A trade show is an opportunity to boost your brand awareness, capture leads, and even launch a new product to a receptive and targeted audience. The goals you set before the show will help you streamline your efforts and maximize your ROI on the money you spend to get there and exhibit. You’ll also be able to measure the success of the show in a tangible way.
You’re spending money to get there, from your booth to actually transporting your team, so setting goals that allow you to get the maximum return on your investment ensures the show is truly a success. While you can just put up a booth and pass out materials, considering the following possibilities and goals allows you to really make the most of the show:
- Can you capture leads for your salespeople to follow up on later?
- Can you make appointments with people you’d otherwise have to travel to see?
- Can you get your brand in front of a wider audience or gather free publicity?
- Is there any market research you can gather while you are there?
- Can you give a new product a head start with a VIP launch or preview at the event?
Launch a New Product
A fast and easy way to generate buzz about your latest product is to offer a special, VIP sneak preview at your next show. You can do demos, tailor your booth around the new item and even do an in-person trade show survey to get feedback that can help you market your latest product effectively.
Boost Brand Awareness
How many people in your industry and related areas are aware of your brand? Your trade show experience offers a valuable opportunity to introduce or reintroduce your brand to your audience. Offer demonstrations, educate visitors about your product and get your items into people’s hands. A trade show appearance can help legitimize a new business or revitalize an existing one, making your prospect more aware of your brand.
What do your customers really think about your product, what are they most worried about in general and what needs do they have. A steady stream of visitors to your booth is a valuable opportunity for data collection via a lead capture app for trade shows; offer a prize and you’ll be able to capture leads and data with ease.
Meet the Media
Local, industry and national media may be at your event; this is a valuable opportunity to make connections that will help your business grow. Make sure you have and take along media relations kits to pass out to press and that you make your mark on the visiting journalists. You could also gain valuable press coverage, just by attending and being featured on television or in news media.
Channel Support and Building
Boost your existing channel relationships and forge new connections at industry shows. From your existing partners to new agents, distributors and dealers, a trade show is a valuable opportunity to connect.
It is likely your primary goal; capturing leads that your sales team can follow up on later. Incentivize lead capture and you’ll bring home plenty of data for your sales team to work with. Use a tradeshow lead capture app to collect data and make it easy for your team to make connections after the show has ended.
Improve Customer Relations
Work with your existing customers and forge new relationships by meeting in person at the show. You’ll be able to see more clients in the few days you’re all in the same city that you could any other time of year – without the travel costs.
Your own specific goals and objectives will vary, but using the general outline above to make sure you cover everything from lead generation to brand awareness and even media relations ensures you make the most out of your show investment.
Planning to attend a trade show can be overwhelming; having a clearly defined set of goals and a timeline can help you spread things out and ensure you have a successful show. From the initial strategizing and planning to the actual day of the event, here’s how to prepare for a successful show.
6 Months to 1 Year: Strategize
Which shows will you attend this year, and what are your goals? How much will it cost to attend and which shows are most likely to help you meet your goals? This is also the time to think about your booth and determine if any changes or additions are needed to suit the space you have in mind. Review last year’s trade show survey results, look at your prospect data and fine tune your strategy for the year to come.
6 Months Before the Show
Start planning for the show by choosing your primary goals, deciding what products or services you’re most interested in showcasing and beginning your marketing strategy. Start building buzz now and your target prospects will be ready to stop by on the big day. This is also the time to book a block of rooms at your hotel (even if you don’t know which specific staffers will be there) and to order promotional items with your business name and information.
Gather information from the host to determine where your booth will be, how the show will be marketed and what materials they’ll need from you. If there is an official show or industry hashtag, now is the time to start using it.
3 Months Before the Show
Choose the staff who will be attending, clear schedules and make any travel arrangements you need to for the event. Work on your technology – what will you use to capture leads, to display presentations or simply entertain guests? Select a lead capture app for trade shows now and make sure everyone knows how to use it. You can also use this time to finalize your marketing materials and to make decisions on your promotional materials and choose a cohesive look for your booth staff.
