by Anthony Miller | April 01, 2014
A great deal of data is generated from most meetings and events, but as an industry we are still learning the best way to harness all of that information. Big data, as it has come to be known, can reveal fantastic insight into what we're spending, what our attendees are doing and how best we can market to them. The following checklist was compiled by Anthony Miller, senior vice president of strategy and product management at Lanyon (  

Finding Big Data
• Aggregated meeting and events spend. Use event technology to get a holistic view of meeting and event spend across your entire organization. That can help you negotiate better rates with suppliers, or concessions such as in-room Internet or free breakfast.

• Centralized events calendar. Create an events calendar that enables you to look for opportunities to consolidate meetings.

• Meeting card spend. Reports on cost categories reveal trends that can help you to negotiate discounts.

• Mobile app. Look at how attendees use the app. For example, what types of attendees respond most to what types of push messages?

• Attendee registration. Demographics, psychographics (the study of personalities) and budgets are examples of intelligence that can be leveraged from a closer examination of registration data.

• Session evaluations. Consider feedback and recommendations on speakers and topics.

• Email marketing. Evaluate responses to email promotions.

• Post-event surveys. Seek feedback on strategic issues, such as "What business did you accomplish on-site?"

• RFID tags. Who went to which sessions, and how long did they stay?

• Twitter. Evaluate the Twitter stream with your event's hashtag after the meeting for honest input on speakers and the event.

• Facebook and other communities. Follow "unstructured big data," such as pain points, hot topics, industry rock stars and so forth.

• Appointment scheduling tools.
Investigate which job titles are most likely to schedule appointments with exhibitors -- and keep them. How can you use that information in future years?

Driving Revenue
• Create new conferences and events based on the future business needs of your attendees, while eliminating or altering current meetings according to demand.

• Create smaller, custom events for like attendee sets.
Personalize road shows, for example, based on customer demand by region. Can you reach more people that way?

• Improve and tailor marketing plans for future events.

Reducing Costs
• Track aggregate costs so you can negotiate preferred vendor contracts for venues, A/V and other services.

• Exploit efficiencies, such as booking back-to-back meetings in the same location.

• Determine which events are declining in terms of attendee interest or revenue and either retool, combine or eliminate them.  

Engaging Attendees
• Suggest appointments between specific exhibitors and attendees based on the purchasing intent of the attendees.
• Recommend conference sessions based on attendee job duties or professional needs.
• Create communities or working groups from specific sessions to follow up and aid in the implementation of ideas presented during the meeting.

• Send tailored recommendations and offers to mobile devices during the event.