ConventionSouth

APR 2014

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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Look for expertise…not extra bodies. All hands on deck? Not necessarily. Instead of using an inexperienced internal team to man- age your event, find an independent meetings planning company that complements your staff and enables the focus to be on activities and mission. In addition, it's more cost-effec- tive to hire planners than to manage your event internally. This team should have expert- ise in everything from venue selection to regis- tration management to meeting logistics and follow-up. Content is key. There is a delicate balancing act between cost and creating a quality event. There is no substitute for quality content, even when budget constraints are present. You should justify your meeting's return on invest- ment by demonstrating that content offers added value and will help you meet your event's goals. Intelligence regarding how your attendees value your events is important in both reporting your event ROI and in shaping future meetings. Fun promotions create excitement. All the buzz about integrating games into events reflects a huge trend called "gamification," which uses games to make content more appealing and easier to understand. Gamifica- tion engages people – by giving the meeting agenda a fresh feel. Gaming can go beyond digital. You can gamify events just by the way you present content, and how the schedule is built: announce a surprise speaker; give out prizes; reward great ideas. Attendees want playful, memorable and relevant ways to inter- act with each other and their company host. Mobile devices advance interaction. Whether through personal mobile devices or sophisticated virtual meeting suites, technol- ogy is revolutionizing the way meetings con- tent is communicated—both in and out of the meeting room. Not only are people outside the room drawn in, but those within the room experience a heightened degree of interac- tion. Smart phone meeting applications can enable everything from networking and lead exchanging to real-time audience surveys and course notes. From a map of the facility to ses- sion schedule changes, mobile technology now affects nearly every aspect of meeting planning and production. Use social media to build a community. A strong social media presence has become key to the way people gather and digest informa- tion. Event planners need to understand and leverage Twitter and LinkedIn to promote their message and reach potential attendees in the ⎜ ConventionSouth ⎜ A P R I L 2 0 1 4 w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 14 CORPORATE MEETINGS 08-22 CS APRIL 2014_Layout 1 3/27/14 3:30 PM Page 14

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