Posts Tagged Conferences

What’s in your Tradeshow Toolbox?

Written by Christina Wicklund | Marketing Project Lead

In managing numerous tradeshows and conferences over the years, I learned you can never be too prepared. Keeping this in mind, two items consistent with all my shows were my “handy dandy” toolbox and the pre-event checklist.

I was reminded of this when I recently attended Marketplace 2018 – the 37th Annual Governors Conference on Minority Business Development at the Potawatomi Hotel on December 12-13, 2018. Our M&IW conference team provided attendee registration and management for more than 800 attendees. Additionally, Meetings & Incentives Worldwide was a sponsor and exhibitor at the event.

Early on, I prepared for an event with an empty box. However, I soon learned a pre-stocked toolbox was beneficial and a great timesaver! I also realized every event is not the same and that is where the inception of the pre-event checklist began. You might be thinking these are one in the same, but they are not. The toolbox holds essential items needed for any event; whereas the pre-event checklist will ensure you remember to pack more specific or personal items needed just for that event.

The toolbox is the go-to for everything one could possibly need at any type of event. This consists of items needed for set up, break down and all the possible unexpected mishaps that can and do happen in between. I divide my toolbox into four areas – hardware, medical, office supplies & shipping materials and cleaning. When filling your toolbox, think compact. When building the toolbox base the type and size of the container on the contents that fit the unique needs of your company. The medical items can be placed in a small first aid kit. The stapler and hammer do not have to be full size, they only need to be of good quality. Pack small where you can and replenish the toolbox when you return to headquarters.

The toolbox should be stored in a secure place onsite so that items to do not walk. Also, remind your planning team to return items after use. There is nothing worse than knowing you had scissors packed only to find they are no longer in the toolbox.

Unlike the toolkit, the checklist changes from one event to the other. It is based on the length of tradeshow, distance from your headquarters location, size of the booth and number of staff attending. Some of the items that most likely would be included are; extra business cards for each employee manning the booth, water, snacks, mints, phone charges, promotional items, booth decorations, door prizes and bring the completed event registration forms along with shipping and returning labels.

Hopefully, this information is helpful in creating your perfect tradeshow toolbox. Remember, preparation is the key to a smooth-running event. We attend events to network, sell and fill the sales funnel, not to waste valuable time hunting down forgotten items. Be smart, pack smart, think smart!

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows

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Benefits of Attending IMEX America 2018

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Written by Anne Zambrano | Marketing Project Lead

Offering dozens of brilliant speakers, days of fresh ideas and continuous inspiration at 180-plus educational and networking events over four days, IMEX America is a must attend event in the industry. M&IW had a large team of meeting industry professionals within various disciplines attend this year’s event. We couldn’t wait for their return to dive in to discuss their experience, biggest take-aways and how they can use their newfound knowledge to better serve our clients. And, of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t share it with our community.

Here is what our team had to say about IMEX America 2018:

Q. What were your biggest take-aways?

“Networking! It was so great to meet hoteliers that I book business with regularly and meet new friends at different properties/chains.” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“Face to face communication is still and always will be the best way to do business. In this time of increasing efficiencies, email and phone are going to be our primary modes of communication, but it is fundamental to build relationships and live meetings help us to better communicate the needs of our client, as well as sharing our issues, concerns and successes.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“It was amazing to see the respect our partners and colleagues have for our organization. I felt a lot of love for M&IW. It was priceless experiencing the interactions our entire team had with other attendees and suppliers.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. What were the newest trends or hot topics that were widely discussed?

“Busy, busy, busy. All hotels, especially US hotels, expressed that the industry is busier than ever and have very little availability for large programs through 2020. Some hotels could name only one or two weeks in the entire 2020 calendar year where they knew they had availability.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“It was apparent that wellness and self-care are definitely an emerging event trend. There was a dedicated meditation and self-care room that was available during the entire conference. There were two rooms with low lights, essential oils and sound-proofing. One room featured padded mats and pillows. The other room featured quiet stations that allowed for intimate discussions. An amazing moment of calm to escape the event chaos for a moment if needed.” – Sarah Piggott, CMP – Meeting & Tradeshow Specialist, Attendee Registration
“I loved the cool custom-made gifts. They displayed amazing samples at IMEX and were super impressive with the level of customization that we do for our clients.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. What was your favorite moment during the event?

