Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 2012

Convene Presents: The 50 Best Things in Meetings Today

By the Editors of Convene.

blog becomes a must-read by being narrowly focused enough to consistently yield relevant information and wide-ranging enough to encompass the news, white papers, and opinions you might otherwise miss. That would serve as a pretty good description of the Strategic Meetings Management blog by Kevin Iwamoto, vice president of enterprise strategy for Active Network, where Iwamoto calls on 20 years of managing corporate travel and meetings programs to look at everything from the euro crisis to the Sunshine Act from a meetings-related point of view. His blogging pace is steady, rather than frenetic, making it easy - if not mandatory - to keep up with him. 

Visit Salt Lake offers organizers of city-wide conventions a service that combines an organization’s own social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs, with Visit Salt Lake’s social-media channels. That sounds like an offer that could come with a lot of strings attached, but, although Visit Salt Lake creates the tool, it carries the conference sponsor’s logo - Visit Salt Lake reserves only one tab for itself on the landing page. After the event, the tool can be turned over to the organization to keep. Visit the links above to compare how the same tool looks when used by two different organizations. 

At the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference & Exhibition, social media is no marketing-message-laden frill, according to Cari McLean, HIMSS’s social media manager, but a tool used to deliver valuable content for attendees. Among the things that set HIMSS apart is the depth of its social media training. Not only are HIMSS staff trained and given the go-ahead to use social media, this year for the first time, HIMSS trained speakers on using social media before the meeting, and hosted a pre-conference Twitter chat for first-time attendees. A social-media pavilion offered education on site. “We were also lucky,” McLean said, “to kick off the conference with Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, as our opening keynote speaker.”

Mediasite is an enterprise webcasting, lecture-capture, and hybrid-event platform. Mediasite’s webcasting technology automates the recording, distribution, management, and analytics of high-quality video and multimedia presentations. 

“We had a successful, fully hybrid EventCamp Vancouver [in 2011] due in large part to Sonic Foundry’s participation and ease of use. We already had planned a two-camera IMAG shoot, presenters, and a pod that could come in via Skype, and a full Twitter activation, and Sonic Foundry was able to seamlessly tap into the equipment already in place and offer a full video link to anyone who chose to register, offering a private forum for learning and discussion. We had four hours (from 4 a.m.) to set up the entire event, all the soft seating, staging, and technology before going live at 8:15 a.m., and their experienced staff and ‘solution in a box’ made this seamless. We also still have the materials catalogued and archived by session for anyone who still chooses to go back and use this resource. They are a great hybrid learning partner.”

— Tahira Endean, CMP, director of creative and production, Cantrav Services

“The features for this app include: schedule builder with session and presentation search, exhibitor search with custom-mapping technology, and daily news features. The site is a revenue generator for AADE, as are the emails tied to this site. These are deployed before, during, and after our Annual Meeting, and provide unique, ongoing exposure for our supporters. The site is up-to-date and comprehensive, allowing our attendees and our full membership access to our meeting content. The complimentary mobile app also has the comprehensive session search, agenda builder, and exhibitor search with mapping technology. Free download at m.aade.ascendmedia.com.”

— Marian Long, CMP, director of meeting services, American Association of Diabetes Educators

EventPilot is a cross-platform, native mobile conference app that enables attendees to easily navigate large and complex conference schedules completely offline. 

“Our clients, many of them in medical or scientific fields, organize events with over 10,000 attendees, so they have massive conference programs that contain thousands of sessions, scientific posters, or medical abstracts. EventPilot 6.0 extends our intuitive interface and makes it easy to explore even the largest and most sophisticated conference programs without requiring Internet access.”

—Eric Converse, co-founder and CTO of ATIV Software

“Our attendees love the EventPilot meeting app! Not only has it cut down on the number of programs we have to print and created an alternative revenue stream with sponsor ads, but the interactive map feature has also reduced the number of times our attendees ask, ‘Where is this session room?’ EventPilot was the only app we found to have the capability to offer the handouts for all of the sessions right in the app, and function without constant Wi-Fi access. Our attendees love being able to email their conference notes to themselves and connect with other attendees through the app.”

— Kerri Leo, CAE, professional development manager, Society of Actuaries 

Expresso is an easy-to-navigate, picture-driven online ordering system for exhibitors. With just a few clicks, exhibitors can order GES products and services, including booth furniture, carpet and flooring, material handling, labor, and more. A menu of additional features includes the ability to print shipping labels, track shipments, and download the show schedule into Outlook or iCalendar. 

“I found Expresso to be an invaluable tool in aiding us to answer the usual myriad questions from exhibitors at WINDPOWER who had not necessarily seen information that we emailed to them or presented in webinars. Being able to directly link to up-to-date targeted floor plans and the shipping-label creator tool were some of the most commonly used tools; our small sales and services team probably referred to them on the phone at least 20 times a day in the month leading up to WINDPOWER. Our exhibitor surveys were filled with very positive comments about Expresso. This was our first year using GES’s services, and many exhibitors praised what they felt was a very intuitive layout of the various pieces of information and order forms, and the live-chat feature to connect directly with GES service reps was greatly appreciated by those who used it.”

— Mike Swinburne, CEM, sales and operations manager, American Wind Energy Association

The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau’s iLead tool allows the organization’s national sales directors to match specifications for any meeting that requires 10 or more sleeping rooms from among 135 hotels and resorts throughout San Diego County. Features include matching meeting specifications to only those hotels that fit the meeting’s needs, and compiling all responses into a summary format that can be downloaded to Excel for ease of comparison. San Diego hotels respond in real time using an electronic proposal template. 

“I have had successful results using San Diego’s iLead for the past four years to assist me with site selection for our yearly Fitness Symposium. The iLead system is extremely user-friendly on three platforms. One, it allowed

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