the case of Bishop’s University, this was not a problem.

Tags:  marketing  website  website design 

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Let the Numbers Justify Your Purchase

Posted By Kinetic Software, Thursday, January 11, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Thank you to ACCED-I Corporate Member Kinetic Software for contributing as a guest blogger.

Let's face it. Many times, those of us in conference services find ourselves fighting for any number of items: additional staff, software, access to buildings, the right to exist on campus.  

There is a way to make your case in an effective way, but what are some tools you can use to justify your purchases?

Note: If you are looking for ways to justify the need for a conference services department, we have two blog posts listing ways to find and measure your impact on your campus.

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The Username and Password Do Not Match Our Records

How difficult is it to get large ticket purchase requests approved? If your answer is "no sweat", then this post really isn't for you. 

Or do you relate more to this? You have put your case together with the most compelling reasons for your purchase request, full of vision and excitement. It is a beautiful story ensured to not leave a dry eye in the room.

Then the response of denied comes back. What? How is this? Can they not see?

Chances are the collective “they” probably can't. While stories are great, numbers speak. Especially numbers with the little dollar sign in front of them. And while you might have had some figures in your request, what exactly did those numbers convey? Cost upfront and over a 3-5-year period?

But what about the money are you watching walk out the door because you do not have the right tools? What is the financial cost of doing nothing and staying with the status quo?

This might speak louder than the purchase price. Let the numbers make the case for you with a Return on Investment (ROI) report.

Why a ROI Report?

Simply put, ROI measures the gain or loss of a purchase relative to the amount of money invested. It means having a deep understanding of the nature of the project and evaluating the difference in time and money.

Now, I'm not going to lie. Creating a ROI report can be complex and time consuming. However, there is a reason you are asking for these funds and walking this path. A complete understanding and evaluation of the current situation is going to be a powerful tool to justify the expenditure. 

We have seen ROI reports change a "no" to a "yes". Here are five steps you can take to create your own ROI report to justify your purchase.

 

Step 1: The End Goal

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I know it sounds crazy, but start at the end. To show whyyou need to make the purchase, you need to understand where you want to go. You can then determine the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

So, what are your goals? What is the focus of your department within the institution?

Your focus will usually fall into one of three categories: Growth, Improving Efficiency, or Generating Revenue.

Step 2: Roadblocks

You see the destination, your goal. Now what is keeping you from reaching it? Why are you missing the mark?

While step 1 helps you see where you want to be, step 2 actually identifies those things that are keeping you in place.

For example, let’s say increasing business is an end goal, but no matter what you try, it is looking like you won’t meet that new target. The inquiries are there, but the bottom line isn’t. Why?

Step 3: Tool Shopping

While creating a ROI report can be time consuming, it will take you through all the steps when it comes to the selection process. It will also provide you with a much better grasp of tools you need, as opposed to being drawn in by the shiny wrapper.

Using the goals and roadblocks, you can now research the tools that will help you overcome your roadblocks and help you reach your goals.

Keep in mind, you are searching for a NEW system or tool, not a replacement.

You can find additional resources sharing tips for a successful selection process and making the most out of vendor demos in our Resource Library.

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Step 4: Gathering Your Data

This will be the meat of your report that will drive action. When justifying a new purchase, it is imperative to show the reader not just the cost of the purchase, but also how the new tool or solution will ultimately result in a net gain on ROI.

Remember our example about increasing business? You have identified your goals in step 1 and determined a roadblock from step 2 is that you do not have the systems in place to handle larger groups or groups more often (larger groups more often = more revenue).

But how do you show that the tool you have found will make a difference as opposed to staying with the status quo?

Let’s start with what you are doing. What is the value of the business you are currently turning away? How can you show that you are not maximizing your occupancy?  What is the dollar value of staff time being spent on manual tasks?

Without a system to automatically produce the numbers, it falls to you to record. Excel will be a great tool to use due to formulas and filtering features.

Step 5: Put it all together

You have the data, now you need to bundle it all together. 

Be aware of your audience. Data is king, but the review team may not understand your current situation. You may need to educate them as well.

For a recommended outline of how the ROI report should flow, visit our Resource Library and download our guide on Justifying Your Purchase. It takes a deeper look at each of these steps, providing questions and a report outline.

Ready to build your own ROI Report?
Click Here to download our eGuide to get started.

Approved!

The key to requesting funds for any new purchase is knowledge. These 5 steps provide you with the foundation to confidentially identify gaps in your current processes and show how new tools will bridge or eliminate the gaps.

