Eventinterface https://eventinterface.com/blog en-US Thu, 02 Oct 2014 12:25:18 +0000 Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:00:00 +0000 http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0 FeedWriter 8 Tips To Avoid AV Production Disasters http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/8-Tips-To-Avoid-AV-Production-Disasters Will Curran President Endless Entertainment EventinterfaceWe’re thrilled to share some great advice from our friends at Endless Entertainment.

Will Curran, President shared his tips to avoid AV production disasters in a recent webinar. Will shares his top points from the webinar with us in this post.

1. Understanding the quote process

It is always about winning the bid; some companies will do anything to get the contract for the event even if that means fibbing or skimping on the quote; things to watch out for:

  • Be aware that companies will often oversell equipment and then change it or substitute it for lower quality at the same price (bill for a 48 channel digital console when only 4 wireless mics are being used, and actually send out a 6 channel mixer)
     
  • You get what you pay for! If a quote seems extremely low in comparison to the majority of other bids, chances are something is going on. It is not uncommon for companies to build a quote with unsafe or low-end gear to drop the price of the bid.
     
  • All the bells and whistles of an event are fun and can really wow an audience but can rack up the cost of a show. AV companies will often times leave out add-ons that they know your event could benefit from, just to bring the initial cost down for the bid, then add it on later in the show if it becomes a necessity.
     
  • Labor is one of those things that can be one of the largest costs on a show, depending on the size, but is absolutely necessary for a safe and timely setup. Be wary of quotes that have a low dollar amount for labor in comparison to other quotes!
     
  • When a venue has a preferred provider, it is likely the cost will be higher for you because of back-end deals and kick-backs to the venue for referrals.

2. Details in the planning process

  • Be prepared with accurate site diagrams, CAD drawings from the AV Company, layouts, and/or measurements from walkthroughs (throw distance for projectors, ceiling height for structures, etc.).
     
  • Double check with the production company to be sure you have the venue scheduled for the adequate amount of time for the production team to load in and load out; some companies will charge more for rushed setup and strike, especially if there are highly technical components to your specific event. Rule of Thumb: it is always preferred to schedule load in for the day before the event and one day after the event for load out, in the right circumstances.

3. Communicating changes

  • Keeping constant communication with the AV team is absolutely vital to a smooth event. If you have a needed change, it is always better to notify the production team in advance despite “annoying” or “bugging” them rather than on-site when the event is happening.
     
  • If talent is provided at the event, allow a direct line of contact between the production team and the performers, the less middle-people, the better.
     
  • Whenever there is a hiccup, have the production team explain the problem and solution in a way you can understand; no technical jargon that no-one but the production team can understand. This occurs more than you would think to help cover up a mistake and transfer blame to this highly-technical piece of equipment rather than making it seem like the AV team is at fault.

4. AV team involvement

  • You know those highly-classified meetings event planners have exclusively with their staff when planning an event? Invite the AV team to them! In most cases, production people are considered professionals in their field and know a heck of a lot more about AV than any one on an event planning team does. They can help make your vision for the event become a reality, if you give them a chance!
     
  • This can also help sort out any confusion and costly mistakes on the day of the event if you communicate your vision with the production team from early on.

5. Venue negotiation

  • Venues can be sneaky and can cause a much larger headache for you than the entire event! Communicate all of the fine print and details to avoid racking up charges; for example: adequate power, rigging, babysitting fees for leaving the equipment at the venue overnight, freight elevator fees.

6. Planning for power

  • One of the most prevalent issues production teams experience when putting on events is not having the adequate power for production equipment; this is what we, the AV guys, have nightmares about before an event. Cross-reference the quote with the venue to get an estimate for power and to provide necessary power distributors.
     
  • Ask for a specific type of power (Edison vs. 3-phase) so the production team and venue can be on the same page.
     
  • Do not be afraid to negotiate with the venue about power fees, often-times it can be thrown in for free.

7. Video and image content (the most common disaster)

  • Consult with the AV team before deciding on any sort of image and video content, they know what will be best for the event!
     
  • Test all video formats prior to the show starting.
     
  • If an image or video is only available online, find out if there will be Wi-Fi available at the venue. If not, do your best to have an offline source available.

8. Humanitarian efforts; avoid neglecting the AV team

  • Like anyone in the event industry, the AV team members are people, too! This means: we eat, get tired, need water, and love to hear when we are doing a good job! The least you can do is be aware of their limits; providing food (however small it may seem) is not a necessity but is always appreciated!
     
  • Technicians have names and do not go by “AV guy,” it is hard because as event planners, our minds are all over the place and trying to remember names on top of everything is asking an awful lot, but it is always noticed when you try your best!
     
  • Take-aways are small tokens of appreciation that everyone loves! Our office is covered with posters, goodies, and little take-aways from past events we have worked. If you have any leftover swag, I can assure you that the AV team is interested.

Learn more about how Endless Entertainment can help your event here.
 

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Wed, 01 Oct 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/8-Tips-To-Avoid-AV-Production-Disasters
Preventing Event Check-In Aggravation http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Preventing-Event-CheckIn-Aggravation We have all been there. You arrive at your conference and check-in lines seem to go on forever. There is limited signage and you can’t figure out what line to get into. Maybe you will make a few new connections while queuing, but in general you are frustrated with the experience. Not a good start to the day, however it doesn’t have to be this way.

PLANNERS, BE PREPARED AND READY EARLY
Check-in staff must be prepared. The registration desk is not the place to assemble nametags and conference packages in full view of the attendees. The only function should be the welcoming of attendees, checking them in, and the distribution of the conference bag and name badge. If you plan on having registration open at 7:30 a.m., be ready no less than 30 minutes early. People will show up early!

SIGNAGE
Do not skimp on signage. Clear and easy-to-read signs are a must for your event. Attendees should be directed to the correct location and line as soon as they enter the facility. Signs should be at eye level or suspended above check in to insure they are visible from a distance. 

