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‘Jetson’-Age Tools Click with Big-Event Planners Trade Shows Expert Shares 3 Cutting-Edge New Technologies

jane-jetsonMost of us think about technology on a mostly two-dimensional plane as we flick our way from screen to screen on touch glass. But today’s tech includes applications that are far from flat, says major-events expert Ann Windham.

“What if you could control all primary aspects of major events like trade shows, big weddings and awards ceremonies through your iPad or smartphone; imagine shutting everything down at the end of a long and exhausting night by pushing one button on your phone – that’s just some of what’s possible with today’s software,” says Ann Windham, president and CEO of Imagine Xhibits, Inc. (imaginexhibits.com/events).

Lights, climate control, projectors and monitors, curtains, fountains and much more can be controlled with an app, and the data that you take away from trade shows can be used to quickly follow up on sales leads, says Windham, who will be showcasing this cutting-edge technology July 9 at Trade Show Technology Summit 2013, to be held at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.

The summit will show attendees how to manage technology such as QR codes, mobile apps, virtual trade shows, social media, on-line asset management, interactive media and live stream video on electronic devices as simple as a mobile phone, she says.

“We’ll show planners the newest event management tools for efficiency and streamlining tasks before, during and after their event. We’ll also have hands-on, educational workshops to show them how to use management,” she says.

Windham shares three of her favorite new technologies:

• Pre-show – Event Management Software: This one-stop source for managing every detail about your event – from Fed Ex tracking numbers to vendor contact information to photos from the show – even allows you to manage multiple events from any location. “In the past, we carried all the details for each show in one huge binder. If you were at a show in Texas and someone called with a question about the show in Oregon, you wouldn’t have that information handy,” Windham says. Event management software relies on cloud storage, so members of your team can access it from their smart phone or iPad no matter where they are. Another benefit: You’ve got just one place to input all that data.

• During the show – Remote Sensors: Sensors built into the walls of an exhibit allow you to control all of the electronics from your smart phone or iPad. Not only does it save time, it’s an easy way to add valuable theatrics during a demonstration. “Say you’re standing at the back of the room and you realize the speaker can’t be heard, you just turn up the volume on his mic, right from your your iPad,” Windham says. “Or, if you want to create special effects using lighting and room temperature, you can dim the lighting and drop the temperature.” Her favorite feature? At the end of a long day, rather than walking from one device to the next, shutting off each, you press just one button and turn everything off while walking out the door.

• Post-show – Sales Leads Follow-up: Seventy percent of percent of exhibitors who capture sales leads at trade shows don’t collect qualifying information, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).Scanners collect only the most basic data from visitors to each booth – there’s no way of knowing whether they were a “hot” lead ready to buy, or someone who stopped by for the free T-shirt, Windham says. Now, however, event management software allows exhibitors to include qualifying information every time a visitor’s badge is scanned. “At the end of the event, you can quickly see who your hottest leads were and send them an email or postcard before you’ve even left the event,” Windham says.

For planners who’ve been hamstrung by personnel cutbacks in recent years, these new tools are lifesavers, she says.

“The days of ‘The Jetsons’ has arrived.”

About Ann Windham

Ann Windham is the president and CEO of Imagine Xhibits, Inc., a full-service trade show marketing company that offers custom design exhibits using modular components. Windham’s company offers customers more than 50 percent savings on operating expenses; expert face-to-face marketing consultants that will work to increase ROI with four-step marketing; quarterly seminars offering continuous education by certified trainers; in-house design services for custom structures, graphic design and brand development; turn-key services and exhibit management program for all logistical needs; and a one-stop shop for meeting planning, promotional products, collateral web-site and more.

 

 

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How YOU Can Attend 2013’s Hottest Trade Shows

0412_tradeshow_630x420Trade shows offer a unique opportunity to see what is happening in your industry. You get the chance to play with new gadgets, make connections and talk about what you have going on. Trade shows are not open to everyone, however. You need to know how to get into the hottest trade shows of 2013 to ensure you are there.

Getting Registered

To attend a trade show you have to be registered to do so. It is critical that you get registered as soon as possible to ensure a spot, a plane ticket if you need one and a hotel room close to where the show is being held. You need to be sure that you will attend before committing because many trade shows, such as SXSW, will not refund the registration fees.

