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January 7th, 2015

If onDSCN4301fe of the goals of your business event is to engage your attendees (of course it is!), then gamification is one of the best techniques that you can utilize. Studies are revealing more and more proof that games—and the gamification of business goals—are excellent at increasing interaction, retention, and attendee satisfaction. It’s an all-around win!

Simply put, there are basic and fundamental reasons why gamification increases interaction at business events, meetings, trade show exhibits, training sessions, and more. Consider these reasons:

  1. Games are fun—whenever and wherever people gather for recreation and socializing, games are present. From darts, billiards, and pinball, to bingo, bridge, and poker, games are the ideal way to pass the time, entertaining ourselves while engaging with the people around us. No matter whether you win or lose, what matters is that you PLAY!
  2. People love a challenge—while it’s easy to say that it’s not about winning, it’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t rise to the challenge! The moment we step “up to the plate” (or table, or board, or screen) we immediately begin to dream of winning it all—BIG TIME! While the competitive nature certainly varies from person to person, it’s hard to find someone that just can’t wait to come in . . . last. Our brains, our senses become heightened the moment that we discover our reputation is on the line.
  3. No one likes to be left out—it’s impossible not to be drawn to a group of people who are laughing and exclaiming over their triumphs and failures as they all strive toward a common goal. Maybe we don’t have the skills to be actually competing on the field at the professional level or have the courage to risk it all when the stakes are high—but you CAN bet that we’re fascinated by people that DO have the skills and the courage. There’s a reason that reality competition TV shows are so popular. Even when we’re not in the running, a good game is too much fun to ignore!
  4. Games run on participation—a video game without players is just a frozen image. Without players, packs of cards or board games are just pieces of cardboard and paper. The human element is what brings games “to life”—and conversely, games bring life to us!

CRE Rentals has the computer servers, iPad rentals, audience response systems, and touchscreen monitors that can help you bring the excitement and energy of gamification to your next corporate event!

October 2nd, 2014

colored paperYour attendees have stepped through the door with your event app guiding them along their route. Now that they’ve arrived, they’re ready to begin information sharing and networking—the reasons they came to the event. However, a trade show, exposition, conference, or meeting is a whirlwind of activity and information. A well-designed event app helps event attendees organize all of the information and potential of a business event.

After maps and wayfinding, the next stage of organization for your event app should revolve around the agenda and scheduling. Your attendees may be asking themselves the following questions that your event app can answer:

  • Which speakers are most exciting?
  • Which breakout sessions would I find most helpful?
  • Which exhibitors are most relevant to me?

You event app should have a searchable agenda with detailed information on the meetings, speakers, presentations, demonstrations, sessions, and exhibitors. Attendees should be able to:

  1. easily search through opportunities
  2. select the options that interest them the most
  3. quickly access exhibitor and speaker pages that help them decide which sessions to attend
  4. move information on that session into their personal schedule
  5. receive reminders and wayfinding information specific to their selections
  6. access session presentation slides, speaker notes, and documents related to the sessions

For additional organizational support, your app can provide:

  • Documents and abstracts – if the goal of any business event is to facilitate networking and information-sharing, then your app should allow attendees to easily gather the materials they need on the sessions they’ve attended. Activate document viewing and sharing.
  • Virtual literature – promotional pamphlets and light informational reading can be presented and distributed through connections on the app for speakers, sessions, services and exhibitors.
  • Notes and note taking – present note taking and voice recording options that allow attendees to capture important ideas or comments on sessions they attend.
  • To-Do lists – allow list-making to help attendees accomplish their goals.
  • Personal online briefcase – this service allows attendees quick and easy access to the relevant information that they would like to distribute about themselves and their business.
  • Registration, check-ins and ticketing – from event registration to session check-ins, your event app needs to gather attendee information and collect data on floor tracking. Use your app to facilitate this detail for attendees so that you can provide detailed data for your clients.
  • Reservations – room booking and sponsored suite reservations are an excellent additional service.
  • Table arrangements – make this step easier on yourself, your staff, and your guests. Let everyone know where they “stand” with seating.
  • Translation services – a quick translation service or multiple language app may be useful depending on your industry and event location.
  • Multiple events – if you’re lucky enough to have regular events and repeat visitors, your app should immediately connect them with information about your events—past, present, and future.
  • Lead retrieval – for both attendees and exhibitors, gathering information on potential business leads is critical!

