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December 11th, 2014

file3021254774496By now, Event Planners (and everyone else) have realized that social media affects everything we do. In events, we have two choices: either ignore social media and hope for the best, or use social media platforms to enhance our event culture. The same principle applies to events and gaming! In our series on event gamification, this post will address the connection between social media and games. We’ll discuss some ideas to use when incorporating the two, as well as discussing some of the particular ways that social media gaming can make events more fun, while also helping to achieve business goals.

What defines a “Social Media Game”?

Social media gaming can seem similar to online gaming, and there are certainly overlapping qualities; however, a social media game is defined by three main characteristics:

  1. A Social Network – it makes sense, social games are distributed through social networks, and many elements of the game depend upon making connections rather than simply playing alone. Furthermore, social media games offer the chance to incorporate a participant’s profile of revealed preferences—such as friends, demographics, outside interests and lifestyle information.
  2. Shorter Playing Times – rather than more advanced interactive entertainment—such as role-playing games—social media games have a shorter playing time, but they have a focus that encourages repeated visits.
  3. No Cost – social media gaming is usually free to play.

It’s easy to see how these three elements work well for business events. Obviously, event gaming would be free for participants—event planners would provide it through the social networking in an event app as a way to encourage a livelier event culture. Also, a shorter playing time injects energy and fun into an event, while not taking away too much valuable time—still allowing attendees to focus on the conference, trade show, or meeting at hand. Best of all, with social media gaming naturally pulling gamers together through a social channel or platform, it is a great way to broaden networking connections—encouraging people to work together for common goals.

Social media games fall into four basic categories:

  1. Resource Management and Simulation
  2. Gambling
  3. Care-Taking
  4. Arcade Games

Of these four, the resource management and simulation games category is the most fertile ground for business events. While care-taking, gambling, and arcade games can still offer networking and team building potential by offering light-hearted fun and even (in some cases) relevant content for some industries, resource management and simulation games provide the most advanced opportunities for teamwork, goal-setting, and work-related challenges.

Social media gaming enhances business events by maximizing social networking and tapping existing relationships with other users, through invite systems, news feed postings, and user-to-user notifications—creating unique content and characters by tapping into a player’s existing social network.

Resources:

  1. http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/why-social-media-gaming-is-big-business-for-your-business/
  2. http://www.onlinesocialmedia.net/20141107/how-social-media-gaming-can-benefit-your-business/

November 20th, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASponsorships are a major part of events! As if your event app wasn’t doing enough already—your app provides a number of new and unique sponsorship opportunities that can bring in advertisers and their campaign budgets! Consider these options as you look to increase your sponsorship revenue.

App Sponsor – your event app will arguably be the most universally utilized feature of your event. Whether for a conference, a meeting, a corporate event, a trade show or a conference, every attendee, facilitator, speaker, vendor, educator, executive, and exhibitor will use your app for one purpose or another. Therefore, your app sponsorship is prime-time advertising—holding the potential to repeatedly reach the eyes, ears, and minds of every single participant in your event! An app sponsorship comes with high-visibility.

App Page Sponsors – if a single sponsor is willing to adopt the entire app sponsorship—that’s excellent news; however, it may be more profitable to break  the app sponsorship into smaller segments, allowing for more opportunities and a larger profit overall.  App page sponsorships also allow businesses to obtain advertising space and sponsorships that are targeted to their location, their service, or their ideal audience. Furthermore, your mobile event app has opportunities for embedded videos—giving your page sponsors the chance to run promotion and demonstration materials through video.

Game Sponsors – as one of the hottest new trends for improving networking, interaction, engagement and learning, gamification is taking the Event Industry by storm. Delightfully, there are hundreds of ideas for games that can enhance your event—and each game can have its own sponsor!

Branded Kiosk Sponsors – attendees should be able to access your app from their own mobile devices, but it’s an excellent idea to offer registration kiosks and information kiosks as well, and iPad rentals are a popular choice for universally accessing event apps at meetings and conferences. Kiosks and iPads (also cell phone charging stations) have external sponsorship potential in the form of wraps and other branding.

Digital Signage Sponsors – if you’re using interactive touch screens as a way to help distribute valuable information from your event app, this digital signage is another excellent chance to provide sponsorship opportunities. For example, envision a sponsorship for the video wall that is displaying social media activity gathered by your app.