One Month Before the Show: Finalize Preparations and Pack
Finalize everything, from your booth shipment to your branded materials and promotions. Meet with your show team to discuss the show and your goals and to hand out roles for the big day. Everyone should understand the goal of the show and their particular tasks – this is important if you are bringing along first timers or those who are not salespeople. Talk about lead generation and why making connections is important and make cheat sheets for anyone who needs them. This is also an ideal time to practice skills needed for the show and run through some sample conversational openings and demos with your team.
At the Show
You’ve laid in a lot of groundwork and the big day is here. Get the most from your show experience by getting out there and making connections. Greet visitors, capture leads and pass out promotional products; you’ll benefit from these connections for months to come. This is also an ideal time to make in person connections and sales visits you might otherwise have to travel to make.
After the Show: Follow-Up
One of the most important things you can do – and one of the most often missed – is to follow up with your prospects after the show. Organize the leads generated by your tradeshow lead capture app and distribute them to your sales team, answer any questions that arose and analyze your results to determine if this specific show is worth doing again next year. This is also the time to determine what worked well for your booth and the overall experience and what you might want to change next time. Following up with connections you made via social media and email can also help you solidify your relationship and ensure your brand is remembered long after the show has concluded.
Just before all the inauguration craziness in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to spend a weekend at the very newly renovated Washington Marriott Georgetown. You may have seen me posting about my experience there on Twitter and Facebook with their Marriott Reward Points program (I’m a sucker for free points – ha!). From meeting space to rooms, they just completed a $28Million renovation and the results of their work was easy to see from the moment you stepped into the hotel. You also immediately notice their great location (between Georgetown and Dupont Circle, in the heart of D.C.) is one of their most attractive highlights.
The lobby has been completely redone and is a modern take on everything I think a lobby should be. Simple checkin, lots of work spaces with free wifi and all the essentials (wireless chargers, snacks and drinks). Adjacent to the lobby is their new M Club Lounge – designed for ultimate comfort for their Elite and Club members and has super speedy wifi, plenty of places to charge and work, different seating arrangements for every style and hot food offered in the morning and evenings. To be fair, my favorite part was the wine on tap! With just a scan of my room key, you could purchase a glass of wine from the tap – perfect for an introverted techy like me!
There’s a new restaurant located on the ground floor and the food was absolutely delicious!
We had the pleasure of staying in one of their suites and the rooms are modern, spacious and elevated. They took input from over 5,000 customers representing a wide range of demographics to design these rooms and you can tell. The rooms are comfortable, useful and flexible for many needs.
Of course, every meeting planner out there wants to know about their meeting space. The first thing I noticed, though I didn’t say anything about it, was a dedicated office for their Event Technology Manager, right on the meeting floor level. From a tech perspective, how much better could it get? The rooms are very flexible and have the ability to accommodate groups, both large and small. They reflect many of the characteristics of more modern venues – rewriteable surfaces, magnetic panels, shared-screen technology and common working/living spaces.
If you’re hosting an event in DC, I strongly recommend checking out the Marriott Georgetown. With their renovated style and ah-mazing customer service, you’ll have all the flexibility you need to design the meeting or event of your dreams!
THE AWESOME: The meeting space at the Washington Marriott Georgetown is great with lots of natural light in the smaller breakouts and common areas. And, to top it off, the customer service really puts this venue on the map. If you’re looking to work with staff who make it happen for you and your guests, this is the place to come!
THINGS TO NOTE: Don’t miss an experience in their restaurant downstairs called The Visiteur! The food is delicious and locally sourced. And, as the staff about doing a private cooking class in their private dining room – it’ll be an experience for your guests to remember!
MY VERDICT: A great pick for meetings and events in the DC area. If your group is ~500 or less, this space gives a lot of flexibility and had that modern feel you’re looking for!
This is a sponsored post – I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.
Unless your company is already financially sound, you’re probably going to heavily rely on corporate sponsorship for funding your event. Unfortunately, acquiring sponsorship isn’t as easy as just sending out a request via email. Sponsors are bombarded with dozens of request letters hardly different from your own.
Here are six secrets to up your prospects of securing sponsorship and cultivating a long-term relationship with event sponsors.
