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19 Sep

This is a sponsored post from Québec City Business Destination. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.

 

Planning events outside your own town comes with a number of logistical and budgetary challenges. How can you know what the best venues are? The best local resources? Caterers? If you’re trying to stay green and under budget, finding suppliers and partners within the event city itself is essential.

 

Meeting planners who host conferences and events need ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground in the host city of their choosing. Such a helper can scout deals, make introductions, and leverage local resources. But how can event planners know they are selecting the right person for that job? How can they find a trustworthy person or organization when they’re not physically present in the city?

Finding good deals on quality local resources is a lot more straightforward and easy when you enlist the help of a CVB or DMO. While a phone call to these organizations is a good start, building a relationship with partners who prove trustworthy and reliable will open the door to numerous advantages for your event and workload.

 

What Is a CVB and DMO?

Some event planners don’t realize the power of these free-to-use organizations.

Both CVBs and DMOs provide their services for free to the meeting planner.

While there are slight differences between them, the benefits and value behind using these organizations are similar. They can assist meeting planners in several ways. One event planner recounted the following experience:

 

 

Sourcing, attendee info, and help with language barriers are only a few of the possible benefits to working with a CVB or DMO.

© Quebec City Convention Centre

 

Simplify Your Meeting Planning with a CVB or DMO

Working with a CVB or DMO brings a lot of value to your meeting planning and helps improve the return on investment (ROI) in several areas:

Streamlining Planner Workflows

Event planners have to contend with a variety of local factors, which can be a challenge to do from afar and with limited familiarity with the area and options available within it. Having help from a local ‘on the ground’ professional with valuable connections can streamline the process and significantly reduce the guesswork and the burden of research.

CVBs/DMOs are able to help with sourcing and vetting local venues and vendors, cutting down on the time you have to spend researching, interviewing, or qualifying the right vendor. Partnering with a local team also helps you mitigate risk as a local organization is likely to be more familiar with those that have strong reputations and those businesses that are not in good standing.

CVBs/DMOs can also help streamline operations through event planning services and logistics by assisting with suggestions on successful local themes.

They become partners in your success. They want you to succeed because they want to continue to bring worthwhile events to their backyard. If your event is successful, it acts as a showcase to future events. If you are not satisfied with your service and assistance, that affects the CVB/DMO too.

© Quebec City Convention Centre

Saving Planners’ Budgets

As locals, they know the top vendors that service the area and have access to them. More importantly, CVBs/DMOs can leverage local buying power as they’re working with many events, not just yours. That means they represent a larger business interest than you would represent with a single annual event to vendors and suppliers.

As such, the CVB/DMO enjoys the preferential rates and has access to better options within your budget, for which you might otherwise have to spend a lot of time and energy negotiating.

Supporting Local Promotion

Marketing in your host city from afar can be quite an undertaking, especially if it’s not a location with an established meeting reputation. Designing marketing collaterals, creating written and video content, and taking and posting images can eat up a lot of time – not only through the creation of those assets but also in the research and securing of all the necessary components.

If you work with a CVB or a DMO, they already have expertly created promotional tools and they can tailor them to your needs.

Creating Event Experiences and Increasing Attendee Satisfaction 

The competition for event dollars is getting steeper. Attendees require more than a simple dinner in a ballroom. They want a memorable experience for their money and there are lots of groups out there willing to provide it.

A CVB/DMO is in a better position to determine how to effectively integrate local festivities and culture (through unique experiences like Québec City’s Summer Music Festival or Québec City Winter Carnival). Incorporating local experiences can give your event a unique draw.

CVBs and DMOs can help you build on local trends and innovative processes by featuring local organizations, experts and institutions you might not be familiar with. This localization can add a very distinct flavor to an event, but finding the right industry resources can take a lot of research and time if you don’t know the area.

The CVB/DMO can help you find the perfect fit in areas such as science, tech, or innovation and thought leadership. In addition to saving you time in research, they will also be aware of things that haven’t received national (or international) coverage yet and that you might not know about.

© Andre Olivier Lyra

 

How Does Working with a CVB or DMO Compare to Emergent Event Tech?

Over the past decade, we’ve seen an increase in tech used for venue sourcing. This can be an excellent and efficient way to narrow down venue options based on data and needs. So how can these services complement those of a CVB/DMO, and when might you use one rather than the other?

A CVB/DMO offers:

  • Negotiated rates and local vendor vetting. (Many tech tools that purport to do this are just listing services populated by the vendors themselves with no third-party, unbiased verification, though that may change.)

  • ‘Friendly faces’ or support teams to answer specific questions that don’t translate well to search. They can also make correlations based on your explanations, nuances that may be lost on tech, and can assist with multilingual interpretation services.

  • A site inspection visit to help you discover the destination’s key features, event sites, and accommodations — and some will also pay for flight and accommodation during the stay.

© Andre Olivier Lyra

 

Building a Relationship for Success

While CVBs/DMOs can be helpful at any stage of your meeting or event planning, the earlier you bring them on and the more consistently you use them, the more help they can provide. Look to establish a good working relationship with them.

Learn About Them

Do your research on the CVB or DMO to make sure you understand who they are, what they offer, what they represent, and how they differentiate themselves. This preliminary work is going to help you to be sure you made the right decision in selecting them.

Surveying their local market at the beginning of the relationship will help you to feel confident working with whomever you’ve chosen. Ask specific questions about their services and offerings, including their specialties. Some CVBs or DMOs can help in extremely specific ways.

For instance, they may have an extensive reputation in enticing sporting events to their city. Knowing this ahead of time can help you understand their area of expertise and align it with your own.

Read testimonials from planners and events similar to yours. Ask for a list of past events and what set their needs apart, or how they attended to them personally.

Ask about their busy seasons and standing commitments to other events, festivals, etc. A rather large festival in town at the same time as your event may influence your decision to host at that time.

Ask them about local differentiators to see if they’re in-the-know for all the things that make their city special. A good local marketer can be invaluable to you.

© Jeff Frenette Photography

Teach the Vendor About You

Having open, frank conversations about you and your event is only going to help your partner serve you better and do their part in determining your mutual fit. Doing this each time you have an event is going to give your partner a sense of context and history. This investment will become an advantage over other options you have yet to work with, as it will give them unique insight into which resources are best for your event.

Set Expectations

Fully plot out goals and needs for your meeting or event. The better their understanding of your goals, the better they’ll be able to address them, assess them, and ultimately help you meet them.

If you’re flexible (or non-flexible) on certain planning components, make this clear from the beginning. Communicate the details in order of importance. Be very specific about your ‘must have’s and ‘nice to have’s. This cuts back on miscommunication. The more specific your requests, the better it sets your partners up for accommodating them (and eventually surpassing your expectations).

And if you have a creative idea, don’t stifle it because you don’t think it’s possible. Share it. You may be surprised what the CVB/DMO can accomplish or help you accomplish. If they can’t, they may have a better idea to help you reach your event goals.

© Manège militaire Voltigeurs de Quebec

Foster a Feeling of Partnership and Connectedness 

The most fruitful and loyal relationships often entail a little maintenance, and it goes both ways.

One way to do this is by grading the communication between your operation and theirs.

Communication is key to a successful relationship. If communications seem boiler-plate (i.e. consisting mainly of bland, non-personalized information) even after working with you and your event for some time, that can be an indication that your service is not being personalized as much as it could be.

It will be difficult for you to offer a memorable experience and use the locale as a key differentiator when the support you’re receiving is exactly the same as everyone else. You want someone who will strive to understand the intricacies of your event and tailor their offerings to increase your success.

Ask questions so you can understand the social media and marketing help they might provide. Get acquainted with their postings. Comment when appropriate. Be a good potential partner to them and watch your relationship flourish.

The other benefit to building a relationship is that you are now a ‘client’ or known professional and may be advised of FAM trips, educational tours / trips, and other specials in the future.

 

IN CONCLUSION

Working with a CVB or DMO  can alleviate a lot of the struggles in planning a meeting or event in another city. If you want to increase your meeting ROI, improve your efficiency, and secure a unique experience for your meeting attendees in other cities, start building a relationship with a CVB/DMO now and contact the Québec City Business Destination.

 

Credit: Source link

18 Sep

This is a sponsored post by klik. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.

 

Ever wanted to walk in your attendees’ shoes? Experience the event the way they do? Understand why they would flock to one booth and desert another? This requires reliable real-time data and insight into your customers’ journey through your event. 

 

The depth and richness of the data you can collect now is unprecedented. From footfall and adoption rates to more qualitative data, like opinions and biometric happiness-related measurements, you can dive further into the attendee experience than ever.

But how do you know what to collect? What data leads to actionable insights that improve your event year over year? And how should you collect it?

While check-ins and surveys have become staples, they don’t necessarily deliver the richest data available. Event apps offer real engagement metrics, but are there alternatives that let you collect them while keeping attendees’ attention on the event rather than their smartphones?

