How do you measure the success of your meetings and events? Of course, when we schedule events, we have an end in mind. A desired outcome that we want. Attendance, making a connection or a sale, introducing team members etc. However, it’s imperative that when we craft our meetings, events, and agendas we’re aware of the needs of our guests and customers. When focusing on our guests, we can avoid the pitfall of only caring about our desired outcome and can ensure our event is successful.

When planning, it’s vital that you understand the purpose of the meeting. Often times, clients approach me and say “I need to do an event for 200 people, set this way, etc.” Event planners are certainly concerned with logistics but it is important to know that if we are trying to align ourselves with outcomes, we need to start with the end in mind and establish what is the material business outcome clients are trying to achieve? Once we know the purpose, we will be able to see patterns in need and understand the reasons attendees are at an event.

What is the value of understanding these patterns of need from our event attendees?


  1. Informative – When there is a predetermined set of information that someone is trying to share with an audience. This is teaching and learning. I.E.: training session, presentation.
  2. Generative – Where ideas are being created. This is where we are trying to inspire people to develop their best ideas. We’re trying to extract those ideas and combine them and synthesize them into some type of cohesive outcome. I.E.: brainstorming sessions, white boarding sessions.
  3. Evaluative – Where decisions are made. This is a typical board room style meeting where there is a set agenda and decisions are made.
  4. Socializing and Networking– A lot of socializing and networking happens before, between and after meetings/conferences/events.

Understanding the importance of design and service:

The importance of design and service as a part of the event experience cannot be overstated. Design is the body language of an event. An event’s location speaks volumes about the brand of that event and sets expectations. If a company is having an event at the Hermitage Hotel, guests will assume a level of sophistication for the event. The design and the venue selection speak to the importance of what the event is all about.

When we think about integrating design inside of the event venue we think about the relationship between design and service like the way a technology company thinks about the relationship between hardware and software. When we design the physical spaces, and then we create the hospitality experience around it, we triangulate that with the deep understanding of use, need, and desired outcomes. Each element helps to shape the others.

When we take an anticipatory approach to events and meetings, we flip the traditional measure of service quality from being about response time to trying to eliminate the number of times people have to ask for things to begin with. If people need something that they don’t have, then they can’t produce their best work. When planning, design events with more resources than people will actually ask for to ensure the best experience possible.

The overarching theme in the event industry and in the world is straight from Jeff Bezos’ shareholder memo from April 2018 that states, “Yesterday’s high bar is tomorrow’s baseline expectation.”  Consumers have a rising expectation for service and individualization. People have more choices, and these choice options are more personalized than ever before. This understanding is a major development in the way customer expectation is evolving and how we accomplish events. As a company, it is important to focus on “How are we creating customer centricity as a part of every element of our events and business?” not as a concept to be referenced occasionally, but as a lens through which we see the entire world. A way of seeing that every single decision we’re making as people and as companies is from a much more empathetic, heartfelt,  customer-centric perspective.