In a webcast July 25, Maritz announced the launch of its Meetings Effectiveness solution, a new approach to quantifying and improving the value of meetings and events. The Meetings Effectiveness solution involves gathering information pre- and post-event via facilitated sessions with event stakeholders and participant preference surveys. Data is used to show how the event performed against corporate goals as well as to increase the effectiveness of meetings and events.

“We believe this [solution will be] important for the industry and for meeting professionals as we continue to look for ways to add greater value and provide [meeting professionals with] a voice at the table—not just a seat at the table,” said Christine Duffy, president and CEO, Maritz Travel Co., during the webcast.

The survey and data analysis tool used in Meetings Effectiveness builds on the technology Maritz developed in 2005 for Maritz Travel Insight, a survey engine used to measure and increase the effectiveness of incentive travel. Included is a simulation tool in which meeting planners can ask “what if” questions about program design.

The main difference between the two solutions, says Lynn Stadler, strategic meeting consultant for Maritz Travel, is that “the Meetings Effectiveness solution handles any type of event and includes the addition of an event measurement scorecard which allows meeting professionals to do some attitudinal comparisons pre- and post-event.” The comparisons enable planners to quantify the outcome of a their meetings based on the data.

As with the Travel Insight tool, Meetings Effectiveness also allows companies to simulate various meeting attributes to determine the specific meeting experience that will best meet attendees’ needs and the corporate goals. For example, a sales force might be asked what the optimum number of nights for a national sales meeting would be. Those results, as well as attributes such as venue, pace of schedule, and time of year preferences, would be weighed to design the most effective event.

According to Stadler, the solution is an ongoing effort that kicks off three to four months before the event, with information-gathering taking place throughout the process and concluding with post-event data analysis.

Pricing for this consultative process varies based on factors such as the size of the meeting, and the depth of analysis required. The solution can be used for meetings and events with 100 or more attendees.

To date, five companies, including Bayer Healthcare and Cingular Wireless, have piloted the Meetings Effectiveness solution.