The Importance of Face-to-Face Meetings

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As trade shows, sales meetings and conferences re-emerge in a world of tighter budgets, they are undergoing a seismic shift. Today face-to-face group meetings are designed with a well-defined purpose and a commitment to quantifying results.

A study by an event marketing association found that last year 70 percent of event planners measured the activity that was cultivated by their events — a 12 percent increase from those who performed such measurement the prior year. The primary reason given? To justify the expenditure of meetings to their clients and organizations.

In an effort to get greater ROI from meetings, measurements have taken on an even sharper focus. Traditionally, companies have done satisfaction surveys at the end of meetings, asking attendees whether they liked the food, speakers and accommodations. High Point always fares well on these types of post meeting surveys.

But now, companies are searching for greater specificity, determining what parts of a meeting moved the sales needle. For example, one large technology company tracks the spending of customers for up to 12 months after attending one of their meetings. They have determined that customers who attend the meeting in person spend 36 percent more in the next year than those who don’t. Using careful follow-up to assess the impact on individual products and market sectors, it helps to target resources for subsequent interactions with customers.

In response to these studies, the meetings industry just kicked off a $500,000 campaign to call attention to the value of face-to-face events. The drive is designed as a long term promotional effort to help educate stakeholders, government officials, media and the public about the economic importance of business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions. With the increased use of visual technology for events, the meetings industry realizes the importance of qualifying the value of face-to-face meetings.

According to numbers supplied by the Convention Industry Council (CIC), there were 1.83 million meetings held in the United States in 2012, with direct spending of $280.4 billion. This is good news for High Point, which has a variety of venues to offer meeting planners from many genres. In 2013, High Point saw a 154 percent increase in attendees and our bookings are even higher so far this year, as we move to a new location at 1634 N. Main Street in order to enhance the level of services offered to visitors.

Our new 5,398 sq. ft. offices enable us to serve a larger number of visitors with an area set aside for an engaging exhibit of High Point companies and attractions. Parking and bathroom access are greatly improved since there is ample parking in front of the building. And, motor coach access is much easier, since the building offers a separate entrance for bus passengers. Our new site is near the entryway to High Point’s downtown core, an area set to be revitalized as part of the Ignite High Point plan.

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