The answer: wearables.

They are about to change events for event planners, exhibitors, and attendees.

In this article, we will review some exciting developments in wearable tech and show you how you can use them to improve everybody’s experience. We’ll address the following questions:

  • keyboard_arrow_right What wearables are available on the market?
  • keyboard_arrow_right Why is it important to consider them?
  • keyboard_arrow_right How do they compare to similar functions on event apps?

 

What Are Wearables?

When we talk about wearables, we are referring to those devices that basically reinvent accessories or items of clothing with a new layer of functional technology. What usually comes to mind first are health and fitness related items (e.g. Fitbits) or Smartwatches. But there is a lot more to it: think glasses, clothing, earwear, even tattoos.

The market for wearable devices is expanding quickly with a forecast increase of 26% between 2018 and 2019 (as shown in Gartner’s latest research).

IDC research also predicts a rise in eyewear and other clothing with built-in tech that capitalizes on the growing interest in smart assistants.

So chances are that you will find them everywhere in a not so distant future. Here are the main types of wearables that you might want to consider for your next event:

  • keyboard_arrow_right Smart Badges
  • keyboard_arrow_right Wristbands
  • keyboard_arrow_right Smartwatches
  • keyboard_arrow_right Earwear (e.g. real-time translation for international conventions)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Eyewear (e.g. facial recognition on smart glasses)
  • keyboard_arrow_right Clothing (e.g. recharge your phone as you go through your T-shirt)

The first three on the list are now widely used, and event engagement platform klik is already making advancements in using smart wearables to gain event data and convey those insights through their software.

While the other ones still need more technological improvement to completely integrate within an event strategy, they are exciting developments for the future!

 

How Do Wearables Compare?

  • Automatic data.

    Wearables collect data passively at all times, without any cost to engagement or concern over response or participation rates (another advantage).

    Event apps are great for aggregating the data and providing a complete dashboard for the attendees and exhibitors alike, but they only generate data when people actively decide to use them. Badges require an army of QR code-scanning personnel at every entrance or booth.

    While these remain necessary and useful at events, wearables can be used to bolster data collection. Wearables collect data passively, in real-time, through participation in event activities themselves; attendees are not required to scan something, answer questions, or enter the data manually.

  • Immediately actionable insights.

    Real-time data can be collated into dashboards and translated into feedback on areas of improvement, which you can use to make adjustments during the event. This is a huge advantage over slower data-collection methods, like surveys, which take time to process and are mostly used to provide feedback for the next event.

  • Logistical simplicity.

    Wearables require less in the way of onsite manpower. While wearables might require an initial set-up of infrastructure and hardware, depending on the wearable, the onsite staff required to manage them during the event is less than most alternatives.

    Many partners like klik include an onsite staff member from their own team to assist. As such, wearables make it easier to get insights without delay and with minimal manpower involved – an advantage over data collection methods that consume a lot of time/manpower but yield comparatively limited benefits, like post-event surveys.

  • More productive meetings.

    More focused attendees means higher productivity. Wearables offer a controlled environment that delivers everything the attendee needs to navigate the event – without sending them to their smartphone, where the chance of distraction is particularly high. (How many times have you pulled out your phone to set a timer and been distracted by a text message?)

    The wearer rarely has to stop what they’re doing to feed the device information. Even if they do, their interaction with the device is minimal and limited to that action.

  • Better face-to-face interactions.

    Connecting with others finding business opportunities, and learning are the main reasons why people attend events, making it important to keep people engaged with each other. Technology should boost these aims rather than distract from them.

    While event apps are very useful, they can reinforce an already problematic behavior: interacting more with their phones than with other human beings.

    Wearables, on the other hand, can easily capture another person’s information, just by touching two attendees’ wristband together or clicking on a badge. This information can then be retrieved later on through the event app. For example, klik smart badges, sleeves, and buttons allow attendees to exchange information with a single “click” of the wearable.

 

Credit: Source link

10 Sep

 

Today is a great day. I am very happy to announce that EventMB has been acquired by Skift.

I started EventMB in 2007 from a desk in my apartment in Southern Italy. I was very excited from day one, but I would be lying if I said that I always knew it was going to turn out so splendidly.

Yes, passion and energy are great – I had both in spades – but I’ve seen many passionate and energetic projects fail.

I guess I was lucky.

 

I was lucky to have an incredible family to support me.

I was lucky to have a fearless team that consistently gave no less than 100%.

I was lucky to work with brands that believed in independent content.

I was lucky to write for an industry brimming with amazing people. (That’s you, dear reader.)

 

I like to think we made history. We have researched burning issues in areas like event technology, experience design and career advancement like no other organization in the industry.

 

300,000 event professionals downloaded our reports over the years.

300,000 event professionals read us every month.

 

I’m proud to think that we achieved all that with a virtual team of seven and no funding.

So allow me to thank Carmen Boscolo, Beatrice Tagliaferri, Simone Bolognini, Lauren Toro, Dylan Monorchio and Wei Deng for an incredible contribution. EventMB is mostly them.

 

So what’s next?

We join Skift, the most influential platform in travel. The fact that Skift acquired EventMB makes me f*$5ing excited. They are a brand I respect – a brand I love.

Rafat Ali, Skift’s founder and CEO, has built a movement we want to be part of. We share his vision, and we think that, together, we will disrupt the event industry for years to come.

This is what Rafat had to say about EventMB joining Skift:

“We are very excited to have EventMB as part of the Skift family. I have watched Julius and Carmen build this for a few years now into an indispensable resource for professional meeting planners, with a great brand, community and a sense of irreverence around them. All in all, we will be working together to continue building the best content and services for the professional community.”

The same EventMB team you know and love will continue running as a separate business; we will grow our suite of products together with Skift. Exciting times ahead!

 

What’s in it for you?

To begin with, 35% off tickets to Skift Global Forum, the most anticipated event in travel, which is happening next week in New York. Use code EMB35 at the checkout here.

You can expect more amazing content, research and events coming your way. Skift will help us to be better at what we do and, in turn, help you run better events.

In conclusion, thank you, thank you, thank you for your trust over the past twelve years.

We are excited for what’s ahead, and we’re very happy to continue sharing our journey with you.

 

Julius Solaris – Editor in Chief, EventMB.com

Credit: Source link

09 Sep

We are very excited to once again release research that will inspire event professionals for the next year.

Just for you: 50+ actionable tips from a 350-event research report on sustainability, collaboration, transformation, and inclusion.

What if you could change your event forever?

This is the burning question that fuelled this report. We will showcase how some event professionals innovate by thinking differently.

Download the free PDF here

Credit: Source link

05 Sep

Socio is a multi-purpose event app that can be bundled with a supplementary Lead Retrieval app and Live Display platform. Here is our review.

 

Socio: What Is It?

Socio is an event app with both a container version and fully branded, white-label option. The container app comes at a lower price point, but the white-label app allows for greater customization.

Even with the higher price, a fully branded app may be more suitable for a corporation that wants to use the event as a marketing tactic. Further, the white-label app provides more opportunities for sponsor placements.

Both the container app and the white-label version offer an interactive agenda, advanced networking features, event gamification, and the capacity for push notifications.

Add-ons

To accommodate organizers dealing with sponsors and exhibitors, Socio has also created a supplementary Lead Retrieval app. Another separate but related application is the Live Display platform, which allows organizers to draw from the event app’s core content in real time to create an animated slideshow of highlights for guests.

 

Main Feature Categories

  • Event App

    The Socio event app provides planners with a number of core features, including multiple networking options and an interactive agenda that can be broken down into different tracks. The app can also facilitate event gamification and social posting, and offers built-in integration with many other platforms. It is available as either a container app, or a fully branded white-label app at an additional cost.

  • Lead Retrieval

    The Socio Lead Retrieval app is an optional add-on that operates through licences assigned to specific sponsors and exhibitors. This app allows sponsors and exhibitors to capture and rate leads, as well as collect metrics on their sales team’s overall performance at the event.

 

Review

Socio emphasizes interface interconnectivity, networking tools, and integrations.

The Socio interface allows organizers to create links between different sections of the app, allowing users to navigate between session info, speaker profiles, and exhibitors from their respective pages.

As such, organizers are not required to upload a speaker profile into the session page; instead, they can add a link to the speaker profile that has already been uploaded to the ‘Speakers’ section. Similarly, each speaker’s page can include links to all of their presentation sessions, which are housed in the ‘Agenda’ section of the app. This system avoids the need for duplicate entries within the app.

Further, the ‘Shake’ networking tool is a new way for attendees to connect with each other. When attendees are interested in connecting with people nearby, they can gently shake their phones; if any other nearby attendees have recently shaken their phones, they will appear on the user’s screen as suggested connections.

The app also provides agenda functionality, attendee management, and social engagement tools, although some of these services depend on integrations with other apps. For example, the app’s registration and Q&A functionality are both provided through integrations with third-party services. (More on specific integrations further down in this review.)

