Market Connections recently conducted a survey to understand how federal decisions makers view and use events as part of their professional development and daily work. The survey included input from technology decision-makers across defense and civilian agencies and aimed to find out how they make decisions about what events to attend and what they expect when they are there.
The survey found that the topic is the main driver for event attendance with 85% citing that as the key reason they decide whether to attend an event. Price and location also play a big role in the decision to attend an event or not. Interestingly, while the topic is important, who delivers that topic is not as critical. Keynote speakers did not rank high on the list of deciding factors. Similarly, while event planners may push the opportunity for networking, that is a "nice to have" for attendees rather than a reason to spend time and money attending an event.
With the topic being so key to attendance, the survey looked at what people are interested in learning about at events. Cybersecurity was the number one topic of interest in the survey. This mirrors what we see in terms of events on our site; cybersecurity typically has the most events listed year after year. The other topics in the top five were cloud services, digital government, AI/Machine Learning, and budget/cost control/fiscal management. Continue reading
One area getting bipartisan support in Congress is the oversight of federal spending on travel. Two recently introduced bills look to curb ethics violations in terms of travel spending.
It's been over seven years since Congress looked this closely at federal travel following the excessive costs associated with a GSA conference in Las Vegas. This renewed look is in response to the high profile travel scandals of senior administration officials including Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, former Veterans Affairs Department Secretary David Shulkin, and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Scott Pruitt.
The 2019 Taxpayers Don't Incur Meaningless Expenses (Taxpayers DIME) Act would require federal agencies to report to Congress each quarter on the travel of any senior official on government aircraft. Bill sponsor, Rep. Tom O'Halleran said, "We must hold our government leaders to the highest standards, and with so many high-profile ethics violations in the past years, it is clear we have failed to do that. No matter who controls Congress or the White House, we have to hold everyone accountable."
Another bill looks beyond senior officials, ensuring that all federal employees traveling are spending taxpayer dollars at facilities that have proven to have ethical practices. It specifically encourages employees to stay in hotels that have taken action to reduce human trafficking on their premises. To do this, GSA would create a list of hotels that have taken proven steps to train their workforce to recognize and report human trafficking.
So what does this mean for event planners and attendees?
When planning events, keep in mind that government attendees will have to abide by these rules and keep the locations easily accessible by commercial travel options. Look at policies of hotels and venues around how they educate staff on human trafficking (and other social issues) and choose those that have defined plans and programs in place. For attendees, it's more important than ever to fully investigate and vet travel plans and expenses to ensure that there are no violations, or even perceived violations, of ethical standards.
Let us know your thoughts on this pending legislation and how you ensure compliance with federal travel regulations. Leave your thoughts in the comments.
You are likely familiar with the pay-as-you-go model of cloud computing. The idea is to charge for technology services much like utilities are billed. Users are billed for only the computing resources they use as opposed to paying a flat license fee to own and use the software or service. This model has proven to be more cost effective for organizations with inconsistent needs in terms of computing and storage power, allowing them to scale their use up or down as the work demands. Now, this same idea is making its way into the training and event space.
A survey of healthcare professionals found more than three-quarters of respondents would only participate in a meeting that could show a good return on their investment of time and money. Measuring that ROI can be tricky, but attendees across all industries tend to look to events that provide: Continue reading
Organizing seating at events has traditionally been a pretty straight forward endeavor. It seems the biggest challenge has been to get people to sit up front as opposed to hiding in the back. Generally speaking, planners have had to decide if they want event seating in one of the following arrangement styles:
- Classroom - Tables in front of chairs arranged in rows. Optimal for events that require note taking.
- Table rounds - Round tables, generally seating 6 - 12 people based on the table size. Rounds are ideal for events with food service, but often cause half the attendees to have to turn their seats around to see speakers.
- Theater - Rows of chairs.
Today, as events are looking to be more interactive and inclusive, many organizers are looking beyond basic seating arrangements, and finding news ways for people to inhabit traditional meeting spaces.
Knowing one size does not fit all, the Corporate Event Marketing Association set up seating zones at their recent conference. These zones included: Continue reading
It's always a good practice to reflect on what's working and what can be improved as we draw closer to closing out another calendar year. Today, we wanted to take a look at some of the newer event space options in Washington, DC.
While the place you hold your event surely is not as important as the content you provide, it can have a big impact on the experience and anticipation for the event. Old stand-by locations are great as they are familiar to attendees - they know how to get there, where to park, and where the best outlets are for charging devices. But if you are looking to attract a different type of attendee or launching a completely new event or format, it might make sense to sweeten the interest by holding it in a new and creative location. Continue reading