AMPLE STAFF
It is key to understand your program and audience. For some events, audiences will trickle in, and other events will result in mass arrivals. Understanding your event and audience is the key to success. For example, if you expect 1,200 attendees, plan on opening your registration at 7:30 a.m. with the program starting at 8:30 a.m., you will have to check-in 1,200 attendees in 60 minutes or less. That is one every 3 seconds. In our experience as planners we would assign no less than 1 person per 100 attendees. For this event we would have no less than 12 people checking in attendees.  We also employ a handful of hosts to navigate through the lines and direct attendees, answer questions and make people feel welcome. Longer registration periods will require less staff.   

Event WiFi Event Registration Checkin EventinterfaceWI-FI
Are you checking in people electronically using a service such as Eventinterface, or a printed attendee list? If using electronic check-in, you must have dedicated Internet access for the registration desk. It is never a good idea to share bandwidth when attendees have access to the Wi-Fi at events. You cannot afford your speed to crawl to a standstill at the check-in desk. Read this post to learn about checking bandwidth at venues.

ONSITE SIGN-UP AND ISSUE REGISTRATIONS
It is key that you have a clearly marked area for walk-up attendees and issue event registrations to the side of the main registration area. This will allow check-in staff to focus on check-in and the issue desk staff to focus on processing onsite registrations and deal with all other registration issues. 

 

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Tue, 30 Sep 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Preventing-Event-CheckIn-Aggravation
Entrepreneur: Eventinterface Links Planners, Speakers, Attendees. http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Entrepreneur-Eventinterface-Links-Planners-Speakers-Attendees Phoenix Business Journal featured Eventinterface in last week’s printed edition.

Hayley Ringle Phoenix Business Journal EventinterfaceA Scottsdale company is using software to transform the way events are conducted, from the planning stage to follow-up with attendees.

Eventinterface LLC offers a software-as-a-service platform that includes event registrations and management interfaces, and engages attendees with the goal of generating more revenue.

“Normally, you register for an event and that’s it,” said Al Wynant, the company’s CEO and co-founder. “With this, planners can start collaborating and attendees can start engaging with each other.”…

Read the whole article by Hayley Ringle at Phoenix Business Journal here or download a copy here.

Hayley Ringle covers technology and startups for the Phoenix Business Journal.

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Mon, 29 Sep 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Entrepreneur-Eventinterface-Links-Planners-Speakers-Attendees
Conference Food And Beverage Planning Tips http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Conference-Food-And-Beverage-Planning-Tips Planning food and beverage functions can be challenging. How much should you order? How much coffee do people drink? How many servers do I need? Miscalculations can result in not having enough or overspending and waste. In this post we’re sharing our secrets to get it just right!

In our many years of planning we’ve developed some great rules of thumb to insure our food and beverage planning is done just right, and we are sharing those rules with you today.

RULE 1: UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE AND EVENT

It is key that you know your audience. General likes and dislikes. Is the event social or professional? How many guests will attend? Are there potential allergies, or other restrictions based on company policy, cultural or religious considerations? Knowing your audience and event will help you plan service levels, meal and drink options, and how much food and beverage to order. More on that below.

RULE 2: TIME AND NUMBERS MATTERS

Venues will require that you provide a guarantee, 48 to 72 business hours prior to the event. The guarantee is the number of meals you order and will be charged for. Also understand the overset numbers. The amount varies from venue to venue and is between 0% to 5%, and sometimes more. The industry average is 3%. This means that when confirming for 100 meals, the venue will have between 0 to 5 extra meals on hand.

Planning ample time for functions is also important. Allow 30 to 40 minutes for a breakfast, a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes for lunch, depending on the amount of people and how the meal is served. Self-serve buffet options may require less time and are ideal for smaller groups. Plated meals take longer, especially if one server is used to serve multiple tables versus one server per table. You could ask the venue to have one server per table, but you may have to pay for the additional labor.

Refreshment breaks for 100 should be a minimum of 15 minutes, 30 minutes for groups up to 1,000 and 45 minutes for groups larger than 1,000. 

RULE 3: HOW MUCH TO ORDER

Ordering the right amount of food and beverages is always a challenge. Remember that you will pay for every meal guaranteed, consumed or not. It is better to order less, understand the overset and order more when needed. There are formulas you can use to be as accurate as possible.

BREAKFAST and BREAKS

BEVERAGES

Hot beverages and juices are generally ordered by the gallon. 70% of attendees will consume coffee, 20% will drink decaf coffee and 10% will drink tea.

There are 12 to 20 cups per gallon depending on the size of the cup used at the venue (you can ask).  We generally plan for 2 cups per attendee for breakfast. So 100 attendees would require the following order for breakfast (based on 16 cups in a gallon):

- 9 gallons of coffee
- 2.5 gallons of decaf
- 2 gallons of hot water for tea

For breaks we use the following calculations:

Morning Break:
Regular Coffee = attendance x 60%
Decaf Coffee = attendance x 25%
Tea = attendance x 10%
Soda = attendance x 25%

Afternoon Break
Regular Coffee = attendance x 40%
Decaf Coffee = attendance x 15%
Tea = attendance x 20%
Soda = attendance x 65%

FOOD ORDERS

For buffet meals such as continental breakfasts, lunches and morning breaks we typically order meals at attendance x 80%. This means that with 100 attendees we would guarantee 80 meals, a number that can be increased on site if needed. Most events have a percentage of no-shows, or people not participating in meal events. You don’t want to overcommit and waste money and resources.  For afternoon breaks we typically order attendance x 65%. Many people may still be satisfied from lunch and not want to snack during the afternoon.

For more formal sit down and plated meals we order attendance x 90%. With 100 people attending and oversets you are usually covered. Note however that at a hotel or resort, a kitchen may be able to more easily serve additional meals. Off-site events will require guarantees to more closely match the registration numbers because additional meals may not be able to be created.

