IBTM World Report Tackles Event Measurement

As the event industry grapples with data deluge, report offers meaningful strategies

The event industry, responsible for orchestrating everything from Coachella to corporate conferences, is awash in data. Yet, extracting meaningful insights from this deluge remains a significant challenge, according “Future-Proofing Events,” a report culled from discussions at the recent IBTM World Barcelona 2023 conference.

The Visionary Leaders Workshop, a gathering of 15,000 industry experts, focused on this conundrum. While new technologies like AI-powered sentiment analysis and facial recognition offer unprecedented data collection capabilities, determining which metrics truly matter and how to interpret them remains a struggle.

George Sirius, CEO of event management software company Eventsforce, highlighted the growing importance of data for associations: “It tells them a lot about their members and how they’re engaging with their events…and it also gives them the kind of business insight they need to expand their reach.”

However, a recent Eventsforce study revealed that almost 90% of event professionals struggle to extract the desired insights from their data. This can be attributed to several factors, including the sheer volume of available information, the lack of standardized terminology, and the difficulty of presenting data in a meaningful way.

To address these challenges, industry leaders at the workshop proposed several solutions:

Define Clear Goals: Start with a clear framework of predefined goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to guide data collection and analysis. Whether it’s lead generation, attendee satisfaction, or social media buzz, data should drive decision-making across the organization.

Develop a Shared Glossary: Create a common understanding of terminology to ensure consistent interpretation of data across teams and organizations. For example, the term “engagement” can mean different things to different teams. Clarifying definitions enables precise analysis. For example, the term “engagement” can mean different things to different teams. Clarifying definitions enables precise analysis.

Use Data Storytelling: Transform raw data into compelling narratives that communicate insights, context, and actions to inspire stakeholders. Utilize descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive data to develop a story that communicates insights and inspires action. Visualize data through graphs, images, or videos to enhance understanding.

Build a Data-Focused Team: Foster a culture of continuous reporting and data-driven decision-making by creating a dedicated team of data-savvy individuals. Break down silos to encourage cross-functional collaboration and create a holistic view of the event’s impact.

Integrate New Tech: Embrace emerging technologies that align with overall strategic goals, while remaining mindful of ethical considerations. However, choose tools that align with your strategy, start small, and prioritize ethical considerations.

By redefining event measurement through these five strategies, event professionals can move beyond surface-level metrics and uncover deeper insights. This allows them to demonstrate the true value of events, secure future investments, and continuously improve their impact. The challenge is not in gathering data, but in extracting its true meaning and using it to shape the future of events.

Any thoughts, opinions, or news? Please share them with me at vince@meetingsevents.com.

Photo by Nana Smirnova on Unsplash

Help Attendees Beat the Heat

A blistering heat wave has gripped the Western United States, leaving a trail of suspected heat-related deaths and shattering temperature records. To ensure attendee health and safety during a heat wave at trade shows and conferences, planners should implement the following measures.


to receive every two weeks our newsletter with unique meeting event planning information!

* indicates required