Another notable third-party integration involves the app’s ‘City Guide’ feature, which can include ‘Get Uber’ and ‘Get Lyft’ buttons for key locations. Socio features many integrations, and their development team is also open to accommodating special requests for new integrations.

To address client concerns, Socio appoints a ‘Customer Success Representative’ to each event. At the time of publication, the company has a 10/10 rating for support services on the G2 Crowd Rating site.

The back-end of the app does not require technical expertise to set up. It features a drag-and-drop builder, and Socio provides clients with instructions and pre-labelled Excel forms to manage bulk uploads of event data. Organizers can also manage and edit the app from a tablet or smartphone, with instant previews available.

 

Who Is It For?

The Socio app has been used for events catering to as few as 30 to 40 people, but it has also been used for events hosting over 50,000 attendees. That said, most of Socio’s clients fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

With an emphasis on networking tools, agenda features, and sponsorship placements, Socio addresses business event priorities. The app primarily serves three event formats: conferences, trade shows, and internal corporate events.

In addition to Fortune 1000 companies, Socio also has experience working with professional associations, educational institutions, third-party planners in event services and marketing, and technology companies.

Socio also supports non-Engish-speaking events, and the app can be adapted to accommodate a variety of languages, including those written in a right-to-left format.

 

Features

As a preface to the features, it’s worth noting that all of these are optional.

WHITE-LABEL CUSTOMIZATION

Three Different Format Options: the white-label app allows organizers to choose from three different layouts:

  • keyboard_arrow_right Banner Ads
  • keyboard_arrow_right Smart Feed
  • keyboard_arrow_right Features Only

[Caption] The image above represents the three different layout options: Banner Ads, Smart Feed, and Features Only respectively.

Banner Ads Layout: this option includes a rotating display of ads in the lower portion of the screen, below the ‘features’ icons but above the menu bar. This format provides an opportunity to upsell a sponsor, but the banners can also link to any content inside or outside of the app. Other use cases include promoting speakers, sessions, activations, etc.

Smart Feed Layout: instead of showcasing a rotating slideshow of images, the Smart Feed uses the lower third of the screen to make personalized suggestions for speakers, networking connections, and other highlights from the event. These items rotate under the header, ‘What’s Up?’

Features Only Layout: as its title suggests, the Features Only option dedicates almost all of the landing page to the app’s ‘features’ icons. Feature-heavy events, such as research conferences with a lot of content to display, may prefer this format.

These icons allow users to navigate to different sections of the event app from the landing page. With the white-label app, organizers can customize both the images and the titles underlying them. The default icons include:

  • keyboard_arrow_right Overview
  • keyboard_arrow_right Attendees
  • keyboard_arrow_right Sponsors
  • keyboard_arrow_right Agenda
  • keyboard_arrow_right Announcements
  • keyboard_arrow_right Speakers
  • keyboard_arrow_right Maps
  • keyboard_arrow_right Event Game
  • keyboard_arrow_right My Badge / QR Code
  • keyboard_arrow_right (Social) Wall
  • keyboard_arrow_right Follow Us
  • keyboard_arrow_right Donate Now
  • keyboard_arrow_right Program PDF
  • keyboard_arrow_right Documents
  • keyboard_arrow_right City Guide

Both the container app and the white-label version include a catalogue of 86,000 icons, or organizers can upload their own.

Custom Splash Screen: the splash screen is a temporary image that appears while the app is loading. The white-label app allows organizers to customize this screen. You can choose to highlight your own logo or an event photo, pair your own imagery with a sponsor’s logo, or showcase a sponsor exclusively.

 

MENU BAR FOR CORE FEATURES

In addition to the icons, another key element of the user interface is the menu bar that continually appears at the bottom of the screen throughout the app. The features listed below provide an overview of these five tabs.

Events: this tab allows users to return to the event home page.

Connections: this tab will bring users to a list of the networking connections they’ve accumulated at the event.

Shake: this tab activates Socio’s signature ‘Shake’ networking tool, a kinetically-activated feature that innovatively allows users to connect with each other by shaking their phones simultaneously — this feature is described in further detail in the ‘Networking’ section below.

Chat: this tab directs users to the app’s messaging center, where attendees can contact and schedule appointments with anyone in their network.

Me: attendees use this tab to add information to their own user profile.

 

INTERACTIVE AGENDA AND ADVANCED LINKING

Different Tracks: the Socio app includes an interactive agenda that accommodates multiple tracks and concurrent sessions. Users can click on the upper right-hand funnel icon to browse through the different tracks available.

Advanced Linking: the information pages for each session can include links to any other section in the event app. Likewise, speaker profiles can include links to each of their speaking engagements. Documents and sponsor profiles can also be included by linking to their dedicated section of the app.

Interactive Map: organizers can upload multiple venue maps to the event app. It is also possible to link to other sections of the app within the map; for example, exhibitor booths can link to exhibitor profiles, and session rooms can link to the relevant sections of the agenda.

Seamless External Linking: any external links included within the app will take users to an embedded version of the website so that users will feel as though they have not left the app; users can return to the event app by hitting the ‘back’ button.

Real-Time Updates to Session Availability: within the agenda, each event listing includes up-to-date figures for how many people have registered to attend. Where applicable, it also indicates the room’s maximum capacity, giving attendees a quick snapshot of how likely a session is to become fully booked.

Individualized Agendas: the ‘Agenda’ section of the Socio app is broken down into two tabs, the general ‘Agenda’ and ‘My Agenda.’ When users sign up for a session, it is automatically added to their personal agenda.

Simple Interface for Session Registration: to sign up for a session or activity, attendees have to click the ‘+’ icon beside it, at which point the icon will turn into a check mark.

 

NETWORKING AND ATTENDEE MANAGEMENT

User Groups: the event organizer can segment attendees into groups within the app. These groups can be visible to everyone, or to the organizer only. When a group’s visibility is set to private, even people within the group will have no way of knowing that they have been assigned to the group. If the visibility is set to public, however, any attendee can use these groups to create filtered search criteria when browsing through the attendee list. Further, the administrator can treat groups like distribution lists, with targeted messages and push notifications sent to specific groups only. The app’s interface can also be tailored based on user groups, with some icons visible to select groups only.

Searchable Attendee Profiles: by default, all attendees are listed under the ‘Attendees’ section, accessible by clicking the dedicated ‘Attendees’ icon on the homepage. This list can be searched by keyword or by filtering for groups — the funnel icon in the upper right-hand corner allows users to set these filters. Users can review headshots, names, and job titles by browsing through the alphabetical list of attendees.

Optional Connectivity: as a fully GDPR-compliant app, Socio will not allow attendees to see another user’s full profile until both parties have agreed to connect. Users can request to connect with anyone by clicking the ‘Add’ button next to another attendee’s name. If the other attendee accepts your request, you will then see their contact information, their personal description, and any links to social media profiles they have made available. You will also be able to message them using the chat function.

‘Connections’ Tab: the menu bar, always located at the bottom of the screen no matter where you navigate in the app, includes a ‘Connections’ tab that allows users to access the contacts they’ve made at your event. Further, when attendees open up one of the profiles in their list of connections, they can download the relevant contact information to their phones’ internal list of contacts by clicking a downward arrow button on the page.

Shake & Connect: the ‘Shake’ function enables users to connect with attendees situated in the same general area. By gently shaking your phone, you prompt the app to search for other nearby attendees who have also recently shaken their phones. You can then click the ‘Add’ button next to any of the names that appear, just as you would when browsing through the complete list of attendees.

Chat & Schedule Meetings: once users have connected with one another, they can send each other messages. Users can send messages to individual contacts or to groups. They can also use the chat function to arrange meetings with each other, again either individually or in groups.

Smart Matchmaking: using shared interests to predict mutually beneficial matches, the Socio app will regularly suggest potential connections to users if the Smart Feed layout is selected. Once again, the user can click the ‘Add’ button to request a connection.

 

ENGAGEMENT TOOLS AND INTEGRATIONS

Event Game: the Socio app includes a game feature that allows the organizer to set challenges or create a scavenger hunt. Challenges can be used to incentivize visits to key sponsor booths, as well as other activities that contribute to your event’s ROI.

Players are rewarded with secret codes for completing each stage in the game. When they enter these codes into the app, they activate an animated display that announces the points they’ve earned.

Inbuilt Rating System: each activity and session page includes the option to incorporate a 5-star rating system, along with a text box for submitting written reviews. You can also give attendees the option to submit their ratings and reviews anonymously.

Social Wall: the app’s ‘Wall’ feature allows guests to post pictures and comments to a shared social feed. Sponsored posts can appear alongside user-generated content.

Announcements: an ‘Announcements’ section is one of the core features of Socio’s app. Organizers can send these announcements to highlight key aspects of their event, or they can publish announcements on behalf of sponsors. Announcements can be scheduled in advance or made in real time, with the option to alert attendees about new announcements with push notifications.