If you would like assistance in generating a ROI report for your next purchase, talk with a member of our team at info@kxsoftware.com.

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Five Tips for Event Planners on Managing Stress Over the Holidays

Posted By Unique Venues, Monday, December 4, 2017

Thank you to ACCED-I Corporate Member Unique Venues for contributing as a guest blogger.

The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s the busiest time of the year for event planners. From major corporate holiday gatherings to reunions and weddings, event planners typically have their hands full this time of year. While the holidays are good for business, they can often be a difficult time to find a good work-life balance.

As much as they want to be sometimes, event planners are not machines, and they need personal time for themselves as well. The last thing an event planner wants is to burn out. But how do you enjoy the holidays yourself without sacrificing your performance on the job? Here are five tips we have found that work for event planners during the holidays:

Don’t Overbook Yourself: Yes, it can be tempting to book as many jobs as you can during this busy time of year. However, try not to be too ambitious as you will spread yourself thin. The goal is to do your job well and give your clients your full attention. This is impossible if you have multiple events on the same day or have been pulling sixteen- hour days most days of the week. Assess your schedule and determine what you can handle.

Rely on Your Team: If you have a team behind you or are working with a specific corporate event venue, put your trust in them to do their jobs. You have taken the time to hire the right people or find a good venue with a quality staff. Micromanaging them will only put more stress on you and them.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare: As an event planner, you know that every client is different. While some are easy to work with, others will change their mind throughout the planning process. It’s your job to mitigate this by preparing ahead of time. Be sure to bring a notebook with you and ask clear questions to the client about what he or she envisions and how you can make it happen. Although changes may be requested, you at least will understand what he or she wants and will be prepared for those requests.

Focus on One Thing at a Time: Multi-tasking leads to mistakes and stress. While you may have a million things going on, it’s crucial that you stay focused on one task at a time. You will likely save time in the end, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing the task was done right.

Schedule Some Time for Yourself: Need a break or some time with your family? Put it on the calendar. Treat your personal time like your work time and make it mandatory. This way you will be able to enjoy the holidays with those you love, too.

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Tips for Developing a Successful Integrated Marketing Plan

Posted By Unique Venues, Monday, November 27, 2017

Thank you to ACCED-I Corporate Member Unique Venues for contributing as a guest blogger.

Successful businesses have an integrated marketing strategy. Just think of the reasons why you buy a specific product or service. Most likely some sort of marketing was involved, like a Facebook ad or a commercial on television. No matter if you connect planners with meeting facilities or sell ketchup, an integrated marketing plan is a must, which is why we wanted to take a second and discuss proven strategies for developing one.

An integrated marketing plan consists of blending online and offline marketing strategies implemented in the most cost-effective manner and providing the greatest return on investment (ROI). These strategies could include social media ads, email campaigns, print brochures, direct mail, and more. Blending these online and offline strategies is important because you really want to reach as many people as possible. Although digital marketing strategies may be used to attract younger audiences, those over 40 may prefer traditional offline methods.

Of course, when developing an integrated marketing plan, cost is going to be a factor. Not only will you want to choose the best marketing strategies to reach your intendend audience, but also strategies that are cost-effective. A good ROI is about 20 times what you invested in the marketing strategies.

So what are some things you should be doing in order to develop a successful integrated marketing plan? Our own Chuck Salem spoke about this exact topic in a video we released earlier this year. Here are some of his main points that can help tell your brand’s story and educate the public on a new product or service:

  • Harvest Data through Email Lists, Vendor Relationships, Past Customers, Corporate Lists and More
  • Make Yourself Findable Through SEO, Lead Generation Strategies, and Social Media Marketing
  • Create an Effective Website that Tells Your Company’s Story and Provides Users with
  • Critical Information in an Easy to Access Manner
  • Highlight the Features, Benefits, and Advantages of Your Products and Services
  • Produce Engaging Video Content Relevant to Your Targeted Audience
  • Utilize Paid Advertising through Google AdWords, Facebook Promotion, and Local/Regional Media
  • Share Content Regularly about Your Company Like Recent Hires, Awards, and Testimonials
  • Be Social on All Platforms that Make Sense Including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Various Blogs
  • Offer First-Time Discounts and Perks to Convince People to Take a Shot on You
  • Implement Pre-Sales and Loyalty Programs to Attract New Customers and Retain Old Ones

Although these are not the only ways to create an integrated marketing plan, we encourage you try these strategies out to grow your business. 

