Delegate Journey

Why the delegate journey is all about creating outstanding experiences at every touchpoint

Author: Matthias Schultze, Managing Director GCB German Convention Bureau e.V.

Thinking through the delegate journey helps to analyse, visualise and assess the touchpoints that delegates encounter and that influence if a meeting eventually gets the thumbs up or down. Learn more in our blog!

From the moment of registering for a conference, each delegate comes across different virtual and real touchpoints, such as an organiser’s website, the programme on offer or booking hotel rooms. All of this determines if potential delegates really register for the conference in question or not. However, in the end, the personal experiences and perceptions of each delegate at the actual event tip the scales. No matter if at the train station, airport, hotel or on their way to the conference, each delegate meets many different people, spends time at different places and uses different mobility solutions, and every touchpoint influences how delegates perceive and assess the meeting as well as its host city.

Cycle as the ideal scenario

Apart from knowledge transfer, the networking opportunities provided by events are key for delegates. Networking, forging new relationships and personal exchange can happen face-to-face but also virtually and be extended to social media platforms. Once an event has ended and when on their way home, delegates again encounter physical and virtual touchpoints that influence their decision about taking part again next year or not. Therefore, the delegate journey is, in an ideal scenario, a cycle that “produces” happy delegates that are willing to straight away register again for next year after a conference has ended.

Setting the scene as a host

In this context, setting the scene and focussing on a city’s feel-good factor will be hugely important for urban planning in the future. Cities should see themselves, even more as they already do, as hosts so that the delegate journey of guests taking part in events can continually be assessed and optimised. Digital travel guides could, for instance, be helpful tools, providing a kind of all-round carefree package. In the end, any investment that increases the quality of the experience that delegates have needs to be seen in the context of the considerable financial gain of EUR 300 that every delegate generates on average for the respective host city. Thus, successful conferences and meetings as well as happy delegates are not only the best possible advertising for any city but can hardly be overlooked because of their considerable economic value.

 

EITW – Europäisches Institut für Tagungs-Wirtschaft

The Delegate Journey allows one to view an event through the eyes of a participant: Experiences and knowledge that has thus far been scattered can now be sensibly connected. 

EITW – Europäisches Institut für Tagungs-Wirtschaft

The Delegate Journey paints a complete picture: The process beginning with the search for information to the final reporting as well as the participant’s most important touchpoints throughout in a city.

EITW – Europäisches Institut für Tagungs-Wirtschaft

Personal experiences and perceptions on site are crucial. Participants come in contact with many different people, locations, and traffic which influence their valuation of the city and event. 

EITW – Europäisches Institut für Tagungs-Wirtschaft

Generally, participants do not decide whether to return to an event in a single verdict. Instead they go through several phases with many touchpoints until they come to a conclusion. The analysis of these touchpoints explains how a positive or negative valuation comes about.

EITW – Europäisches Institut für Tagungs-Wirtschaft

Participants encounter each other throughout an event, either virtually or in-person, exchange their sentiment. This often occurs directly on social media. A participant’s valuation of these in-person and virtual touchpoints is crucial for the success of an event. 

EITW – Europäisches Institut für Tagungs-Wirtschaft

After the end of an event when traveling home, participants again encounter virtual and in-personal touchpoints which decide whether they will return. 

EITW – Europäisches Institut für Tagungs-Wirtschaft

Everything in the Delegate Journey is connected, including the additional revenue to a city where an event is hosted. On average the expense are about 300 Euro per participant. 

EITW – Europäisches Institut für Tagungs-Wirtschaft

In an ideal scenario, the Delegate Journey is a cycle in which participants had a positive experience and will return after the end of an event. 

The "Future Meeting Room" scenario shows how events can promote interactive knowledge transfer. It was developed by the "Future Meeting Space" innovation network that was set up by the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) and the GCB German Convention Bureau.