The sharing economy expands meeting and event organizers’ options for creating great attendee experiences, explains Karen deKanter, business development director of BCD Meetings & Events (BCD M&E) and a presenter at the recent Global Business Travel Association conference in Denver. Here are three highlights from her sharing-economy session:
Ride-sharing services are a convenient solution for getting attendees to dine-around activities and small-group meetings.
- Create group passcodes embedded with geographic and date/time restrictions to contain costs and ensure Uber, Lyft and similar services are used for meeting purposes.
- Consider linking ride sharing with corporate social responsibility initiatives. In one example of CSR gamification, a company gave attendees “coins” for reducing their carbon footprint through ride sharing. Attendees could then deposit the “coins” into piggy banks for pre-selected local charities; the charities received post-event donations in line with the number of coins in their piggy banks.
Panelists recommended using the sharing economy to go beyond solving room-scarcity problems—think about how it can help you bridge cultural gaps, too.
- Attendees with strict dietary needs not met by hotels can be well served by staying in a private home with a kitchen.
- These home-style accommodations also are a great solution for attendees traveling with several family members.
- One of the largest alternative accommodation providers, Airbnb, recently signed an agreement to integrate booking data into BCD Travel’s DecisionSource© business intelligence platform. That’s a sign of the times that sharing-economy services are gaining traction among some business travelers.
The sharing economy isn’t just about sharing services; it’s also about sharing experiences.
- Use event apps to encourage (yet contain) the conversation among attendees. You’ll get a quick alert about negative experiences, and you’ll immediately know what people are enjoying.
- Real-time feedback lets you solve problems as they emerge and immediately measure popularity of activities and attendee participation. It’s a terrific tool to augment a standard post-event survey.