1. Check Sponsor Guidelines, if Applicable
Some companies sponsor events so often that they have created their own guidelines that outline their terms and conditions and application instructions. Review the guidelines if one is available and be careful not to include anything in your proposal that runs counter to the funding rules.
Some companies, for example, only sponsor during certain times of the year. Don’t be requesting event sponsorship for your March conference when the company is only providing funds during fall and winter. Likewise, don’t request a fund of $10,000 when the guideline clearly states that $8,000 is the maximum it provides.
2. Outline What You’re Willing to Provide in Return
Sponsors aren’t sponsoring your event out of altruism. They do it because they get exposure out of it in return. Your Proposal should outline in detail what you’re willing to give in return for the funds. You should include some sort of tiered system.
The following is an example of what is meant by this:
- Tier 1: $1,000 sponsorship – include sponsor logo on two swag items
- Tier 2: $2,000 sponsorship – include sponsor logo on digital signage
- Tier 3: $3,000 sponsorship – allow sponsor representative to speak for 10 minutes before conference presentation.
- Tier 4: $4,000 sponsorship – allow sponsor to set up a booth at the venue
- Tier 5: $5,000+ sponsorship – all of the above
The sponsor may also want to negotiate. Perhaps they’re interested in tier 1 but want their logo on three swag items. Be willing to negotiate to come to an agreement beneficial for both parties.
3. Foster a Long-Term Relationship
It’s easier to retain an existing sponsor than to find a new one. This is why you need to make an effort to keep the ones you managed to acquire. To remain on their good side, do some nice things for the sponsor even after the event. Perhaps you can write a positive review of one of the sponsor’s products or even offer some incentive to your followers who click your link and purchase the product.
By continuing to exhibit a gesture of goodwill, the sponsors will view your company favorably come time for your next event.
4. Be an Active Partner in Your Sponsor’s Charity
Some companies are actively involved in a charity or even have one they started themselves. Offer to do something for the charity. Maybe you can invite a representative to the event and allow that person to speak to your audience.
You should continue to be an active contributor for the charity after the event. You can create a video about the organization with a donation link, or volunteer some of your staff to partake in the charity’s own events.
A charity organization is a common collective that brings you and your sponsor closer together. If you are already active in a charity and your sponsor isn’t, then offer to make them an honorary participant in the organization. This will surely benefit the sponsor’s branding by adding a philanthropic aspect to their image.
5. Consider a Limited-Time Offer
It’s commonplace for for-profit companies to routinely provide special offers, such as 24-hour-only deals or promotional giveaway events.
The idea is to drive traffic to stores or online shops. You can do something similar when courting your sponsors. If you have reached out to multiple sponsors at once, then you can give a special offer to the first sponsor that signs on.
For instance, if you’re using a tier system like the one outlined earlier, then maybe you give the sponsor the next highest tier benefit (i.e. tier 3 benefits for tier 2 contribution).
You should make efforts to nurture sponsors the way you nurture customers throughout a sales process.
6. Pre-event Sponsor Powwow
Do you know what brings people together better than anything else? Food and drinks. Obviously, sponsors want a piece of your consumer base. You can do this by hosting a smaller get-together event in the days leading up to the main conference. This will be mainly for the attendees to get to know the sponsor and their products. Make it a food-centric event with plenty of refreshments served.
Of course, hosting a separate event is a whole new undertaking and entails additional expenses. Since this event is for the sponsors, let them know that you’ll help organize it if they completely foot the expenses.
Event management also includes your interactions with your sponsors. Sponsorship is a win-win solution for both parties, so make it known what your event brings to the table. A successful event means success for the sponsors since they benefit from the brand exposure. Show prospect sponsors why your proposal is a golden goose for them.
Promoting your event on social media is a given. However, most planners have a tendency to just stick to prominent social networks like Facebook and Twitter. If it’s a company conference you’re arranging, then LinkedIn of all networks is the spot to be advertising it. After all, LinkedIn is the place for business outreach.
Never used LinkedIn for event promotion? Here are a few ideas to help kick start your campaign.
