Eventinterface https://eventinterface.com/blog en-US Tue, 21 Oct 2014 07:00:49 +0000 Mon, 20 Oct 2014 06:00:00 +0000 http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/1.0 FeedWriter Neon Events http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Neon-Events La Concha Visitors Center EventinterfaceWith the opening of the La Concha Visitors’ Center, the Neon Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada now features event space available to rent for private parties, corporate functions and other special occasions.  The distinctive shell-shaped building was designed by acclaimed architect Paul Revere Williams and originally constructed in 1961 on Las Vegas Boulevard South, next to the Riviera Hotel. The La Concha lobby was saved from demolition in 2005 and moved in 2006 to its current location to serve as the Neon Museum’s Visitors’ Center. The newly refurbished facility showcases two of the motel’s original signs – the mosaic lobby sign and a section of the main roadside sign – restored and illuminated as part of the museum’s rehabilitation efforts.

The Neon Museum at Eventinterface

A new 3,500 square foot outdoor event space located adjacent to the Neon Boneyard offers versatility as well as a striking visual background for events and functions, while the smaller, 2,500 square foot Neon Boneyard Park and the 600 square foot La Concha Visitor’s Center offer convenient alternative locations for smaller parties.

More information here.

Photographs courtesy of the venue. 

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Mon, 20 Oct 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Neon-Events
New Director Of Events And Sales At Bently Reserve http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/New-Director-Of-Events-And-Sales-At-Bently-Reserve Jim Bruels has been named Director of Events & Sales at the Bently Reserve, a premier historic event and meeting venue in downtown San Francisco. In his new position, Bruels will lead the sales and events team to increase and enhance the Bently Reserve’s tradition of creating unparalleled events and meetings. He will be the primary contact for clients and interested parties inquiring about the venue. The Bently Reserve is one of San Francisco’s most prestigious event with more than 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space.

Bently Reserve at Eventinterface

Bruels brings more than 15 years of sales experience in the hospitality industry to his new position. Most recently, he was the Director of Sales at the Cartwright Hotel Union Square in San Francisco. Previously, he was Regional Sales Manager and Director of Business Travel with Larkspur Hotels and Resorts, based in San Francisco’s Union Square. In 2006, Bruels opened and launched the Orchard Garden Hotel, California’s first LEED certified hotel, where for five years he was the Green Ambassador and Director of Business Travel.

Bruels is an advocate for climate awareness, social advocacy, community support and works to grow the presence of San Francisco in the travel industry. His affiliations are extensive including serving as the Vice President of Administration for Bay Area Business Travel Association and Co-Founder and Event Director of A Common Green. He volunteers his time working with the Marketing & Communications Board of the Union Square Business Improvement District, the Business Council on Climate Change, San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Project Inform. He holds an associate of arts degree from the University of Washington and resides in San Francisco.

More information here

Photographs courtesy of the venue. 

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Sat, 18 Oct 2014 17:18:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/New-Director-Of-Events-And-Sales-At-Bently-Reserve
Miami Commission Approves Downtown Expo Center, Hotel http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Miami-Commission-Approves-Downtown-Expo-Center-Hotel Marriott Marquis Miami World Center at EventinterfaceThe Miami City Commission unanimously approved plans for a downtown convention center and 1,800-room hotel on the site of the old Miami Arena, the Miami Herald reported.

The commission’s approval of MDM Development’s $600 million Marriott Marquis Miami World Center clears an important hurdle for the developer, which can now pursue permits and tax rebates, and push to break ground before the end of the year. The privately financed project has been long-desired by downtown business boosters, who say a convention center will help flush businesses, restaurants and hotels with customers.

Read the full story here.

Rendering courtesy of the developer, Nichols Brosch Wurst Wolfe & Associates, Inc.

 

 

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Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Miami-Commission-Approves-Downtown-Expo-Center-Hotel
Eventinterface Blog App For Planners Launched http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Eventinterface-Blog-App-For-Planners-Launched Eventinterface has launched the EI Blog App for event and meeting planners. “Our app is a complimentary resource for planners, jam-packed with articles on best practices, tips, resources, venues, destinations and podcast shows featuring expert interviews,” said Al Wynant, Eventinterface CEO. “Aside of offering a quality cloud-based software solution to manage events and meetings, we play a role in providing complimentary educational resources to all planners so they can manage events and meetings successfully,” said Wynant.

The Eventinterface Blog App is available for iPhone and can be downloaded for free here.   

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Thu, 16 Oct 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Eventinterface-Blog-App-For-Planners-Launched
Top 5 Tips To Create Great Event Websites http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-5-Tips-To-Create-Great-Event-Websites A few weeks ago we received an emailed invitation to an event. The email encouraged us to click through to the event website for more information and to register. This promised to be a great event and we wanted to go, there was only one problem, the event website did not include the time and the location of the event. This experience made us think about all of the pieces a great event website should include.

