New Sustainable Event Management – Forum Group’s Guide to Green Meetings

Welcome to Forum Group’s ‘Legacy’ blog series. Inspired by positive trending requirements to create events that are sustainable, socially responsible as well as high impact, we set out to provide a practical insight on creating events that are truly rewarding.

For years marketers and corporate planners have been put off delivering sustainable events as this implied additional, significant costs for an event budget. Here we break down the myths surrounding sustainable events and provide practical strategies to delivering green solutions.

Let’s transform your meetings to make a real difference and help you take advantage of our experience delivering green events.

So, what constitutes Sustainable Event Management? 

According to international standard ISO 20121, sustainable event management is the process of integrating environmental and social responsibility issues into event planning. Sustainable event management requires us to balance the needs and values of different stakeholders that are impacted by your event. On the one hand, you take steps to reduce significant negative impacts, or harm, such as waste products or carbon emissions. While on the other hand you also seek out opportunities for events to leave positive legacies that benefit communities, including philanthropic and volunteer projects. Let’s take a look at the benefits of sustainable events for your main stakeholder groups.

Stakeholder 1: Event attendee

Convenience: Sustainable events can be more convenient because they adapt technologies to help attendees get outcomes more efficiently, for instance through mobile apps and multi -channel hybrid events (e.g. webinars and face to face programs).

Rewarding: Sustainable events can be satisfying and interesting because they make it worth attending in person because the planner has taken steps to connect participants to a destination or the program in a meaningful way, perhaps through the authentic cuisine, local entertainment or a community service project.

Social consciousness: This matters to a large proportion of your current or potential attendees. If you can’t meet this expectation, they may be less likely to come along or to return to future events.

Stakeholder 2: Event Organiser

Increases goodwill towards your brand: Sustainable events can reduce risk from a planner’s perspective because you’re proactively anticipating the effect of your event on the environment, hence, creating a green meeting could help avoid wasteful representations of your brand to attendees, which might be adversely reviewed in the post event media.

Better for the bottom line: Making your events environmentally friendly benefits the environment but can also save money for your business or event budget. By implementing simple changes, it can make a difference to your bottom line.

E.g. accurate, seasonal and locally sourced food and beverage planning and design-for-reuse branding.

Unique Selling Proposition: Promoting your environmentally friendly methods can set your event apart from your competitors and attract new attendees who buy into your approach.

Attracting Revenue: By planning greener events you could increase your chances of investment from sponsors when you meet their CSR objectives or procurement criteria.

Stakeholder 3: Sponsors and Supporters

Increases goodwill towards your brand: Supporting and funding sustainable events can not only reduce risk from a sponsor’s perspective because you’re supporting events that are actively aiming to reduce their effect on the environment, but you are also helping attendees and other stakeholders make a connection between acts of sustainability, corporate social responsibility and your brand. Your support of the event and the way it links to sustainable approaches will be noted in the marketing material produce prior to the event, onsite and in the media following the event.

What do we know about waste generated at events?

On average, a single guest discards 1.89 kg of waste per day, of which 1.16 kg is landfill materials. To put this into perspective, that’s the equivalent of 2.6 (or 3480 kg) weight of compact cars for a 3-day 1000 person event going to landfill each time.

What we can do to reduce our carbon footprint at events?

Depending on your event type, your carbon footprint can vary. A local conference will have far fewer air travelling attendees, but car or train journeys could be most highly represented. Our suggested ways to reduce carbon footprint include:

  1. Providing remote or virtual event program for attendees.
  2. Choose an event location central to most attendees and participants to reduce the overall travel for most delegates.
  3. Select venues and hotels with strong green initiatives and programs in place.
  4. Why not consider incentivising carpooling for attendees?

Reduce Your Landfill Slice

The biggest problem is that approximately 41% event waste will go to landfill. We suggest ways to reduce this percentage by:

  • Selecting a destination, venue and caterers with good recycling and composting programs.
  • Provide waste stations, signs and monitors to help exhibitors and attendees sort their waste.
  • Take advantage of and improve donation programs particularly for food and exhibitor materials.

Reuse Wherever Possible

Re-purposing and up-cycling are big trends right now which should help with these initiatives. Ensure that when you are considering different elements you are thinking about their longevity and ability to be reused in the future.