HORS D'OEUVRES

The ordering of hors d’oeuvres greatly depends on the event following the reception. Is the reception followed by a dinner or not? A 1-hour reception with dinner following will require 3-7 pieces per person, depending on the type of eaters you have at the event.  A reception not followed by a dinner will require 8 to 12 pieces per person. A 2 to 3 hour reception not followed by dinner will require 10 to 16 pieces per person.

BARS AND DRINKS

You should provide one bartender/bar per 75 to 100 attendees. When hosting a cash bar after a meeting, approximately 50% of the attendees will participate. When having a hosted bar, 75%+ of the attendees will participate. If hosting a bar, count on 2.5 drinks per person for a 1-hour event. If ordering wine by the bottle, estimate 5 glasses of wine per bottle.  If hosting a seated dinner with wine, estimate ½ bottle of wine per guest. It is key however that you know your audience. Some may be inclined to consume less or more, and most events have a historical perspective you could fall back on.

RULE 4: LEFTOVERS

There will be leftovers. Consider donating the food to homeless shelters or distribution organizations for the needy in the area. We have also taken leftover sweets directly to housekeeping and engineering departments at venues. The people who make your stay comfortable, you rarely see and rarely get recognized. 

DISCLAIMER: The numbers and formulas used in this article have proven to be successful in our planning efforts. We do however encourage you to understand your audience, event history and venue to place orders for your specific event, The information shared in this story is for informational purpose only. 

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Thu, 25 Sep 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Conference-Food-And-Beverage-Planning-Tips
From RFP to Contract http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/From-RFP-to-Contract Join us live or virtually on Thursday, September 25th at 11:30 a.m. for a complimentary Lunch & Learn Event in Tempe, AZ. You will learn how to craft an exceptional venue request for proposals, how to review them critically, and understand all aspects of a venue contract before you sign. More details and registrations at the link below. 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
Anyone planning meetings, conferences and events is invited. Space is limited so register today. Registration is free.

RFP and Venue Contract Workshop Eventinterface

THE PROGRAM:
11:30 a.m. to noon: Registration and networking
Noon to 1:00 p.m.: Lunch and Program
 

RFP and Venue Contract Workshop Eventinterface

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Tue, 23 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/From-RFP-to-Contract
Unique Event Venues http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Unique-Event-Venues Tired of ballrooms? Looking for a unique location for your next corporate event? We found new and unique venues in the Valley, and you won’t be disappointed!

TOPGOLF

Topgolf Scottsdale, Eventinterface Resource Blog by Al WynantLocated at the 101 and Indian Bend, Topgolf is unique. The venue invites aspiring golf pros to those who’ve never walked a golf course to swing a club and try to hit a micro-chipped ball into dartboard-like targets. It is a competitive and fun activity. The facility is first-rate with facilities to host corporate meetings and team building activities. Good to know is that 85% of people who have visited Topgolf have never played golf. Learn more about hosting an event at Topgolf.

OCTANE RACEWAY

Octane Raceway Scottsdale, Eventinterface Resource Blog by Al WynantNeed to energize your team or event? Then this location may do the trick. Suited for groups of 10 to 500, Octane Raceway in Scottsdale delivers a unique experience centered on racing.  Learn more about hosting an event at Octance Raceway.

BUTTERFLY WONDERLAND

Butterfly Wonderland, Eventinterface Resource Blog by Al WynantButterfly Wonderland is one of the newest attractions in the Valley with a highly innovative, indoor rainforest environment featuring the largest butterfly pavilion in America. A 193-seat, state-of-the-art theatre can be reserved for presentations or meetings. Also at the location is the OdySea Mirror Maze and coming in December 2015, the OdySea Aquarium. Learn more about hosting your meeting at Butterfly Wonderland.

CHALLENGER SPACE CENTER

Challenger Space Center, Eventinterface Resource Blog by Al WynantPart museum, part activity center, the three-story, 23,000 square foot facility is ideal for corporate events, meetings and social events. The venue has breakout rooms, a theatre that seats 110 and roof observation deck. Learn more about hosting your event at the Challenger Space Center

Photographs courtesy of the venues. 

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Mon, 22 Sep 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Unique-Event-Venues
How To? Destination And Venue Reviews For Planners http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/How-To-Destination-And-Venue-Reviews-For-Planners Website reviews are commonplace for individual travel; meeting planners however have a tougher time finding advice about properties and destinations to be used in the site or venue selection process. There are however tools available that can help planners collect objective reviews.

1. Tripadvisor

Not intended as a tool for planners, we do however use Tripadvisor as the starting point in the venue selection process. The feedback will provide you with a general impression of how a venue is reviewed by a mass audience. If you see it rated at 5-stars with thousands of reviews, there is a very good chance that most reviews will be extremely positive.

Tripadvisor, Eventinterface

With Tripadvisor it is key to not base your decision fully on the star rating system. You must read at least a handful of reviews and see if a theme develops. If the past 10 reviewers complained about housekeeping issues, there is a good chance the venue may be experiencing issues in that department.  However if the star rating is still high, the issue may be new to the property.

Tripadvisor may not give you the knowledge you seek about the conference side of a venue, you will however get a very good idea of why the venue is liked or disliked by guests, and therefore you will know if your attendees will appreciate it or not.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn Groups are perhaps one of the best resources to get objective feedback on venues. Post questions about a destination or a specific venue in a group, you will receive feedback from planners who are familiar with the venue or destination. There are many industry groups for planners including MPI and its local chapters, BIZBASH, ISES, PCMA and tons more. 

Linkedin, Eventinterface

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Fri, 19 Sep 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/How-To-Destination-And-Venue-Reviews-For-Planners
Top Online Registration Myths http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-Online-Registration-Myths We’re in the business of providing online event management tools. Working with clients we’ve discovered a few myths related to online registrations, and in this post we are going to dispel them.