A well-designed event website should not only offer all of the information you need for the event, it should also be engaging and encouraging prospect attendees to register. With that in mind we are sharing a handful of tips on what are must-haves on event websites.

1. When and where?

Lets first make sure that no person visiting your site will have to hunt down the when and where. Clearly share when and where your event will be hosted. Offer an opportunity for attendees to add the event to their calendars right from the website. As far as location is concerned, include directions, a link to a map and parking information.

2. What is the event about?

You should share a clear description of your event. What are you trying to accomplish with the event? What are attendees to expect when attending the event? Is this a fundraiser, a workshop, conference or trade event? Make sure that your target audience understands your event. Answer any questions they may have. Always revise your event information as updates become available. Even add information and event photographs post-event. And last but not least, if you have sponsors make sure you share sponsor logos and links as promised in your sponsorship packages.

3. Include clear contact details

Who is the contact for questions and issues? If different people are responsible for different aspects of the event, provide contact details for each person. You may want to include contact details for individuals dealing with registration issues, sponsorship, program or speakers. Provide a phone number and email address, and most importantly, respond to inquiries.

4. Social sharing

Provide your visitors with the tools to share your event via social media. You can include a sharing service like ShareThis so your attendees can share with their networks and you can track engagement.  Adding social sharing to your site will also allow the planner to easily share with the event’s social media outlets.

5. A clear link to RSVP or register

Do know your audience. Not all audiences want to register online. Allow for called in and mailed reservations, and allow for online RSVPs and registrations for guest who prefer the ease and security of online payments.

Have more tips to share? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

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Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Top-5-Tips-To-Create-Great-Event-Websites
Join Our Team http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Join-Our-Team Do you want to be part of a high performing team? Are you ready to work hard and reap the benefits for doing so? Do you think you are perfect for our team? If so, we invite you to apply for the position of Brand Advocate or Social Media Intern.

CORPORATE OVERVIEW

Eventinterface is a startup company offering SAAS solutions to meeting and event planners that help manage conferences and engage attendees. Our technology platform is used by Associations, Corporate Meeting Planners, Nonprofits and Institutions to manage conferences, seminars, incentive events, tradeshows, festivals and fundraising events. Our office is based in Tempe, AZ.

Learn more about our company at Eventinterface.com and read this article in the Phoenix Business Journal.

POSITION 1: BRAND ADVOCATE

ABOUT THE POSITION

The role of the Brand Advocate will be to exemplify the Eventinterface brand while assisting meeting and event planners, and attendees in the use of Eventinterface; to assist with customer research; data entry; appointment setting, demo scheduling and confirmation; meeting preparation; general administrative tasks all while adhering to core values of the company which are service, integrity, communication, innovation and success.

SUCCESS FACTORS

How you will be successful in the position:

- Perform task in a timely and precise manner;
- Master the use of Eventinterface and company CRM software;
- Respond to planner and attendee inquiries and resolve requests with provided resources in a timely manner;

PRIME CANDIDATES WILL POSSES:

- Experience in a fast-paced, high growth startup environment is a plus;
- Strong written and verbal communication skills;
- Strong attention to detail with solid organizational skills;
- Self-motivated;
- Experience using CRM software;

COMPENSATION

Compensation is comprised of salary, benefits and profit sharing.

OTHER BENEFITS

- Flexible work schedule;
- Access to onsite gym, yoga room, showers and personal trainer;
- Lunch and learn events;
- Equity stake in company based on performance;

HOW TO APPLY

Send your resume and cover letter in PDF format to HR@Eventinterface.com. Include the job title in the subject line of yoru email. Tell us why you are perfect for our team. Address the above success factors and how you will be successful in the position.

POSITION 2: SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN

ABOUT THE POSITION

The role of the Social Media Intern will be to learn about the Eventinterface brand while assisting co-founder with the development of social media campaigns via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. You will learn how to develop successful campaigns and employ strategies.

PRIME CANDIDATES WILL POSSES:

- Enthusiasm for technology, marketing and social media;
- Prior courses in marketing or business administration;
- Comfort in working via Skype, email and telephone;
- Good understanding of computers, software, and mobile technology;

This unpaid internship will give you the opportunity to take part in a start-up company within the multi-billion dollar event and conference management space. You will get first-hand experience. Our team is comprised of entrepreneur and self-starter types who live and breathe Eventinterface. All this in mind, Eventinterface is always looking to hire great talent; and this may be your opportunity to impress.

BENEFITS

- Flexible schedule;
- Access to onsite gym, yoga room, showers and personal trainer;
- Lunch and learn events;
- Collaborative work environment;

HOW TO APPLY

Send your resume and cover letter in PDF format to HR@Eventinterface.com. Include the job title in the subject line of yoru email. Tell us why you are the perfect intern for our team. 

