by Michael J. Shapiro | October 08, 2014
New research from American Express Meetings & Events, entitled Great Expectations: The Evolving Landscape of Technology in Meetings, surveyed planners and attendees about their attitudes toward event technology, revealing both similarities and expectation gaps in some categories. Amex collected responses from 336 planners and 161 attendees globally in the first half of this year. Meeting apps were valued by both parties; 67 percent of planners found them important, as did 55 percent of attendees. Both groups ranked communication and scheduling as the biggest app benefits, while both planners and attendees said that using apps to participate in games and contests was the least important feature. The implementation of social media in events was less important to both parties, although it mattered more to planners: 43 percent of planners said social media capabilities are very important, compared with just 35 percent of attendees. Perhaps not surprisingly, both parties valued in-person meetings above virtual events, with 85 percent of planners and 74 percent of attendees saying that in-person meetings offer greater value because they enable more opportunities for social interaction. Nearly half of the respondents (49 percent of planners and 47 percent of attendees) agreed that it's difficult to participate when attending virtually. Attendees however, seem hungrier to try out the virtual meeting experience: 63 percent said they would attend more events virtually if the option existed, while 48 percent of planners did not think attendees would really do so. Forty-five percent of attendees said virtual attendance options should be available for all events, while only 35 percent of planners thought so.