Amilie Parent, vice president of finance and administration at Showcare Event Solutions, has been promoted to serve as president of the Montréal-based company. She is only the second female president in the 37-year history of the registration, housing, and meeting technology firm, and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Professional Convention Management Association. After taking the reins in early April, she talked to MeetingsNet about event budgets, new technology, and her love of puzzles.
MeetingsNet: You come from the finance side; what bottom-line lesson would you like your event clients to better understand?
Amilie Parent: Don’t focus all your attention on the bottom-line component of a single event and forget about the long-term investment component. For your event to have a lasting impact and stay relevant not only tomorrow but in the future, you need to deliver a unique and memorable attendee experience. It’s crucial to invest not only in tools and technology but also to find innovative new ways to improve year after year.
Also, make sure that your event budget reflects your organization’s long-term goals. It’s important to partner with your finance department when presenting your business case and forecasting expected return on investment. I would recommend having a two- to three-year investment program for your event that demonstrates concretely how this investment will help your organization achieve its desired goals.
MeetingsNet: Showcare offers a variety of technologies for registration, lead retrieval, tracking, apps, etc., what do you hope is the next big planner challenge that’s helped or solved with a tech solution?
Parent: One of the most difficult challenges is acquiring new attendees and exhibitors to grow your event each year. Demonstrating the value your event offers is essential to retaining existing attendees and attracting new ones. Like Amazon or Netflix, focusing on the personalized journey of each attendee and understanding who they are is vital to creating a tailored experience for them. Deep learning plays a huge role in Showcare’s capacity to predict how we should interact with individuals when they register, when they book their room, and onsite at the event. We are actively developing applications for our clients to use this information to their advantage. The ability to customize the experience and adapt your content to fit each individual is quickly becoming the new standard in the industry.
Data is the key to creating these tailored experiences but understanding how to interpret this data is not enough. There is so much data that is collected but ignored, it’s important to leverage this information to create real-time action items that will help you make informed decisions before, during, and after your event.
MeetingsNet: What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
Parent: I have spoken French and Spanish for the better part of my life. Since joining Showcare five years ago, my English has improved significantly, and I would now consider myself fluent. I’m also a huge fan of puzzles! At age three, I was already solving 100-piece puzzles. I find them very similar to work, requiring focus, organization, and dedication.