2017 has been a roller coaster of a year, to say the least. There have been a lot of developments throughout the year that is bound to affect event professionals on a global scale.

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Let’s take a little walk back in time and discuss a few major policy changes that are bound to affect the industry this year. Here’s the scoop:

1. Google security certificate- Mandatory certification affect ranking

Google’s mandatory certification policy

To understand the effects of this policy, it is first necessary for professionals to get a brief on how exactly does Google’s security certification system works.

SSL i.e. Secure Socket Layer is the process of encrypting a website with a cryptographic key that helps secure the website data in a way that only the server to which the data is being sent is able to access the data.

To put it in simpler terms, the key ensures that the data can be read only by a single server for which it is meant.

Any hackers trying to capture the data would end up with the encrypted key which is pretty much impossible to decode.

Google declares a site ‘secure’ for users only when it is certified. Back in 2016, Google made it mandatory for all websites to be SSL certified with the final deadline being October 2017.

So what happens if my event website isn’t certified?

First off, lack of encryption has a major effect on data safety. It makes your website vulnerable to theft of data such as attendee details, login credentials, etc. But, the consequence that matters the most is being flagged down by Google in terms of SEO. Bad SEO equals a lower event website ranking equals lesser outreach.

Hence, event planners looking to build a website for their future events must certify their websites prior to making it live. If you are getting your website developed, make sure to check with your event website provider that your site has been secured and certified for the same.

2. GST Economic policies in India to affect event budgeting:
Recent economic policies in India have been nothing short of a roller-coaster ride. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization announcement, implementation of GST (Goods and Services Tax) came up as another major economic reform that is bound to affect the overall event budgeting for the MICE industry in India.

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GST and Indian Economy

GST will replace a number of other taxes like VAT, CST, Service tax, CAD, SAD, Excise, Entry tax, Purchase tax etc.

As per the final proposed GST Bill, a four-tier structure, i.e; 5 percent, 12 percent, 18 percent and 28 percent has been set, where tax is levied at multiple rates ranging from 0 to 28 percent.

Talking about budgeting in terms of an event plan, this tax system apart from additional GST filing will also cost variation in costs of services such as Catering, transport and accommodation, etc. GST levied on event management services is capped at 18%.

In terms of transport, business air class tickets, for e.g. attract GST 12% as compared to 9% tax prior to GST. However, economy class tickets became cheaper with a tax reduction of 1% with overall GST of 5%.

Click here to know more about the overall breakdown of goods and services as per GST.

There have been cut-downs in terms of certain costs of basic items included in the event budget due to this reform whereas certain luxury goods and services have faced a cost hike.

Event profs might just have to work their way around this reform, leveraging these differences and planning their budget in a way that balances out luxury with necessity.

To know more about the overall effect of GST on event planning, refer: The Effect of GST on Event Industry: Are You Updated?

3. Apple knocks off white-label apps:


What was all the fuss about?
Back in November 2017, Apple’s CEO made a game-changing announcement to crack down on white-labelled apps on its app store. As per Apple’s initial App Store Review Guidelines 4.6.2,

“Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.”

The policy was implemented as a measure to ‘clean up’ the apple store and monitor copy-cat and cloned apps. However, the policy had a major implication on event apps as well. Most event app providers develop event apps with the use of said ‘commercialized templates.’

So, what’s the final verdict?
After a lot of protests from entities as big as the US Congress, Apple altered its guidelines which now states,

“Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app’s content. These services should not submit apps on behalf of their clients and should offer tools that let their clients create customized, innovative apps that provide unique customer experiences. Another acceptable option for template providers is to create a single binary to host all client content in an aggregated or “picker” model, for example as a restaurant finder app with separate customized entries or pages for each client restaurant, or as an event app with separate entries for each client event.”

Basically, event professionals looking to opt for an event app for their next event must create a developer’s account of their own on the Apple store and enlist their app from on there. The other way to dodge this guideline all together is to go for bespoke native apps that are custom designed for their event from scratch.

This, however, would definitely affect the event budget as such native apps are often quite expensive to develop. It is best to consult multiple event app providers and opt for the one that best suits your requirements at the best possible cost.

4. GDPR: Data Security to be Strengthened in lieu of EU Regulations

Data regulations in the EU get a make-over

Event Security has been a major concern for planners in the past couple of years. Data security being a key factor concerning security, The European Union’s Data Regulations came up as a major wake-up call when it comes to data collection and analysis.

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So, what exactly is GDPR?

A revamped version of the European Directive of 1995, GDPR i.e. the General Data Protection Regulation is basically a set of rules and regulations meant for stronger and unified data regulations passed by European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission.

To put it in simpler words, these regulations passed by the EU authorities are meant to strongly monitor the way data is collected from the citizens and utilized for multiple purposes.

What does it mean for event professionals?

The events industry today is stepping into the new age of technology, seeing a major shift to online in terms of core event processes such as registration, ticketing, marketing, etc.

With this shift comes the importance of event data. In the current scenario, planners highly rely on attendee data for a variety of purposes, one of the most important one being event marketing.

With such a regulation in place, planners need to streamline their data collection process in order to avoid any sort of penalty and yet collect accurate and sufficient attendee data.

How do you comply with these regulations?

There are a lot of important aspects to be considered from here on if you are a planner in working directly or indirectly with EU citizens. To narrow it down, here are a few steps to ensure compliance with this law:

– Ensure security of attendee database.

– Gain active attendee consent before obtaining your data.

– Follow the policy of total disclosure when it comes to utilization of attendee data.

– In case of a data breach, be sure to inform the authorities within 72 hours of the breach.

– Attendees can ask for their data at any given time upon which, this data must be immediately provided to them in a digital format.

– You must erase all attendee data from every possible source as requested by the said attendees.

You can read up further on these regulations here: EU Data Regulations: GDPR and its Impact on Event Data.

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