During a panel debate at the Digital Event News Tech Summit, planners shared their thoughts on supplier relationships and how to move forward together.
Honesty, transparency and developed partnerships are just three of the things event planners would like from technology suppliers as the digital event landscape evolves, according to a panel of organisers speaking at the Digital Event News Tech Summit.
James Samuel, portfolio director at Clarion Events, David Parker, commercial and events director at the Royal College of Physicians, Ed Tranter, managing director of 73 Media and Narmeen Kamran, event director at Desert Island Events, discussed how they would like the virtual and hybrid event supply chain to work more closely with organisers and what that relationship would look like.
“I look for suppliers who can be an extension of our team,” Tranter says. “The supplier pool has swelled to over 813 companies and we’re platform agnostic in the same way that you wouldn’t always return to the same venue. So I need technology partners who can provide transparency pricing and communicate their specific strengths and benefits. Don’t tell me you can do everything because that’s not what our events require.”
Parker agrees stating: “honesty and authentic communication are the two most important elements of a supplier relationship. Tell us what you can deliver but understand that things can go wrong so we need you to provide back-up support, extra staff on stand-by and additional equipment cover.”
Kamran elaborated on the importance of being an extension of the organiser team. She says: “The landscape is constantly evolving so we need technology partners that can play to their strengths by suggesting better solutions and contributing to the client proposal. I need magic links and single-use passwords to make everyone’s lives easier and I need suppliers who can support our client’s goals and objectives.”
Clarion’s Samuel concurs. He says: “This was all new to a majority of us 18 months ago and we don’t know what we don’t know. If we’re to trust in a technology providers expertise, they need to help with the steep learning curve in an honest and transparent way.”
The panel, moderated by Mash Media’s editorial director Martin Fullard went onto to share their opinions on the hybrid event model with 73 Media’s Tranter admitting that he hadn’t seen the full potential of hybrid in any use-cases to date.
Samuel believes that although virtual exhibitions can’t replicate the serendipity of walking past an exhibition stand to discover new products and connections, adding hybrid elements to physical trade shows can be used to distribute content to a broader audience and offer sponsors added value.
He says: “It should be seen as an added revenue source so that sponsors can extend their reach and companies who may have certain sensitivities about having a physical presence at the show can still engage and interact with their target audience online. However you need to understand what the audience wants from hybrid. There’s no point in sponsors providing online branded content if the demand isn’t there so speak to you event attendees and learn what value digital elements can add to in-person shows.”
Tranter agrees suggesting that virtual booths rarely work unless there’s a reason to attend a one-to-one online appointment or view a piece of pre-recorded content that adds value to the event experience. He concludes by urging technology suppliers to reduce the complexities in their pricing structures.
“Pricing models are all completely different and it’s a bit like the Wild West currently. Virtual can help add much-needed agility to event organiser’s plans but contract complexity only makes our lives harder. So you need suppliers who can help planners navigate this evolving landscape in more simple terms.”
Parker concurs with his mantra of ‘keep it simple stupid’. “Technology should make the delegate journey smoother. Help us to understand the benefits.”