Do you buy lottery tickets? If you spent $5 on a ticket and won nothing, then your return on investment (ROI) is -100 per cent. If your ticket won $10, then your return is 100 per cent. This is the same simple math that should be applied to your meetings and events.
The simplest ROI question you can expect concerns budget. Did you come in on, under or over budget? Answering this question after the event is critical. However, answering it accurately before the event—ideally, weeks before—is the difference between simply planning an event and being an expert meeting planner.
If your meeting is tied to a new product, is customer-focused or involves sales training and development, then you can anticipate the following ROI question: Did revenues increase as a result of that event? This could be as simple as asking the right question on your post-event survey. For example, will you buy more product(s) as a result of attending the meeting? If the majority of the respondents answer ‘yes,’ you’ve just proven ROI.
Qualitative goals such as team-building are admittedly harder to measure. Using surveys allows your organization to measure employee attitudes. If possible, conduct a survey three months before, right after and three months after your meeting. The survey should ask the same questions each time and ask people to agree or disagree with statements like, ‘I’m happy at work;’ ‘I feel connected to my peers;’ and ‘there is good communication amongst the team.’
Calculating ROI can seem daunting, but in truth, ROI is not complicated or scary. Your organization invests in meetings and it should not be a lottery-like result if they deliver a return-on-investment or not. As a meeting-planning professional, you are, increasingly, expected to calculate and demonstrate the ROI of an event. There are several tools, calculators, courses and experts that are available to you. I encourage you to find them and use them. If you can’t find them or don’t understand them, you can contact me and I will help you.