If you remain undecided until the last minute, some shows that still have space will allow you to walk in during the show and get registered. This is not nearly as beneficial as planning far in advance though.

Go for a Speaking Gig

Those that attend the shows solely to speak almost always get out of paying an attendance fee. You will be able to talk and give some promotion to what you have to offer, as well as connect with those that could possibly help you out in the future. If you want to attend a trade show purely to network and get your name out there, speaking may be a great option for you.

Now, trade shows will not just let anyone walk in and speak. You will have to work on your speech well in advance, get it to the show organizers and wait for their verdict. To give yourself the best shot of getting a speaking spot you need to get a client that you can include in your presentation and do not focus solely on your company. This speech must be original, educational and something that people will remember.

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

You have to make sure that the stuff the show organizers need is in their hands as soon as possible. Forgetting a piece of paperwork could result in you not being able to attend. When you speak to the event coordinators, take a detailed list of everything they say that you will need. Keep this list with you and bring it to the show. You also want to jot down the names and contact information for everyone you speak too. People make mistakes, but you do not want to get burned by someone else’s mistake.

Choose the Right Event

If you are a foodie, then the American Food Fair is where you want to be. If you love film and music, SXSW is the coveted trade show. To get the best opportunities to network, you have to be at the right show. Throughout the year there are often many different shows for the same industry. For example, there are car trade shows everywhere throughout the year. You need to do your research do determine which one is best for you to attend and not all trade shows are created equal. Once you figure out the right show, do research on places to stay, how to get registered and what you can expect once you are there.

About the Author: Thomas has been writing about trade show topics online for companies like nimloktradeshowdisplays.com for the past 10 years. When not writing or attending shows, he can be found at home with his family or out at the gym practicing his boxing.

 

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What Kind of Booth Should You Have?

 

In order to get the most effective use out of your trade show booth, a few techniques should be incorporated into your marketing for exhibitions and trade shows. There are a few techniques that are tried and true that you can use at any exhibition and come out on top.

One. Make sure you know the layout before you get there.

Just as if you are mapping exits for a fire drill, you want to have the layout of the floor plan before you get to the exhibition. You can usually call the organizers and get the floorplan well before the convention begins.

The reason that you want the floorplan is to map out a second and third place that you can be if your first choice does not work out. Many times, conventions end up moving a tradeshow booth because it is too big or there is some last-minute change with the venue. You want to make sure to be as flexible as possible, and that includes helping the venue masters choose another place for you in case the first one does not work out.

Two. Bring the most flexible trade show booth that you can.

There are many different kinds of foods that you can bring to an exhibition, some more flexible than others. These days, you want to bring a fully collapsible tradeshow booth that can be built and taken down in pieces. The reason for this is in case you do not get all of the space that you were promised on the floor plan, you can adjust without having to create a huge mess.

Also, the more modern tradeshow booths are well equipped for flight and build, as well as takedown. There is no reason that you should not be able to fit your entire tradeshow booth inside your luggage these days. You should also be able to build it up and take it down very quickly. There are many different kinds of booth designs that fit this exact description. Make sure that you get one of them in order to stay on the cutting edge of the convention.

Three. Get a three-dimensional display.

You want to be tall, wide, and out. Get in the way of the customer. People should see your booth before they see the booth of your competition. You want your banners high and visible. It doesn’t matter if you protrude a little bit more into the walking area than your competitors do. Remember, you are here to sell, and it is better to apologize and take down a piece of your booth rather than tell yourself know before you even show up, and lose out on any customers that may have been looking for you because you were too shy to do something different.

Four. Video and interactivity is King.

The uses of the Nintendo Wii in an exhibition are endless. If you have not thought of any, make sure that you read some website articles on that. You also want to have interactive video if you can. Invest in a downloadable app. All of this will help make your booth the top of the exhibition.

This post is brought to you by Sarah Thomas, a small business owner. When it comes to sound event marketing service she recommends http://www.northernproductions.com/. She has depended them for the last 3 years to deliver quality trade show display designs for her business’ conference events.

 

 

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Strategic Event Planning and Management

It can be incredibly daunting to organize and manage an event; it can be even how more to ensure that it goes on to become a success. As hosts, we always want things to be outrageous and over-the-top:  something the guests haven’t seen before. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we need to get the basics nailed first and foremost. The best events are not always the ones with all the bells and whistles; rather they’re the ones that went smoothly, no matter how simple they were.