Our team suggests we reduce, reuse, recycle:

  • Recycle plastic bags. They can be the bane of our planet but initiatives with supermarkets are meaning higher quality options are available that can be reused.
  • Reuse non-personalised items. You can reuse lanyards, badge holders, ribbons, signage holders, furniture and other materials so long as we avoid personalising them during an event.
  • Design your own food stations from an up-cycled piece of furniture, or repaint worn props to spruce new life into them. Our event managers have often hand crafted props and other event decor from re-purposed materials!
  • Keep signage generic. Use phrases such as “this way” or simply use arrows that can be used in any event rather than themed phrases or ideas.
  • You can use fancy chalk artistry that allows you to change the message without discarding the sign.
  • Recyclable materials. Whenever possible use signs that can be reused or portions of them that can be recycled or even make them yourself by up-cycling some old shelves into a rustic wooden sign.
  • Use biodegradable materials for items such as cutlery and plates.
  • Clearly label. Don’t assume that all attendees will know what to do with their recycling. Add cool graphics with examples of what goes where to help them out and avoid any confusion which saves resorting later.
  • Offer an incentive such as freebies or digital swag if attendees bring their recycling to you and sort it accordingly.

Extend Your Event Legacy

Share your success with the world and the people you serve. Let them know what you’ve waste you have reduced, what savings this represents, and how you will be using the difference. People want to share in your incredible moment. It may feel a little self-serving to demonstrate your sustainability success, remember you are modelling what can be achieved in this space and this will in turn inspire others.

How to spread the word about your green initiatives:

  • Post local initiatives you are working with on social media which not only markets yourself but raises awareness for the cause.
  • Include green symbols and compliance logos on marketing materials to be validated.
  • Link your posts back to your green policy to demonstrate how your practice is tied into an official approach.
  • Work with sponsors and partners to promote your shared initiatives to widen reach.

Forum Group Makes a Big Impact Taking Home Two MEA Awards

Forum Group Events & Marketing has taken out top honours at the prestigious Meetings and Events Australia’s (MEA) national awards with the agency winning two accolades including ‘Corporate Event of the Year’ and ‘Event Manager of the Year – Agency’.

Forum Group, an Australian integrated events and marketing agency, has delivered engaging events and business results for their clients for over 20 years. Their team and network create end-to-end marketing experiences for a diverse client base including South African Tourism’s 5-city roadshow which was selected by an independent panel of judges as the MEA Corporate Event of the Year. The award was accepted by Director, Lauren Hayward at the awards gala held on 2nd April at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Stephanie Vercoe, one of Forum Group’s most experienced event professionals was announced as MEA’s Event Manager of the Year – Agency. Stephanie is renowned for her dedication and creativity when delivering integrated event campaigns such as the Department of Industry’s NSW Training Awards, Citrix 8-City Roadshow and Dell EMC Tech Summit.

Lauren Hayward, Director, said, ‘To win two national awards is a wonderful recognition of our team’s efforts and the immense passion and energy that they have poured into showcasing our client’s brands via their chosen event platforms.  The last 12 months have seen the Forum Group team extend ourselves professionally as we maximised local and global partnerships further refining our ‘hub of connection’ approach to delivering events. Our clients benefit from our hub which includes exceptional partners, suppliers, our processes, technological resources as well as our experienced in-house team of event professionals.”

Forum Group was presented with the top awards in addition to being selected as a national finalist for ‘Government Event of the Year’ for the Department of Industry’s NSW Training Awards. The awards come off the back of a year of innovative, stand-out event work for clients as well as new business wins, including securing Infomedia Tech Day, RegTech Conference and In the Black Gala Ball.

 

     

 

 

 

Spice Hot 100: Services and Suppliers

Forum Group Events have been recognised as one of the top 5 event management companies in Australia in the Spice Magazine Hot 100 for 2017.

We would like to thank our valued clients and event partners for taking the time to vote for us.

Hot-100-Services--Suppliers-Finalist-M-REC

You can check out all of the winners in the August edition of Spice Magazine.

If you would like more information on how Forum Group Events can assist you with your event management requirements, please call us on (02) 8302 5523 or email [email protected].