Stay tuned to this series! Next week—How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Six: Social Networking.”

CRE has Event Production Technology and the latest hardware to support your business event. Whether you need iPads rentals, Charging Stations or Interactive Kiosks, give us a call today! 877-266-7725

October 24th, 2013

EventTech

EVENTtech-logoThe people behind the Event Marketing Summit are now three years into EventTech (Las Vegas, Nov. 4-6), “the world’s only conference and exposition focused on using social media and technology to optimize events and trade shows.” Blending today’s technology, some design sense, and a little expert assistance, companies can turn live events into “digital+live” presentations, while social media can amplify their voices and extend the reach of the events. This is the place to learn all of this!

More than 650 marketing professionals—from the Fortune 1000, top marketing agencies, business schools—will gather to

  • learn the latest trends in “digital+live” connections;
  • consider new ideas on integrating social media with event promotion and management;
  • attend 100+ classes on managing events and trade shows; and
  • discuss new products, R&D, best practices, and compelling new ideas.

EventTech has a unique content format, “fast forward,” that offers deep but succinct overviews of the latest practices, useful gadgets, and new contributions to “digital+live” best practices. Proving that “less is more” with TED-style modules of varying length, a centralized system delivers all content via the custom “learning environment” dubbed The Campus. Whether attending or presenting, get your conference team the iPad rental so everyone can get all the content, then search for the specialized training you need—from “gamification” to advanced streaming, whatever you need to stay current in this fast-moving field.

Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW)

As opposed to some conferences that try to be all things to all people, the Customer Engagement Technology World (CETW)—in New York City on Nov. 6 and 7—is specifically focused on technology that will empower, enrich, and engage customers and employees. Experts in marketing, management, technology, and customer service lead a first-rate educational program that will heighten “the impact of your customer engagement campaigns across all channels.” CETW sessions impart the branding strategies and actionable tactics that make up CETW’s “integrated technology approach to customer engagement.”

Customer Engagment Technology World

Your customers may be medical patients, students and faculty, diners, shoppers, travelers, or some other slice or swath of the general public. No matter who your customers are, CETW’s comprehensive approach guarantees new insights—and, better yet, action items proceeding from them. Solutions may involve mobile networks, tablet PCs, smartphones, and social media. For the ever-increasing number of “multi-screen initiatives” companies now undertake, the folks in your firm that plan, budget, implement, operate, maintain, and measure them absolutely need the future-proofing assistance at this year’s CETW.

2013 LDInnovation & Technology Conference

LDI-ConferenceThe LDInnovation & Technology Conference offers tech, media, and entertainment professionals three-days of state-of-the-art sessions, Nov. 21 through Nov. 23 in Las Vegas. The latest information, designs, technological breakthroughs, and products for lighting design for live events and media will be displayed and discussed. Choose courses that suit your professional needs, as many of them earn ETCP renewal credits. Computing technologies—like Xserve RAID systems, routers, AV interfaces, etc.—are seriously embedded where TV, film, music, theater, and studio professionals work, and no one advances without true expertise in one or more areas.

To that end LDInnovation features high-end learning, from “The Art of Programming” and “TV & Motion Picture Lighting” to “Production Techniques” and the “Sixth Annual LDI Ethernet Exchange.” There are many technical details in this kind of work, so many that ongoing education and study is essential to maintaining expertise. Your LDI badge grants free Exhibit Hall access for all three days, giving you a chance to engage 350+ top industry firms for one-on-one product demos, face time with manufacturers, free seminars, and the ETCP Info Session.

Call (877) 266-7725, send a message, or use the Quick Rental Quote to get what you need even faster! We’re always ready!

August 1st, 2013

meetings tech - great new apps, in particularWe strive to keep all our readers updated on topics of interest—from the marketing directors, meeting planners, and session producers that count on our convention rentals, to the computer artists and other media professionals that rely on our high-tech gear. Today, we’ll cover 5 New Technology Tools for Meeting Planners & Event Organizers, spanning the entire process from planning, budgeting, and promoting to organizing, managing, and chronicling the event.