Tech Lounge Sponsors – merge the virtual information and connections provided within your app, with a physical gathering place for accessing the app and having face-to-face networking, and you’ve got a Tech Lounge! Imagine the gratitude attendees will feel for the business that sponsors the comfy chairs, fast WiFi, and cell phone charging stations provided by this ideal app-accessing environment.

This concludes our series on event apps! Hopefully, we’ve helped you navigate through the staggering amount of potential that the technology can provide for your events!

CRE Rentals can provide the iPads, digital signage, interactive kiosks, WiFi arrays, and video wall rentals that can optimize your sponsorship potential! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

November 13th, 2014

8-03-2We’ve been discussing some of the many ways that event apps can enhance your business event, meeting, trade show and more. This week, we look into the amazing reporting features and capabilities that your app can offer—helping you and your clients determine the overall success and the ROI of your event’s efforts!

Due to the miracle of digital technology, your event app will be able to capture virtually (sorry about the pun) any information that you need. Owing to the vast potential of data collection and the enormous quantity of information that you can receive, it’s best to really ask yourself what information you want. Use data from your event app to guarantee that your events improve year after year.

Your event app can gather nearly any data, but popular options include:

  • Tracking  details—by location, volume, and attendees

  • Attendee profiles—who is attending and why

  • Attendee activity—by time, location, sessions, features

  • Social networking activity—the amount, platform, popular times for posting, hashtags used, and content shared

  • Poll and survey results—you’ve asked; they’ve answered

  • Registration details—overall number of guests, attendee demographics, registration preferences, attendance by day for multiple-day events

  • Lead scanning—detailed information on exhibit visitors and sales leads

  • Document requests—popularity of documents, attendee demographics for downloads

  • Customized analytics—reporting based on the precise data that you want to obtain

  • Engagement reports—popularity of speakers, sessions, meetings, and exhibits

  • Information retention—testing and quizzes measuring attendee learning

  • iBeacon and indoor positioning data—analyzing the overall success of your floor plan and more

  • Attendee satisfaction—the likely rate of return, perception of value for attendees

As a leader in the Event App Industry, QuickMobile released a whitepaper entitled, “Top 10 Insights Revealed by Event App Analytics.” Their own insight into event app usage identified the following categories:

  1. Marketing Effectiveness

  2. Attendee Interests

  3. Participation Levels

  4. Preferred Mobile Platforms

  5. Sponsorship and Advertising ROI

  6. What’s Happening in Real-time

  7. Audience Participation Rates

  8. Amount of Networking

  9. Guidance Needed

  10. Impact of your Incentives

It’s easy to be both amazed and overwhelmed by what event app reporting and analytics can capture and illuminate. Once you recover from the massive amount of possibilities, start browsing through the options and select the data that is most relevant to your goals. Your event will be better for it!

Next week we’ll delve into Sponsorships—some of the ways that you can use your event app to bring in advertising and sponsorship revenue!

CRE Rentals can provide the Audience Response Systems, iPad rentals, and Interactive Kiosks that can help you track attendees and use valuable information to your advantage! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

November 6th, 2014

file0001755351339We’ve been discussing the remarkable power of event apps. One of the greatest benefits of app technology is the immediate feedback that you’re able to gather from your audience, guests, speakers, and exhibitors! Through the use of questionnaires, surveys, question and answer sessions, forums, ratings systems, and comment requests, you can gather the data that you need to make educated assessments on the successes and shortcomings of your event!

We break the ratings and feedback discussion into two parts, during and after the event.

During the Event

Last week, we discussed how instant messaging can help you tailor the content of your sessions based on real-time comments from your audience. Be certain to allow interactive real-time feedback and questions during any lecture, presentation, training or educational session. Consider using an Audience Response System; the ARS keypads can be used for quizzes, ratings, and other interactive, information-gathering activities. Asking for audience feedback offers several advantages:

1. First, it keeps attendees actively engaged and listening, because they know that they’ll be called upon to participate.

2. Second, it’s an excellent, easy way to gauge how well your audience understands your material—the feedback helps ensure that the material is clear.