1. LinkedIn Ads
There are two forms of paid LinkedIn Ads. The first is not unlike Google Adwords where you pay by the impression or with each click. The other method is a sponsored update, which is the more effective of the two because you can target the ads to a specific demographic by filtering results based on factors like industry, job title, location, etc.
The targeting can extend beyond your followers. Sponsored updates can be seen on a user’s update stream and even on their mobile devices.
Both methods come with analytics where you can check the number of times your ad appeared, click-through rate, and so on.
Photo credit: Ad Stage
LinkedIn Sponsored Update
Photo credit: Marketing Land
2. Use Your Company Profile
If you already have an existing company profile with a decent following, then use that as a primary outlet for reaching out. Just send a notice that you’re having an event and everyone and their family is invited. Follow up with a link to the main events page.
A LinkedIn company page doesn’t allow you to connect to people, though individual followers can choose to follow updates from your page. For this reason, your outreach may be limited depending on how well your brand is known. Nevertheless, the company page still serves as a nice main hub for sending out updates.
3. Get Your Staff to Do the Same
Your staff are part of the event planning just as much as you are. Even though some of their LinkedIn followers will overlap with your own, they may still have a good number of followers that aren’t currently following your company page.
Remind your staff that the event is a group effort and get them to do the same outreach on their end. To get them motivated, you can reward them the same way you would reward affiliates. Perhaps you can provide some sort of tier system where they get some prize for every X number of people they refer.
Aside from staff, you should also encourage anyone else involved in the event to do the same. This includes sponsors, speakers, and entertainers. They have just as much to benefit from in terms of exposure. It’s in their own interest to push the event.
4. LinkedIn Long-Form Publishing
LinkedIn has its own publishing platform where users can submit their own long-form posts. This is a great way to create informative content that helps establish your brand as an expert industry figure. Use the platform mainly for educational content, only briefly mentioning your event in passing so as not to come off as being too promotional. It is acceptable, however, to occasionally do a press release-style post highlighting the event, such as in this example with Lovegrove Entertainment.
All submitted posts are available for view on the “post” section of your profile. It’ also shared with your connections via news feed. Even members who aren’t followers can view your post and choose to receive updates the next time you post. It’s highly recommended that you set your profile visibility to “everyone,” which will make the post searchable both on LinkedIn and in search engines.
Keep in mind that long-form posts can only be submitted by individual users and not from company pages. Also, be sure to encourage readers to use the LinkedIn Pulse app, which sends industry-related posts to readers based on what they read or what their followers have read.
5. LinkedIn Groups
Promote your event in an industry-related LinkedIn Group or create your own. Whichever you do, be sure to become a valued contributing member. This means participating in discussions, lending your own expertise, or starting a new discussion topic.
What you don’t want to do is immediately begin pushing your event the minute you become a member. This will become blatantly clear what your motive is, and you’ll likely get banned by the group administrator. Focus on becoming a valued member of the group; only then will you earn the right to occasionally promote an event.
You can use LinkedIn’s group directory, which contains a comprehensive listing of groups sorted by alphabet.
6. Showcase Page
A LinkedIn Showcase Page is a subsection of your company page that has its own unique content and separate followers. Showcase pages are usually created to promote a smaller division within your company, or a smaller company within the parent company.
A showcase page can be created for your event. This can even be a permanent page if you hold events on a regular basis. This will be where you post the latest updates and other content, such as highlights from the previous event or behind-the-scenes stuff.
Once you have an events Showcase Page created, notify followers on your main company page to join. Encourage staff to do the same with their own followers even if they’re not current company page followers.
LinkedIn is heavily underutilized. Many planners fail to take advantage of this social network and its vast trove of resources for connecting to an industry demographic. Use LinkedIn for promoting your next event just as you would with Facebook or Twitter. The results will speak for itself.
You want guests to have a good time at your event. The fun, though, can come to an abrupt halt if someone ends up getting hurt. With an injury comes serious liability issues.
As a planner, it’s your obligation to ensure attendees and guests are able to partake in the activities in a safe environment. Security is of utmost importance and must not ever be overlooked.