Some of the “trends” are new apps or programs, some are behavioral or organizational approaches, and a few are conceptual.

1. Lighten the Load—We are just entering the post-PC era, so if you don’t need to rent laptops for meeting or conference attendees, iPads are a lighter alternative. Before long, if you have a particularly powerful smartphone or phablet you may not need a separate (larger) device at all. Storage is no longer an issue with DropBox, GoogleDrive, and other low- and no-cost cloud storage accounts.

2. Business Is Social, Too—Interacting with Facebook and Twitter users is a natural, low-risk means of communicating with stakeholders and customers—before, during, and after meetings. Social media also has advantages like broad  “message penetration” and hashtags that make following certain stories or news trends much easier (#eventprofs and #eventtech are two of the busier hashtags in the event industry). And YouTube is a must, say many meeting planners, since the sights and sounds of your (past) successful events prime people for your next one.

3. They Call It “Social Curation”—You might just call it publishing, because that’s what sites like Paper.li do. Related stories, blogs, and images from around the Internet can be rmake a hashtagounded up (“curated”) into a “virtual newsmagazine” on any subject. It won’t be long before devices with flexible controls and screens are available for reading your digital mag like a scroll, too. And there are many ways to curate: Pinterest enables photo aggregation, while RebelMouse lets you make a homepage for all the social media content and feeds you want, then lets you embed it in other sites (like a real-time conference recap).

4. Digital Dough—You  may not need to carry a wallet or money at all anymore. Many wallet apps are working just fine now, so you can dispense with carrying (and worrying about) cash. You can access your wallet account on your iPad rental, your phone, or in your own (human) memory, and use it when you need it, safely and securely. The technology also means you can receive payments, even from credit cards, with services like Square.

5. One-Trick Ponies—Some apps are specialized to deal with one particular meeting-related issue. TechSpec, for instance, is a free app for both Android and iOS that aggregates data about meeting venues—WiFi bandwidth, square footage, local hotels, etc.—onto a single page. The Roomer app lets guests or organizers who cannot get a refund on pre-booked rooms try to recoup their money. And apps like HotelTonight find last-minute cancellations, sometimes at dramatic savings. Finally, Speedtest.net enables meeting planners to check a venue’s actual, real-world bandwidth and compare it to what’s advertised. (The bare minimum for streaming video is 1Mbps.)  This provides the opportunity to select a different venue, or plan ahead by securing a wi-fi rental solution.

One call to (877) 266-7725, or a quick message, connects you with an experienced Account Executive. Whatever your needs, we will work with you on unique and effective solutions to your business’s specific challenges. As always, if you know what you need you can visit the Quick Rental Quote page and take care of business right now—24/7/365!

July 9th, 2013

MPI’s World Education Congress (WEC 2013)

MPI-WEC2013Meeting Professionals International (MPI) brings its World Education Congress (WEC 2013) to Las Vegas from July 20-23. Implementing “transformational leadership” is the key challenge for the future of business, so the meeting industry is continuously working to transform itself and perfect its role as a catalyst of change. And “change” means finding the “inspiration to think in new ways and try new things,” as the WEC 2013 site explains. This is the attitude that drove the development of the first IBM-PC, just as it did the first iMac, and it’s the mindset that looks at the future and feels optimistic. Good stuff!

WEC will have the educational sessions and the people that can help you change “how you do what you do.” Alexis M. Herman, the first African American Labor Secretary, will address Tuesday’s General Session and present a challenge to the meetings industry: to work harder and smarter, and realize its “full potential as an industry [and] a global force.” As the iPad rental and other new tech tools continue to transform individuals, Herman looks to transform corporate culture, finding profit plus purpose in social action and pushing through traditional boundaries into new territory. If you’re a meeting professional, don’t miss out! Exhibiting? We are the premier trade show convention rentals firm. Call us!

Comic-Con International: San Diego 2013

Comic Con 2013The original comic book conference is coming to the San Diego Convention Center from July 18-21. Through the years (decades!) Comic-Con’s special guests have included comics publishers, TV/film professionals, sci-fi and fantasy writers, and creators from every nook and cranny of popular and fine arts. Also joining in are masses of tech heads—some in alien makeup and space-cowboy costumes—as well as every kind of comic book fan in the known universe.

