City Cruises

The importance of behavioural science within meetings and events

Experts from NYS and Capita Travel and Events shared how they apply behaviour science to create smarter meetings and events at the Meetings Show 2019. 

Jonti Dalal-Small, Head of Behavioural Science, first gave an overview on the ‘behavioural science toolkit’ and how it be used for a range of outcomes such as encouraging collaboration, reducing environmental impact and ensuring delegates are at their best.

Given the impact of behaviours and organisational culture on travel, meetings and events, he applied this line of thinking to ways of improving the delegate experience. 

“The power of behavioural science is using insights into how people think, feel and behave to create better outcomes,” explained Jonti. “It is a way to question how things have always been done. In applying psychology to meeting and events, the power of context should not be underestimated. Ultimately, we want to create an environment that encourages a discovery mindset, so people get the best out of their experience.”

Leanne Fowler, Director of Strategic Meetings Management, then examined the different types of meetings and how applying behavioural science in our understanding of context and behaviour can impact costs.  By taking the companies’ Smarter working approach and assessing the data insight, it can be used to influence more positive behaviours, such as choosing the most cost-effective meeting locations. 

“Meetings average 15% of the total costs so its important companies have visibility of the associated travel time and travel costs that form part of the total meeting cost or consider the alternatives,” Leanne highlighted. “It’s about understanding the different types of meetings so companies don’t always fall back to a default of face to face, or if that is the best option, taking a smarter and more considered look at everything from the location, timing and agenda to ensure it is as successful and cost-effective as possible.”

Leanne gave examples to show how the average delegate rate can fluctuate dramatically by location when considering total costs. For example, the average delegate day rate can be over 60% less in Bristol, Stoke-on-Trent or Leicester compared to London, but the good transport links means it is just as accessible to reach. 

NYS’ Director of Events, Caroline Medcalf, then took this same approach with events: “The agenda for events is changing as duty of care becomes more prominent. We should all be responsible for challenging the defaults and disrupting expectations,” she explained.