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Turn Your Event Green

It can be easy to blame the event industry’s throwaway culture for the millions of plastic bottles tossed in landfills over the years. Tons of uneaten food has been thrown into garbage bins and countless paper business cards lost inside pockets and purses. Since events are generally one-time affairs, the idea of reusing and recycling has been difficult and expensive to implement. Luckily, eco-friendly incentives have been the rage lately and event managers around the world are reconsidering their plans’ impact on the earth.

If you’re ready to go green, here are a few simple tips to put you on the right path.

Choose a venue that is accessible via public transportation.

 1.  Choose a venue that is accessible via public transportation.  You can also encourage your guests to carpool or use services like Zimride.  If you’re wondering about the carbon footprint your event will leave behind, you can use this tool to calculate an estimate.

Choose finger foods instead of foods that require utensils.

2.  For events with a menu, incorporate hors d’oeuvres that do not require utensils to eat. If you can eat with your fingers, you won’t even need plastic utensils. However, if your guests aren’t the finger-food type, don’t worry. There are many sustainable options for biodegradable plates, utensils and dishes, like those made by German catering company fairgourmet.

Choose a "green" caterer.

3.  Speaking of food, make sure you pick your caterer carefully. Hire someone who uses sustainable food practices. Look for a caterer who uses: locally-sourced food, wild-caught seafood, reusable flatware and organic ingredients. Also, work with your caterer to create a donation plan for excess unserved food. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has an excellent guide for food donation if you need suggestions.

Cut paper out of your process- use technology instead!

4.  Cut paper out of your process. Utilize technology to avoid paper as much as possible. Scan leads instead of collecting business cards. Check attendees in online instead of checking them off a list. Have your speakers project their presentations instead of passing out pamphlets or printed notes. Your company will look more tech-savvy and you’ll save a tree or two in the process.

Don't forget a recycling bin! 5.  Provide recycling bins. Although it may seem obvious, this step is very important and often forgotten. The simple presence of a recycling bin increases attendees’ mindfulness of where they toss their trash. Recycling bins also double as a visible proclamation that your company is earth-conscious.

 

Resources:

How to Plan a Sustainable Event

 

Photographs-

https://www.flickr.com/photos/10037058@N08/3696670712

https://www.flickr.com/photos/sorbamedia/15650633341/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/geezaweezer/7102406409/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kopitehtarik/4386540258/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/31246066@N04/8711043595/

Best Technology Tools for Planning & Hosting Events to Reduce Stress

Events can be one of the most successful solutions to facilitate business connections, develop relationships, share ideas and recognize people or efforts. However, events are also the one of the most stressful types of endeavors because they have so many minute details that require extreme organization and strategy.

The key to de-stressing an event is to keep everything as simple as possible. We phrase this as an attempt to “reduce complexity” rather than to make something “simple.” “Simple” doesn’t even cover the Herculean effort to takes to streamline processes, make things easy or de-stress.

So, in the midst of a multi-faceted and detail-bogged event, it’s important to choose tools, equipment and a team that wants to make things as easy as possible.

Read more

A Tiny Horror Story: Bad Wi-Fi

A Tiny Horror Story: Bad Wi-Fi

October is a spooky month so it’s a good time to share our own tiny horror story.  There is no better villain for our tale than that terrifying specter we all dread facing: bad Wifi.

On a dark and stormy night, my colleague, Elizabeth, was attending a large conference as onsite support for our lead capture application.  At the show, the exhibitor booth was using our real time reporting lead capture application on Dell Venue 8 tablets. This real-time reporting version of Captix:Scan requires a local Wifi connection to work properly.

Before the event, the exhibitors had shelled out nearly $20,000 for the costly trade show Wifi connection. However, in the middle of the show, despite everyone’s best efforts, no one could connect to the network!

It was then that Elizabeth first knew things would take a terrifying turn if they couldn’t get online. Without lead capture, leads would be lost and ROI would fall dramatically. Luckily, the clever Captix team managed to solve the problem — getting our client connected and our application running properly — but only at the expense of considerable time and manpower.

The moral of this story is that sometimes Wifi is not the answer but the problem.

In fact, there are two main benefits to staying offline at your next trade show:

 

1.  More Face Time: And no, I’m not referring to the popular iPhone application.

We are part of a business generation that likes to be connected, but the downside of this techno-centric mindset is that most people are glued to their phones.  If you peel your eyes away from your PC, you just might strike up a conversation with your next hot lead.

So, set down your social networks for an hour, and actually be social.  Remember, you can always Tweet or check your email during a coffee break, but you only have so much time at the trade show to make real-life business connections.  If you and your team focus on the real world instead of the online world, your booth becomes more lively and attractive to potential clients and partners.

(Not to mention, less internet time is proving to be good for your own mental health. The first person to be checked into rehab for internet addiction due to wearing GoogleGlass has happened.)

 

2.  Less Wifi Dependency: There are many great lead capture apps out there, but the catch is that most require you to be connected to the Internet.

Unfortunately, even if the application is working flawlessly, any bump in your Internet service can cause you to lose both leads and valuable time trying to get back online.  In essence, when you are dependent on a Wifi connection that you can’t truly control, you risk looking unprofessional.

Thankfully, the truth is that you don’t have to be online to capture leads.  As many of our own clients have discovered, it’s  much more reliable to pick a lead retrieval application that works in airplane mode by storing leads locally on your device until you’re ready to sync with the cloud.

 

There are still reasons to purchase and use Wifi at your show! If you have the budget, and can afford to spend hundreds to sometimes even thousands on a dedicated Wifi connection, then it can’t hurt to provide that option.