There will be fabulous films, celebrities, networking, parties, demonstrations, swag, silliness, exclusive panel presentations, and downright serious speechifying, too. Comic-Con truly has it all, including:

  • a humongous Exhibit Hall (currently 460,000+ square feet);
  • a giant program schedule with hundreds of events, from hands-on workshops to academic offerings;
  • the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the comics biz “Oscar” now in its 25th year; and
  • film, cartoon, and anime screenings as well as a separate film festival.

If you’re an exhibitor this year, you know you need more than colorful signage on your great LCD touchscreen monitor rental. You’re in the land of the insanely creative, remember? You need great ideas executed with compelling artistic originality in a captivating, provocativeexperiential extravaganza. (Yikes!) Aim very, very high. CRE can help, if you need technology ideas. Consider Comic-Con’s own perfect summation of what the event has signified for over 40 years: “[L]ove of the comics medium continues to be its guiding factor as the event moves toward its second half-century as the premier comic book and popular arts style convention in the world.” You’re in the Hall of Kings. ’Nuff said!

SIGGRAPH 2013

From Sunday, July 21 through Thursday, July 25, 2013, SIGGRAPH 2013 will draw designers, computer artists, and “interactive tech” professionals from scores of nations to the Anaheim Convention Center for what is widely agreed to be the industry’s premier conference. The first-rate technical and creative sessions are the “big deal” of the event—if you’re going, there is still time to get the trade show convention rentals you need—and SIGGRAPH’s contributions to science, art, computer animation, music, education, gaming, and the web have been many and influential.

SIGGRAPH 2013 logo

This year, a special three-day exhibition of products and services from various computer, graphics, and interactive-tech firms will take place from July 23-25. In fact, there is so much going on that you really should bookmark the conference chair’s page if you’re attending. There you can learn about the new SIGGRAPH 2013 app, and read tips on maximizing your conference experience. The app lets you leave session feedback; check maps, schedules, and exhibitor information; and network with other visitors.

If you’re planning to exhibit at any of these or other upcoming events, call CRE’s expert Account Executives to get first-rate advice about everything from specialized high-tech gear like video walls to such basic but essential needs as office equipment rentals. Call (877) 266-7725, send us a message, or head to our Quick Rental Quote page. However you reach us, we are on the job for you immediately, saving you time, money, and energy.

March 1st, 2013

Game Developers Conference logoThe Game Developers Conference (GDC), produced by the UBM Tech Game Network, returns to San Francisco’s Moscone Center from March 25th to the 29th. The special “Summits, Tutorials & Bootcamps” are set for the 25th and 26th, and the exciting GDC Expo for the 27th through the 29th. The world’s biggest and oldest event for the game industry is also the most exclusive, as it has always been a professionals-only get-together.

What began as a modest “get-together” now draws over 22,000 artists, coders, producers, audio engineers, game designers, and others. It’s where visionaries join decision-makers to dream up new ideas and shape the future of the industry. If your firm is presenting or attending any of the 400 tutorials, lectures, or round-tables on game development, it’s time to finalize your choice of trade show convention rentals or get the mobile tools you need as an empowered attendee for note-taking and networking.

The future is bright

The GDC Expo is the premier high-tech showcase for both the heavy hitters and the up-and-comers of the industry. The ongoing evolution of game development platforms, operating systems, utilities, networking, and peer-to-peer services drives the industry as a whole forward. It also spurs other industries to keep pace by developing new devices and updating “standards” like PCs and the iMac.

The 14th Annual Independent Games Festival will be at GDC, too, with original games competing for attention from publishers in attendance. Capping off a great week will be the 12th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards, the ultimate stamp of peer-recognition in the digital games industry.

games collage 3

A quarter-century of progress

The GDC celebrated its Silver (25th) Anniversary in 2011. Originally focused on computer games, the conference has had to diversify to keep up with the exponential growth in all relevant tech sectors: handheld devices, gaming consoles, smart phones, tablet devices like our iPad rental, the Internet, and (coming full circle) computers.