3. Third, most audiences contain a significant portion of introverts—these guests are unlikely to stop a presentation in its tracks with questions, or to go out of their way to offer knowledge and opinions that might enhance the session. Create an easy, streamlined way for attendees to contribute and collaborate by allowing real-time feedback, comments, and questions during sessions! Consider using the following techniques to promote open discussions regarding your event:

  • Live session comments
  • Voting
  • Q&A
  • Live commitment
  • Open space
  • Interactive forecasting

After the Event

Once your event is concluded, it’s the perfect time to ask your attendees for their thoughts, concerns, compliments, and advice on the event as a whole—as well as their ideas on what they’d like to see in future events.  As you construct your surveys, consider the following five suggestions:

  1. Keep your questions short and to the point. Even the most enthusiastic attendee has a limited amount of time to donate. Craft a survey that gets the information you need—quickly.
  2. Ask yourself what you need to know. Since the general patience for surveys is limited, focus on the information that is most vital and design a survey that gets data on those points.
  3. Avoid neutral options. If the majority of your attendees “neither agree nor disagree”—what have you actually learned? Offer answers that give YOU answers.
  4. Encourage real thoughts. Why does a participant “strongly disagree”? Provide an area for open comments and encourage attendees to voice the reasons behind strong feelings.
  5. Use incentives. If you need more advanced feedback, be prepared to offer something tangible in exchange for the time attendees donate to your questionnaire.

Next week we’ll delve into Reporting and ROI—some of the ways that you can use data from your event app to guarantee that your events improve year after year!

CRE Rentals can provide the audience response systems, iPad rentals, and touch screen rentals that can help you gather and display the interactive material gathered from your attendees! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

 

 

October 28th, 2014

file000282826464We’ve been discussing the vast potential of event apps. Moving forward, we examine another remarkable benefit of this modern day event innovation—real time communication for attendees. In this day and age, we’re used to instant messaging; however, an event app can use instant contact to take your networking, event planning, scheduling, feedback, sessions, and social media to a higher level. Let’s look at all the ways that your event app can instantly connect and facilitate!

  • Individual notifications – one of the simplest ways that your event app can make life easier for your attendees is through individual notifications. These messages can help keep attendees on top of their personalized agenda, meetings, sessions, conversations and more. The world is a happier, less-stressful place when we know that we have an electronic assistant backing us up with gentle reminders about our commitments!
  • Virtual help desk – allow attendees to instantly get assistance from the event organizing staff! Rather than letting guests flounder in uncertainty or hunt through online resources—set up a clear, instant channel that allows your attendees to quickly ask questions from those in-the-know, and then get back to the business at hand.
  • Instant messaging – event networking and scheduling is infinitely easier with direct and instant messaging between attendees. If your event is about connecting people and businesses, allowing them to instantly contact other event participants is a clear winner. Your event app should offer attendees a chance to connect through their event specific profiles, eliminating the need for individuals’ emails and phone numbers to be exchanged prematurely.
  • Group messaging – one step sideways from instant messaging is group messaging—facilitating communication and conversation, while also promoting team-building and communities. This is also a great way to encourage (our next point) brainstorming.
  • Brainstorming and crowdsourcing – if your conference or meeting is looking to solve problems and move projects forward, brainstorming and crowdsourcing are excellent methods for gathering information and insight across a broad collection of experts and innovators. These can be the tools that let your event app help develop the next great idea!
  • Presentation customization – if your business goals revolve around decision-making, if you’re interested in gathering ideas from session attendees, or maybe you’d like to increase interest in your trade show booth or product line, using real-time communication for gathering ideas and content can give you instant material on which to base customized presentations. Instant messaging can be used to help tailor your presentation, AS YOU GIVE IT, to suit your audience precisely.
  • Question and answer sessions – at the end of a lecture or presentation, let your event app facilitate a truly helpful question and answer session—one that allows information and ideas to be exchanged freely.

Next week we’ll delve into ratings and feedback—some of the ways that you can use data from your event app to guarantee that your events improve year after year!

CRE Rentals can provide the iPad rentals, WiFi booster, digital signage, and laptops that can engage attendees and boost ROI! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

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

July 10th, 2014

AFTER THE EVENT – YEAR-ROUND ENGAGEMENT

Interestingly, using social media AFTER an event helps to create a sense of community. Since the event is already concluded, attendees are more relaxed. No one has pre-event jitters. The travel, scheduling, and networking stresses are over. At this point, the pressure is OFF and attendees can truly reflect on what they took away from the experience. Often, in the heat of the moment, names are forgotten and opportunities are missed, but a healthy post-event social media campaign is a second chance to bring people together for fun, friends, feedback, and the future!

