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Cvent's Director of Meetings Shares What Inspires Her
While Cvent is the leading industry data and RFP platform for meeting planners and suppliers, boasting more than 300,000 users worldwide and a facilities database that is the envy of everyone in hospitality, it is also a major producer of meetings.
According to Rachel Andrews, director of meetings and events for the Tysons Corner, Va.-based company, planning for the meetings tech giant is a source of constant change, whether stitching together its annual Cvent CONNECT conference, integrating staffs and resources after one of its many acquisitions or any number of other internal or client events.
“Lunch and learns, seminars--we host about 1,200 events per year,” Andrews said. “And they are global, so we’re on every single time zone, so our team and global demand center has to be awake across the clock. I strapped myself to a rocket ship when I joined Cvent. Every two or three years this places changes fundamentally--obviously it’s not a startup anymore.”
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Andrews came to Cvent eight years ago from Morgan Stanley in New York City, managing financial services meetings such as equity conferences and internal and investor events.
“I definitely didn’t have a lot in common with my attendees, but I definitely have a lot in common now,” Andrews said, adding that being a meeting planner who plans events for other meeting planners adds an extra degree of difficulty.
“They’re all event planners so they’re also looking for us to be outside the norm and be a breath of fresh air for their programs,” she said. “There’s always that constant dread of disappointing fellow peers, or failing at your job, but that can also be a pro because that motivates us to do it great.
“They understand that it’s stressful and that you’re dealing with a million different things at that moment of time,” she added. “It’s a unique position to be in for sure, but it’s definitely rewarding, and I’ve learned a ton from talking to those attendees.”
Cvent’s Inspiration Tips for Meetings
Following are some of the things that inspire Andrews as the meeting planner for Cvent:
1. Personal and Professional Connections: Be it my family or one of Cvent’s own customers, the people around me are a significant source of inspiration for me.
- With family and friends, I can always trust that they’ll give me their most honest opinion on what worked and what didn’t at a recent event they attended--even if it’s one I organized!
- Speaking of family, because we spend so much time together, my team at Cvent is my second family. I trust their input and ideas, oftentimes more than I trust my own! One great practice we have is our monthly “think tank” sessions where we all get together in a room where we’re surrounded by whiteboards and we brainstorm fresh takes on events we’re planning. No idea is too crazy in these sessions!
- At Cvent, I’m also fortunate to work with an incredible executive team. Nine of the original 14 founders are still with the company nearly 20 years later and they are as passionate as ever. They continue to challenge me and my team and really inspire us to do our best.
- And last but most certainly not least under connections are our incredible customers. I truly love talking to those who are on the receiving end of our services to talk through their events strategy or what we can do to improve future experiences. We’re obsessed with customer feedback at Cvent. They say that the customer knows best and I 100 percent agree.
2. Cvent Events: People often think of Cvent as just an event technology company. What they don’t know is that we host more than 1,000 events every year!
We just hosted our largest ever companywide event in downtown D.C. at The Warner Theatre for more than 1,400 employees – and hundreds more joined virtually via our webcast. This annual event, and of course, our annual user conference, Cvent CONNECT, along with the hundreds of other events we host each year, provide me with constant opportunities to enhance the experience and explore new opportunities to make them bigger and better.
3. Travel: I’m a big advocate for getting out of your comfort zone and exploring new places. I travel at least once a month and make a point to see a show, concert, anything in that city or place so I’m constantly experiencing events outside the norm of what I do on a daily basis.
4. Social Media: Whether it’s for event design and theme ideas or just stunning photography, if you’re in the event planning industry, social media can play a big part in idea generation.
- On Instagram I follow all sorts of event hashtags, including #eventplanning, #eventdesign, #eventinspiration and #eventtech, and Pinterest of course offers an incredible variety of event inspiration.
- On Twitter I follow a number of event professionals to see what they’ve come up with for their events or what they have found as best practices from other industry influencers and experts. BizBash is a favorite for new and unique ideas on their Twitter feed.
- On LinkedIn, I’m a member of a number of really engaging event-specific groups where other members constantly bring new ideas or inspiration to the discussion.
5. Podcasts: I know I’m definitely not the first person to report being a podcast junkie, but some people might be surprised to learn that the podcast world has a lot to offer for event professionals! Those I keep on heavy rotation which are aptly named to the industry include Event Tech with Will Curran, #EventIcons and The Events Podcast.
I also listen to podcasts in the business and technology section of Spotify.
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