Effective Stage Design

More often than not, an event will require a stage or some platform where hosts and various presenters can be seen by the audience. The stage will be the main focus of the entire venue, so it has to be extremely presentable. The size of the stage will vary according to what the event needs, but it should be large enough to accommodate all of the people who need to be in it, without them crowding the entire space. The height of the stage is also very important. While social functions may require just a short platform, larger and outdoor events may require something with a higher height. When it comes to decorating the stage, you need to consider what the event is all about, essentially. If it’s a more social event with scholarly lecturers, then a more academic and minimalistic backdrop may be required.

Organization of Audience and Guest Reception

The success of any event is contingent upon how comfortable the entire experience was for your audience members. Hence, they should always be your primary concern. So that your guests get to follow the entire flow of the event, it is necessary that you give out handouts detailing the sections of the program. An all-day affair will require an entire itinerary. For lengthy events, keep in mind that your guests would naturally have a limited attention span. Although they aren’t exactly like kids who lose their interest after a few minutes, nonetheless schedule breaks and intermissions and provide refreshment options for your guests during these breaks. To keep the enthusiasm high, pique your guests’ interest by giving a witty introduction or a sneak peak of what’s about to come.

Strategic Event Planning

The success of your event will depend according to how your audience sees your presentation to be relevant. Given that you already have a specific audience in mind, make sure that you pick out speakers who are interesting according to your audience’s perspective. Tailor your activities using the same rationale as well. If you’re entertaining a group of resident physicians with hectic schedules, do away with the games and trivia. Proceed with the lecture instead, as their time is of essence. On the other hand, if you have students who have all the time to while away, then go ahead with whatever game you had in mind originally.

Your author Michelle Gibson is an expert in event managent and is available at many speakers bureaus

 

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Turbo-charge Your Event

Orchestrating large events is a cumbersome task that requires a number of skills. Often, individuals will attend large events with little thought to the work that was required in putting the event together. In the same way that a professional athlete performs complicated skills with little perceived difficulty from the viewer, event planners plan events that hide the work. Event planning requires logistical prowess, professional communication as well as stress and priority management. Planners can become overwhelmed with the importance of the event they are planning. Similar to a climber who makes the possibly fatal mistake of looking down, event planners must learn to focus on the individual components of the event and not it’s degree of importance. Events such as wedding and corporate meetings hold a great deal of importance to their respective parties and must be handled with care to ensure satisfaction. Fortunately there exist a number of tools for event planners to help them perform at a high level.

Events Management Software

Events management software is a fairly new form of software that provides a variety of tools for event planners to utilize in order to carry out their duties more proficiently. This type of software allows planners to keep track of logistical needs as well as scheduling and contact information. Depending upon the software developer, the software can also include more advanced features such as email composition tools and Web integration. A device which has provided additional solutions for event planners is the Smartphone.

Smartphones: Must Have for Event Planners

Smartphone’s are invaluable for event planners that must communicate professionally with other individuals while on the fly. These types of phones allow for contact management, scheduling as well as email composition all while operating remotely. Additionally, smartphones offer applications which can improve logistics and scheduling. These same applications offer integration with existing planning software and/or Web pages. This type of flexibility can prove invaluable given the mobile nature of the event planning process.

Event Planners Build Strong Networks

An underrated component of event planning is networking and the development of close working relationships. Frequently, event planners will work within the same group of vendors and services. It is vital that event planners strive to obtain excellent relationships with these groups as they are the backbone to their services. By generating good personal relationships, event planners garner several benefits that can prove invaluable in case of an emergency. Often times they will be quoted reduced prices if they promise repeat business. Additionally they can often get last minute projects completed provided they have a good rapport with the vendor.

While technology offers a variety of tools that work to help event planners perform their duties these tools are not a replacement for hard work and the development of good personal relationships. When planning any event, there will be incidents that can negatively impact the overall product. A good planner will recognize these issues and search out viable solutions that do not detract from the event.

+Nancy Goebel has her own blog, ForgottenCulture.com and frequently writes about living and entertainment. She is intrigued by technology that makes living and entertaining easier and more professional, in this case, events management software.