Mobile hotspots can also be very useful at trade shows.  You never know when you’ll need to hop online in a business emergency.  However, it is definitely best to restrict online time to only what is necessary for demonstrations and vital administrative tasks. Staying offline can give you an edge and help you engage with your real-life audience.

Escape the horror story. Stay offline.

(Altered) Photo Credit

exhibitor booth theater best practices from oracle openworld2014 by Captix

Booth Theater Best Practices for Trade Show Exhibitors

The first best practice that is non-negotiable is having a customized lead capture experience so you can track which parts of your exhibit attract the most interest; naturally, we recommend our app called Overpass. Beyond that, here are some best practices that can be game-changers at any show.

1. CROWD GATHERERS (for booth presentations)

Live marketing is a huge trend in events today. Here is an article written in detail about why to use them.

A great crowd gatherer is:

  • An actor / actress (capable of multiple accents and languages and playing the role as a team member)
  • Eloquent (never stumbles across words or falters with industry jargon)
  • Smart (see above)
  • Charismatic
  • Funny
  • Attractive (Disclaimer: beauty is in the eye of the beholder so we mean someone eye-catching and appropriately dressed for the occasion.)
  • Dresses as a team member
  • Makes LOTS of eye contact
  • Well-versed (knows about the booth’s goals of collecting many scans, the theater’s presentations and the booth’s giveaways)
  • Aware of booth promotions (able to highlight the various incentives the booth is giving away to increase lead engagement)

2. PROFESSIONAL PRESENTERS

Professional presenters are hired to give really engaging and informative presentations for increased audience attendance. The presenter is sent a deck before the show to become fluent in the material of the presentation. This ensures their presentations are completely on-point and extremely well-delivered. Everyone wants to listen to someone use subtle and engaging methods to captivate an audience.

Here is a resource for professional presenters.

3. BRAND / PRODUCT EXPERTS

Sales folks, solutions managers or savvy experts within your own company are great people to look to – and easy to find! – for presentations about your company’s brand or products. Anyone who is an expert on a product and who can talk at a very high level is a great person to put in front of an audience. The internal expert will gather even more leads by connecting the dots about how exactly your high level product directly solves the audience’s pain points.

4. GIVEAWAYS & SWEEPSTAKES

It’s really effective to collect leads through a booth incentive. The universal truth is: people *love* free stuff.

As ways to provide fun and engaging ways of getting people to come to your booth, here a few ideas:

  • A relevant product of the booth’s brand (a new tablet, or one that is pre-loaded with content)
  • Money (we’ve seen one tradeshow exhibitor give up to $10,000, which attracted over 5,000 leads at the giveaway drawing)
  • Really fun toys (like drone / helicopters that salespeople demonstrate and fly around while on the floor)
  • Free services from the booth

There is somewhat of a debate around giveaways at tradeshows. Do those who enter have to be there in person for the drawing to win? Or can you just take down their information? Decide in advance if you will require people to be present for the drawing.

You may want to invite a lead who, every time they hear a presentation, to enter into the giveaway drawing for that day (with different giveaways each day).

5. GUEST SPEAKERS

Guest speakers include savvy customers or partners to your company who come and speak. Having a customer speak on behalf of your solution is a really interesting dynamic for the listening audience. It comes across as more genuine because it’s more relatable.

Is there a relevant customer who is an avid user of your product and a fan of your company’s solution? If they’re a great speaker, and can truly identify with the target audience, give them some speaking time of their own!

6. BE FUN & PERSONABLE

The best booth presentations are fun and personable.

Remember that show attendees are already listening to days of speakers and lectures. As incredible as the keynotes may be, you want to make sure that your booth presentation is not just adding to more lecture noise. Be engaging. Use intonation and inflection when you speak. Use industry jargon your audience understands.

More than anything: be personable. Tell a joke. Speak in a different accent for every presentation (Irish, Jamaican, Pirate).

But above all (for goodness sake!) – SMILE! 🙂

If you have other ideas that you have seen work, please share in a comment below – thanks!

Austin City Limits writstbands success

Austin City Limits Music Festival Is A Cash-less, Line-less & Arrest-less Hit (Basically)

Austin City Limits hosts it’s double weekend blow-out at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, with headliners like it has never seen (recently including such celebrities as Eminem, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, Pearl Jam, Calvin Harris, Outkast, Avett Brothers & more).

In 2014, nearly 80,000 people attended the festival each day, and only 3 arrests TOTAL were made the first weekend. In 2015, over the course of the entire event, 450,000 people attended Austin City Limits. There might have been tons of traffic, and more parking tickets than ever before, but the crowd was controlled. One of the reasons were the wristbands required for each ticket holder.

Scanning technology allowed attendants to scan and “beep” right in, replacing turnstiles or scanning guns. Crowds could flow past the gates, scanning in and out.

The bracelets were also linked back to the holder’s registration file, where they could put in their credit card information, which then stored on their bracelets. Concessions and beer could be purchased through the “bump” of a bracelet against the vendor’s scanners connected to their iPads. Lines for both gate entrances and beer stands were never more than a couple of folks deep. As a bonus benefit to the beer vendors, the result of making beer purchases so much easier was a corresponding increase in the amount of beers sold.

Perhaps easy check-in and payment were reasons for fewer angry tempers and subsequent arrests. Altogether, many, many people over the course of the festival’s activities were able to enjoy the music they came for without distraction.

Makes you wonder: how is technology working for your event? Let us help.