“The concert put on by Marriott! All acts were amazing – but Journey was my favorite!” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“I greatly enjoyed having a special dinner with my host group and learning about hotels in special destinations in Asia and Europe. Several in which I will have a chance to visit in person over the next year.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

“Being invited to toast the anniversaries and success with two of our valued partners. It was very cool to be considered a special partner and be valued to be present at those moments.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

Q. How did the event help you grow in your area of expertise?

“This event helped me grow because it allowed me time face-to-face with hotels that I do not see on a regular basis. It gave me time to create a deeper partnership with that hotel/sales manager that will benefit both my client and the hotel. We also were able to brainstorm ways to make the small meetings fit within the hotel as well as work for my client.” – Brianna Barclay – Associate Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“Making face-to face connections and shaking hands really solidifies many of my partnerships. Now we are able to communicate and work together on a more personal level which makes business that much easier and more effective. We have a better sense of TEAM and partnership.” – Christine Matias, MA – Director, Program Management

“I came home with much more information than I had when I left. It helps to sit down with a hotel and see visuals of the property and how that property could be a potential good fit for my groups. Learning about location of the hotel and what is nearby for groups for offsite events, dinner, and shopping was an added bonus!” – Jennifer Kamps – Buyer, Hotel Procurement

“By meeting face-to-face with so many of our supplier partners and expanding my relationships and connections in the industry, I feel this will directly improve my ability to find good availability and negotiate on behalf of my clients. I also expanded my knowledge of legal issues on Smart Monday and learned about some new destinations.” – Natalie Spacco, HMCC – Sr. Buyer & Team Lead, Hotel Procurement

In Closing:

M&IW is committed to the professional development and personal enrichment of our team members. The focused nature of learning at a conference gives our team members tools and skills which cannot be taught in-house or online. The recurring theme we hear is the ability to network. There is no direct message, Skype, email or tweet that can rival a face to face meet up. Social media makes it easy for us to stay connected with our current network, but it also hinders branching out and expanding our networks.

As an innovative organization, it is imperative for us to stay on top of emerging trends and positive changes in our industry. So, keep an eye out for our team at other industry-leading events. Upcoming conferences are posted on our homepage. If you want to set up a time to connect with any of our team members attending, email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Top 5 Takeaways – PCMA Convening Leaders 2018

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Written by Jill Pearson | Manager, Digital Marketing & Media

Since 1956 the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has been dedicated to driving global economic and social transformation through business events. This year, at their annual event, PCMA Convening Leaders 2018, they cranked up the volume in the Music City. There is no denying this was an epic year! So many things added to its success, from the vibrant location of Nashville, to the music, speakers, networking events and noteworthy content. This conference focused on the engagement factor of events, the most critical piece of connecting your audience despite the challenges we face today, with digital distractions and increased attendee expectations.

This successful event was experienced firsthand by our very own Mae Ibe, CMP, Director of Conferences & Tradeshows earlier this month. These are Mae’s Top 5 from PCMA Convening Leaders 2018.

1. Steaming Live Content – PCMA implemented streaming content, live and on demand, from the event. A continuing trend to get involvement from your members who cannot attend. Studies show that streaming this content does not discourage face-to-face attendance. Keep your whole membership engaged by providing conference content.

2. The Attendee Journey – The attendee journey is the newest way to capture your attendees’ movement throughout the event. Newest technology does not use Bluetooth, so attendees do not need a cell phone or Bluetooth device to gather the data. Track CE credits, collect data that will help you plan future meal counts, and keep abreast of the most popular breakouts so you know what your attendee is finding beneficial.

3. Strategizing Your Room Block – Studies show 1 out of 3 rooms are outside the room block. Are you strategizing your room block based on your location? If you are a big fish in a small pond, you can be aggressive on your room block. If you are a small fish in a big pond, you may want to be a little more conservative since your attendees have more options. Think about the leisure destinations and how that will affect your pre and post nights. Educate your attendees on why they need to stay in the room block; financial benefit for the organization, safety and security, future data, etc. Plan a different experience for those who book in the room block. Work with the local CVB to determine the economic impact of your event.

4. Attendee Acquisition – Instead of competing with other organizations for attendance, you are now competing with the “no event.” You need to make sure your attendees see your event as the must-attend event. Have you taken the customer journey into consideration? Does the customer know who you are? Your marketing message may not be describing your event and/or organization the way you think. Remind them throughout the year who you are, not just in the months or weeks leading up to the event. Your attendees must have an emotional connection or they won’t be engaged and want to attend year after year.

5. Video Testimonials – video testimonials are still a great way to connect with your attendees, but use trailers instead of long drawn out messages.

In addition to these top 5 takeaways there were two noteworthy areas of discussion one digital and one in person. M&IW experienced a substantial increase in social media responses based on posts from this event. Using the #PCMACL hashtag helped connect attendees, read tidbits of sessions that were not attended first hand, and pick up tips on new trends whether onsite or just following the online discussion. The #EventBoss initiative was also a huge hit! Great job on getting the word out socially PCMA. It greatly enhanced engagement and the overall experience.

Finally, innovation was a BIG discussion item. How do we innovate? What qualities do you need in employees to encourage innovation? It is predicted that 1 in 3 companies won’t be around in 5 years. You must be innovative and embrace change, so you are not one of the statistics. Attending leading industry conferences and live events is definitely one way to stay plugged in and discover new insights.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions

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