1. Choose a Responsible Venue
The venue should provide a safe environment. Scout for the following when determining whether the venue meets safety requirements:
- Ask the venue administrator for records of the last fire and earthquake inspection
- Know where all the exits are. Can those doors be opened from the outside? Is there furniture or other equipment blocking emergency exit doors?
- Are there fire extinguishers located throughout the facility?
- Is there a clear path outside the venue designated for emergency vehicles?
- Can the venue accommodate the expected turnout? Exceeding the maximum occupancy limit can become a fire hazard.
These are the questions you need to be asking a venue administrator. Public facilities are required to follow strict building codes. Be sure the building is up to date and meets city mandates.
This is especially important in the wake of a massive fire at a warehouse in Oakland, CA. The fire broke out during an electronic dance event, leaving multiple attendees dead. As of the date of this writing, the case is still pending, but the building’s owner has confirmed that the venue has not been inspected since he signed the lease three years ago.
2. Check all Guest and Staff for ID
You should have a list of attendees that pre-registered. You should also have a system in place to register walk-in guests on the spot. People that registered should be given an Identification badge of sorts. Anyone without ID that is not company or venue staff should not be allowed to enter the premise. No exceptions.
People who try to enter without ID may simply be party crashers trying to freeload on the event without paying for a ticket. However, there may also be those looking to enter to disrupt the event in some way or cause deliberate bodily harm. Either way, people without ID need to be turned away.
On the subject of checking IDs, all bags should be searched as well. Make it known on the company events page and on all promotional material that ALL bags are subject to a search. This also includes bodily scans using a metal detector.
3. Train Event Staff
Your event staff needs to know how to react in an emergency scenario, both natural and manmade. If the fire alarm goes off, for example, does staff exit the venue with everyone else, or do select members stay behind to ensure exit in a safe and orderly manner?
What about an unruly guest? If he’s not cooperating with staff orders, how do they proceed? At what point does it become appropriate to use physical force to restrain a disorderly guest?
There is also the very serious and scary issue of an active shooter or terrorist attack. This has become an unfortunate reality, and an event with a mass public gathering creates an open opportunity for creating mass casualties. What’s the procedure if an active shooter is suspected of being on the premise or even in an adjacent facility?
4. Prepare for Worst-Case Scenarios
Worst-case scenarios are unlikely to occur, but your staff needs to be ready to respond in the event something goes wrong.
Prepare a backup plan and perform a dry-run with your team before the event. A backup plan may include the following scenarios:
- Creating a designated rallying point for guests in the event of a fire or earthquake.
- Designating a room for treating an injury while awaiting medical arrival
- Designating a room for holding an unruly guest while awaiting police arrival
- Determining who on your staff is CPR-certified or has some other medical training
Each staff member should also have walkie-talkies so they can stay in communication among one another throughout an emergency.
5. Hiring Real Security Personnel
Some event planners limit the security to their own staff with some level of informal security training. It’s recommended, however, that you hire an actual security detail. This includes a team of formerly trained individuals in full uniform and armed with items like zip cuffs, batons, and possibly a firearm. Their presence alone is often enough to deter would-be troublemakers.
The security crew will then be your go-to contact for all emergency situations. The security personnel are the pros here, and all guests and staff will take instructions from them if disaster hits.
Some security services also provide plain-clothing personnel to blend in with the attendees. This allows them to more easily spot suspicious activity. If the security detail includes undercover personnel, be sure your staff recognizes who these people are.
6. Assess the Event
Higher profile events are more prone to disruption. Would you classify your event as high profile? This is something that a trained security team may be able to determine based on factors like location, number of attendees, and nature of event.
If your company or product is met with disapproval from a certain group, for example, then it could be disrupted by protestors who may incite violence. An assessment will determine the level of security you need. If it’s very low risk, then you may not even need professional security and can make do with your own staff.
Security assessment would be a nonissue in a perfect world. Unfortunately, the reality and the times we live in call for security measures to keep guests safe and prevent a productive event from turning into a nightmare.
You’re falling short on your marketing potential if you’re not using Pinterest for promoting your next event. What’s so special about this social network? For starters, it has 72.5 million users as of early 2015. 71% of those users are women. With that in mind, this is a great resource to take advantage of if you’re trying to court the female demographic.