Q&A: Socio has partnered with sli.do to provide a Q&A feature within their app. For this feature to work, you will have to have an account with sli.do in addition to your Socio account, but Socio’s support team is fully trained to deal with sli.do-related issues. Socio can also accommodate organizers who wish to use a different Q&A platform. Links to these Q&A apps can be integrated into the session pages of your agenda.

Surveys: the Socio app can integrate with a variety of survey platforms, including Survey Monkey and Typeform. For the Typeform app, Socio has readymade Excel forms that allow event organizers to enter their survey information directly into pre-labeled columns. As with the Q&A platforms, these surveys can be added as links on individual session pages.

Engagement Metrics: the Socio app provides a comprehensive overview of engagement stats updated in real time.

 

OTHER INTEGRATIONS

Uber & Lyft: the Socio app includes the option to integrate with Uber and Lyft. The app’s ‘City Guide’ allows users to search for key locations in the city, such as the event’s hotel venue or the airport. The event organizer can create individual pages for each of these locations, with a dedicated ‘Get Lyft’ or ‘Get Uber’ button included on each page. Any applicable event discounts can be automatically applied.

Registration: although Socio doesn’t currently support a native registration platform, it can be integrated with a number of well-known third-party registration platforms.

LEAD RETRIEVAL

Licenses: the pricing for Socio’s Lead Retrieval app is based primarily on the number of licences purchased. The organizer buys licenses on behalf of sponsors and exhibitors, who will then be able to access their organization’s unique profile on the Lead Retrieval app.

Simple Setup: exhibitors and sponsors can activate their licence in 4 steps. Although the initial invitation is sent to a single representative from the company, other members can be added afterward.

QR Scanning: exhibitors and sponsors can track leads by scanning attendees’ QR codes, available either on their badges or within their event apps under ‘My Badge / QR Code.’

Lead Profiles with Ratings: every time a lead is scanned, the Lead Retrieval app draws attendee information from the event app. While contact details, job titles, and personal summaries are automatically carried over, the booth team also has the opportunity to add relevant notes and rate the lead. There are two rating scales: 1-5 stars, and Cold/Warm/Hot. Once this information is available within the team’s CRM, sales can perform faster, more targeted follow-ups.

Metrics Dashboard: all lead-retrieval stats are collected in one dashboard. This data includes the number of new leads, the average quality of leads, and the number of active booth staff members. It also uses pie and bar charts to break down the most active times of the day, week, and month (where applicable). These statistics are also broken down as they relate to individual members of the sales team. It is possible to provide the company’s marketing head with access to this information, with stats updated in real time. These metrics can also be exported to your email, where they can then be added to Marketo, Salesforce, and other sales management programs.

 

LIVE DISPLAY

Rotating Features with Customizable Backdrop: the menu bar at the top of the Live Display platform includes five tabs — Social, Agenda, Networking, Challenges, Sponsors, and Download. Each of these tabs corresponds to a different display page that will appear in a rotating slideshow of adjustable duration. The background color can also be modified.

Toggle Functionality: any of the tabs listed above can be toggled on or off, with updates reflected in real time.

Social: the ‘Social’ page displays an animated cascade of highlights from the event app’s ‘Wall’ of user-generated content and sponsor posts.

Agenda: this page promotes current sessions and activities, as well as a list of upcoming events in the program.

Networking: this page lists the number of people using the event app’s networking features, along with their digital ‘handshake’ totals. It also displays a leaderboard showcasing the most active networkers.

Challenges: the ‘Challenges’ page highlights key challenges in the event game, alongside a leaderboard of top players updated in real time.

Sponsors: this page showcases an animated slideshow of sponsor logos and ads.

Download: designed to increase app adoption rates, this page simply features a QR code that links directly to a download of the event app.

 

Pricing and Plans

Socio’s rates are primarily dependent on the number of registrants expected at your event, but the company provides discounts for organizations that purchase coverage for multiple events at a time, or for those who buy bundle packages. Review the list below for an overview of their pricing model.

  • Fully Branded White-Label App

    Starting Price: $1399

    Avg. Price: $2999

    *Bundling rates apply. The more events you purchase in bulk, the lower the per-event cost will be.

  • Socio App (Container Version)

    Starting Price: $799

    Avg Price: $1999

    *Bundling rates apply. The more events you purchase in bulk, the lower the per-event cost will be.

Visit Socio’s site to request a custom quote.

 

Pros and Cons

 

 

 

IN CONCLUSION

The Socio app prioritizes networking features and advanced linking within the app, as well as notable integrations with other tools.

Both the user interface and the back end are simple to use. The app can also be built and edited using a drop-and-drag builder on a computer, tablet, or phone.

Socio’s networking and scheduling features make it suitable for corporate events, conferences, and trade shows.

 

Disclaimer: Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the company. If you have any questions please use the contact us section.

 

Credit: Source link

29 Aug

This is a sponsored post by Zenus. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.

 

Long lines lead to lowered ROI and a negative first impression, but how can you avoid them at events when controlling access means screening every single person?

In addition, your attendees are at their most vulnerable when they’re waiting in line outside the protection of your venue. Therefore, even from a security perspective, it’s imperative that your check-in process runs as smoothly as possible.

 

As with many other areas where efficiency and consistency are vital, artificial intelligence (AI) may be the answer. By using facial recognition at your event, you create a better check-in experience for everyone. This high-tech solution sets the tone for your event and allows you to admit attendees more quickly, analyze data, and bolster security.

In this post, we are going to

  • keyboard_arrow_right Cover facial recognition as a mechanism for access control,
  • keyboard_arrow_right Show you how it offers a faster check in with greater security, and
  • keyboard_arrow_right Offer you some tips for implementing and using it to your advantage at the next event.

 

What Are Facial Recognition and Access Control Services?

“Access control” refers to any service that authenticates attendees for the purpose of granting them access to your event.

“Facial recognition” refers to AI technology that cross-references a pre-supplied photo (or photos) against live video capture to verify identity on site.

Facial recognition is thus a handy access control mechanism that is gaining popularity in modern events across industries, allowing attendees to securely check into events at a much faster rate.

To incorporate this service at your event, you will need to collect photos from consenting attendees during the registration process. The facial recognition system will then calculate and record ‘facial geometries’ using these reference images.

During the event, the facial recognition software will scan live-capture footage from cameras and use this data to identify people as they arrive at the check-in desk.

When it comes to ensuring that no unapproved visitors slip through the cracks, the AI software does the heavy lifting and empowers the on-site personnel.

 

What Are the Benefits of Facial Recognition as an Access Control Service?

We can all agree that access control is becoming an increasingly important aspect of event planning. Facial recognition allows you to take this service to the next level. The benefits include:

Blazing fast speed.

Unlike a human cross-checking a photo ID against a visitor’s appearance, facial recognition works instantly.

Additional security layer.

Facial recognition has proven to be even more accurate than human-powered visual identification, and it provides a cost-effective way to ensure your screening process includes some form of photo identification.

Better overall event ROI.

To take full advantage of your visitors’ purchasing power, you want to funnel the crowds into your venue as efficiently as possible. Further, facial recognition can cut down on the labor costs associated with security personnel by automating photo identification.

 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these advantages.

Faster Is Better: Increase The Efficiency Of Your Check-In Process With Facial Recognition

One of the biggest incentives to adopt facial recognition software is efficiency. Every second shaved off the check-in process helps to improve line flow and avoid bottlenecks.

Facial recognition works almost instantly: it takes less than a second for the cameras to identify a person. While scanning a QR code might be just as fast, this comparison misses the point. Facial recognition provides a way to ensure that the ticket holder’s identity matches the one on record. In addition, it makes it possible to scan people’s faces before they even arrive at the check-in station.

Moreover, even incremental improvements to speed have a compounding effect. Sure, some of your attendees will opt out of automated facial recognition and will have to be ID’d manually. And even among those who opt into the facial recognition service, each individual screening procedure may be only seconds shorter. But the important point to understand is that a 5-second difference per attendee can amount to hours of saved time. When you have attendees showing up at the same time, even a minor bottleneck can result in enormous lines. Thus, if 70% of your attendees opt for a check-in process that’s 10% faster, your lines will flow much quicker.

Traffic flow provides a helpful analogy. Most people know that if you need to get somewhere quickly, you should avoid roads that are riddled with traffic lights. As the short video below explains, even small interruptions can cause a chain reaction that slows traffic long after the initial pause:

Initial case studies suggest that facial recognition can make your check-in process 2 to 5 times faster, with an average rate of 9 seconds per attendee and an impressive 400 attendees processed per hour at each kiosk.

Greater speed means greater convenience for your attendees. By implementing facial recognition at your event, you are showing that you put user experience first.

