Does every event you plan begin with an assessment of environmental sustainability? If you work with Twinsburg, Ohio–based meetings management company Experient, it does.
“A green consultation is part of our standard needs-assessment process for every new project,” says Rick Binford, Experient’s executive vice president, event management services. “We really want to dig in with clients and bring  to the table—not just from a reactive standpoint, but also proactively to [help them] add this to their planning process.”
The three-step consultation, which has been standard operating procedure for a year now, includes defining the client’s corporate social responsibility goals, looking at past events to identify opportunities for greening, and realigning plans to better deliver green objectives. “We provide input to our clients about the feasibility of green objectives as well as the potential added cost—or cost savings—associated with implementing these decisions,” adds Binford.
One of the biggest value-adds of the consultation process, however, is assistance in developing a communication plan. The company helps clients convey to their stakeholders what’s being done to minimize the footprint of the event. “The communication component around the efforts to supportand green initiatives is often just as important as the steps themselves,” says Binford. Since adding green consulting to the event planning process, he has seen an uptick in the clients interested in green meetings as well as the degree of implementation.
But his work is not done. The next step: measurement. “We’re looking at measuring green initiatives for clients so that at the end of the day, they can get a clear picture of the impact of their efforts.” He expects to roll out a formalized measurement component within the next six months.
In addition to growing the company’s green efforts, Binford and his team have their eye on technology. Binford says he is seeing a trend toward room sharing at events as a way to control housing costs—particularly for large internal. “[Clients] are looking for a technology solution that can facilitate the room-matching process for attendees, so we have [added this functionality to our] registration and housing technology platform.”
The company is also seeing an increasing number of clients who want to expand the reach of their events through platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. In response, it’s developing a toolkit to help clients integrateinto their events management strategy and expects to roll out the offering within the next six months.