If you build it they will come

False. Its not enough to set-up the registration website, you have to promote it. Use social media outlets, email blasts and yes, print invites. Invite your audience members to share the event via social media outlets when they register. Make your audience part of your promotion team. Look for an online registration system that includes that social integration. Shameless plug, ours does.

I never have to work again

False. A robust event management system can help you manage better and allocate your time and resources more wisely.  However, you still need to plan and manage your event. A good system will let you more easily share event information, allow for attendees to manage their participation, and make certain administrative tasks simpler. Investing in Adobe InDesign isn’t going to magically provide you with great collateral for your organization. You still have to design it, using the tool that makes the process easier. Same counts for any event software.

I can’t afford it

True and False. It can be overwhelming for planners to look at the various options available to manage the registration and event process. As planners we look at what our specific event and organizational needs are. Based on those we can identify a handful of prospect tools. Then look at pricing. Are the providers charging a transaction fee and percentage per order, or a flat monthly subscription rate? Are the rates straightforward or are you nickeled and dimed? Some organizations prefer an easy to budget for monthly subscription fee that never changes, others prefer to pay transaction fees based on monthly transactions.

It’s important to look at the overall cost to the event. In research we’ve seen organizations spend $10 per transaction for an event at a total cost of $18,000 for the event one year, and $4,000 the next year on a subscription-based model for the same event with software offering more features to the organization.

My audience isn’t sophisticated enough

Mostly False. It is important as a planner that you know your audience. Its unfair to assume your audience isn’t sophisticated enough to buy online. 80% of the online population has shopped online. In the United States alone there will be almost 200 million online shoppers in 2014, and that numbers continues to grow. 

True, not all audiences want to register online. Some may still want to send in an RSVP card or speak with someone to secure a registration or reservation. High-end donors may not want to secure a $25,000 table via an online reservation system. And don’t you want that personal relationship with them anyway?

When implementing an online registration system you need to allow for called-in, faxed -yes some people still use faxes- and mailed registrations.  Make sure your registration system has a box office-type feature where you can process registrations received from other than online in order to have a cohesive attendee database. Insure your online registration system is secure! Make sure your audience understands it is secure, and what you plan on doing with their registration data.

Want to learn how Eventinterface can help you manage your registration process most cost-effectively? Visit us and sign up for free demo.

Share your thoughts via Twitter or Facebook.

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Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-Online-Registration-Myths
Building A Solid Foundation For Your Events http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Building-A-Solid-Foundation-For-Your-Events A poorly negotiated deal and not fully understanding a venue contract can cost an organization dearly. During our September 25 complimentary Lunch and Learn event you will discover how to build a solid foundation for your events and conferences. You will learn how to craft an exceptional venue request for proposals, how to review proposals critically, and understand all aspects of a venue contract before you sign.  You will walk away with the tools and knowledge to be secure in the whole process from RFP, negotiation to contract.

OUR SPEAKERS

Al Wynant Eventinterface Online RegistrationsAL WYNANT
CEO of Eventinterface.

Al Wynant brings 25 years of meeting management expertise to the table. He has planned and managed meetings and events from 50 to 125,000 attendees in six countries on two continents. He intimately understands the many aspects of meeting management, and how technology can make the complicated process of managing events easier. Al has managed events for Wells Fargo Bank, Touchtone Pictures, Pope John Paul II, Up with People amongst many others.

He has worked as a Marketing and Public Relations Representative at Up with People, managing cast concert tours in the United States, Switzerland, Belgium and the UK, and managed the company’s staging programs in Tucson and Denver. Al managed the office of Senator D’Hooghe in the Belgian Senate and was responsible for all events, operations, appointments and Town Halls. He ran event management firm A6 where he was responsible for the management of a large variety of conferences and events in the Southwest and in Atlanta, High Point and New York City.

Al is a frequent speaker and workshop presenter on the topic of event and meeting planning, and event technology, participates frequently in podcast series Event TALK! and blogs on the topic of event and meeting management.

Al served as Chairman of the Board of Gabriel’s Angels,. he served as the Development Chair at the Up with People International Alumni Association, and has served as a Board Member at Girl Scouts.

Kate Snapp, Marriott International EventinterfaceKATE SNAPP
Sales Executive with Marriott International

A hospitality veteran of over 30 years, Kate Snapp has worked all over the west for some of the most well-known and respected hotel companies in the world. 

In addition to being a leader in the companies she has worked for she has also been a leader in the industry, as well as the community.  She is a Member of the Marriott International Business Council, T2 Trainer for Marriott International, the Fundraising & Events Director for the Oro Valley Dolphins Football and Cheer Organization, Member of the EduCon Committee for Meeting Professionals International and just finished her reign as a Member of the Board of Casas Christian School.  She is a Past President of HSMAI, and remains equally involved as a member in both civic and professional organizations. 

Kate’s trained and presented to groups of 5-5,000.  She is currently a Sales Executive with Marriott International.  In her current position Kate’s primary responsibilities are Total Account Management and Business Development.  The key to her success is based upon building and maintaining strong key relationships. 

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Anyone planning meetings, conferences and events is invited. Space is limited so register early. Registration is free.

THE PROGRAM:

11:30 a.m. to noon: Registration and networking
Noon to 1:00 p.m.: Lunch and Program
1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Networking

MORE INFORMATION:

The Lunch and Learn is hosted at MAC6, 1430 West Broadway Road, Suite 201 in Tempe, AZ.  More information and registration here

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Mon, 15 Sep 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Building-A-Solid-Foundation-For-Your-Events
Top 5 Must Haves In The Event Planner Kit http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-5-Must-Haves-In-The-Event-Planner-Kit Planners must be prepared at all times to meet the needs of clients, attendees, vendors and venues. Being prepared means we need a toolkit that allows us to be ready for about anything under the rainbow. 

In this post we list the essentials to be included in every planner’s toolbox. 