Tags:  marketing 

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5 Contracting Best Practices for Conference Departments

Posted By Kinetic Software, Thursday, September 21, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Thank you to ACCED-I Corporate Member Kinetic Software for contributing as a guest blogger.

- By Laura Lafferty

As one conference season winds down, it is time to look toward the next one. For many, contracting your repeat customers happens right away. 

Before you sign everyone on to next year’s camps and conferences with your existing contracts, take a step back and have a look at them. You may want to consider making some changes to incorporate contracting best practices that may be missing. 

We have compiled some of the most common terms and conditions to help you determine what you may want to add to your contracts.

Best practice #1: Attrition Clauses

If you don't have one, put one in. An attrition clause essentially protects you if the actual attendee numbers fall below projected numbers. 

Attrition clauses are frequently used with "bedroom reservations held" vs "bedrooms actually used". Without an attrition clause, you could end up with empty bedrooms that could have been sold to another group, resulting in lost revenue.

For example: a group holds 150 bedrooms but only 80 are used (and invoiced). If you had an 80% value on an attrition clause, then you could have invoiced for 120 rooms, not 80. 

If you provide rented linens with your rooms, not having an attrition clause means you will have also paid for linens that went unused with no way to recover the cost. 

Take a look at your overnight groups from the past summer. How many of them missed their numbers? How much lost revenue did that mean for you?

Best practice #2: Guarantee Counts/Numbers

You should be requiring your client to provide you with a guarantee count for food service. But it shouldn't end there. Be sure you have a minimum threshold for which they will be held responsible.

For example, a fairly common standard is 95% of the guarantee count or actual number, whichever is higher. As with the attrition clause, this ensures you don't lose even more forecasted revenue on an event that has lower attendance than projected. 

Your food service department will bill you for the count you gave them. Without a guaranteed number from the client, you would be responsible for paying the difference.

Best practice #3: Deposits

I am always amazed at how many people still do not require deposits with a signed contract (or even non-refundable deposits). Without a deposit, anyone who contracts, but then backs out, means lost revenue for you.

Did you have to turn away another prospect for those very dates? Deposits (especially substantial deposits) help protect you from losses and ensure you are holding space for only those who are serious. Often if a client is reluctant to pay a deposit, it is because they lack confidence in the event. 

Unsure how to introduce deposits or what terms work best? Here are 3 ways to incorporate deposits into your policies:

  • Start small, introducing one nominal deposit and then increase it over time.
  • Choose to require deposits of new business only. 
  • Require multiple smaller deposits over a period of time. 
Determine your comfort level as well as what you can easily manage. 

Best practice #4: Cancellation Fees

There are many conference operations out there that do not have cancellation fees built in to their contracts. When asked why, many say they "feel bad" putting them in. They don't want to send a message of being customer-unfriendly.

However, from a business perspective, cancelled conferences/events mean lost business for you.

If that cancellation happens very near the start date, it is highly unlikely you will be able to rebook the spaces and recover the revenue. You can be customer-centric, but still protect yourself.

Using a phased or gradual approach can work where the fee increases the closer you get to the start date. A phased approach would be something like a cancellation 90 days before event start date equals a 25% fee, 60 days is 50% and 30 days is 75%.

Again, determine your comfort level but keep in mind that a client cancelling on you at the last minute should bear some of the financial hardship.

Best practice #5: Deadlines and Penalties  

This final topic can be controversial and therefore is often not as widely adopted as the others. However, having deadlines, and penalties for missing deadlines, may help save your staff last minute runaround. 

The worst offenders are usually rooming lists (housing rosters). You want the list at least a week ahead of time so you have ample time to prepare the rooms. The client gets it to you the day before check-in. 

By requiring a deadline of 14 days ahead of check-in, with a penalty fee of say, $200 for failure to submit by the deadline, could be all the push your client needs to meet your deadline and save your team headaches. 

This one should be weighed carefully as it can often be seen as the most punitive of practices. Be sure if you choose to implement this, you are prepared to enforce it.

Secure Business and Protect Your Interests

Contracting is more than just securing business from your clients. It also needs to be about protecting your interests. Many contracts do a great job at protecting your campus’ interests and mitigates risk, but too often they fail to protect your department’s financial interest. 

By determining and closing the gaps in your current contract, you can safeguard your business (and bottom line) from the unexpected.

Tags:  best practices  contracts 

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The EU's GDPR and What It Means for You!

Posted By Rob Johnstone and Laura Lafferty, Kinetic Software, Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Updated: Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thank you to corporate member Kinetic Software for sharing this blog post with our members.