Year after year, in niche after niche, the GDC introduces innovation to the gaming world, while continuing to update that world’s collective vision of the future of gaming. Valued at nearly $75 billion in 2011, according to Gartner Research, the gaming industry is on track to make some $115 billion in 2015. Game developers are also driving advances in cloud computing.

Zillions of pixels on the way

Before long, next-generation processors, even in a basic PC desktop computer rental, will be powerful enough for 3D rendering at two to four times today’s screen resolutions. Speaking of screens, there are exciting things coming with flexible displays and other sci-fi-style gizmos, so visit us regularly, right here at the CRE blog, and we’ll keep you updated. As for interactive games, no matter which ones hit it big on the Xbox or the MacBook, they will doubtless add more billions to the industry’s total haul. Perhaps our headline could have used one more word: Games are very serious business.

We’re serious, too, about providing you the right solution at the right time—everything from the industry’s finest inventory of event production rentals to hard-to-find post-production technology. Call us at (877) 266-7725, send us a message or, if you know what you need, use our Quick Rental Quote page. We’re ready when you are!

November 8th, 2012

Wi-Fi at Events can be QuestionableGoogle once held a press conference to announce that the firm and its partner, EarthLink, would provide San Francisco with free Wi-Fi. It didn’t instill much confidence in the attendees that the conference Wi-Fi was down until the event’s last few minutes. This is not rare. Wi-Fi gridlock at conferences is embarrassingly commonplace.

“OUTGROWING THE SPEC”. When wireless devices first appeared and the iPad rental was a novelty, conferences offered free Wi-Fi to keep attendees surfing happily. All that personal, bandwidth-wasting activity continues to this day with many more users, even as conference Wi-Fi is also pressed into service for official activities and communications.

Conference WI-Fi can be hazardousThe problem? Wi-Fi was not designed for auditoriums with thousands of people milling about, backpacks and pockets stuffed with iPods, tablet PC rentals, laptops, and smart phones. (Truth be told, there’d be no Wi-Fi problem if people would leave everything in those backpacks and pockets.) What to do? Let’s review…

EVOLUTION OF WI-FI. Standard Wi-Fi covers relatively small areas, providing access to devices making only modest demands for bandwidth. Even now, conference organizers and Wi-Fi consultants still underestimate bandwidth requirements and other factors. It is not only a matter of attendance figures, or how many attendees will have a net-ready laptop computer and other gizmos. Many things come into play, from the size of the room(s) to the amount of reflectivity (hard walls) and absorption (bodies, carpets).

CONFERENCE SOLUTIONS. Simply adding access points won’t guarantee success. In fact, that is likely to make things worse by creating more interference and introducing additional security flaws. The following actions can help:

  • Choose wisely: Read our blogs, do some research, ask questions, and check references so that you can choose a venue that has already solved the problem. 
  • Down, boy: Attendees can be advised to turn off devices that aren’t mission-critical, and to avoid downloading large files.  It won’t be the most popular mandate, but it will help.
  • Wired ports in a storm: Our MacBook Pro rental has an Ethernet port, but Apple’s next generation won’t. As many wireless problems (interference, signal loss) have yet to be resolved, a wired Ethernet port comes in handy. Of course, this won’t help all of your attendees and it’s far from ideal.  But in a pinch, it can be helpful.
  • The simplest move? Talk to us. We have custom event Wi-Fi service solutions that can put signals in places that have none (it sounds like magic, but it really works!) and can distribute Wi-Fi access to hundreds or even thousands of simultaneous users without service drops.

EXHIBIT SPACE SOLUTIONS. If you will attend and/or exhibit at a conference that you know will have Wi-Fi problems, you can soften the impact with some planning:

  • Minimize Wi-Fi: Make phone calls and access online resources in advance, and locate wired access points to use when needed.
  • Try Mi-Fi instead: Personal hot spots through many carriers can support up to five devices, but there may still be interference issues.
  • Teamwork: One conference team member can be the communications hub, securing a wired access point, even if it’s in a hotel room, and keeping everyone connected and informed. If you rent laptops, you can share files without Wi-Fi via flash drives, AirDrop (with Macs) or cross-platform with the nearly ubiquitous Bluetooth.
  • Once again, you could call on us

…for everything from event production rentals to mountainous mounds of high-speed storage, one call or e-mail connects you to an experienced CRE Account Executive. Already know what you need? Just use the handy Quick Rental Quote form.