1. An extra battery and charger for your mobile phone.

We yet have to find a mobile phone robust enough to withstand the heavy demands planners place on them, and have them last throughout the day. Having an extra battery and charger on hand is a must. One battery can charge while the other is in use.

2. A box with must-have office and electronic supplies.

Various kinds of tape (duct tape fixes anything), glue stick, scissors, paper clips, stapler and staples, push pins, note paper and paper pads, box cutter, Velcro, batteries, pens and pencils, markers, ruler and measuring tape, rubber bands, hammer, a small box of nails, Phillips and flat-head screwdriver, garbage bags, packing tape and twine, flash light with extra batteries, glass cleaner, paper towel, disinfectant wipes and spray, hand sanitizer, deodorizing spray, and extra printer cartridges. A small sewing kit can come in handy also.  

It is also wise to have a handful of electronic supplies in your box such as extension cords, power strips, surge protectors, CDs, DVDs, digital camera with the cable to charge it, a portable Wi-Fi device and thumb drives.

3. A First-Aid kit.

Most prepackaged kits you purchase at your nearest drugstore will contain most, if not all, of what may be needed. A first-aid kit should contain sterile bandages and gauze pads, absorbent compresses, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, hand sanitizer, hydrogen peroxide spray, rolled gauze bandage, adhesive tape, cotton balls, cotton swabs, disposable gloves, sterile eye wash, instant ice pack, tweezers, scissors, over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and aspirin. It should have over-the-counter antihistamine and anti-diarrhea meds, thermometer and a first aid manual.

4. A copy of the event schedule and emergency procedures.

A copy of the event schedule with all contact information related to the event, vendors, venue, staff, volunteers and emergency contacts is a must for every planner. It should never leave your side.  It should also have any information regarding emergency procedures during the event.

5. Just for us!

As planners we always keep a mini First-Aid kit for our own use to combat headaches, dry lips and strained eyes.  Our private box also has mints, gum, deodorant, snacks and energy bars, stain removing pads, tissue, and wet wipes. And perhaps in the hidden compartment a bottle of our favorite liquor for when it is all over.

Have your own favorite must haves? Send them to us via Twitter or Facebook.

 

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Fri, 12 Sep 2014 07:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-5-Must-Haves-In-The-Event-Planner-Kit
Top Tips For Great Event Name Badges http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-Tips-For-Great-Event-Name-Badges Speaking with planners we learn about their frustrations, and one of the items that comes up a lot are event name badges. In this post we’re sharing top tips to get them right for your next event.

Please hold the handwritten sticky labels

Planners spend a lot of money on events, but tend to want to save a few dollars on name badges and lanyards. Not a good idea! Attendees too spend a lot of money coming to your event. Name badges allow for networking, it’s the first thing people look at when they meet someone. It is part of your event brand and a feature of your event. Insure that right from the start you have ample money in your budget to produce an excellent name badge and lanyard.

Pick the right size

There seems to be a trend to increase the size in name badges. Recently, I attended an event and the badges were about 4 ½ inches wide and 10 inches long. They were filled with sponsor logos, my name and affiliation was still only about 1/8th of the badge. Each time I sat down the badge crumpled in my lap. At the first break most attendees had removed their badges. They were just too big.

Badges need to do one thing and one thing very well: share a person’s name, title, affiliation and perhaps where they came from. I know some planners will disagree with me on this. All of the operational stuff on name badges may help the planner, however confusing name badges take away from the networking value for the attendees.

Reading glasses required

It is not OK to print all information on badges in a 12-point font. It is simply too small. If you have to squint at someone’s name badge to read his or her name, the text is too small. The first line on the badge should be in an as large font as possible and should be the person’s first name, or full name, depending on the formality of the audience. The second line could be the last name or the title of the person. You can add affiliation and location on the 3rd and 4th line in smaller fonts. Stay away from elaborate fonts also. Sans serif fonts are preferred.

Barcodes or QR-Codes

Aside of legible text, name badges can be enhanced with simple QR- or Barcodes adding more value to the badge. Registration software such as Eventinterface will let planners generate name badges directly from the system. Badges will include a QR-Code or barcode that ties to information. At Eventinterface the QR-Code connects to the attendee’s contact information and anyone at the event with a smartphone using a QR-code reader or the Eventinterface app can scan the code and collect the contact details. No more need to collect hundreds of business cards and enter them manually post-event.

Branding

Your badges and lanyards are one of the few items at an event that have a constant presence. They should reflect your event or company’s brand. They badges can include a logo, and be full color, but the branding should not interfere with the information that needs to be shared with the audience.

ALL CAPS and misSPellED names

Nothing is more annoying than an attendee walking up to the registration desk and stating that his or her information is misspelled on the badge. Most events use online sign ups and attendees enter their own information. With so many variations on names, a planner never really knows if a name is misspelled, and we assume that attendees are actually capable of spelling their own name correctly. Same counts for the attendees who love to write their name in all CAPS. Annoying right?

As planners we must figure out if our guest relations policies are to reprint any nametag if requested or if we put policies in place to encourage attendees to get it right at the sign-up stage?

Last year I signed up for an event and the planner had clearly spelled out on the event registration page that the information on the name badge would be exactly as I would input it during the sign up process. If somehow I misspelled the information and needed a new badge at the event I was warned that I would have to pay the equivalent of an early registration fee to get a replacement badge. Interestingly enough there were no misspelled nametags for this event.

One sided, two sided, programs?

Unless using a pinned on name badge, they rarely remain in a position where you can read the badge. Some planners will provide name information on one side, and program details on the other side of the name badge. At the event half of the audience is showing program information the other their name. Name badges should be what they are named after, share names and names only. I’m a fan of printing name badges two-sided, so no matter how they twist and turn, you can always read the name, and isn’t that what a name badge is all about?