 

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3 Tips For Hosting Your Next Corporate Event

This year, you’re in charge of hosting your company’s huge corporate event. You’ll have to find a venue, purchase decorations, send out invitations, book a caterer and plan for entertainment. Corporate events can be enormous, especially if people outside of the company are invited. For example, many corporate events invite guests who are current clients or potential clients. Putting your best foot forward at an event of this magnitude isn’t an easy task. Plus, all eyes will be on the host. Even skilled party planners sometimes have trouble coordinating large scale corporate events. Luckily, there are a few tricks of the trade that will make planning the perfect corporate event a bit easier.
Host Etiquette
Knowing how to present yourself at a corporate event is possibly the most important skill to master. The host should always dress the part, even if the rest of the guests are dressed casually. The host’s attire should be formal and should stand out from the rest of the crowd without being loud. It should be obvious who the host of the event is simply by scanning the room. As a host, you should always have a smile on your face. Even if the event is falling apart and things are going wrong, it’s important to always put a calm, collected face forward. Resolving problems and staying confident throughout the night are key to overcoming obstacles and dealing with whatever goes wrong. One of the biggest things to remember is to not drink excessively at the event. You can’t effectively and professionally host a corporate event if you’re drunk. Keep it to one alcoholic drink every hour and sip water in between.
Print Advertisements
In a world where marketers rely heavily on the Internet and social marketing, print ads are dwindling in occurrence and quality. Stand out from the crowd with quality print advertisements. Despite what many Internet marketers may thing, print ads are actually extremely powerful in gaining new customers. Ads will showcase your company’s products or services. Create flyers, brochures or even catalogs that reflect your business. You can also create print ads that contain important information about the event itself or about a new product or portion of your business that you’re launching. These advertisements will be given out to your guests at the event.
Corporate Events on a Budget
Corporate events can be pricey. When the economy is down, the budget for business events has to be lowered too. There are a few simple ways to cut costs and still throw a quality corporate event. Instead of having a dinner, host a lunch or cocktail party instead. Serve sparkling wine instead of having a full bar. Hold the event sometime between January and March, when venue rates are lowest. Also, if you have the event on a week day, you’ll save a bundle, since rates are highest on the weekend. The best way to save money on a venue is to host the event in someone’s home instead of renting space.

Also, If you are looking to book a comedian for your next event, look no further than Andrew Taylor Management and More Comedy (http://www.andrewtaylormanagement.com/)

 

Claire is a Corporate Events Planner in Sydney, Australia, where she has been helping businesses plan important corporate events for the last 10 years. Claire has held events in all of the major corporate event venues Sydney has to offer.

 

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Top 5 Must-Have Resources For Your Next Corporate Event

Planning your next corporate event? It’s important that you have a few key resources on hand. These resources will help you stay focused and organized while you pull off a successful corporate event that will have your industry talking for years to come.

Timeline: Your timeline is the starting point for successful corporate event planning. Select a date for your event and be sure it’s on a date that is convenient to your attendees and conducive to a complete planning process. Most professional event planners suggest that you should start planning 18 to 12 months before the date of the event.

Budget: Before making any concrete plans, get your event budget prepared and cleared by upper management. This will affect a lot of the future decisions about the event, so it’s important to get this settled as soon as possible up front. If you’re exploring new corporate event entertainment options or are considering a new venue, get a quote first so you can include this in your budget.

A corporate event planner or event-planning expert: A corporate event planner can be an invaluable resource when it comes to creating a memorable event. They’ll be able to suggest reliable vendors that they’ve worked with before, have insider knowledge of the best way to create an event schedule and give you extra support on the day of the event. Hiring an outside planner can help ensure that your event goes off just as planned.

Event entertainment: “Exciting” and “corporate event” aren’t always used in the same sentence, but that can change when you hire professional event entertainment. Corporate entertainers can take your event to the next level and make it an exciting and memorable experience. Look for entertainers that have experience with a corporate audience so you won’t have any embarrassing surprises on the day of your event.

Plans for following up with attendees: You can make your corporate event planning better and better each year when you get feedback from the attendees. Surveying your participants will help you and the planning team see opportunities to make things even better next year. You can distribute survey cards during the event, have team members follow up via phone or send out an email survey a few weeks after the event.

These five must-have resources will keep your corporate event on track and set your organization up for success.

David Thomas has over 30 years of event entertainment and planning expertise. As the Owner of Shows In A Box he has overseen thousands of shows, events and corporate functions for charity and fortune 500 companies around the world.

 

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