Continuing to ride the tide of your event’s success, the days and weeks following the conclusion of your corporate gathering are an excellent time to put some spin into promoting the next event. Now is the time to gather your new contacts, generate a social media strategy, and send a healthy stream of promotions out to your followers. Ideally, you’ll create “year-round engagement” with an active community that keeps in touch with one another as they’re waiting for the next meeting opportunity that you create. Hopefully, you’ve already explored or implemented some of the following Apps after reading previous posts in this series. The following selections are perfect for post-event promotions, and for helping you roll knowledge and connections into a powerful future!

EventMobi – their specialized Event Apps and Association Apps help you achieve year-round engagement. The EventMobi multi-event app gallery also allows attendees and members to easily find any Event App—no matter what stage of past, present or future—making it easier to keep a community connected.

LinkedIn – let LinkedIn be the social media hub that feeds your Apps and helps you throw an ever-widening net for gathering business contacts. Unlike many other social media sites, LinkedIn is most often used with a specific focus on businesses, career connections, business contacts and, most importantly, GROUPS. Check LinkedIn for networks and communities that would benefit most from the type of events that you’re producing. Let it help you find new attendees based on the industries and associations of the people you already know.

Pathable – browse and search Pathable’s attendee directory. Use its Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn integration. Pathable allows for direct contact between participants, and it also offers public discussion forums that you can put to work for you, building your brand and keeping your events at the forefront.

Bizzabo – returning to Bizzabo again, this time use it to keep your attendees or members connected with news about your upcoming events. Let it help you extend an event’s “lifetime” by keeping the contacts and experiences fresh in the minds of your attendees.

For your next event, let CRE Rentals provide you with all the technology you require. From iPad rentals that deliver the customized content of your Event App, to digital signage that informs and impresses, CRE Rentals has the equipment and expertise to make your event SHINE! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725

 

July 3rd, 2014

AFTER THE EVENT – CRAFTING THE NEXT EVENT APP

You’ve been processing the polling results, social media comments, feedback, and analytics from your recent event. Now that you’ve had a chance to analyze your data, it’s time to use insight, intuition, and technology to begin crafting a more perfect App for the next time around! Today’s events rely on well-organized, streamlined, customized Apps. The information you’ve gathered from your event is exactly what you need to help you make well-supported decisions regarding the digital directory for your future events.

Does your Event App need tweaking? Check the feedback regarding your App’s success in the following key areas:

  • Social Media Integration
  • File and Document Integration and Synchronization
  • Usability and Security
  • Maps and Geo-Locating
  • Polling and Surveys
  • Networking and Gamification
  • Branding and Sponsorship options
  • Exhibitors and Speakers
  • Analytics and Reporting

Your attendees rely heavily on your Event App for so many aspects of their event experience. From schedules and speaker bios, to networking, local maps and photo sharing, your App needs to be a customized guide for the agenda and setting of your meeting. The following services allow you to create your OWN Event App, exactly to the specifications you want. They range from point-and-click, do-it-yourself to full-service possibilities.

QuickMobile – quickly manage your own Event App with easily configured modules that let your attendees learn, share, interact, and personalize while you sit back and measure the ROI. QuickMobile provides the design components and makes it simple for you to load content. This D.I.Y. option is even scalable, allowing you to plan an App for a single event or keep a template you can use a thousand times over.

EventMobi – gives you drag-and-drop capabilities to create and customize your own Event App with everything you need, as well as providing the backup tech support to assist you with more sophisticated requests.

Avodigy – with a heavy focus on the technological aspects, and specializing in seamless data transfer and mobile Apps, Avodigy works with several partnering tech brands to provide you with customized and scalable mobile platforms that can become a solid foundation for a corporation’s Event Apps.

CrowdCompass – allows you to easily develop a customized Mobile App for your event. Best of all, CrowdCompass puts individuality and SOCIAL first with features like Social Notes, SocialWall, and Social Game—letting your attendees share connections, activities, and ideas. From schedules and maps, to gamification and speaker profiles, CrowdCompass offers the ability to have your Event App customized for each individual attendee, based on their interests, activities and preferences!

CRE has Event Production Technology and all the latest hardware to help your Event App shine! Whether you need iPad Rentals, rental laptops, Audience Response Systems or Interactive Kiosks, give us a call today! 877-266-7725

 

 

June 26th, 2014

AFTER THE EVENT – THE BEAT GOES ON!