DOUBLE MEA STATE WIN FOR FORUM GROUP EVENTS

Forum Group Events has been awarded twice over by Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) at the recent NSW awards night. The events marketing and management organisation overcame strong competition to take home the accolades for ‘Best Event Management Organisation’ and ‘Meetings & Events Management Organisation (less than 8 employees)’.

 

Managing Director, Leanne Constantino, was thrilled to accept the MEA awards recognising the company’s outstanding provision of services to the Australian conference, meetings and events industry, saying the announcements were welcome recognition of the dedication of Forum Group Event’s team.

 

State award win 2016

 

“The Forum Group Events team is extremely delighted to receive these MEA awards at state level. Our team takes pride in providing our loyal clients memorable events that connect, educate and inspire their delegates. Our focus remains on delivering innovative events and marketing and execution solutions whilst providing outstanding customer service. We could not have achieved these accolades without the dedication from our entire team.” said Constantino.

 

The ‘Event Management Organisation’ and ‘Meetings & Events Management Organisation (less than 8 employees)’ categories, reviewed the impact and efficacy of event management companies over the previous year. The categories were judged on a number of criteria, including business planning and management, marketing strategy, resource management, creativity and innovation, financial performance, contribution to the industry as well as the overall uniqueness of the company.

 

Forum Group Events are now finalists for the National MEA awards dinner to be held at the International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC) on Tuesday 2nd May 2017.

 

ABOUT FORUM GROUP EVENTS
Trusted by global Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years, Forum Group Events is a multi award-winning integrated events marketing and management organisation.

 

Forum Group Events has a national network alliance of innovative professionals that strive to deliver world-class events. We create end-to-end marketing experiences that connect, educate and inspire whilst driving business results for a diverse range of clients.

 

Our integrated campaign approach offers a complete solution to meet event and marketing objectives. The FGE team excels at event strategy, event management, event promotion, audience acquisition and extending the life of an event whilst always maximizing ROI.

For enquiries:
  

Lauren Hayward

General Manager

Forum Group Events

Tel:  02 8302 5523 

8 WAYS TO BLOW A BUDGET – COMMON PITFALLS TO AVOID!

Planning is the key to avoiding mistakes that can blow your budget. But if you avoid these common errors, you will be able to produce an event you will love at a price you and your clients can afford.

Anyone who has ever managed an event where the financial objective is to break even at a minimum, understands that there are hundreds of critical decisions that are made along the way that will determine the financial outcomes and the potential ROI for those hosting the event.

Budget Blower
Event managers working with corporate, government or association clients have common issues that can push budgets into the red and many of these issues come down to a culmination of decisions that add to their bottom-line price.

To prevent those in our industry from getting caught out along the event management process, we have enlisted the help of our award-winning team of event management experts to advise on the pitfalls to avoid. Together, we have collated the following list of eight budget blowers. Avoiding these challenges during the lifespan of the event will save you and your clientele money.

BUDGET BLOWERS

1. Not allowing for contingency funds.

Realistic budget planning is critical. Not factoring in a contingency amount into the event budget can drain funds if unexpected issues come up, which seasoned event planners will say – they commonly do! Typically an event budget may include: venue booking fees, payments to speakers, entertainment and other 3rd parties, printing costs for marketing collateral, running orders and other paper elements, additional equipment such as AV, projectors and staging sets, decorative and theming elements for example, table decorations, promotional and marketing costs, catering, event insurance and event technology.

Experienced event managers will determine the size and scale of the event and allow a contingency expense line item in the budget usually between 10-15% of the total event budget. Any number of things can go wrong such as medical bills, broken equipment, speaker cancellations and more, so a contingency is essential in covering any costs that may arise without warning.


2. Overzealous outsourcing.

Outsourcing too many elements of the event management process that could be completed in-house e.g. special events, satchel packing, design, registration, speaker management and other elements of the overall production adds cost and minimises your event profit margin. When your event is under development and the scope begins to shift and grow, there is the temptation to outsource key planning elements to a third party. Unless this is completely necessary due to time restraints, it may be necessary for the core team to coordinate these offsite or additional elements to maximise profit.


