We hear a lot about the sharing economy these days – and I am not even going to mention the examples that everybody bring up each time we talk about this subject. You know, these two huge companies that have had quite an impact on the meetings industry!
No, today I will share my thoughts on other ways that the sharing economy will influence our industry – because whether you want it or not, the sharing economy is here to stay. So, we might as well go with the flow and take advantage of the opportunities that follow.
I truly believe that there is a place for all of us and for all the possibilities that are out there – that it is not a matter of ‘either/or’, but rather ‘both/and’.
There are events for which the huge hotel with the many meeting and sleeping rooms and the supervisor dedicated to that exact event is perfect. I know I wouldn’t have a large, complex conference without an onsite manager!
And then there are those small brainstorming meetings where 3 people from the company need a separate room for a few hours and only a cup of coffee. And why not book this through a sharing platform where companies, hotels, office buildings, etc. share their overflow of meeting space? It is quick, it is hassle free, and it is inexpensive, but there is no host to greet or help you when you get there, and if you need lots of technical/AV equipment including an AV Manager, this might not be the best solution for you.
I am sure we will see much more of these sharing opportunities in the future. Can you imagine aligning your event with the one before or after yours in order to streamline décor, room setup, or catering and thereby saving money on sharing the cost of manpower, room rental, or the menu for dinner.
Or how about engaging the same speaker or facilitator as the next company and reduce the cost of travel and accommodation. Or maybe you could go all the way and have a workshop together with another meeting organizer that you don’t usually work with. Who knows what good might come out of this meeting! I see networking opportunities and knowledge sharing in my crystal ball :o)
I am NOT advocating for making all your events mainstream and identical with all the other ones in the market – that would be quite foolish as I do advocate for creating an experience for the delegates for all your events (and this does not work for mainstream)! I am simply trying to curb some of the fear of the future that I sense is in our industry by suggesting alternative ways of overcoming it.
Moreover, I am thinking of the alternatives. Wouldn’t you rather sell your meeting room for 2/3 of the price twice than only once for the full price? Or instead of selling nothing at all?
But remember that sharing means to both give and receive and that the next time you might be the one helping someone out. And helping out always makes you feel good.
So, only our imagination and the sky is the limit when it comes to ways we can embrace the sharing economy in the meetings industry. What are your ideas?