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Most Event Planners Still Struggling with GDPR, Study Shows

The new study from Eventsforce reveals that despite challenges, event planners are using greater care to protect attendee data.

A research study released today from Eventsforce, a supplier of web-based event management software, shows that 90 percent of event planners still struggle with challenges meeting General Data Protection Regulation requirements, one year after the European Union’s data-protection law first went into effect. Though 81 percent of respondents believe they are complying with the new regulation, ongoing issues include consent management, running GDPR checks with event suppliers, and controlling how third parties are using attendee data.

The findings are based on responses from more than 110 event professionals in the U.S. and the U.K. and represent corporations, associations, government, congress managers, and event management agencies.

“Our research shows that despite the ongoing challenges event organizers are still facing around GDPR, the regulation has also brought about a number of positive changes to our industry, especially with regards to event marketing, data management and data security,” said George Sirius, CEO of Eventsforce. “Events are also starting to promote their data-protection credentials a lot more than before in an effort to show attendees that they can be trusted with their most valuable asset--their personal information.”

SHARING LESS The research study looked at what impact the legislation has had on the industry over the past 12 months, including the kind of changes organizers have had to make in the way they plan and manage events. The findings show that 44 percent of respondents are now sharing a lot less data with stakeholders and suppliers (such as hotels and venues), and another 41 percent have implemented more transparent and efficient processes to manage event data. Data security is another key priority for many organizers with tighter security controls (40 percent) and new GDPR checks for suppliers and third parties they deal with around events (25 percent).

Event marketing is another important area where GDPR has made an impact, with 36 percent of respondents claiming the legislation has improved the quality and creativity of their communication campaigns. Other changes include more targeted communications (24 percent) and better quality mailing lists (17 percent). Surprisingly, only 12 percent have stopped buying mailing lists after GDPR.

GAINING CONSENT The study also investigated the challenges organizers still face in meeting GDPR requirements. Top of the list is the management of attendee consent at 36 percent, while assessing the GDPR compliance of tech providers, event agencies and suppliers is also a problem for 30 percent of organizers. Other risk factors include difficulties in controlling what third parties do with attendee data (28 percent), not having the right processes in place to access or delete personal information (26 percent), and limited understanding internally of GDPR and the consequences of noncompliance (20 percent).

“The risk factors unveiled in the research study show how important it is for organizers to manage their data effectively and deal with event tech systems that can support them with things like tracking consent, deleting personal information, and securing access so that attendee data doesn’t end up in the wrong hands,” Sirius added. “Having these processes in place will not only minimize the risk of noncompliance, but also provide an opportunity to show attendees that they’re looking after their information properly. Building this kind of trust is the whole point of GDPR and will be key in deciding which organizations people choose to deal with in the future."

For a more comprehensive look at the results of the "Are Your Event Ready for GDPR" research study, see the infographic below:


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