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Tue, 14 Oct 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Join-Our-Team
Newly Renovated Resort Opens In Scottsdale. http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Newly-Renovated-Resort-Opens-In-Scottsdale The Millennium Resort and Villas Scottsdale has reopened as the McCormick Scottsdale after a six-month multimillion-dollar renovation. All 125-guest rooms, lobby, outdoor pool and lounge were refurbished. The resort features 13,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting and event space.

McCormick Scottsdale - Eventinterface
Clockwise: Superior Lakeside Room; refurbished lobby; pool overlooking Camelback Lake and McCormick Ranch Golf Club.

More information here.

Photographs courtesy of the property.

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Mon, 13 Oct 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Newly-Renovated-Resort-Opens-In-Scottsdale
SITE Announces 2015 Board Of Directors http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/SITE-Announces-2015-Board-Of-Directors Rhonda Brewer SITE President Elect, EventinterfaceSITE, the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, has announced the incentive travel industry leaders who will serve on the International Board of Directors as of January 1, 2015.

President-Elect Rhonda Brewer said, “SITE is extremely fortunate to have such a strong group of industry leaders to help drive the success of our association. I enthusiastically look forward to working with the hard working group of people that will serve on this board.”

The following professionals make up the Executive Committee:

- Rhonda Brewer, President; Maritz Travel Company, Fenton, Missouri

- Aoife Delaney, Vice President Finance; Ovation Global DMC, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland

- Philip Eidsvold, Executive Committee Member-at-Large; AIMIA, Plymouth, Minnesota

- Kevin Hinton, Ex-Officio; Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, Chicago, Illinois,

- Rajeev Kohli, President-Elect; Creative Travel Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India

- Paul Miller, Immediate Past President; Spectra, London, England

- Olga Navarro, Vice President; ITB Dmc, Barcelona, Spain

Returning International Board of Directors members include:

- Jacqueline “Jacque” Goldy, MGM Resorts International, Chicago, Illinois

- Kurt Paben, SITE Foundation President 2014-2015; AIMIA, Minneapolis, Minnesota

- Jonathan Richards, Maui Jim Sunglasses & Zeal Optics, Grand Prairie, Texas

- Annamaria Ruffini, CMP, Events In & Out S.R.L., Rome, Italy

- Pamela Shepherd, Distinctive Destinations, Atlanta, Georgia

- Julia Trejo, CMP, CIS, Terramar Los Cabos DMC, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

New International Board of Directors include:

- Daryl Keywood, Walthers DMC, Douglasdale, South Africa

- Alicia Yao, IME Consulting Co., Ltd, Beijing, China

More information at siteglobal.com.

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Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/SITE-Announces-2015-Board-Of-Directors
Ebola And Events http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Ebola-And-Events The first case of Ebola on U.S. soil should be an eye-opener for meeting planners, especially those professionals managing international conferences. There is no reason to panic; however it is important to understand how Ebola manifests itself, and how it can be contracted.

Meeting planners are generally prepared for worst-case scenarios. We can plan our set-up, program, security and staffing to insure everything goes off without a hitch. How, as planners how do we prepare for a lethal virus that is much harder to detect and could affect your attendees? The good news; the risk of contracting the Ebola virus in the United States are slim to none. The bad news; there are many more nasty bugs out there that could more easily infiltrate your conference and sicken attendees.

ABOUT EBOLA

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares that Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa, with one of the worst right now. Although unknown, it is believed that an animal is the host to the virus.

RISK OF EXPOSURE

All cases of human illness or death from Ebola have occurred in Africa, with the exception of several laboratory contamination cases: one in England and two in Russia. The first case of Ebola on U.S. soil was reported earlier this week in a gentleman traveling from Liberia. The risk of being exposed to the virus in the United States is extremely low.

Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with the blood or body fluids of sick patients. The virus can enter the body through broken skin or unprotected mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth.

SYMPTOMS AND ACTIONS

Diagnosing Ebola in a person who has been infected for only a few days is difficult, because the early symptoms, such as fever, are nonspecific to Ebola infection and are seen often in patients with more commonly occurring diseases.

When hosting an international conference, and people have traveled in from areas affected with Ebola it is key to send them to the emergency room when illness is detected. Especially if they had contact with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola, contact with objects that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola, or contact with infected animals. They should be isolated and public health professionals notified. Your local public health officials will be able to provide you with a plan of action related to your attendees who may have come in contact with the person.

PREVENTION

The good news is that Ebola is very hard to contract in sanitary environments. You should avoid contact with all bodily fluids, and any items that have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids. To see a list off all preventative measures visit the CDC website here.

There is no FDA-approved vaccine available for Ebola.

RESOURCE: Centers for Desease Control and Prevention
Photograph courtesy of Centers for Desease Control and Prevention

 

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Thu, 02 Oct 2014 06:00:00 +0000 info@eventinterface.com (Al Wynant) http://www.eventinterface.com/blog-article/Ebola-And-Events
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