Case Studies

Conference and Event Services Strategy and Process Improvement


Private university in the western United States with more than 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students

The Hill Group's Role

  • Understand and assess the effectiveness of decentralized conference and event services
  • Engage hundreds of internal and external stakeholders to gauge impressions and perceptions of events, service quality, and opportunities for improvement
  • Deploy Lean process improvement methodologies to identify areas of inefficiency and ineffectiveness in current systems
  • Design and provide advice to jump-start implementation of a shared services approach to conference and events services


  • An objective review of the existing system and development of a case for change
  • Consensus among conference and events users and providers, university administrators, academic stakeholder, and athletic stakeholders to move toward a more-centralized shared services platform
  • Creation of a new systems-approach to university wide event planning and management
  • Reduction of duplication and risk exposure
  • Higher service quality for internal and external customers

The University sought the assistance of The Hill Group to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of its Conference and Events Services (CES) unit.  This included a comprehensive assessment of current operations, development of a strategy and plan to reduce risk and improve effectiveness and efficiency of services, and assistance with initial implementation efforts.  Consultants identified best practices in higher education event planning and management as well as other industries and provided recommendations for process improvements.  The University engaged The Hill Group to extend their relationship to include implementation support and planning.  Consultants developed detailed implementation plans, performed due diligence research on event planning and management tools, and provided ongoing coaching and support to University leadership.

Better coordination and management of event-related procurement, reduction of duplication in staff and systems, and an increased focus on event business development can lead to financial benefits for the University.  Risk can be better managed and mitigated through standardized contracts, tightening control of the client experience, and improved coordination between event planners and campus safety and parking.