What are your tips for badging? Share then with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thu, 11 Sep 2014 08:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-Tips-For-Great-Event-Name-Badges
All-Suite Delano Las Vegas Debuts http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/AllSuite-Delano-Las-Vegas-Debuts Last week, the luxury, all-suite Delano Las Vegas debuted steps from the 1.7 million square feet Mandalay Bay Convention Center. The resort will kick off in style with the official invite-only grand opening celebration September 18 hosted by actress and tastemaker Jaime King and celebrity fashion designer Charlotte Ronson.

Delano Las Vegas Penthouse Suite at EventinterfacePenthouse Suite Living Room

This non-gaming and non-smoking South Beach-styled hotel replaced THEhotel at Mandalay Bay. The property was fully remodeled, offers 1,100 guest rooms and 20,000 square feet of meeting space. There are 31 meetings rooms and four boardrooms. A breakfast and lunch space on the top floor offers 16,000 square feet of function space with spectacular views. The tower also offers the 1,200+ square feet Sage Living Room, outfitted in signature Delano décor suitable for any stylish business gathering.

Delano Las Vegas Penthouse Suite at EventinterfaceDelano Penthouse Suite Bedroom

Standard guestrooms are anything but ordinary.  Each suite offers a private bedroom, adjoining living room and spacious spa-style bath. The property also offers Panoramic Suites, Penthouse Superior Suites and has dog-friendly suites available. Guests staying at the Delano Las Vegas can enjoy all that the AAA Four Diamond Award-winning Mandalay Bay property has to offer.

For more information and to book your events visit www.delanolasvegas.com

Photographs courtesy of the property. 

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Tue, 09 Sep 2014 16:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/AllSuite-Delano-Las-Vegas-Debuts
5 Ways To Use Eventinterface You Never Thought Of Before http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/5-Ways-To-Use-Eventinterface-You-Never-Thought-Of-Before Eventinterface is an innovative tool. It has tons of options to engage your attendees and manage your events more easily. This post highlights 5 ways to use Eventinterface in ways you never have thought of before.

TIP 1: Save on printing cost by sharing your event materials digitally.

Did you know you can upload Word docs, Excel, PDF and PowerPoint, video and photo files to share with registered attendees easily using the Event Media function? Attendees can view materials online and via our free iPhone App.

TIP 2: Did you know we have a great free iPhone App for planners and attendees?

You can manage attendee check-in by scanning tickets or checking in attendees manually with your iPhone. You can upload and view event photographs and video. You can chat with attendees, and you can view planning documents. You can download the App for free at the iTunes store or by clicking here

TIP 3: Generate additional event revenue.

Have tons of prospect attendees who can’t make the event and would love to access to your event materials? You can upload all materials, video and PowerPoint presentations, and sell access post-event. You can upload materials easily via the Event Media function in the Tools Section of your event management page.

TIP 4: Communicate with your attendees onsite.

Have you used the Event SMS feature and Chat feature on the iPhone App yet? You can send text messages to attendees with event updates pre-event and during the event from your planner account and via the iPhone App. You can also chat one-on-one with attendees via the iPhone App.

TIP 5: Leave the binders in the office.

You can upload your planning documents in the Project Files section of your event management page, and use your iPhone or other Web-enables devices to view your materials at the event. Your fellow planners can upload and edit docs also. Using this tool allows you to have all materials easily accessible from one location.

Interested in using Eventinterface? Start today by clicking here

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Mon, 08 Sep 2014 10:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/5-Ways-To-Use-Eventinterface-You-Never-Thought-Of-Before
Eventinterface Welcomes Bill F. Miller To Its Professional Advisory Board http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Eventinterface-Welcomes-Bill-F-Miller-To-Its-Professional-Advisory-Board Eventinterface is thrilled to welcome Bill F. Miller, Managing Director of Mergers & Acquisitions at Clear Growth Capital to our Professional Advisory Board.

Mr. Miller was formerly President of the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. He was V.P. of Marketing at the Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Partner and Vice President at Travel Destination Company, a consulting firm to destinations. 

His current company, Clear Growth is an established advisory and placement boutique investment-banking firm based in Scottsdale serving CEOs of midsized companies in western states. The two major areas of focus are growth capital options for midsized businesses and M&A services. Mergers & acquisitions includes pre-consulting, valuation, confidential campaigns, qualifying prospective buyers, negotiations, and due diligence.  For capital options services, Clear Growth serves strong emerging growth companies: developing private capital options over $1 million with equity or debt from venture and private capital groups as well as institutional funds.

Bill is a founding Board Member of the Arizona Business Council 2013 Association of Professional Advisors; past Chair at KAET-TV Advance Committee for Eight (ACE); former VP and Board at Enterprise Network; Co-Founder and Past Board at the North Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, and has been involved with various charitable organizations such as American Cancer Society Golf Committee.

Bill joins Kiran “Raj” RajBhandary - President at V12 Studios, Jeanne Leckie - The Leckie Group, Jeremy Babendure, Ph.D. - Executive Director at the AZ SciTech Festival, Terry Mullane - Principal at The Business Plumber and Scott and Kyle McIntosh, Co-Founders at MAC6, Debi Caron - Partner and Director of Marketing & Business Development at Trans-West Network Solutions and Susan Ratliff – The Exhibit Expert.  

 

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Fri, 05 Sep 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Eventinterface-Welcomes-Bill-F-Miller-To-Its-Professional-Advisory-Board
By The Numbers http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/By-The-Numbers The numbers are in. Want to know the average duration of online registrations? How about peak times when online registrations are processed? We have the numbers.

We have evaluated a sampling of meetings and events by planners using Eventinterface to manage their projects. Although not scientific, we believe these numbers give you a great insight into the online registration process.

BY THE NUMBERS:

Average time an event is for sale online: 138 days

Average duration of early registration period: 91 days

% of registrations received during early registration: 46%

On average 87% of transactions are conducted online when attendees are given an online and traditional method to sign up with.

6% of total registrations are received on the actual cut off day from early to late registration with more than 50% of those in the last 6 hours of the cut-off.

