In the past few years, event teams have experienced fundamental shifts in their approach, execution, and expectations for events. Event volumes are rebounding toward pre-pandemic levels, but the restaffing of many event management teams has not kept pace. Many organizations have been left trying to meet rising demand with fewer resources, all while seeking to understand the role of technology in an evolving landscape.

To stay ahead of these changes, event management teams may need to rethink how they are organized, staffed, and supported by technology. A strategy based on a Center of Excellence (CoE) can streamline and enhance the effectiveness of event management teams. Supported by an advanced platform, a CoE serves as a centralized hub for disseminating knowledge and best practices, facilitating continuous skill development, and ensuring that events are successful, consistent, and able to meet ROI goals.

Maximizing Event Success Under Staffing Constraints

Many event teams may feel understaffed when faced with the potential for more frequent, larger, or complex events. However, company executives can hesitate to add headcount during times of economic and geopolitical uncertainty. Even if budgets allow for aggressive hiring, technology has markedly changed the industry, requiring new skill sets that may be elusive to find—assuming a company even knows the skills and experience they should be seeking.

Event teams today need the skills of tomorrow to succeed. They need new ways of interacting with target audiences while upscaling and streamlining events and processes. Event teams need to be responsive to evolving attendee priorities, ensuring events are environmentally sustainable, diverse, and inclusive. Amid it all, they need to rethink event data and ROI.

Doing “more with less” can seem risky: Can a small team adequately navigate more events and evolving customer expectations? However, with a well-executed CoE at its hub, event teams gain the tools and skills to weather challenges and support their “spokes”—external event partners and internal departments such as sales, marketing, field services, and satellite event staff. The CoE becomes a centralized repository of knowledge, best practices, and a compass, guiding teams through uncertainty. It can assume a leading role in significant events and serve as a guide for adjacent teams handling smaller, regional, or more focused events, offering advantages ranging from event management tools that are consistent and intuitive to pre-negotiated contracts with vendors.

Armed with an advanced technology platform, the CoE enables seamless integration of cutting-edge event management capabilities and standardizes processes. The CoE also leverages the platform’s robust analytics to capture, analyze, and generate data-driven decisions, helping drive innovation and ensuring continuous improvement in an ever-evolving landscape.

Technology Redefining Event Management

The right event-focused technologies can help organizations bridge gaps between event volume and resource constraint, and existing skills with emerging needs. The findings of a 2023 Frost & Sullivan survey underscore technology’s growing ubiquity in reaching audiences: 69% of companies plan to increase investments in “immersive technology” by 2025, 34% of whom are doing so to engage customers. Technical solutions are being sought to build industry-leading experiences, manage processes, and generate ROI for events.

Organizations must be mindful in considering new tools and features for their already overburdened teams: overloading stretched resources can be counterproductive. The right solutions can help event CoEs devise, develop, and manage new processes efficiently and concurrently. The right event platform can provide templates and workflows that simplify planning. Content and assets can be automatically shared across channels before, during, and after events. And AI tools can even offer real-time recommendations to organizers, helping novice planners execute like experts.

Investing in these tools provides the leverage needed to handle more events and complexity with limited staff. For example, many organizations are ramping up their use of events for consumer engagement. Dollar Generals’ Days of Beauty Event is a massive week-long virtual event that culminates in over a dozen sessions on its main day. An advanced event platform could be leveraged to help execution, from collecting submissions, to coordinating influencers, to generating agendas. During and after the event, customer attendance and feedback can be captured, categorized, and analyzed for insights that can improve future events as well as inform store inventory selection.

In the B2B space, HVAC equipment leader Carrier Global uses events to showcase products and support product launches.  The CoE, powered by an advanced platform, can ensure the local event team has all the fundamentals covered and working seamlessly, across registration, workflow management, reporting, meetings management, and attendee engagement. This enables the sales, marketing, and event teams to focus on promotion and outreach—always a difficult proposition with a limited business audience—which can also be enhanced and coordinated with the platform.

Global tech leader HP also hosts various customer, industry, partner, and employee events every year. A CoE with an advanced platform can give a large and varied organization such as HP the visibility it needs to optimize events while keeping costs in check. As we’ll discuss further in another blog in this series, in-person events and travel costs are rising, however, marketing budgets are not keeping pace. Businesses need advanced data and analytics to calculate—and indeed optimize—costs and ROI. The centralized coordination from the CoE creates cost-saving efficiencies such as streamlined communication, resource sharing, and synchronized efforts across all involved entities. This collaborative framework helps generate shared insights and resources to optimize event planning, execution, and outcomes.

“Businesses haven’t been able to hire back to pre-pandemic levels, and now have more event types to contend with,” says Cvent’s Senior Director, Solutions and Customer Marketing, Julie Haddix. “Teams are struggling to do all the work needed to run events these days.”

Haddix says cutting-edge end-to-end platforms can help teams build and execute cutting-edge CoEs, facilitating the ability to leverage new technologies for innovative experiences without having to expand resources. For example, intuitive interfaces and robust training resources rapidly boost team skills and integrated analytics provide data insights needed to optimize and prove ROI. “Those managing event teams may feel like the tools and technologies available today and the skills needed to manage them are becoming overwhelming. And to some extent, they’re right. But that’s where the right platform comes in and provides the seamless, intuitive experience for both participant and planner,” concludes Haddix.

The events landscape has shifted and will likely remain dynamic and fluid in the years to come. By embracing digital tools and the platforms to build a world-class CoE, organizations can deliver greater results with existing resources.

About Roberta Gamble

Roberta Gamble has over 20 years expertise consulting Global 500 companies and communicating data-related value propositions. Her background researching tech, mobility, manufacturing, and other markets helps her translate complex digital solutions into smart business sense for both technical and non-technical audiences.

Roberta Gamble

Roberta Gamble has over 20 years expertise consulting Global 500 companies and communicating data-related value propositions. Her background researching tech, mobility, manufacturing, and other markets helps her translate complex digital solutions into smart business sense for both technical and non-technical audiences.

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