Here’s a few tips to make the most of this image-centric social network.
1. Create Pinterest Boards
Pinterest boards are a way for users to organize their photos into categories. You can create a board specifically for your event and include all the relevant photos, including pics of the venue, company products that will be for sale, and so on.
Give the board a name that is easily recognizable so that followers will know what to expect when they browse the board and (hopefully) pin their favorite photos. Like with most other social media outlets, you should also include the event’s hashtag for your boards.
Here’s a great example of a Pinterest board for an event. This board belongs to hospitality and event planner Sara Berger.
Photo credit: Sara Berger’s Pinterest
As you can see, the board includes a diverse selection of images. This includes photos of the printed flyers posted on a pole and folded into an airplane. It also includes a number of infographics.
2. Utilize Secret Boards
Secret boards are exactly what the name suggests. They’re only visible to you and whoever you choose to give viewing privileges to. Secret boards are a great way to start most boards. Once the board begins to rack up the pins, then that’s when you make it public. After all, a board with pins in the single digits probably won’t reflect well on your brand.
Your event board can initially be made a secret with access only to staff members and loyal consumers. You can make the board public once the pins have accrued to a decent number.
You can also set up multiple secret boards for your event with different collections of photos for each. Publicly publish only the ones that reach a certain number of pins. This is a good way of gauging the boards that will perform well with a general audience.
3. Connect with Other Pinners
As an active Pinterest user, you should also pin your favorite photos belonging to users in your event industry. Why should you do this? For one thing, building up someone else’s board is a nice thing to do. Second, by being a regular pinner and commenter on other boards, you’ll see who else are doing the same.
These people are your targeted demographic that you want to reach out to. Once you identified specific users, use Pinterest’s private message feature to reach out to these people on a more personal level. Not everyone will respond, but the ones that do may be more inclined to hear about your event.
4, Post “Epic Fail” Pics
Normally, you want to post the most flattering pics that you think will generate a lot of pins. However, you can get just as many pins by going the opposite route. You don’t always have to take your campaign so seriously. Show your followers that you have a lighthearted side by posting pics from portions of the previous event that, in hindsight, are mistakes to be avoided.
Photo credit: Busy Event’s Pinterest
Here is an excellent example of this from Pinterest user Busy Event. The board included a number of things that you generally wouldn’t want your followers to be privy of. Photos included event staff members dozing off, misspelled signs and banners, and a presentation being given before a near-empty room.
5. Be Selective with Your Images
Don’t just upload any pics that are event-related. Be choosy about what goes on your board. Studies have actually been done on the types of images that get the most pins. It helps to keep a close eye on these studies.
According to one study, for example, color plays a very important role. In fact, images with multiple dominant colors receive over three times the pins as images with only a single dominant color. The image below illustrates this perfectly.
Photo credit: Search EngineWatch
The same research also suggested that images with red tends to get a good number of pins. Also, images that contain less than 30% white space gets repined the most. Finally, images that do NOT contain a human face is 23% more likely to be repined.
To make the most of social media promotion, you have to make use of the social networks beyond the obvious sites like Facebook and Twitter. Pinterest has a lot of potential for event planners, and implementing the steps above should help you build your attendance rate to new levels.
Do you ever wish you could do more than just an average site visit when you’re planning an event? We get to see a general view of the meeting space on an hour-long site visit, and maybe even some guest rooms, but every event planner really cares about the customer service and the guest experience. These are two critical components of every event and while it’s not always feasible for busy planners, I actually had the recent opportunity to spend two days at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott to see their event space and guest rooms in action as a part of their #MeetingsImagined campaign.
I’m from New York and we often work with clients who dread hosting an event “that far” outside of New York City, but my honest experience at the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott was that it’s a hotel and meeting space well worth the location – a mere 17 miles from Manhattan.
First of all, as a tech geek, I was pleased to find that the hotel was totally renovated recently and includes beautiful meeting and guest rooms with up-to-date technology and a much more modern feel. I hate planning events in dated spaces so this was a warm welcome. The guest rooms are all sound proof (always appreciated that close to an airport) and the meeting space is the largest in that market at total 27,000 square feet. As someone so obsessed with event experience, I was pleased to find really helpful staff throughout the space (and no, they did not know I was attending to view the space) and an events team that is really thinking outside of the box. For one of the events I attended, they even had a cupcake truck!
