You spent the last year planning the association’s annual convention for thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors, and you had the pleasure of working with several fantastic presenters. While the conference went extremely well, at the end you left with a nagging feeling that you forgot something. It most likely was that dreaded three-letter initialism: ROI.

In a nutshell, return on investment (ROI) is a measurement of whether or not the investment paid off. Here’s a simple example: Your organization invested $50,000 in its annual conference. If the company received more than $50,000 in new revenue, it would be considered a wise investment.

Effectively Measuring ROI

  1. Set up SMART goals.
    In order to have effective measurements, you need goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely (SMART). Before you start the planning process, determine what your goals are for this meeting. Examples might be: 

    • To increase attendance by 10 percent at this conference
    • To have a 90 percent positive rating on the feedback form
    • To increase sponsorship dollars by $50,000
    • To gain 100 new members within six months of the event
  2. Engage metrics.
    Set up your budget for specific marketing channels and then measure the impact of each by giving the user a strong call to action (CTA). Here are some examples: 

    • Email campaign: Measure the number of opens and the click-thru rate. Offer the reader a button for a discounted registration rate or the opportunity to win a grand prize.
    • Direct mail: Give users a call-in number and website to register. Measure the number of phone calls and the amount of website traffic, especially the first few days after the mailing. 
    • Social media: Track the number of views and clicks on each event post. When paying for additional exposure, be sure to set a highly defined target audience you’re trying to reach. Measure how you did reaching your target. 
  3. Eliminate processes and/or replace with technology.
    By eliminating any paper processes or replacing them with technology, you’ll save time and money. Measure the old way of doing business with the new way and be sure to include you and your staff’s time. Do a thorough examination of the way you do business and try to either: 

    • Eliminate the process altogether
    • Move it to the cloud or a website
    • Replace the process with a mobile app
  4. Solicit feedback.
    At the end of the conference, give attendees Audience Response Systems (ARS) units with a series of questions on the screen for them to answer, ask them to download an ARS app on their smartphone or provide them with a paper survey.It’s vital that your questions sync with the goals you set. Don’t ask filler questions; stick to a short, but reflective, survey. You want to come away with actionable results for follow-up and improvement. 
  5. Track success.
    ROI doesn’t have to be immediate; it can be measured over 30 days or three years. However, it’s important that you track the results to determine if the effort to close a sale is worth the outcome. For example, if it takes you 10 telephone calls and two meetings to close a small sponsor, it probably wasn’t worth the effort.


Kalahari Resorts and Conventions

Kalahari wants to help bring more attendees to your conference for maximum ROI! Ask this letter for attendees to be distributed to their bosses to help justify the time away from the office. Just one more way Kalahari has you covered.