Cost can be added up and presented as a clear-cut number, but value is in many ways both subjective and personal. Measuring meeting or event value depends on finding a methodology for measuring, evaluating and aggregating individual perceptions of value. Once you have determined the value of the session, you can assess the budget and determine whether what was gained overall was worth the cost. If so, you have a proven strategy to follow for future meetings. If not, you may need to work on adjusting some of your metrics.
Any meeting or event is ultimately about the experience of the attendees, whatever your business goals may be. Make sure that what you are spending money on adds value to your audience. Attendees don’t care what the specific costs were for the food and beverages provided; but they do care about whether or not they felt comfortable and satisfied during the event. Catering quality and availability always plays a large part in attendee satisfaction. No one wants cranky attendees because the coffee ran out or there weren’t enough snacks provided. This makes F&B an area well worth spending on. Two other essentials that have a direct impact on overall attendee experience are audiovisual tools and speakers, leaders and/or entertainment. Combined, all three of these elements should constitute somewhere around 50-60% of your total event cost.
Focus Your Meeting Evaluation
Find a single question that covers a ranking criterion that best expresses what you want your organization and/or attendees to get from the meeting or event. Be sure to have all attendees evaluate this main issue at the conclusion. Using just one question will keep feedback collection simple, consistent and speedy, which will make it more likely that you will get complete and accurate feedback. Consider using a simple, consistent scale to measure the overall success. It may be as simple as asking your participants to rate the meeting or event with a rank from 1-5 or a similar scale, focusing on that one main issue or element that was your primary meeting focus. You will most likely still want to encourage comments to add to the understanding of what did and did not go well during the event, but these are less easy to evaluate objectively.
Calculate Variable vs Fixed Costs
It’s crucial to identify and track both variable and fixed costs. Fixed expenses will not change based on the number of attendees. The cost of the venue or speaker, for example, are fixed costs. Variable expenses are costs that may change due to the number of attendees and these are usually calculated per person. Both of these expenses need to be considered together as part of your overall cost.
Sources of Revenue
To cover the expenses for your meeting or event, it may be possible to leverage sources of revenue. Advertising revenues, registration fees, concessions, rental fees for booths, management fees, and any sponsorship fees are all potential sources of revenue for your event. This total needs to be balanced against combined fixed and variable costs before determining the final cost of the event.
Analyze the Overall Cost & Performance of Your Meeting or Event
Once your meeting or event is over, you need to tally up total expenses and all revenues. This shows stakeholders the true cost of the event, and also helps when planning future events. Next, you need to compile the meeting evaluations based on the strategy that you set before the event, in order to determine success. Using both qualitative and quantitative event data enables you to best evaluate the performance of your event or meeting.
Measure Return on Investment (ROI)
ROI can be used to evaluate how successful your meeting or event was. This number shows what was gained through your meeting or event relative to the total costs. Evaluate and analyze your overall cost vs the success and expected savings or future earnings that will come from the event. If the savings or earnings are not concrete, look at the primary goal. Did the event get everyone closer to this goal? If all or most attendees found the event helpful, then the meeting saved time and money by making sure that people have clear next steps without roadblocks. On the other hand, if the meeting was disorganized or didn’t reach any strong conclusions, you lost not only the time spent at the event, but the potential work output that was missed during the time people were away.
Make the most of your next meeting or event at the Maritime Conference Center. A convenient location central to Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, DC reduces travel expenses. 100,000 square feet of focused meeting space equipped with the latest audiovisual technology and Internet capabilities ensures that your attendees are comfortable and fully equipped to make the most of the event. All-inclusive packages are also available to make planning streamlined and easy while also providing readily available, satisfying food and beverages throughout the meeting or event.
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