August 23rd, 2012

In Tuesday’s Part 1, we began defining the essential terms of hotel venue contracts (a study you should finish up with your attorney, if necessary). Today we will continue with the terms Be Prepared when Booking the HotelGroup Cancellation, Group Rate, Meeting Space, Reservation Method, and Room Block.

Group Cancellation

Like Attrition and Performance, Group Cancellation clauses can be misunderstood. However, the clause is not invoked nearly as often as Attrition, and most hotels will specify a penalty for cancelled events, whatever the reason, often on a sliding scale (how large an event, how early it is cancelled and so on). You want all this tightened up before investing in trade show equipment rentals, that’s for sure.

Group Rate

When you negotiate for rooms, you will encounter the Group Rate, which is affected by the rates for different room types (single, double, triple, multi-occupancy suites). The hotel guarantees this rate for reservations made after the contract is signed and before the Cut-off Date (see Part 1). The rate should be lower than that offered individual travelers, and “set in stone” (read, “written in the contract”) so attendees can make an informed decision.

Meeting Space

Planning a conference requires you to determine the proper amount of meeting space. You may need tables and chairs for a dozen desktop PC rental units, a dining hall for a keynote luncheon, or “all of the above” (and more). The contract should therefore describe the rooms, their dimensions and seating capacity, date/time availability and the exact fees. Meeting space is sometimes included at no cost. If you don’t think you’re a tough enough negotiator to get it, study up or get (paid) professional help.

Reservation Method

Even with a signed contract, attendees at your event need reservations. Having a Room Block (below) does not mean attendees can simply show up and check in. All attendees bring unique needs – different arrival/departure dates, smoking and handicap preferences, single/multiple occupancy room, etc. – so they should handle their own reservations. There are different ways to do it – some easier for the hotel, others for the meeting coordinator – but online registration programs have simplified the process tremendously.

Room Block

This simply means the number of rooms that the hotel will hold for a group on particular dates at agreed rates. As the foundation of the hotel venue contract, the Room Block guarantees a rate for a specific period of time. After the contract is signed, the hotel takes the rooms off the market and attendees must make reservations before the Cut-off Date. Such room details as ensuring Wireless Internet Access for your iPad rentals should be handled at this point if not previously negotiated for the group as a whole.

Call or e-mail a knowledgeable Account Executive about your upcoming conference and we’ll make it a real winner. Know what you need? Visit our Quick Rental Quote page and you’ll be in and out in no time!

August 21st, 2012

If you need to book a hotel for a conference, you will quickly become familiar with the intricacies of the hotel sales contract. They are convoluted enough that lawyers hold seminars about them. Because conference bookings are often done a year or more in advance, the hotel sales contract must explain how to manage potential changes in pricing, availability, equipment, and so on.

Are you ready to sign a Venue Contract?

We are certainly not providing you legal advice on your contracts, for which you should consult an attorney. However, we will define the major clauses and contract elements to give you a good start at understanding hotel sales contracts. Today, in Part 1 we will define:

  • Attrition/Performance
  • Audiovisual (AV)
  • Concessions
  • Cut-off Date
  • Food/Beverage Minimum
  • Force Majeure

In Thursday’s Part 2, we will give you the scoop on:

  • Group Cancellation
  • Group Rate
  • Meeting Space
  • Reservation Method
  • Room Block

Let’s get to it!

Attrition/Performance

The interchangeable terms ‘Attrition’ and ‘Performance’ and are possibly the most confusing terms in the hotel and conference industries. If you book a certain number of rooms, for lodging as well as breakout sessions with Audience Response Systems (ARS) and other CRE meeting technology, the hotel will expect them to be used and paid for at the agreed rate. Hotel professionals realize the near-impossibility of predicting room reservations accurately, especially when booking in advance, and typically set the contractual obligation at 80-95% of the full booking. Unless the hotel is able to book those rooms at the last minute, you’ll pay for this minimum irrespective of attendance, so consider your needs carefully before reserving.

