by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | June 27, 2013
Improved strategic meetings management, better data capture and the demand for mobile meetings applications were the focus of McLean, Va.-based Cvent's second annual Corporate Meetings Summit, held last month at the Peabody Orlando in Florida.

The three-day educational and networking event, which drew more than 500 attendees from more than 10 countries, featured 25 educational seminars. Topics ranged from digital marketing strategies and strategic sourcing to how to implement online surveys, with each seminar offering CMP credits.

At the opening session, Chuck Ghoorah, Cvent's co-founder and executive vice president, cited research by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan that found $525 billion was spent by U.S.-based firms on meetings in 2012. Of that total, $22 billion was used for traditional processes, such as printing agendas, trade show maps, white papers, surveys and registration materials. "All of that spend is going to move to more transparent, efficient technology in the next few years," Ghoorah noted.  

When Cvent launched 14 years ago, the company offered just one product -- online registration. Since then, it has moved aggressively into meetings management, investing millions in new technologies that not only capture more of an event's data, but link it seamlessly across all of an event's stages, from the RFP process to cost reconciliation, on multiple platforms. Last year, as part of its big push into the mobile technology space, Cvent acquired Portland, Ore.-based CrowdCompass, a provider of meetings-specific apps and other mobile programs.

Over the next 12 months, Cvent plans to streamline its online RFP proposal, which will ease the response crunch for hoteliers, as well as roll out a citywide RFP and more.

Two new technologies are in the wings: Meetings Estimate, a forward-looking product that takes an event's historical data and projects results for future events in different locations; and On Arrival, check-in software that will transform the registration desk experience.

Attendance quadrupled at this year's summit, where new interactive components included live polling via the event's mobile app. In one poll, more than 50 percent of respondents cited the need to include a small meetings application as part of their strategic meetings management process.