Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 23 2015

3 Tools To Simplify Your Meeting Planning Process

By David McMillin



Have you ever wandered the frustrating maze of your inbox to track down that vendor contract? Do you feel the dread of needing to call 10 people to update marketing materials when a speaker has to cancel his appearance at your meeting? Are you struggling to capture honest evaluations of your educational sessions?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you know you’re not alone. Bringing people together can bring big challenges for meeting planners. However, as event technology grows more sophisticated, some of those traditional issues are disappearing.

“The right technology can help meeting planners save them time and reduce stress,” Dahlia El Gazzar, CEO and Founder of The Meeting Pool, says.

When I caught up with El Gazzar earlier this year for an interview about TechCentral at Convening Leaders, she highlighted the need for planners to explore the expanding slate of practical tools that help make managing projects, data and deadlines easier and more efficient. Here’s a look at three of those solutions that were featured in the Convening Leaders Hybrid Meeting in January.

GetPlanning - Cendyn Arcaneo

If you’re still shredding though ink cartridges to print out PDFs of contracts and floor plans, GetPlanning is the way to get on with your life — without the weight on an on-site binder. Cendyn Arcaneo’s project management application makes every piece of the planning process easier. One of the strongest pieces of the solution is its ability to bring every conversation under one roof. Whether you’re sending inquiries to a hotel partner, the shuttle bus company or other members of your meeting team, GetPlanning stores all your communications in customizable categories. Rather than sift through emails and look for the most recent update to a spreadsheet, everything is securely stored in GetPlanning.

Another one of its big perks? Intuitiveness. While some technology brings the need for tutorials on how to use it, GetPlanning is built to be simple.

“We realize that technology doesn’t have to be complicated,” Jon Summersfield, EVP, Cendyn Arcaneo, says. “You shouldn’t have to be trained for hours to use something. You should be able to log in and know what you need to do.”

CadmiumCD

If you feel overwhelmed by the tidal wave of information that every conference creates, CadmiumCD streamlines all the posters, presentations, continuing education credits, floors plans and more into one simple system.

“The more data you need to collect, the better our system will work for you,” Michelle Wyatt, CEO and Founder, CadmiumCD, says.

Every meeting planner knows the pain of dealing with a last-minute speaker cancellation. There’s a phone call to the company running the meeting website, a phone call to the company printing the program, a phone call to the company providing the app — and the list goes on. With CadmiumCD, one change automatically updates every channel to ensure it reaches attendees.

CadmiumCD’s system can clearly make a huge difference before attendees arrive, but Wyatt says the company is also currently working on a solution that will make a big impact during the on-site experience. Wyatt says she is currently working with the American Library Association, which uses over 1,000 rooms on-site, to develop a real-time system to help planners know which rooms are available for use.

Core-Apps

From developing mobile applications to helping exhibitors measure the success of their booth presences to helping attendees navigate through a crowded conference experience, Core-Apps can check off plenty of items that have been on your to-do list. The company can also introduce you to a feature that’s most likely been on your “we should investigate this” list: beacons. While beacon technology brings many exciting opportunities, the majority of organizations feel overwhelmed about the work behind bringing beacons to their experiences. The Core-Apps team was exploring beacons well before the technology was on everyone’s minds. Jay Tokosch, CEO, says the company started experimenting with beacons two years ago. Today, the technology is playing a pivotal role in helping deliver marketing messages from exhibitors directly to attendees on the show floor for the company’s clients.

Looking for ways to make your life as a meeting planner better? Check out “3 New Technologies That Will Make Meeting Planning More Efficient” for a glimpse of some game-changing tools from SXSW 2014.

Want to dig into more of the tech highlights from the Convening Leaders Hybrid Meeting? Check out more below. 

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