Audiovisual (AV)

Audiovisual equipment services included in the contract (sometimes as an “exclusivity clause” and sometimes as part of the Food & Beverage package), is often worth negotiating. The in-house AV provider may be limited in both variety of equipment and technical support. And, using an outside company like CRE for your audio visual (AV) equipment rentals, for the keynote presentation and everything else, is usually far more cost-effective than renting from the hotel.  Be sure to look into local AV rental options before signing away your options.  

Concessions

Concessions are all the extras, upgrades and freebies included in the contract. Absolutely everything is negotiable and the number and variety of extras that can be included in your rate may surprise the uninitiated. You can get free suites and meals, use of the spa, frequent flyer miles and more. Negotiate like a pro (or hire one) and you’ll save enough for extra plasma display rentals or other equipment.

Cut-off Date

This vital date must be clearly defined in the contract, as it’s the date that your group rate and room reservations expire. A typical cut-off date is from 10 to 30 days before the arrival date.

Food/Beverage Minimum

If you are reserving space for receptions, cocktail hours, lunches, dinners or other events, you will be negotiating a food and beverage minimum. This may be a flat dollar amount that you must spend on food and drinks, and you may be responsible for the unused balance. Make the hotel guarantee the meal prices for any catered events and ensure your attendee count is accurate. 

Force Majeure

Force Majeure supersedes any group cancellation clause (covered in Part 2) and was once called the “Acts of God” clause. It offers a penalty-free cancellation if your plans are altered by “events beyond control,” protecting you against losses from terrorist acts, government regulations, natural disasters, labor strikes, and other situations beyond human control.

From the finest event production rentals to potent post-production technology, our expert Account Executives are ready to help you with a single call or e-mail, or you can help yourself wit our Quick Rental Quote form!

July 26th, 2012

In Part 1, we met übergeeks creating applications from scratch, and also discovered conference-oriented plug-ins that essentially make WordPress a development platform. In Part 2,  we offer an overview of custom conference app development as well as some basic features.

Bring on the expert coders

From freelancers specializing in coding to specialized app makers, there is a dramatic surge of custom app creation due to the growing use of “smart” electronics like GPS units, interactive devices, phones and tablets. Today’s business professionals – the people that attend conferences, corporate meetings,  trade shows – wouldn’t leave the house without their iPads, tablet PC rentals and smart phones.

Since marketing strategies need to “reach people where they are” (via whatever devices they have), you will likely need a few versions of your custom app – iOS, Android and web-based (HTML). Among the most successful apps are those that help organizations connect with their members, clients and/or customers, wherever they are, with products that are simultaneously effective and mobile (like guidebook to name one). The kind of custom conference app(s) businesses need are varied, but share some fundamental characteristics.

Custom app basic features

Besides continuing to promote the event after it has begun, which requires a bit of finesse, your custom conference app must

  • have versions for iOS (iPhone, iPad rental), Android (tablet, phone) and the web;
  • provide correct, up-to-date schedules for speakers, sessions and exhibit-floor events;
  • include an exhibit floor map that scales to viewers’ devices, whether they decide to rent laptops or bring their personal smart phones;
  • enable social media coverage via Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and the new Google+ Events (subject of an upcoming blog);
  • introduce out-of-towners to the area (what to do, where to eat); and
  • give attendees a guaranteed way to reach you if they still have questions.

As you look into producing custom iOS and Android conference apps, consider using content that your marketing department has already created (website, brochures, etc.) to guarantee the same look and feel as your app. Whether viewing your site via MacBook Pro rental or using the new app on a smart phone, you want prospects, customers and other visitors to feel at home. Using certain kinds of custom apps in conjunction with one of our Audience Response Systems just might result in the most specific, useful prospect and customer information you’ve ever gotten.

Various firms and individuals can build a custom conference app to your exacting specifications. CRE works to a similarly high standard, with expert Account Executives who can suggest the right PC desktop computer rental for your new outbound sales team, as well as the appropriate Xserve RAID for your storage needs. One call or e-mail, or a trip to our Quick Rental Quote page, and you’ll have the right solution at the right price – right away!

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