The monetary difference between early and late registration of events with a full registration fee less than $600 averages 10%. Events higher than $600 are 15% to 20%.

Based on meetings and events by planners using Eventinterface to manage their projects hosted between July 2013 and August 2014. 

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Wed, 03 Sep 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/By-The-Numbers
The Dirty Truths About Online Event Tools http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/The-Dirty-Truths-About-Online-Event-Tools We are in the business of providing online event management tools. During our research and working with clients we have discovered more than a few frustrated planners. Some of the frustration stems from unrealistic expectations set by the planner based on promises made by providers. Others perhaps from a lack of understanding related to the capabilities of the tools they implement. In this post we are looking at a few of these issues. We think it will help planners make educated decisions when looking at implementing online tools to manage meetings and events. 

The “implement our tool and see increased registrations” sales pitch.

We are not big fans of this sales pitch by registration software providers. It implies that by implementing an online registration tool planners will see an automatic increase in sign-ups. Perhaps when online registrations became a reality about 10 years ago a subtle increase could be detected in sign ups. Online registration provides attendees with a tool to sign up whenever they want; however, providing the tool isn’t likely to increase attendance. Marketing increases attendance. A good tool will allow for attendees to help in the marketing efforts of your events by sharing it with their social media circles and therefore the possibility of increased attendance.

Hooray, I never have to work again.

A robust event management system can help you manage better and allocate your time and resources more wisely.  However, you still need to plan and manage your event. A good system will let you more easily share event information, allow for attendees to manage their participation, and make certain administrative tasks simpler. Investing in Adobe InDesign isn’t going to magically provide you with great collateral for your organization. You still have to design it, using the tool that makes the process easier. Same counts for any event software.

A lot of the customer service work planners are involved in relates to managing attendees. At times more than 35% of overall planning time is spend on dealing with attendees pre- and post-event. Some online tools, such as Eventinterface allow for attendees to manage their participation from reprinting receipts and tickets, changing event preferences, digital access to event data and more. By providing these tools, planners can indeed save on planning time.  

I think it is easy to use and safe. Is it?

It is important as a planner that you know your audience. Yes, 80% of the online population has shopped online. In the United States alone there will be almost 200 million online shoppers in 2014, and that numbers continues to grow.  We have noticed however that some audiences have been unnerved by the recent data breaches at large retail outlets and websites.

Also true is that not all audiences want to register online. Some may still want to send in an RSVP card or speak with someone to secure a registration or reservation. High-end donors may not want to secure a $25,000 table via an online reservation system. And don’t you want that personal relationship with them anyway? When implementing an online registration system you need to allow for called-in, faxed -yes some people still use faxes- and mailed registrations.  Make sure your registration system has a box office-type feature where you can process registrations received from other than online in order to have a cohesive attendee database.

Insure your online registration system is secure! Make sure your audience understands it is secure, and what you plan on doing with their registration data. Make sure that the software you use does not store credit card information and that any attendee data stored in the “cloud” is secure.

“We are the most cost-effective solution” pitch.

It can be overwhelming for planners to look at the various options available to manage the registration and event process. As planners we look at what our specific event and organizational needs are. Based on those we can identify a handful of prospect tools. Then look at pricing. Are the providers charging a transaction fee and percentage per order, or a flat monthly subscription rate? Are the rates straightforward or are you nickeled and dimed? Some organizations prefer an easy to budget for monthly subscription fee that never changes, others prefer to pay transaction fees based on monthly transactions. It’s important to look at the overall cost to the event.

Just last week we had an opportunity to listen to a pitch of a company who tried to convince that their online solution was more cost-effective than two others. In truth, the solution cost the same as one it was compared to, and twice as much as the other company the sales person compared it to.

In research we’ve seen organizations spend $10 per transaction for an event at a total cost of $18,000 for the event one year, and $4,000 the next year on a subscription-based model for the same event with software offering more features to the organization. Will you be locked in a multi event or multiyear contract? Is it really more cost-effective investing the equivalent of a person’s salary in your event software and be locked in a contract?

Top tips!

- Use tools with social media integration. Enlist your attendees to promote to their circles via social media.

- Allow attendees to manage their participation and access to data and save on planning time.

- Implement a solution with a pricing and support model that works for you, your organization and attendees.

- Understand the opportunities and challenges of the system you want to implement.

 

Want to learn how Eventinterface can help you manage your events and conferences? Visit us and sign up for free demo

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Fri, 29 Aug 2014 07:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/The-Dirty-Truths-About-Online-Event-Tools
Hiring A Video Production Company For Your Event. http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Hiring-A-Video-Production-Company-For-Your-Event You need a video to promote your conference, film your keynote speaker. Maybe you want a highlights reel of your event. There are many options, pricing seems all over the map. Hiring a video production company may seem daunting. Where do you start? What questions should you ask? What information do you need to bring to the table when meeting with a production house?

We sat down with Shane Sandler, Founder and CEO of INCOMING! Productions, LLC, who shared his top tips for someone to consider when hiring a video production company.

TIP 1: Be clear on purpose and type of video. 

What type of video do you want? What is the purpose of your video?

Be clear on what you are looking for. Do you need a one-minute explainer video or teaser? Do you want to film your speakers and share these presentations after the event? How will the media be used afterwards? When will you need the finished product?

TIP 2: Articulate your vision with examples.

It is always helpful to a production company if you can share some examples of videos that represent the concept or feel of the video you want. Visual representations will put clarity around the creative process. It will also help the production company understand what the desired production values are, and how involved the production may need to become. Planners may present great inspiration videos, however after speaking with the production house realize the cost of creating the type of video based on the example may not be in the budget. The production house can recommend alternatives.

TIP 3: Defining your budget.

It is critical to understand how much you are willing to spend on a video. You do get what you pay for. It is helpful for the production house to understand the number you want to stay within. This will help them build a realistic proposal, or you may realize that the anticipated video may not fit in the desired budget.