Use Facial Recognition To Reduce The Risk Of Unauthorized Access

Large gatherings of people have unfortunately become a high-profile target in recent years. Security should be a top priority wherever crowds convene.  Protecting event organizers and attendees alike, facial recognition provides an added layer of security alongside manual ID checks and guarded entry points.

People can borrow or steal someone else’s ticket or badge, but it’s not so easy to swap faces. Facial recognition systems send an encoded URL to each person invited, and the photo they submit is associated with their ticket number only. Unless the recipient of the email invitation forwards the message, it is impossible for anyone else to submit a photo. This system helps to prevent people from deliberately sharing the same ticket, but more importantly, it also reduces the risk of unauthorized attendees gaining access to your venue.

As an automated process, facial recognition is faster and more cost-effective than alternative forms of photo ID screening. For events that have previously foregone this added security measure because management deemed the costs prohibitive or the logistics unmanageable, facial recognition now makes it much more feasible to execute these services.

Keep in mind, however, that facial recognition services should always be optional unless the local authorities and the department of justice make them mandatory. Those who opt out of participating in the facial recognition system will have to be processed manually instead. To increase the opt-in rate, remind attendees of how much more efficient and convenient the automated process will be. You can also point them to the privacy policy of your vendor to offer them peace of mind about how their data is used.

There’s also no need to worry that facial recognition may offer a less secure system than manual ID checks. Facial recognition can now identify people even more accurately than humans looking at photo IDs. While people can match faces to photos with 97.53% accuracy, the best facial recognition algorithms now boast 99.8% accuracy given good quality photos.

Facial recognition can even be used to give select people access to specialized zones, as is the plan for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. The system is expected to grant 300,000 people authorized access, proving that these security measures can be deployed on a massive scale. Speed and accuracy make facial recognition an ideal fit for managing security at large-scale events.

Do More For Less: Facial Recognition Lets You Save Money While Increasing Roi

Of course, the efficiency of facial recognition also increases ROI by reducing idle time at check-in.

How does a smooth check-in process translate to better ROI? By reducing the number of hours required to facilitate your check-in process, you lower the costs associated with hiring temporary staff. The price of facial recognition software is more affordable than you might think. Plus, funneling attendees through the line faster gets them to your booths sooner, which means more leads and increased sales opportunities.

Airports have long been wise to the business incentive here. According to a recent report, each traveler’s maximum spending potential decreases by 30% for every ten minutes spent waiting at a security checkpoint. With most airports taking a commission of their vendor’s gross sales instead of charging rent, they have a vested interest in ushering travelers into the duty-free section as quickly as possible. The effect is the same for events.

And, if you need the added security of a photo ID check, there is no faster way to do it than using facial recognition. It’s simple: spend less, make more.

 

How to Incorporate Facial Recognition into Your Event

Now that you know what facial recognition can do for your next event, you may want to try it out for yourself. But how? Apart from comparing prices and reviews online, there are a few key factors that you should consider.

Starting with the basics, you should take into account the company’s track record, as well as key features of the user experience:

  • User experience.

    Does the check-in application scan live captured video footage (better), or does it take another photo of the guest upon arrival (not as good)? Does the initial image submission interface provide participants with immediate feedback on whether their photo meets quality standards? What sort of additional support does the company provide?

Some more advanced considerations include:

  • Integrations and compliance.

    Does the software offer integration services that will automatically sync information with your other platforms? This is crucial to ensure smooth operations. You also want a company that keeps diligent records of consent, hosts biometric data on regional servers, and has incorporated mechanisms for total compliance within their product design.

Finding Facial Recognition Services That Integrate With Your Tools

Whenever you are looking to add service, it always best to choose ones that can be integrated with the tech and tools that you are already using. Zenus, for example, has previously integrated its software with third-party registration tools and apps.

With that said, not all possible integrations may be advertised, especially when it comes to lesser-known tools. Reach out to the company’s customer support team to learn more about their available integrations and customization options.

When Choosing New Event Tech, Consider Tech Support

Speaking of support, tech support can mean the difference between a smooth-running activation in which you take full advantage of all the features and a crash-and-burn situation. You definitely want to make sure your provider is equipped to help you get set up and will be there for you in case of an emergency. Check their operating hours and the availability of dedicated support. If you don’t understand something in your onboarding, make sure you ask in advance of your event.

When discussing your setup options, it’s also a good idea to ask about the infrastructure requirements. What hardware needs to be installed? What are the WiFi requirements? Do they have experience working with your venue?

Keeping these things in mind will make it a lot easier to find the right fit for your event.

How To Ensure A Seamless Facial Recognition Experience At Your Event

To help prepare you even further, we’ve broken down the setup process with a step-by-step guide.

BEFORE THE EVENT

Explain the reason, benefits, and security of facial recognition.

Promote facial recognition in the confirmation email.

Send a personalized confirmation email after the attendee books their ticket and highlight the ‘cut your wait time’ benefit so the registrant immediately sees what’s in it for them.

Make the opt-in process as smooth and painless as possible. Attendees should be able to submit their photo within seconds.

Provide clear instructions.

Indicate resolution and file type requirements next to the prompt to upload an image. Offer tips, like not using a group photo, using a front-facing shot (as opposed to ¾ or profile view), etc.

Automate image quality check.

Use an interface that offers a rating and immediate feedback on image quality to ensure a suitable image is used.

Send out email reminders.

People can forget to register or sign up for facial recognition. Create an email campaign of well-timed reminder emails for registration or opt-in for facial recognition.

ONSITE

Attendees have signed up and opted in; now it is time to execute this new service at your event. Here are some tips for incorporating facial recognition services at your event:

Create measures to protect those who have opted out.

Particularly in regions with strict privacy regulations, you should install clear signage to indicate any areas subject to facial recognition scans. Additionally, you should allow incoming attendees to avoid cameras dedicated to facial recognition by creating a separate help desk for all their check-in needs.

Provide continual, seamless service for those who have opted in.

Ensure that your cameras are set up to continually capture and scan footage so that attendees’ faces can be tracked while in motion to maximize efficiency.

Addressing Security And Privacy Concerns

Attendees may not understand why they have to submit a photo alongside their registration information, and some may have concerns over the privacy and security of their information and the use of their image. Explain and be transparent about what you’re collecting and how the info and images will be used.

Zenus, for example, instantly discards user photos and removes all biometric data one week after the event. The company has also developed a “decentralized” system: the servers that store a user’s identifying biometric data never have access to people’s names and contact information. On the servers, this data is tied to the ticket number only. It is privacy by design.

The security benefits of facial recognition are clear. Alongside IDs and QR codes, it offers almost foolproof protection against outsiders entering the event. With that said, facial recognition is an incredibly powerful tool that gives companies an unprecedented ability to track people in motion. It is vital to ensure that you take adequate steps to protect the privacy of your users and work with a trusted vendor.

 

IN CONCLUSION

It’s important to maintain access control at your event, but long lines make a poor impression on event attendees. They also present security risks and reduce the return on your investment.

However, facial recognition services speed up the check-in process and increase security; attendees thus access booths sooner, which increases meaningful connections and sales.

Tech solutions such as facial recognition are not a future ideal; they are becoming the industry standard. If you would like to learn more from an industry expert with experience deploying facial recognition, click here.

 

Credit: Source link

27 Aug

Whether you’ve planned 200 events or you’re just starting, we can both agree on one thing: event planning is hard work.

And the pressure to get better at it every year is real. Your willingness and ability to adapt to the demand for a more strategic planner with more responsibilities is real. With the events landscape changing constantly, event professionals need to learn to take advantage of every tool at their disposal.

 

 

To help you cope with the increasing demands of your role and guide you through the execution of your event, we’ve compiled a number of checklists covering various stages of the event planning process. Use these to make sure you’ve covered all your bases from sourcing the right technology to planning for every eventuality.

Here’s an overview of the 19 checklists we’ve prepared for you:

 

 

Credit: Source link

22 Aug

This is a sponsored post by Maritz Global Events. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.

 

It’s no secret that event planners are experiencing more pressure than ever to apply the hottest marketing trends to their own industry. Taking a page from experiential marketing, event planners are expected to deliver an unforgettable experience.

 

What’s the magic ingredient? What makes you want to keep watching a movie or continue playing an immersive game?

One of the biggest factors is a compelling narrative. Couching your marketing and messaging within a story that helps them connect with your value propositions and company culture will drive home why your audience should choose you.

The problem is that this event narrative must resonate with as wide an audience as possible. If we want to create a narrative with universal appeal, we need to think about the key elements that make a story engaging.

To ensure that your message hits home, you want to reflect their personal narrative by speaking to their struggles. It is here — in this overlap between messaging, value, and relatability — where you have the greatest power to influence. Your narrative needs to deliver valuable takeaways that the audience can see themselves using to inspire action.

In this post, we’re going to dive into the psychological appeal of effective storytelling and help you craft an event narrative sure to captivate your attendees.