Have you heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed by the European Union Parliament? Since most of our readers are in North America, there is a chance that if you did hear about it, you figured it didn't apply to you.

Well, that may not be accurate.

If you have conference guests or students from an EU country, this regulation could apply to you.

With clients spanning the globe, this is a topic we have watched closely because of what it means for our clients. We have worked to learn all we can to share the impact it has on you.

So, let's start at the beginning.

What is the EU GDPR?

It is an extension of an existing data privacy regulation. The basic premise of the new regulation, taking effect May 25, 2018, is that it provides additional protection for EU citizens against any organization who stores their personal data.

What does this mean?

Any citizen of the EU can request the deletion or anonymization of any personal data stored about them by a company. 

Personal data refers to “any information related to a natural person or 'Data Subject', that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer IP address.”

With respect to minors, it states “parental consent will be required to process the personal data of children under the age of 16 for online services.”

The regulation also states that an EU citizen can request, at any time, a printed report of all personal data held about them by an organization.

Lastly, the regulation has a “Need to Consent” provision whereby on any website used to collect personal data, there must be a clear option for the user to consent to the collection and store of their personal data. This cannot be in the Terms and Conditions or a footer on your page. It must be a clearly defined element that requires a user response.

What is “Consent?”

Consent under the GDPR must be a freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the individual’s wishes. There must be some form of clear affirmative action – or in other words, a positive opt-in – consent cannot be inferred from silence, pre-checked boxes or inactivity.

Consent must also be separate from other terms and conditions, and you will need to provide simple ways for people to withdraw consent. Public authorities and employers will need to take particular care to ensure that consent is freely given.

Consent has to be verifiable, and individuals generally have more rights where you rely on consent to process their data. Remember that you can rely on other lawful bases apart from consent – for example, where processing is necessary for the purposes of your organization’s or a third party’s legitimate interests.

You are not required to automatically "repaper" or refresh all existing data protection consents in preparation for the GDPR. But if you rely on individuals’ consent to process their data, make sure it will meet the GDPR standard on being specific, granular, clear, prominent, opt-in, properly documented and easily withdrawn.

If not, alter your consent mechanisms and seek fresh GDPR-compliant consent, or find an alternative to consent.

Who does this affect?

If your department processes personal data about any EU citizen, you are subject to complying with this regulation, regardless of where you are located. 

For conference services teams, this means any client who is an EU citizen as well as any attendee who is an EU citizen. For student housing departments, this means your resident students. 

If any of the above applies to you, then you need to understand what is required by this regulation and what you can do to prepare for compliance. 

Fines for failure to comply come with a very hefty price tag: €20 million or 4% of the university’s annual global turnover for the preceding financial year, whichever is greater.

How can you prepare?

  • First, talk to your campus legal team. While we are sharing this information based on our experience, we are not legal experts, so it is best to review your business processes with them to determine what is affected.
  • Second, do a data mining exercise. What kind of data do you currently capture about your clients/guests/students? Where is this stored? Is any of it printed on reports? Printed reports need to be disposed of properly to be compliant.
  • Third, determine if there is a different way to collect and store the data that will lend itself to a faster resolution should you find yourself being asked by an EU citizen for the printed report or to purge their data.
  • Fourth, if you have any type of e-commerce website that may be used by an EU citizen, you will need to add the "Need to Consent" element to it.
  • Lastly, if you use a commercial software, talk with your software provider to find out if they have any tools in place that will help you come closer to compliance with minimal manual intervention. Under the GDPR, providers have a general obligation to implement technical measures to show they have considered and integrated data protection into their software. As such, new systems will always use a "privacy by design" methodology.

Exceptions

If an EU citizen is a current customer (eg: they have an outstanding balance with you or they have a future event booked with you), they cannot request their data be purged. With students, it applies to any student who has had a current application within the last 3 years.

For Kinetic Software Customers

Our new product, KxArchiver, can help you come closer to compliancy. We will be providing customers with videos to review the regulation in more detail and to inform you how KxArchiver can assist you in the process. 

Summary

With less than a year to prepare, now is the time for you to be learning as much as you can about the new EU GDPR and form a plan for how you will ensure compliance within your department. 

Under the GDPR, a company must appoint a data protection officer (DPO). Consult your legal team to learn if a DPO is required for your organization as well as to learn more about the exact steps you will need and approval you may need for any plans you make moving forward.

