Justin Baer, CheckInEasy Founder
Q: First, a little background: how did you become involved in providing mobile app technology for events?
A: Our sister company, Charityhappenings.org, is the master calendar of nonprofit events happening around the country. We have so many great relationships with event planners around the country, and the topic of eliminating stapled Excel spreadsheets and ugly clipboards kept coming up. We set out to create a much more efficient way to run check-in, and built CheckInEasy.
Q: So, what is CheckInEasy?
A: An extremely easy-to-use guest list and event check-in iPad/iPhone app that was recently used by Google at their holiday party to check in 2,600 guests at the New York Public Library. We just launched but have already gotten some exciting traction with users such as Tory Burch, Emory University, Ferrari and Masarati of Cannes, Elle Fashion Week, Nestle Water, AVT Technology, and more.
When promoting your meeting or event destination, put the city’s existing tourism brand to work for you. How much might your attendees already know about your Midwest destination based on popular city nicknames, slogans, songs, and icons? Take a look at how these major US cities have earned their reputations.
by Jeff Coy, ISHC
If your city has a nickname, it adds to your identity. It says something about the people who live there: their values, what they view as important. Whether it is official or unofficial, a nickname tells a story about your city and begins to establish a brand. Your city’s brand has economic value in terms of attracting visitors.
The top-ranked nicknames are The Big Apple (New York City), Sin City (Las Vegas), The Big Easy (New Orleans), Motor City (Detroit) and The Windy City (Chicago). New York also has a slogan: The city that never sleeps. Las Vegas, too, has a slogan: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. See how a city’s personality emerges with just a nickname and a slogan?
• Learn what steps to take when planning a meeting and what mistakes to avoid.
Attendance is key when planning a meeting. Regardless of the size of your meeting, having good attendance is always in the back of a meeting planner’s mind. There are a handful of things a meeting planner can do to help increase attendance at a meeting and here are a few of them.
Choosing the Right Speakers
Anyone can hire a speaker but finding a speaker that fits just right with your event, it can make all the difference in the world. Try to select speakers who haven’t made the rounds at recent events. Choose a speaker(s) that may be unfamiliar to a majority of people. At the same time, make sure to market the speaker well so attendees will be eager to hear them. Look to see if the speaker(s) you have in mind, have good testimonials. Strong testimonials will instantly catch your attendees attention. In addition, it can make promoting them easier as well.
by Thom Singer
I speak at business meetings, and I’ve seen it all. Every event is unique, but the people you meet are often the most fascinating part of the conference experience.
Several months ago, I was at an event with “thought leader extraordinaire” Matt Church, and we were talking about the meetings industry. Soon we were joking about all the people you can expect to meet at a conference, and I’ve been collecting ideas about “-ists” ever since that conversation. Here are some of the interesting personalities who often show up.
1. The Conference Pacifist. The person who does not want to witness or participate in conflict, controversy, or hands-on activities. Anything can make them uneasy and cause them to flee the conference and seek diplomatic immunity in their hotel room.
by Patrick Payne
I woke up confused and panicked. The lady sitting next to me nudged my shoulder just in time for question period. Startled, I looked from side-to-side wondering what had just happened – and soon I was overcome with a sense of dread. I had fallen asleep during the session.
From the very beginning, my session experience started off on the wrong foot. I opened the printed event guide and looked up the location of the session, but something wasn’t right: the session room was completely empty. A security guard approached me to inform me that the room had changed. I was on the wrong side of the convention center. I raced across the building and found the lecture hall in minutes, but it wasn’t fast enough – I had missed the first 10 minutes of the presentation and other attendees had already snatched all of the printed materials. I took my seat at the back of the room and strained over the heads of others to see the presentation slides. That is the last I can remember.
by Deanna Tassoni
Like most of you reading this, I spend a lot of time with many people who plan and facilitate events, concerts, festivals, and parties full-time. Last week, I was given a new perspective. I had the pleasure of spending some time with an old friend who was in town for a healthcare technology conference. Instead of greeting me with a nice to see you or an it’s been a long time, he threw up his hands and screamed, “Thank you for saving me!” as he jumped into the car.
It turns out that after spending three straight days with his boss and 500 other engineers, he was bored out of his mind. My friend didn’t elect to be at this conference, and he made it clear he didn’t care for the lack of available activities outside of his work obligations. Throughout our entire conversation, I couldn’t help but put myself in the shoes of the event planner for the conference. It sounded like the planner spent a great deal of time and energy gathering distinguished speakers, arranging flights, and compiling the latest information on technology and industry news for the meetings and presentations. So what went wrong?
** Remember, a combination of multiple event marketing strategies is most effective in reaching the widest audience. Email reminders might get a good response, but what about the potential registrants whose spam filters block your messages?
** If you’re having trouble convincing attendees to turn in evaluation forms, consider tying it in with a giveaway at the end of the meeting. One idea: attendees who turn in an evaluation form receive a free book or CD authored by the speaker.
by Deanna Tassoni
It’s not enough to put on a seamless event anymore. Guests will not return unless a meeting or event provides relevant, new, and exciting content. Everyone wants to know how to increase retention for events and meetings. The answer is as simple as this: get to know your audience. Understanding who they are and what they want out of your programming is paradigm to raising retention. This will, in turn, raise your budget and release your time, so you can focus on planning exciting programming instead of trying to hunt down new attendees.
Here are five quick tips on how to improve interaction between you, the meeting planner, and your attendees. These ideas will jumpstart the process of refreshing, rebranding, rebuilding, and renewing your event to keep your guests guessing. If they know to expect the unexpected, you’ll have them begging for more.
Meeting planners are consistently busy. Time management is a must and saving time is an asset. Web-based schedulers are becoming increasingly popular and if used correctly, they can assist a planner in pulling off an efficient meeting or event. Check out the new entrants in the online scheduling market to see which one is best for you. If you are in the need for speed, accuracy and reliability, ScheduleOnce© is the application for you. Scheduling meetings across organizations is difficult; however, it is easy to choose a face-to-face meeting date collaboratively between attendees and the planner with ScheduleOnce. In addition, this application works well with Google® Calendar.
Flexibility is worked right into the application as it schedules meetings and events in 15-minute increments. Because a meeting planner’s time is of the essence, this application automatically adjusts to Daylight Savings Time and also to different time zones.
Prior to September 11, 2001, visa applications were mostly a formality for international attendees to US-based meetings. But that has changed, and the bottleneck of visa applications has tightened.
While the US government has worked hard to streamline the process, it’s still important to make it as easy as possible for your international attendees to get to your meeting.
This has been difficult in recent years. A recent PCMA report shows that international attendance at US meetings has either held steady or dropped slightly from already-low numbers.
Even if international attendees do not make up a large percentage of your meeting attendance, you should go the extra mile to make their entry into the US as painless as possible to ensure they’ll want to attend again.
Following are a few steps you can take and information you can provide to international attendees to help pave the way into the US.