 

Narratives as a Call to Action: Move Your Attendees

People have probably been telling stories for as long as we’ve been able to communicate. Even prehistoric cave paintings were a way to narrate successful hunts. While storytelling was once a way to pass down communal knowledge and shared beliefs from generation to generation, it has evolved into a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. Even when the story itself is not up for sale, it is often used to move products (merchandise).

And that’s just it: people are drawn to narratives because they want to be moved – to laugh, to cry. Moved to act. How do you craft a narrative that will be sure to move your audience?

Most good stories pivot on three key features:

  • keyboard_arrow_right They deliver value.
  • keyboard_arrow_right They relate to lived experience.
  • keyboard_arrow_right They generate a sense of identification between the audience and the story’s hero.

Let’s take a look at these strategies in depth.

 

Make Your Narrative Deliver Value that Shows Your Brand’s Worth

Key Idea: Make sure your narrative helps to explain the purpose behind the services or products you deliver. What need do they fill? Your story should illustrate this value.

Stories fundamentally revolve around the notion of significance; to be effective, they need to have meaning and value.

If a friend starts to tell you about a recent trip to the grocery store, where do you expect his anecdote to lead? You’ll be expecting a point to the story, a takeaway beyond knowing what he bought for dinner.

Illustrate Your Selling Points in Action: Show, Don’t Tell

Narratives aren’t just about delivering information. They function to highlight why that information is relevant, and they do so by showing instead of telling. Just like those prehistoric cave paintings, stories illustrate ideas. They teach us valuable lessons by showing the principle in action.

When someone is telling you about an idea that is meant to sound persuasive, it can come across as lecturing or making demands. Showing, on the other hand, is all about demonstrating the practical value of an idea in the most engaging way possible – and that’s exactly what you want your narrative to do.

Just like your high school English teacher told you, showing also implies adding descriptive details that make the story come to life. How does the hero of your story feel at each phase of the journey? Are there moments of frustration followed by triumphant relief? Pull your audience in by sharing the emotional experience with them.

Use the Moral of the Story to Drive Your Messaging

Normally when we talk about the lesson behind a story, we frame it as the ‘moral.’ It might help to think about your brand’s core messaging as the moral of your story. You want your story to illustrate a valuable lesson that your audience can apply in their daily lives.

Your event may be designed to attract new clients to a product, or it may be the product itself. In either case, your story should show that your product fulfills a need. What value does it deliver? What challenges does it help the audience overcome? Will it bring your hero to a ‘happily ever after’ ending?

Your story should convey a relatable scenario that shows how useful your services can be.

 

Connecting Your Narrative to Lived Experiences Keeps Your Messaging Engaging and Believable

Key Ideas: Your narrative should connect your message to people’s everyday lives, professional or otherwise. If you’re telling a story, either base it on a true event or connect it to a commonplace occurrence.

On the other hand, if you are literally immersing your attendees in the narrative, take care to construct interpersonal dynamics that relate to outside experiences.

If you want your audience to connect with your event’s narrative in a meaningful way, it should reflect real-life experiences. Your tactics will vary depending on whether you plan to use traditional storytelling techniques or fully immerse your audience in a custom-designed narrative.

Make It ‘True’ to Keep Their Attention

In general, people tend to listen more attentively to stories that are grounded in reality. What’s more likely to make your ears perk up: what happened to your friend in her dream last night, or what happened to her on the way to work today?

We all know the appeal of movies that begin with the caption, “Based on a true story.” By framing an anecdote in this way, it automatically places every detail in the realm of the possible. It will have your audience more invested in knowing what happened because it pertains to a world they are a part of.

4 Tactics to Make your Story Ring True

There are several strategies you can employ to push this principle to its fullest potential.

Use testimonials and other first-person stories.

Firsthand accounts have an edge over secondhand ones. Choose speakers who can speak to their personal experiences. They create greater believability and emotional immediacy.

Use an everyday scenario.

Highlight stories that take place in a commonplace context or reflect an everyday encounter. If your audience could see it happening to them, you have won half the battle.

Use everyday comparisons to make it relatable.

If you are explaining an unusual situation, draw comparisons with the everyday equivalent so that your audience can more readily connect it with their own lived experience. For example, you could compare the daily routine of a ten-year-old kid training to be an Olympic athlete with that of an average fifth grader. When do they wake up? How do they complete their school credits?

Use audio visual aids.

If telling a true story, visual and audio recordings make it more believable for your audience by showing actual documentation of the events. Further, by involving a full sensory experience, these recordings bring your audience closer to a vicarious experience of the story, which will help to create a more lasting impression.

The more ‘true’ your story feels, the more likely it will be to make an impression on your audience.

Give Your Audience Their Own True Story with an Immersive Experience

Of course, the ultimate extension of this principle involves creating a lived experience for your attendees. In this case, your event is the story that you want your attendees to be experiencing (and telling far into the future).

If you are taking this approach, you should still keep in mind the everyday experiences of your attendees when designing the narrative. It will automatically be tied to reality because your audience is literally experiencing it, but you still want them to feel some sense of familiarity when they jump into the narrative you’ve created.

Here are 5 strategies to keep in mind when designing your immersive narrative:

Use familiar workplace dynamics.

Try to base role-playing games on relatable dynamics. For example, think about basing roles on common job duties in the workforce: for example, leader, communicator, idea generator, and so on.

Borrow from real-world places and events.

Another approach is to invent a plausible scenario and place it in a real-life setting: for example, tell them the city is experiencing a record drought, and ask the team to develop a plan for managing their limited water supply.

Involve all the senses.

Provide contextual details and multisensory effects that help to bring the scene to life. For example, if you are describing a trek through the wilderness, recreate the sounds of birds chirping and leaves rustling coming; isolate separate audio channels among different speakers spaced out around the venue to enhance a sense of 360° immersion.

Simulate real-life lines of communication.

Use narrative cues that mimic real-world announcements. Your emotionally-charged messaging will have a greater impact if it is delivered in a believable format. For example, if you want to declare an emergency, make it sound like it’s coming via a PSA intercom. (Be sure to explain in advance that this is just a role-playing scenario – you want your audience to be immersed, not deceived!)

Play within the genres of popular fiction.

If you are going to venture into the realm of fantasy, it’s a good idea to repurpose common tropes from the world of pop culture (e.g. top-secret spies, vampires, superheroes). It won’t feel real, but feeling familiar can have a similar effect.

Think about it this way: you want your attendees to be able to share stories about their immersive experience without having to spend 20 minutes explaining how it worked. If their listeners are likely to get the idea with a few key details, chances are pretty good that you’ve created a relatable narrative.

 

Your Narrative’s Hero Should Inspire a Call to Action that Sells Your Brand

Key Idea: You want your audience to identify with the narrative’s hero in a way that will feel relevant to their own lives. You want to show that your story represents a part of their journey – one in which they find an actionable solution to a problem they are facing.

Everyone is the hero of their own story. And if you get your event’s narrative right, your attendees should be able to see themselves in the hero’s role. The key element is to begin with a problem that your attendees can identify with, and then to illustrate a solution they can conceivably implement (ideally one they haven’t already thought of themselves).

Frame Your Brand as the Solution to Your Hero’s Struggle

Remember the moral of the story discussed above? Make sure you demonstrate how attendees can implement the key takeaways of your story in their daily lives.

Your audience should feel like they could step into the shoes of your hero. Use your hero’s journey to demonstrate a course of action. If you want them to do something, you need to show them how it’s done – and why.

Here are some strategies to keep in mind when charting your hero’s progress:

Deliver instructions in the form of a relatable scenario.

Illustrate actionable advice by showing your protagonist taking step-by-step actions to solve the problem. Explain the context around each stage and any obstacles encountered along the way.

Show how your brand helps the hero win.

Use your narrative to show the benefits of your solution by describing them in your story. How does your product or service allow the hero to overcome a relatable challenge or make their life better?

Use an immersive narrative to make the attendee your hero.

If you really want your audience to identify with the hero of your narrative, you should place them directly in the hero’s role via an immersive experience. This approach will allow your attendees to develop a very personal experience of your brand’s advantages, thus amplifying the emotional impact and planting the seeds of a call to action in their heads.

It is the process of identification that ultimately makes this form of marketing so powerful. Stories can be one of the most effective ways to drive conversions. They also have the power to transform ideas by opening people up to new perspectives.

 

IN CONCLUSION

Storytelling has been a major feature of advertising for many years, and its prominence is only growing. It’s time for event planners to pick up the torch by incorporating narrative techniques into their programs.

Here are the 3 key strategies to keep in mind when designing your narrative:

  • keyboard_arrow_right Value/significance: if you are trying to influence your attendees, embed your brand’s core messaging into the moral of your event’s narrative.
  • keyboard_arrow_right Lived experience: if you’d like your attendees to be fully engaged in your narrative, you need it to feel ‘real’ or ‘true’ in some way.
  • keyboard_arrow_right Call to action: if you want to influence your attendees to embrace your brand’s messaging in their daily lives, you should use your narrative to illustrate the benefits of your products or services in a step-by-step journey from problem to solution.