If you’re hosting an event in the area, I strongly recommend checking out the Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott. It’s super close to local attractions like the Prudential Center and NJPAC, and has a transportation hub nearby in Newark Penn Station with light rails, Path Trains, trains & buses.
THE AWESOME: This meeting space is new and modern – you’re not getting your run-of-the-mill experience because you have event managers and venue staff that are willing to think outside the box to create a great event.
THINGS TO NOTE: I would have loved to see more natural light in the meeting rooms. Also, I would have loved to see a Starbucks in the lobby, but I guess that’s just my personal preference – haha!
MY VERDICT: Overall, a great event space and worth considering if you’re hosting a meeting in the area. I especially liked the guest rooms so I’d recommend this space even more if your guests will be staying overnight.
To see more of my experience, check out this video from the #MeetingsImagined campaign:
FOR MORE INFORMATION REGARDING MARRIOTT’S EXTENSIVE RENOVATIONS, VISIT:
This is a sponsored post – I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.
Why should you use Instagram? Well, it’s really more of a question of why not. The statistic says it all. According to one report, the social network giant has 500 million monthly users and 300 million daily active users as of June 2016. With these stats, it makes all the sense to use this powerful social media resource for getting word out about your next event.
Here’s a few tips to help you connect and build a receptive audience.
1. Create a Funny Meme
Photo credit: Frabz
Memes are a great way of adding a humorous post or two to your Instagram. This can be a post of you or a staff along with a funny quote. It can even be an image of a celebrity, an animated character, or even an animal.
Preferably, the quote should be something industry-related. If there is a well-known figure in your industry, then consider using that person in your meme. For a tech-related event, for example, you may want to consider Steve Jobs or Ashton Kutcher in his role as Steve Jobs.
2. Add a Countdown
Countdowns help build anticipation and excitement. You can add a countdown widget on your main event site. This includes a timer that counts down the days, hours, and minutes in real time. You should also do a countdown on your Instagram.
For each day, include a post that shows the number of days left before the event. This can be a graphical animation or even a photo of a helium balloon in the shape of the number. It can also be a photo of you or a staff member holding up a piece of paper with the number written on it.
For one of its event tours, the band Tenth Avenue North used the following image for one of its countdown days:
Photo credit: Tenth Avenue Nation
Here’s another example of countdown days:
Photo credit: Google Plus
3. Post Images of the Event Venue
When you’re scouting potential venues, you should take pics of pertinent areas within the facility. Once you have a location secured, post those pics on your Instagram to show attendees a preview of what they can expect once they walk through the doors.
Since Instagram also lets you film short videos, this can also include a brief video tour of the place. Images can also include descriptions. You can, for example, post a pic of the venue’s podium and add that this is where speakers X and Y will be presenting.
You can also post pics of the exterior or nearby landmarks, so attendees will recognize the place once they arrive.
Trendjacking is the act of capitalizing on a current trend, image, meme, GIF, etc. If there is a piece of content out there that is a social media trend, then include it as part of your Instagram post. Of course, you should find a way to tie it back to your industry or event.
What trend can you capitalize on at this moment? Pokémon Go is a huge trend as of the date of this post. There’s quite a few Instagram posts of places with Pokémon creatures edited in. Perhaps you can do the same thing with the venue and joke that the event – due to its location – is also a great place for capturing rare Pokémon monsters.
Another trend that’s been out for a while is the “keep calm and…” slogan. Complete the slogan using a witty and industry-related phrase.
5. Add Images of Your Flyer
You can upload a digital pic of the event flyer. This is simple yet effective because the flyer contains all the essential information. Here’s an example from a Valentine’s Day event held by Incognito Radio:
Photo credit: Ticket Bud
Keep in mind, though, that this should be done sparingly. Post it several weeks out and again just a few days before the event. You don’t want to overdo it here because flyers do come off as promotional, and uploading a flyer – even a different version of the original – will make your audience feel like they’re being sold to.
