Not every organization has a clear path for meeting planners to move up the ranks. At RE/MAX Holdings, however, Pam Harris is a winning example of how it’s done. Harris started her career on the hotel side of the industry, then joined RE/MAX in 2001 as a corporate meeting planner. By 2005 she held the title of vice president, event management, and this month the company announced her promotion to senior vice president, customer experience, where she will continue to lead the Events, Strategic Alliances, and EDR Travel teams. We asked Harris about the changes she’s seeing and the challenges she faces while delivering great meetings for her company.
MeetingsNet: Looking back over your meetings at RE/MAX, what are the most significant changes you’ve made to improve the customer experience?
Harris: I have put a priority on introducing technology at our events to improve the customer experience. Streamlining registration and improving communication with a mobile app have transformed our largest events. We’ve been able to go paperless at our two largest conferences, including the annual RE/MAX R4 convention, which attracts more than 6,000 attendees each year.
The data that we are now able to gather is also a valuable tool in designing our events and determining what our attendees are looking for. Each badge has a microchip that not only tracks which sessions people are attending, but how long they stay in the room, helping us measure the speakers and topics that hold the audience’s attention.
MeetingsNet: It’s not enough to just meet anymore. Meetings need to deliver a return on experience. What is the most challenging part about achieving those results?
Harris: Our annual conference attracts attendees from over 60 countries. The challenge with such a global presence is making sure that all attendees’ objectives are met and that we are able to provide creative networking opportunities for our international agents. Each year we host a “Global Referral Exchange” at R4, and it’s by far one of the most popular events. It’s a wonderful celebration of the global reach of our network (RE/MAX currently operates in more than 110 countries and territories) and an excellent way for attendees to make international business connections.
MeetingsNet: Other than your own RE/MAX meetings, what’s the most memorable conference you’ve attended, and what made it stand out?
Harris: CPC, Marriott’s Corporate Partnership Conference, does an outstanding job of designing an environment where you feel valued as a Marriott customer and also creating opportunities to build relationships with Marriott leadership. Not only is the event a good resource for information, but it has the added benefit of creating loyalty to the Marriott brand from attendees.