3. Not implementing a procurement policy when sourcing products and services for the first time.

Having preferred suppliers relationships in place that reward loyalty is important as the financial benefits that come from bringing your repeat custom are clear, but what if you are appointing a supplier for the first time? How will your tender process uncover the best supplier that will be able to deliver on your event objectives? Do they have sufficient experience to avoid costly errors that may be incurred if problems arise? An inexperienced supplier may offer a cheaper quote upfront but cause delays and issues down that track that cause budgetary blow outs.

A key strategy to avoid this is by undertaking due diligence on your client’s behalf and by setting up a procurement process that will help you determine the top 3 providers of event equipment or services and then narrowing the list down through face to face interviewing, reference checking and reviewing designs in response to your brief upfront. Remember decisions such as these should not always be made on price.


4. Failing to successfully secure the host organisation’s seed funding or some sponsorship money to fund the event prior to planning commencement.

In this chicken-egg scenario much of the planning cannot occur without sufficient funding which may arrive in various forms but usually via seed funding from the host organisation or sponsorship dollars secured prior to the event management planning stage. How do you know what elements of the event you can begin to plan? Even the basic event requirements such as the venue that can be booked and so on, without at least some seed funding to kick start the project will prove difficult.

Don’t risk too much of your cash flow carrying a fledgling event – at the very least get an indication of the event’s track record from previous years to help you determine the best course of action. Some funding to begin marketing the event to visitors, sponsors, exhibitors, strategic partners and the like will go a long way to potentially securing further funding that will float the event until the full impact of registrations is known.


5. Over catering

In the science and art form of event planning, there is an understanding from the statistics there will always be some margin of non-attendance. In fact some research has shown that planners can under order by up to 10% to accurately cater for events. No-shows and people who are simply not hungry are always a factor to consider here.


6. Beginning any of the design process before finalising your marketing objectives.

Consider your marketing objectives before your leap into the design process.
Tips to avoid wasting time and money on re-designing event materials may include:
– Providing incomplete, rough input to a design team usually results in multiple queries, delays and redesigns. Event planners need to understand that they can still edit along the way, but the fewer changes you have, the more money you can spend on other elements of the event rather than on the design costs.
– Another tip is before meeting with the designers, ensure you have given your internal stakeholders the opportunity to have their say. This will help you develop a clear and detailed brief that is less likely to change over the design process.
– Finally, continue your internal discussions until everyone signs off on the same brief and in turn the final design.


7. Forgetting to take out an event insurance policy can be costly.

Event insurance is a must for any professional event manager. There are simply too many things out of our control that could go wrong regardless of the best risk assessment conducted. Some insurers such as Aon, specifically offer event insurance so it is best to do your research and factor the cost of the policy into your event budget.


8. Not keeping track of the finances.

Even though you may be on the go, it’s important to estimate realistic average costs plus keep good records of your actual event finances and these days mobile apps can make this process easier. Here is one that you may like to consider and we recommend testing it out before you start:
– Account Tracker: This app has received 5 star reviews from a significant amount of customers in the Apple iTunes store to warrant your attention. The app features expense management, account tracking, multi-currency support, bill reminders plus your can export reports and budgets to CSV and PDF files.

DOUBLE MEA NATIONAL WIN FOR FORUM GROUP EVENTS

Forum Group Events (FGE) has been awarded twice over by Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) at last night’s gala function in Melbourne. The events marketing and management organisation overcame strong competition to take home the national accolades for ‘Meetings & Events Management Organisation (less than 8 employees)’ and ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’.

 

MEA NATIONAN WIN

 

2016 marks Forum Group Events’ 20th anniversary of delivering business events. To add to an eventful year in which the team has already delivered almost 200 events over the past 12 months, Lauren Hayward, General Manager, FGE, was thrilled to accept the MEA accolades recognising the company’s outstanding provision of services to the Australian conference, meetings and events industry.
Leanne Constantino, Managing Director, Forum Group Events, said the announcements were welcome recognition of the dedication of Forum Group Event’s team based in Sydney and Melbourne.