Instagram is your canvas for posting visually rich images. Use it to your advantage to hype up your next event. Pictures, after all, are worth a thousand words, thus making Instagram a powerful social media promotion tool.
Choosing a venue is usually one of the first stages of event planning. The real planning can’t really take off until you have a designated facility. Of course, choosing a spot for your conference is easier said than done.
There’s a lot of logistics that go into it. Here’s a few tips to help narrow your search. There’s a few elements that should be in place when securing a location for your next event.
Every venue has a specific aura or vibe. When you tour the place, you’ll know whether the location is “the one.” Not all venues may be suitable depending on the nature of your event. If you’re hosting an event catered towards millennials, for example, then you should consider a venue with contemporary architecture as opposed to, say, a venue located in the countryside.
You know your audience and your industry better than anyone else, so use your best judgement when determining whether a venue has the right ambiance and/or layout.
Venue fees often include outsourcing of the facility’s own staff. This includes janitors, security personnel, and administration staff. If the venue does not include staff, then you may have to designate your own staff or hire a third-party service.
Keep in mind that it will reflect poorly on your company if the trash overflows, or if there’s a safety liability and there’s no one to address it. If the venue does provide staffing, will the personnel be present for the entire duration of the event?
If you’re expecting a hefty turnout, then there will likely be a small handful that will require special accommodations, such as wheelchair access or braille. Scout the venue or ask the administrator about these accommodations. You should know, for example, whether the restrooms have grab bars, or if an elevator is available if the venue has more than one floor.
You should know ahead of time whether you’ll have guests that need such accommodations. If certain accommodations aren’t available, consider adding your own. If the venue contains auditorium-style- seating for instance, then perhaps you can set aside a foldable chair at the very front as a makeshift handicap seating.
When there’s a lot of people congregated in a single area, it’s very possible for something to go wrong. The floor can get scratched, an equipment can get damaged, or worse, a guest can get hurt. Your company can be held liable for any of these instances. Should the worst case scenario happen, you want to be backed up by insurance; otherwise, you’re looking at huge financial ramifications.
Most venues have insurance that is already factored into the rental fee. Don’t assume such, though. Read the fine print to ensure insurance is indeed included. If not, then turn to a third-party insurance supplier.
Contrary to popular belief, catering is not a separate component from the venue. The reason is because most venues have their own catering department that you’re required to use. Should you elect for outside catering, there may be a surplus charge. This is routine practice for most venues as a way of maximizing revenue.
On the subject of food, you may also want to look into the venue’s availability of a fully serviceable bar. Grabbing a cocktail at any time during the event is likely something guests will appreciate.
Some venues offer a few extras that, while not necessary, are certainly nice to have. Amenities may include massage chairs, a spa, swimming pool, pool table, darts, or anything that guests might appreciate.
Amenities also include things that your staff may find useful, such as access to a copy or printing machine, or a coffee maker, which comes in handy if staff is pulling overtime. It wouldn’t hurt, in fact, to enquire whether your staff can access the facility’s “employees only” area.
One of the most common yet avoidable planning mistakes is opting for a venue that’s too small or too big. Your venue choice will be limited depending on the facility’s occupancy limit. Some venues are only designed to accommodate 30 guests, while others can hold upwards of 2,000.
If you have, say, 200 guests, then venues with that limit or less is definitely out of the question since there’s a major safety risk. By the same token, though, it doesn’t make sense either to opt for a venue designated for 1,000 bodies when you’re expecting a turnout of 100 guests or less. Having all that open space gives off an illusion of a low turnout or dead vibe.
Venues aren’t cheap, and the price goes up the more upscale and high profile the facility is. While a memorable venue is important, don’t be so eager to please your guests that you take out a gigantic loan to finance the rental. At the end of the day, the venue still has to be within your budget.
On the issue of cost, some venues do alter their fees depending on time of day or year. Discounts may also be provided for multi-day rentals.
The venue does have a direct influence on how the event is perceived. Pick wisely, but at the end of the day, the venue isn’t the be all end all, so don’t fret too much over it.