A recent visit to a corporate training centre got me thinking about meeting room technology. I must own up to being a bit of a gadget geek.
It came as something of a surprise when my host explained as we entered an excellent training room that they were in the process of removing what looked like a state of the art interactive white board. I had been considering these for installation at Sundial’s properties, my logic was that as most schools have these then many of the people currently rising the management ladder were brought up on them so would expect to see them in well-equipped meeting rooms.
Seeing them going I feared I must be slipping and had missed news of the next thing. My host explained however that today’s trainers and delegates prefer simplicity – flip charts and whiteboards. I also learned that scented white marker pens are very popular.
Less than a week later, on another venue recce, I learned about an amazingly successful meetings technology conference attended by tech royalty and other meetings big spenders, all delighted by the use of cutting edge concepts and an insightful presentation by a well-known futurologists. I recommend you look up the YouTube channel for Westminster Central Hall to find out more. Indeed the event won gold at the MIMA awards.
Client Needs & Expectations
So what is going on you may ask? The truth is that our industry represents a diverse spectrum of event types and there's almost as many client needs and expectations as there are meetings.
The key to success as a supplier is in spending time understanding those needs and expectations. Central Hall Westminster were pitching exactly the right message to their audience however I have come to realise that just because I think some technology could provide Sundial with an edge in the marketplace I must test my assumptions with our particular client base.
As it turns out this philosophy has saved us a great deal of money over the years. We have always provided the best ‘nuts and bolts’ meeting equipment and technology and, by keeping abreast of our client needs, always been up to date on what is out there and how it can be used – sometimes hiring in specialist equipment as needed. We could be sitting on a lot of dusty, barely used technology, much of which soon becomes obsolete by the inexorable march of progress if we made assumptions about our guests needs.
It seems to me that the only really significant addition to meeting venue technology is plentiful, reliable and free connectivity, fortunately Sundial Group read that one early and went for it big time. The rest is all about knowing the other options and listening to clients.