There are few more powerful forms of communication than a memorable and relatable story. If you want to give your attendees a transformative experience, consider incorporating narrative techniques into the framework of your event.

 

Credit: Source link

21 Aug

Blip Billboards are digital billboards across the US for event and product advertisement.  They let planners advertise their event in advance at chosen times and in chosen places without signing a contract or paying a minimum fee. In this review, we’ll go over how it works and what we liked or did not like about it. Here is our review.

 

Blip Digital Billboards: What Is It?

Regular events are often advertised locally, and planners use online spaces and email campaigns to advertise further afield. Event planners are so focused on advertising in the digital space that the value of advertising outside can be an afterthought.

Founded in 2015, Blip partners with digital billboard owners across the US and Canada to allow businesses and event planners to extend their physical advertising and centralize the management of those campaigns.

Billboard services like these often force businesses to make a minimum purchase or sign a contract, but Blip lets you pay on a per-ad basis and allows you to set a budget. Digital billboards rotate advertisements or ‘blips’ every eight to ten seconds. These billboards can be found almost anywhere in the United States and reach thousands of people per day, depending on the location.

Blip’s online service allows you to kickstart your advertising campaign within a few minutes by indicating when, where, and how you want to advertise your event through the Blip platform.

You can upload campaign images and verify adjustments as well as set the locations of specific billboards, your budget (i.e. the frequency of blips on the billboards), and other parameters. In addition to standard tech support, Blip offers a consultation to help you get started and optimize your campaigns.

Let’s take a closer look at the advertising campaign process with Blip digital billboards.

 

The Main Categories of Features Are:

LOCATION

The first step when setting up your campaign is to decide which locations and billboards you want to use. A map with red dots representing each billboard appears, allowing you to see where the billboards are. Here, users can see details about each individual billboard including its availability, location, pixel ratio, and more. There is a button to select all the billboards in a given area, but it is also possible to select each one individually.

BUDGET

Blip allows you to pay per advertisement and there is no minimum purchase amount. Decide your maximum daily budget to see the estimated number of blips you may receive for that amount. Users can also see the cost of blips that play during both peak times and off-peak times. Decide your budget and blip frequency before moving on.

SCHEDULE

This step allows you to decide when your blips will run. Choose anytime from 12 am to 11 pm Monday to Sunday and select the distribution of your budget. If you are unsure, you can simply select max audience, daily commute, meal times, single hour or off-peak hour depending on your needs. Select as many or as few times as you need before moving on.

UPLOAD ARTWORK

Every advertising campaign needs some striking artwork. In this stage, you will see what size images you need and will be able to upload existing ones. If you don’t have any suitable images, you can request help from Blip’s in-house design team for mockups or guidance. Please note that it can take 24-48 hours for images to be moderated before your campaign can go live.

REVIEW

Once that’s complete, it is time to review your work. In this stage, simply name your campaign, give it a description, and review your details. Adjustments to previously entered campaign details can be made here before purchase. Once you are satisfied, enter your billing information and accept.

ANALYTICS

Once the advertising campaign has been launched, it is recommended that you keep an eye on your analytics. It is almost impossible to track metrics on traditional billboards, but digital ones make tracking possible. Blip provides graphic breakdowns of monthly, daily, and hourly blips, the average cost per blip, average daily spend, impressions per dollar, and more. Billboard ROI is much more demonstrable with billboard metrics like these.

 

Review

Blip billboards address two main issues for tradeshows and consumer exhibitions: advertising in the physical world and advertising within a budget.

Advertising events via social media and other online channels has become a key focus for event planners. However, promoting your event in the real world can also be effective, especially if your event appeals to the general public. Traditional obstacles to billboard advertising are lengthy contracts and impractical minimum spending limits.

Blip digital billboards are available across the US and parts of Canada, and do not require you to sign a contract or spend a minimum. Campaigns are set up online and there are in-house experts available to provide personalized advice.

Analytics offer planners visibility into how many consumers they reach per billboard and more. As the boards are digital, it is possible to update your campaign based on the data collected in real-time. It is even possible to compare past and present Blip campaigns to assess what works and what does not.

Unfortunately, Blip’s billboard inventory is still growing and is currently only available in the US and parts of Canada; international events or businesses may not benefit from contacting Blip. (To keep on top of what new billboards have been added to the inventory, either check Blip’s map intermittently or join their mailing list for instant updates.)

While this service is excellent for public events and tradeshows with consumer elements, Blip billboards may not be the best advertising solution for private shows or conferences.

 

Features

ONE-TO-ONE SUPPORT

It can be difficult to decide on the best approach when it comes to advertising, especially if you have more experience in the digital space than the physical. Blip offers advisors that reach out proactively to first-time users to provide advice about local markets in your designated area, including needs and trends local trends in your industry.

This support extends throughout your subscription to answer questions and give details on techniques or recent trends.

IN-HOUSE DESIGN TEAM

Blip requires you to upload images for your billboard advertisements. For businesses who may not have a design team, finding the right images to use in advertising can be difficult. Blip’s professional in-house billboard design team offers advice and mockups for rejected images to provide effective alternatives. Each mockup will be tailored to your needs and still follow Blip’s high standards.

ONLINE RESOURCES

Starting on a new service can be confusing, and sometimes you just want to find the right answer quickly. There are plenty of videos with walkthroughs, billboard design tips, and advice on post-campaign tasks on Blip’s website.

If you need inspiration for your next campaign, Blip has a number of case studies on hand that take an in-depth look at how other brands utilized blips. You can also find tips on increasing brand awareness and staying ahead of the game on Blip’s blog. If you can’t find the information you need, Blip has a live chat box and help center available.

POST-CAMPAIGN FEATURES

Once your campaign is running, it is imperative to observe how well it is doing. Not only does Blip provide analytics on your campaign, but it is possible to compare current campaigns’ metrics to older ones.

Blip users can see records of every campaign, past and present, that their business has run through Blip, allowing you to use trending data to develop and improve your campaigns over time. If your campaign worked well, adjusting and re-running it is a simple process.

 

Main Differentiators Of This Service

  • keyboard_arrow_right This service does not require you to sign a contract or pay a certain minimum amount. 
  • keyboard_arrow_right Proactive advisors will contact first-time users directly to provide personalized guidance and insight to optimize your campaign.
  • keyboard_arrow_right Simple and intuitive system for running, monitoring, pausing and adjusting campaigns.
  • keyboard_arrow_right Detailed analytics data to track the success and progress of the campaign.

 

Who Is It For?

Blip’s digital billboards are for B2C trade show managers and event planners who want to advertise their event in both the physical as well as the digital space within an easily managed budget.

Because of its public scope, Blip billboards are better suited to trade shows or events with a consumer element rather than business conferences or meetings.

 

Pricing and Plans

With Blip, you decide your budget and how your budget is distributed between blips, and there is no minimum purchase amount. The average amount spent on each Blip is 10 cents, but you decide how much to pay and where that money goes.

The amount that you budget and the times you want your blips to be shown determine how many blips per day you will receive. For example, a $20 daily budget for a mixture of off-peak and peak times is estimated to get you 527 blips per day.

IN CONCLUSION

Blip has a solution for those looking to advertise outdoors with the guidance of an experienced support team and total control over the budget involved. By allowing you to reach your consumers on their daily commute, event planners can take advantage of an often overlooked advertising space to increase their ticket sales and event exposure.

Even beginners can set up their campaigns in a few minutes, and experts are on hand to help. Exposure/impression metrics allow you to monitor your campaign and adjust for optimal outreach in real-time. Digital billboards may not be suited for every event, but Blip provides a consultation to help you determine fit and optimal advertising spend.

If you’d like further details about Blip’s services, contact them for more information.

 

Disclaimer: Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the company. If you have any questions please use the contact us section.

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15 Aug

PartyLabz is a web-based platform that includes a number of event management features, including invitation distribution, RSVP collection, QR code production, and polling.

 

PartyLabz: What Is It?

PartyLabz  allows event planners to set up a dedicated event website without the hassle of backend coding. The company offers both a free and a paid version of their services, with the free version limited to events that have under 100 invitees.

While the name PartyLabz might lead you to think that the platform caters to parties and other social gatherings, it is equally adaptable to corporate events and team-building exercises. PartyLabz uses a ‘what you see is what you get’ (WYSIWYG) editor that includes instructions throughout the interface. You can specify the “who, what, where and when” details of your event on the page that appears when you first sign in. This page incorporates map functionality, with the option to set location pins without a registered address. Two tabs, titled “Description” and “Guests,” will also appear by default.

You can set up a maximum of ten additional tabs, or twelve tabs in total. It’s important to know that PartyLabz has created ten different tab templates suited to specific needs.

