The term “match-making” has become quite fashionable within the event industry of late, but is both misleading and a little disingenuous.

The suggestion is that somehow a third party, such as a “concierge” service or even some clever algorithm, can match attendees at an event with the “right” people. If you have ever attended an event where such a process or technology was used, you may have experienced mixed results.

At a recent industry event focused on event technology, the award-winning “matchmaking” service we were given to use identified all our competitors as our best matches! We were, needless to say, less than impressed.

But even when the software is accurately matching those seeking products, services or information with those supplying them, there are many reasons why people may not particularly want to meet at an event and no amount of intelligent software will ever be able to take these considerations into account – e.g. bad history, already doing business, met last week, friends or relatives…

Ultimately, providing they are given the right information, people themselves know best who they want to meet and how they want to plan their day. Present this in a simple, intuitive interface and they are off and running. So the key to an effective meeting service at a business event is profiling your visitors and exhibitors (or buyers and suppliers) in a manner that quickly lets visitors identify exhibitors who are offering what they want and exhibitors identify visitors who want what they are offering. Once you do that, you can simply permit each party to filter the list of counter-parties by checking a box that says “Show me everyone who matches my profile” or by selecting a specific set of criteria, such as “Companies over a certain size that sell product A in markets B, C and D”.

That, incidentally is what our software has been doing since its inception, over ten years ago.