Although such event companies as Marcus Evans and Richmond Events have built their businesses around buyer-supplier forums, they have done so using proprietary software. There are few other event software companies, if any, that offer sophisticated wish-list based solutions as an affordable service to any organiser of B2B buyer-supplier forums or high-level P2P (Peer-to-Peer) events.
Why so? The reason, we believe, is that organisers of such events face three major challenges. To be effective, software must have been designed from the outset to specifically address these challenges:
Ensuring all suppliers receive a minimum number of appointments
Typically, the costs of B2B buyer-supplier events are underwritten by the suppliers (or sponsors). The organiser is often under a contractual obligation to ensure that suppliers receive a specified minimum number of meetings. As any organiser of such events can testify, some participants – both buyers and suppliers – attract a lot of suitors, while others attract few. However, for an event to be successful, scheduled meetings must be meaningful and productive for all participants.
For this to happen, the software service should permit attendees to identify, through an easy-to-use online interface, not just those who they would like to meet, but their preference for one meeting vis-a-vis another. They should also be able to identify companies they wish to avoid. Once this information is gathered, the software needs to create optimal schedules. This process should be automated to the greatest degree possible, while still providing the capability for human intervention when required.
Creating optimal and balanced agendas for buyers and suppliers
At B2B forums, there will normally be more buyers than suppliers (but sometimes vice-versa). While one party will ideally be engaged in a full schedule of meetings, such events will include a number of industry briefings and presentations to keep the other party occupied in between their meetings.
The software needs to be sufficiently intelligent to enable the more numerous group to select their sessions or workshops, while ensuring that their meeting schedules with the other group are not compromised. Furthermore, to use the buyers’ time at an event to maximum effect and keep suppliers happy, the software needs to facilitate the seating of buyers at dinners and other activities next to suppliers who may have been keen to meet them, but were unable to do so in one-on-one meetings.
Rescheduling meetings at events
The late withdrawal from an event of a buyer or, worse, the failure of buyers with a full schedule of meetings to turn up on time or at all, creates huge stress for event organisers.
Under such circumstances, an effective service needs to be able to immediately identify “at-risk” meetings and potential substitute meeting partners. There is also a need to send SMS communications to those affected and for participants to view their revised itineraries in real-time on their mobile devices.
Delegate Select’s software solutions elegantly address these three challenges and many more. Its wish-list based service is used at many high-profile and extremely successful events:
NOTE: Delegate Select’s wish-list based implementation can also be configured for one group of attendees, making it an ideal solution for high level peer-to-peer events too.