During negotiation find out how you will be billed. Is it on a project basis, most commonly used by larger production houses? Is it hourly for filming, and per minute for editing, or per second for animation? What is, and what is not included in the proposal or estimate? Get a good understanding of the implications of change orders, additional edit costs and reshoots.

TIP 4: What’s your style?

Understand your production company’s style. Does it align with the style you are looking for? Independent production companies are mostly small shops driven by the creative vision of a small team. Most small production companies have their own distinct style. Finding out is easy. Many showcase previous work on their websites and you will see a style emerge when browsing their portfolio. Does their style meet your brand guidelines?

TIP 5: Understanding the editing process.

When editing is required it is standard to receive a rough draft of the video to review overall style and concept before going into final edit. Most companies will provide you with the rough draft, a cleaned up version and the final version as part of the quoted price. Planners must have a good understanding what is included and the implications of additional edits on budget and delivery date of the finished video.

Shane Sandler started INCOMING! Productions, LLC in 2011. He holds a Master Degree in Management from Arizona State University. Shane’s favorite shoots have been behind the scenes at concerts, and skydiving events. You can reach Shane at 602-432-3781. His website is INCOMINGproductions.com

 

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Wed, 27 Aug 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Hiring-A-Video-Production-Company-For-Your-Event
Top Venue Site Visit Tips For Meeting Planners – Part 2 Wi-Fi http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-Venue-Site-Visit-Tips-For-Meeting-Planners--Part-2-WiFi The use of smart phones and tablets at conferences has exploded. Thousands of devices gobbling up every bit of bandwidth possible, slowing down traffic to a crawl.

Attendees become frustrated and exhibitor demos become useless. Your event mobile app doesn’t work. The social media campaign you had hoped to integrate is a bust, and attendees leave because it hinders their productivity.

As addressed in Part 1 of this post, a thorough venue site visit is key to the success of your conference. We addressed accessibility, power and rigging then. In this post we are concentrating on Wi-Fi.

So, how do you prevent Wi-Fi gridlock? Simple, you develop a detailed needs assessment, discover resources and implement a plan.

STEP 1

Take a in-depth look at your event and venue. Where will you need Internet access? The registration desk? Keynote session? Exhibit hall? Breakout rooms?

How does the venue deliver service to these areas? Is it Wi-Fi or Ethernet drops?  Are there separate networks? What is the overall capacity? More on all this in step 3.

Will you require a separate network for event staff and attendees? Exhibitors and attendees?

STEP 2:

Determine who will need access in each area. Is it the staff, speakers and exhibitors only? Attendees en masse?

Do you know your attendees? Do they bring smart phones, tablets and laptops?

Are you sharing your program and materials digitally? If so, a larger number of attendees will access this information on their devices. 

Are you live streaming your event?

Is your event App network dependent or is it a native App that does not require Internet access?

Are there peak times? Certain rooms may require more bandwidth than others? Will presenters be streaming video? Will you use Skype or other online communication tool?

How will you support access? Will you staff a helpdesk for attendees with access challenges?

Is there onsite technical support or can you call someone if you need help? Will you need the helpdesk staffed by a network engineer?

STEP 3

Can the venue provide you with a coverage map? How many access points are there? What is the capacity of the network switches?

How many users can access each access point and at what speed?

What is the quality of the Wi-Fi signal in each room?

Are there separate networks available?

Are there redundancies in place in case the network goes down?

IMPORTANT

For events during which Internet access plays an integral part we recommend that you bring in an outside professional to evaluate the capabilities of the venue.  It is an investment worth making. Your event’s reputation may be at stake. 

Our next venue site visit tips post will address safety, security and staffing. 

 

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Tue, 26 Aug 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-Venue-Site-Visit-Tips-For-Meeting-Planners--Part-2-WiFi
Large, Flexible With Spectacular Manhattan Views http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Large-Flexible-With-Spectacular-Manhattan-Views Opened in 2012, the Duggal Greenhouse holds 3,000 people for receptions and other events that require a large, flexible space. Located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, guests arrive by ground transportation or yacht and dock steps from the venue and it’s private waterfront patio. The Greenhouse is a laboratory in new technology, utilizing solar energy, organic air purification and eco friendly building practices. The venue is well suited for events that require a flexible space, and has become a favorite for fashion shows, product launches and live events.

Duggal Greenhouse on Eventinterface

Duggal Greenhouse on Eventinterface

VENUE SPECS

- Venue size: 35,000 square feet

- Ground floor: 29,190 square feet

- Mezzanine level: 4,750 square feet

- Venue height: 70’ floor to ceiling / 54  floor to truss

- Capacity: 100 – 3,000

- Outside cater permitted

- Yacht service from Manhattan

- Waterfront patio and bar

- Security with gated entrance

- 1200 Amps available at 208/408 Volts

- Ground floor slab supports 400 lbs. per square feet

- Air conditioning and heating available

Duggal Greenhouse on Eventinterface

More information here

Photographs courtesy of the venue. 

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Mon, 25 Aug 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Large-Flexible-With-Spectacular-Manhattan-Views
What Influences Planners In Selecting a Site http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/What-Influences-Planners-In-Selecting-a-Site Chris Crenshaw.Photo by: Kerry Woo. Eventinterface

Hoteliers often hype recreation, shopping and nightlife to attract meeting planners to their destination. Chris Crenshaw, VP of strategic development at STR shared the real reasons planners use to evaluate the sites for their meetings. It appears the features most hyped seem to be on the bottom of the planner’s wish list.

Chris shared these and other insights during a presentation titled “The voice of the meeting planner” during the 6th annual Hotel Data Conference, hosted by STR and Hotel News Now.

Read the original story by Patrick Mayock, Editor-in-Chief of Hotel News Now here.

Photo by Kerry Woo.

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Fri, 22 Aug 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/What-Influences-Planners-In-Selecting-a-Site