Although the last attendee has checked-out, all the technology rentals are returned, and the signage is taken down, your event still has momentum, and there’s a tremendous amount of potential that needs to be utilized! The weeks immediately following your event are the ideal time to roll energy into planning the NEXT corporate gathering, as well as the perfect opportunity to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of what just occurred.

The following Apps provide polling and analytics that are necessary for answering questions like:

  • Which speakers were considered the most informative?
  • What adjectives did attendees use most often regarding the event?
  • What sessions generated the highest levels of engagement?
  • Which elements of the event caused the most tweets?

Bizzabo – saving time by reusing an App that you’ve already applied, Bizzabo returns to center stage as it helps you identify the relevant information that will fine-tune future corporate gatherings! The Bizzabo event App provides direct methods of gathering feedback from your attendees. The App also helps you use the analytics from social media to get a true picture of your event’s successes and failures in the minds of your guests.

Pathable – this App can help Event Planners from start to finish. In the finishing stages, it facilitates and simplifies post-event polling and surveys—allowing attendees to respond from a desktop web or a mobile App. Better still, Pathable provides customized data reporting that is easy to understand, letting you quickly analyze the ROI of a corporate event—essential information for your clients’ reporting, planning, and budget meetings.

Hootsuite – Hootsuite can be used to get information out, but it can also keep an “ear” out for tweets, posts, and mentions about your brand or your event. Simply set up a stream that searches for mentions and you’ll have insider knowledge of what people are saying, giving you a chance to utilize this valuable, candid feedback as a way to improve future conferences.

Zerista – with its customized event specific social media platform, this App gives you access to a concentrated stream of comments regarding your meetings. Zerista aims to make networking and discussion between attendees simple and convenient, making it easier for you to gather the information you need.

DoubleDutch – this App is designed to increase networking and interactions. After the event, it converts all the data of the digital connections into precise reports that will help improve your conferences and corporate events. DoubleDutch can even provide a post-event App engagement infographic!

CRE has the hardware needed to run the latest software! Whether you need Computer Rentals, iPad Rentals, Interactive Kiosks, or the best Trade Show Speakers, give us a call today! 877-266-7725

 

 

June 12th, 2014

DURING THE EVENT – PERSONAL CONNECTIONS

Business and corporate events are designed with ONE objective in mind—to make connections with other people. Certainly, technology is quickly becoming King of events, but all the banners and lights—bells and whistles—are designed to draw the attention of individual humans that represent opportunities for you and your business. With this simple, obvious goal in mind, Part 6 of “There’s an App for It” focuses on the Apps that can keep you connected with the people that are most important to your business goals.

As an Event Planner, you’re used to burning both ends of the connection candle—you’re always helping to facilitate connections between your attendees, while you’re simultaneously (and—hopefully—invisibly) working the connections between your staff members and volunteers.

Connecting with Staff and Volunteers during an Event

Hey Tell – this free, fun, convenient App converts your smartphone into a combination walkie-talkie/instant voice messaging service with geo-location benefits! There’s no contract needed for this service. Since Hey Tell sends instant voice messages, it allows busy Event Planners to skip the work of texting. Furthermore, it allows messages to be sent to specific individuals—an advantage over traditional walkie-talkies!

Connecting Business Cards at First Sight

We return to Evernote for their organizational superpowers. Evernote works with your smartphone to instantly capture business cards using the Business Card Camera. After the App is downloaded, capturing a business card is as easy as “tap and slide.” The camera itself will hunt for the card, pull off the information and store it instantly in your contacts. With one additional click it can send a follow-up email to your new contact. It will even connect that information to a LinkedIn profile, giving you access to additional background information that can really solidify a personal connection!

As an Event Planner, Evernote’s Business Card Camera can help you help either yourself OR your guests. Certainly, this is an enormous advantage for business representatives, buyers, headhunters and more. However, as an Event Coordinator, the Business Card Camera is another quick and easy way for you to store the vital information you need on the vendors that are supplying your needs on the floor. Let Evernote keep track of your caterers, AV rental specialists, hotel managers, florists, animal-wranglers, and the seamstress for the band.

Say “Hello!”

Just in case you thought we were done with singing the praises of Evernote, we’d like to SURPRISE you with Evernote Hello. This App is so simple and yet so revolutionary—most especially for insiders in the Event Industry. Evernote Hello is nothing more . . . and nothing less . . . than a way of keeping track of all the personal anecdotes and relevant information about the fascinating people that you meet in this amazing line of business!

 

 

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