 

“The Forum Group Events team is extremely delighted to receive these MEA awards at national level. Our team takes pride in providing our loyal clients memorable events that connect, educate and inspire their delegations. Our focus remains on delivering innovative events marketing and execution solutions whilst providing outstanding customer service. We could not have achieved these accolades without the dedication from our entire team.” said Constantino.

 

The Meetings & Events Management Organisation (less than 8 employees) category reviewed the impact and efficacy of smaller event management companies over the previous year.  The category was judged on a number of criteria, including business planning and management, marketing strategy, resource management, financial performance, contribution to the industry as well as the overall uniqueness of the company.
Forum Group Events was awarded the Corporate Social Responsibility award in recognition of the company’s policies and practices that actively consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities, stakeholders and the environment.

 

ABOUT FORUM GROUP EVENTS

Trusted by global Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years, Forum Group Events is a multi award-winning integrated events marketing and management organisation.

Forum Group Events has a national network alliance of innovative professionals that strive to deliver world-class events. We create end-to-end marketing experiences that connect, educate and inspire whilst driving business results for a diverse range of clients.

Our integrated campaign approach offers a complete solution to meet event and marketing objectives. The FGE team excels at event strategy, event management, event promotion, audience acquisition and extending the life of an event whilst always maximizing ROI.
For further information visit www.forumgroupevents.com.au

For enquiries:
Lauren Hayward
General Manager
Forum Group Events
Tel:  02 9212 6125

Event Technology Trends

Technology is advancing at a rapid speed…The question for event planners / event management companies, is how can we incorporate this new technology into our events to remain at the forefront of innovation and create the ultimate delegate experience?

 

Forum Group Events attended the Event Show hosted by Meetings and Events Australia last week to find the answer to this question from three industry experts. Led by Toby Travanner, we heard insights from Evan Daley from Two BullsManjula Dissanayake from Emojot and Stefan Perner from Virtual Reality Ventures on the following event technologies: 

 

 EmojotPhoto credit: emojot.com 

Real time emotive feedback – Introducing EmSense  a neuroscience company with headsets that can actually read individual’s emotional responses by measuring brainwave cognition on a moment by moment basis. As an event planner, the idea of knowing exactly how your audience is feeling is of course appealing, however the idea of having everyone in the audience donning these devices seems a little farfetched (at least for now anyways). The substitute? Emojot  A software sensor that tracks real time delegate feedback. Rather than waiting for delegate feedback after a session, the emojot digital platform allows delegates to tap on their screen what emotion they are feeling throughout a presentation. This enables the presenters and planners to see what content is resonating with their audience in real time.

 

 

 Virtual-Reality-Glasses

Virtual reality – Imagine being able to transport your delegates to an entirely different world? Virtual Reality Ventures are doing just that by enabling delegates to interact with computer-generated simulations of 3D environments. (For more info on how virtual reality works check out this video). By incorporating this into events, you can create a memorable experience for attendees whilst also allowing them to experience a product, service or destination. Instead of talking to delegates about your new store they can actually be transported there! You may have also heard some buzz around Oculus Rift (which Facebook purchased for a modest $2 billion) or another substitute? Google cardboard. 

 

 

 

 augmented-realityPhoto credit: twobulls.com

Augmented reality – Combining virtual reality with the physical world…this can really take attendee engagement to a new level. Real-world event environments can be augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video or graphics. Some examples of how Two Bulls are incorporating this into events? Dynamic lighting and presentations controlled by hand gestures alone, gamification (where holding up physical devices generates computer images and interaction) and virtual collateral (scan the code with your phone and witness a computer generated image appear before your eyes)Check out this augmented reality demo.

 

Interested in hearing more about how you can incorporate these new technologies into your next event? Contact Forum Group Events on +612 9212 6125 or email [email protected]. 

Spice Hot 100: Services and Suppliers

Forum Group Events have been recognised as one of the top 5 event management companies in Australia in the Spice Magazine Hot 100 for 2015. 

We would like to thank our valued clients and event partners for taking the time to vote for us.

Hot-100-Services--Suppliers-2014-Finalist-M-REC

If you would like more information on how Forum Group Events can assist you with your event management requirements, please call us on (02) 9212 6125 or email [email protected].

Alternatively, why not check out our latest white paper ‘What’s Hot in Events for 2015’.