Tags:  conference guests  GDPR  international guests 

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From a Meeting Planner Perspective: How to Manage Difficult Clients

Posted By Unique Venues, Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Updated: Monday, July 17, 2017
Thank you to Corporate Member Unique Venues for sharing this blog post.
Let’s face it: meeting planning is a service-oriented business, so there will be times when you will encounter a difficult client. Although 90% of your clients will likely be wonderful, it’s how you handle the other 10% that will determine whether or not you will become a successful meeting planner. Solving difficult problems and managing challenging situations are simply part of the job. Whether you have a know-it-all client or a client who keeps changing their mind, we wanted to offer you a few suggestions to successfully manage these and other difficult clients.

Be a Good Listener

The best thing you can do is to listen closely to what the client says and take notes. Ask a lot of questions and repeat their answers to them, so everyone is on the same page. Many meeting planners email their notes to their clients as well, which not only provides assurance that they heard them correctly, but provides them with a record they can go back to. If they change their mind or say they wanted something different, you can at least have these notes available.

Set Your Own Ground Rules

Although you work for the client, the relationship must be professional at all times. The best way to establish boundaries is to set up basic ground rules up front. For example, you might want to establish a cut-off time for which the client can call you. How many meeting planners out there have been woken up by a frantic midnight call from a client about something that could have easily been handled in the morning? In most cases, the client will accept these rules – especially if you’re able to deliver.

Anticipate What They’re Going to Want Next

The best meeting planners will be able to read a difficult client, notice specific behavioral patterns, and anticipate what they’ll want next. For example, if your client is concerned about finding meeting locations, present them with a list of venues that coincide with what they said in previous discussions before they ask for it. By providing solutions before you’re even asked, you’ll be better able to win the client over.

Know When to Walk Away

The truth is that some clients simply won’t work out no matter what you do. It is easier to sever an agreement before a contract is signed and the wheels of the project start to go into motion. In your initial discussions with a potential client, assess if you believe you will be able to work together. In many cases, you will even if it will be difficult. However, in some cases, the best thing for both of you will be to suggest someone else to plan the meeting. 
 

Tags:  customer service  difficult clients  meeting planner 

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3 Ways to Track Your Impact on Campus

Posted By Laura Lafferty, Kinetic Software, Friday, July 7, 2017
Updated: Thursday, July 6, 2017

Thank you to ACCED-I Corporate member Kinetic Software for this post.

Last month, I wrote about three of the biggest impacts a conference department can have on its campus. I firmly believe in those three ideas, but how do you prove it? It is one thing to detail what the impact is, but it also needs to be demonstrated for others to buy in to the concepts. 

We will visit each of the three impact items with some ideas for how you can begin to demonstrate the impact with facts and figures. 

There are other ideas out there as well, but hopefully these will get you started (or get your wheels turning).

Campus Enrollment

How do you prove your impact on future campus enrollment? I have two suggestions for this, but both require some support from campus colleagues. 

Idea 1: Before college application season starts up, talk to your admissions office. Ask them if a question can be placed onto the application simply asking, "Have you ever participated in an XYZ University summer camp or program?"

Ideally, there would be a follow up question of "If Yes, did your participation influence your decision to apply to this university?" Then be sure to get the results!

Multiply each Yes by the first-year student cost to get your financial impact on the university for the incoming class. 

Idea 2: Another idea is to take advantage of first year student orientation. Many orientation programs will incorporate a survey at some point during the program (or during the student’s first year). Find out if you can insert the same questions above onto this survey.

Local Economy

When it comes to proving the impact on the local economy... this one can be harder to measure. If you can get local vendors to issue unique coupons to your department, you can distribute these to conference guests at check-in. The businesses can collect those and inform you of how many were used in a select time-frame.

For something a bit more scientific, try partnering with your Business faculty to have their students do an economic impact study as part of the academic program. This was done on the campus I used to work with and they did a great job (for free)!

Educational Mission

Our final topic relates to how you can prove your support of the educational mission by hiring student employees. You may choose to include in your annual report the number of students you employed and in what capacity, demonstrating the experience your team is providing.

A short summary of their roles and responsibilities is a great way to demonstrate the level of professional responsibilities you have placed on them.

You may also want to consider surveying your student staff at the end of the summer, or at the end of each year, to ask them questions that uncover what they feel they have learned that will help them in their future careers. You may also want to include questions around what they have learned about what it means to work as a professional.

Just be sure whatever you do to demonstrate the impact, you share the results with as many departments, people and outlets as possible!

Tags:  economic impact  educational mission  enrollment 

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