There is no need to use every available template, and you can use a specific template more than once if you want multiple tabs with the same functionality. When adding a new tab, you are prompted to select from one of the following core functionalities:

1. Content

2. Signup list

3. Agenda/Schedule

4. Polls

5. Images

6. Secret Santa

7. Comments

8. Payments

9. Files

10. Activity Stream

All of these functions have applications to a business setting — even the Secret Santa tab could be adapted to a team-building game or other corporate activity. You can edit the title of each tab to whatever you want, so it is really the specific tab features that matter.

Let’s take a closer look at the platform.

 

The Main Categories of Features Are:

Customizable Tabs. Each of the tabs listed above include multiple options for customization. We will cover these features in more detail further down.

Messaging Center. The “Guests” tab includes a “Send” button that allows you to send group messages to people you have added to your guest list. The potential distribution lists are further broken down into different categories based on their level of interaction; for example, you can choose to send your message only to those “who have not visited the event page,” or only to those who have already indicated that they’re “planning to attend the event.”

Automated RSVP Collection. The “Guests” tab of your event page will automatically display RSVP responses as they come in. By default, it is visible to the host only. You can edit the visibility so that everyone can have access to the names and RSVP status of each invitee. Guest contact information, however, will always remain hidden.

Unique QR Codes for Each Guest. When guests RSVP, they will receive a unique QR code, along with a text-based code. Either of these codes can be used when a guest checks in at your event. When you scan or enter the code at your registration desk, the guest’s status will automatically update from “Going” to “Arrived” under the “Guests” tab. Again, if you choose to make this information visible to everyone who RSVP’d, guests can look at your event page to skim through the list of people who have already checked in.

Umbrella Organizer Page. When you hit the “Menu” button in the upper righthand corner, you have the option to “Go to my events.” Here, you can set up an “Organizer page” complete with your company name and description, along with a link to your external website or social media account. If you are publishing more than one event on the PartyLabz platform, you can choose to list them on your organizer page. Another advantage is the ability to copy past events — all of  the tabs will be duplicated along with the guest list and any information that was entered during the RSVP process. (Only uploaded images, files, and responses to polling questions will fail to transfer.)

Organizer page demo 

 

Review

Examples on PartyLabz 

Designed around a WYSIWYG template, PartyLabz has a simple, user-friendly layout. There are limited options to modify the page’s appearance, but it includes many customizable features in terms of functionality. Additionally, it was designed with semi-automated setup in mind.

The guiding principle behind PartyLabz seems to be convenience. The initial registration process requires you to provide the name of your event along with your email address. A verification code will then be sent to the address provided; once you have entered your verification code, the website will remember you for a year.

When you first sign in, the PartyLabz platform will automatically select a banner picture for your event based on the title you provided when you registered. You can always modify this picture if you would prefer to add your own or replace it with another image from the PartyLabz catalogue. You can even embed a video from YouTube or Vimeo, but keep in mind that any advertising on the original platform will be carried over.

Many of the customizable features have default settings that are likely to work for most events. If you don’t get around to customizing every feature, chances are pretty good that the readymade content will work for your event.

Additionally, instructions are peppered throughout the interface so that you don’t have to hunt through the “Help” section for guidance on how to design your page.

The drop-down menu is the only feature that you might miss on your first glance, but it can be activated by clicking on the “Menu” button in the upper righthand corner of the event page. This menu provides customization options beyond the ones available on individual tabs. For example, under “Event Settings,” you can modify the RSVP process to include a waiver form, or to ask for personal information, like job title and address.

Who is it for?

PartyLabz provides a simple website template that is designed around an event planner’s key needs. It is best suited to small corporate meetings or team-building events. As the company name suggests, it is also a good fit for a wide variety of social gatherings.

If you don’t need a mobile app that accommodates networking features and third-party software integration, it may be a product worth exploring.

 

Features

Default Description Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right This tab uses the “Content” template.
  • keyboard_arrow_right It features a text box that you can use for any descriptive details related to your event.
  • keyboard_arrow_right By default, the text box on the “Description” page is filled with instructions and links to video tutorials on how to get started with your event page. Make sure you update this content when you set up your event.

Default Guest Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right This tab helps you to coordinate all of your key guest management tasks.
  • keyboard_arrow_right You can add guests manually using their names and email addresses, upload a .CSV file with each guest on a separate line and their information separated with commas (i.e. name, email, phone number), or you can import contacts from Google. If you have organized prior events on PartyLabz, you can also import invitees from another event.
  • keyboard_arrow_right You can send invitations and messages to guests from this page.
  • keyboard_arrow_right All guests that you have added will be displayed in a list or tile format; if you have shared the public URL, this page will also display any guests who have added themselves to the RSVP list.
  • keyboard_arrow_right The list of guests will automatically include their RSVP responses.
  • keyboard_arrow_right On this page, the host can also view details about when registered guests have visited your page, and for how long.

Signup List Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right This tab provides a platform for guests to sign up for voluntary tasks or other contributions.
  • keyboard_arrow_right The tab is designed to publish a list of “items,” either in the form of volunteer activities you want guests to perform or products you want them to bring.
  • keyboard_arrow_right You can also specify the number of “items” needed; if you are describing a volunteer task, the number of “items” that you set will signify the number of people needed, but if you are requesting physical items like potluck contributions, it will signify the number of products requested.
  • keyboard_arrow_right As guests sign up for these “items,” the list will automatically be updated to reflect their commitments.

Agenda/Schedule Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right This tab allows you to add details about any activities you have planned for your event.
  • keyboard_arrow_right Each item on the agenda includes a title and a start/end time, with the option to add a brief description of the activity.

Polling Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right This feature is designed to accommodate a variety of question formats.
  • keyboard_arrow_right You can set up predefined multiple choice options or open-ended answers.
  • keyboard_arrow_right You can also set parameters for how many answers a guest can select at one time (i.e. for selecting dinner options, you would want to limit guests to one response only, but for indicating musical preferences, you may want to let them select more than one option at a time).

Images Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right You can upload images to create a gallery of your event highlights.
  • keyboard_arrow_right It is also possible to give guests permission to upload images.

Secret Santa Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right This tab allows you to randomly pair up guests who have RSVP’d to your event. This feature can also be used to create randomized groups.
  • keyboard_arrow_right Although this function is designed for a gift exchange, it can also be used for any activity requiring randomized pairings or groupings.

Comments Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right The comments tab allows guests to provide feedback or exchange ideas in a public-forum style. 
  • keyboard_arrow_right You can make this tab visible to all guests or to the host only.
  • keyboard_arrow_right You can choose to automate email notifications every time someone makes a comment.

Payments Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right The payments tab is designed for fundraising events.
  • keyboard_arrow_right Payments are processed through Stripe, so the host will need to create an account. To donate money to your cause, guests just pay through the platform, and the money will go through PartyLabz directly to the host’s Stripe account (minus a 2% fee).
  • keyboard_arrow_right To initiate the payment platform, there is a “Payment configuration” option in the dropdown menu; it provides a link to the Stripe setup page, where you will be prompted to confirm a payment arrangement via PartyLabz.
  • keyboard_arrow_right PartyLabz charges a 2% fee on all transactions processed through its platform; minus this deduction, all incoming funds will be directly deposited into your account.

Files Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right You can use this tab to share any files under 4 MB in size.
  • keyboard_arrow_right You can also allow guests to upload files, which can be made visible to everyone or to the host only; this feature provides a convenient way for guests to submit signed waiver forms.

Activity Stream Tab

  • keyboard_arrow_right The activity stream lets you share posts in real time.
  • keyboard_arrow_right Unlike the comments section on which anyone can post, the activity stream allows you to restrict posting permissions to the host only.

This list of features covers the basic functions of the PartyLabz platform. You can explore the platform for free if you want to learn more about its customization options.

 

Pricing and Plans

PartyLabz has both a free and a paid version of its service. The free version limits you to 100 guests, including anyone accompanying your invitees. With that said, if some of your invitees decline their invitation, you can remove them from your list to free up space for new invitees on your account.

In addition to accommodating more guests, the paid service also allows you to send invitations via text message. You can also see the delivery status of emails and text messages. Further, all advertisements will be removed from your event page.

You can also pay an extra fee to hide the PartyLabz logo. The full pricing options are detailed in the chart below.

PartyLabz pricing

 

Pros and Cons

 

 

IN CONCLUSION

When it comes to pricing, it’s hard to beat free. The free version of the program allows you to experiment with it for smaller events before committing to a bigger investment.

Although the website offers limited customization of the layout and visual design, it is very versatile in terms of its functionality. The interface is also easy to use with clear instructions throughout.

PartyLabz provides an economy option for planners with basic requirements. If you don’t need a mobile app with networking features, a PartyLabz website may work for you.

 

Disclaimer: Reviews are paid for placements. While Event Manager Blog receives a fee to extensively look at the tool and review it in detail, the content of the review is independent and by no means influenced by the company. If you have any questions please use the contact us section.

 

Credit: Source link