Archive for May, 2010
I am a huge fan of the Starwood Hotels and their resorts. The latest Starwood Hotels and Resorts experience I had was out in Hawaii, so you can imagine how much that rated on my enjoyment meter. If you get a chance to stay at the Moana Surfrider it is a one in a lifetime experience. I also had an opportunity to look over Starwood’s latest campaign to help meeting and conference planners and at the same time give to charity.
The graphic above provides some for the information about their latest offer. As you can see from the graphic they have also teamed up with PepsiCo on their campaign. A deeper look into their offer also provides some details:
Starwood Hotels & Resorts and PepsiCo have teamed up to provide more value for your meeting experience. Plus, Starwood is giving you an opportunity to give back to your community. For every meeting booked your company will be entered to win one of four $50,000 charitable grants to be donated to your favorite local cause.
Book by July 31, 2010, and hold your meeting by December 31, 2010. This offer includes:
- - 4% Credit to master
- - Complimentary PepsiCo food and beverage break
- - Up to 100,000 Starpoints® signing bonus
- - Sweepstakes for one of four $50,000 charitable grants
PepsiCo is becoming a driving force in the world of cause marketing and they are leading the way for other companies to participate. This is a great initiative they are putting together with Starwood Hotels and Resorts. If you book your meeting or conference with them, let them know that the folks here at Conventions.net sent you, and give them a thumbs up from us.
Press releases, you are either a big fan of them or you hate them. I have somewhat of a love hate relationship with the press release. I am actually a fan now of the new social media release that makes it easy to distribute your news, but those have not yet hit the mainstream. I get hundreds of press releases a week and some are related to my industry in social media, some are related to businesses I have helped in the past or some are just general interest to me. I know that press releases are necessary and a great asset to companies.
I also know that press releases are a difficult thing to distribute to those that are interested specifically in your business or in our specific industry. You send out a blanket release that may or may not be seen by the people that care. How do we help you with this? At Conventions.net we have a free press release distribution system that you can use to reach your specific audience. We know this because we talk to these industry leaders and those in the convention, trade show and meetings industry every day!
If you want to go to our press release distribution system and give it a try you can see just how simple it is to reach those you want to reach with the news that matters to them. Your message is limited to 1500 words, and that should be ample for most press releases. Some of the other benefits are stated:
- Reach 125,000 unique visitors each month
- Increase traffic to your website
- Optimize your ranking in search engines like Google
- Release remains visible once posted
There are many press release companies out there you can use and many of them have great audiences of hundreds of thousands of people. What they don’t have is a specific audience to your industry. It’s like free advertising and public relations all put into a nice package. Give it a try.
For those of us wondering how the environment impacts us in the convention and meeting industry or how catastrophes or other problems change how we do business, we only have to look at the recent oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. We have written about the terrible situation with the flood in Nashville and how it impacted the folks at Gaylord Hotels.
Meetingsnet.com talks about how the spill is leading to cancellations in the Meeting Industry.
A May 18 survey of 50 hotels across the Gulf Coast that host meetings and events found that 42 percent are experiencing group booking cancellations, the report says.
I don’t think that we are going to see a big problem in the Gulf States as it relates to meetings, or conventions or other things that are impacted in that area by things like golf coast hurricanes or other weather issues. I like how the report states that in some cases bookings for hotels and other facilities are on the rise because they are housing the peripheral industries like emergency people, media and others. So far the spill is not making much of an impact, but if you have a meeting, a convention or trade show in the gulf coast states, it might be a good idea to reach out to your facility to see if there is any impact. If you are marketing your event as a beach front or other outdoor ocean view or gulf coast outing, you should make sure you have your own disaster preparedness.
[photo via Yahoo News and AP]
There has been a number of people that have chimed in on Twitter, Facebook and other parts of the social mediasphere about the payment of speakers at events and conferences. I chimed in myself and wrote about the idea of paying or not paying speakers. I suppose it depends on which camp you are in as to which side of the debate you fall on and in my case I guess I walk that line pretty carefully being a person on both sides. I do know that whether you pay or not pay your speakers does not eliminate the need to treat them like the experts and VIP they are when speaking at your event.
Many conferences I attend have areas for the speakers. It is like a velvet rope where speakers can get away to prepare and relax before their presentation. This allows for them to shake off the stress of presenting, to get some time to think and go over their presentation and in some cases provide them a place to do those last minute rehearsals. The speaker ready room I have heard it called, or the green room of even the VIP ambassador room. In spite of the name you give the area for your speakers, it is nice as a speaker to be treated like a VIP. It shows me that the organizers believe me to be the expert, and that they believe I am bringing value and that they appreciate all that I have done for them. Treating your speakers as a VIP may later make it easier to negotiate payment and provide the best talent for your attendees.
Facebook is a huge presence in the online world now. I can remember when I first heard of its existence back in early 2007 while watching them present its use at an event in Austin, Texas. We thought at the time that this was just another startup that was taking an idea and running with it. Little did I know at the time that it would become the billion dollar baby that it has become with more than 400 million users. The best part for you as trade show and convention organizers is to make sure your event is present and accounted for for all those 400 million people to find.
Facebook events is an easy to use application. I am not talking about the idea that you can advertise on Facebook, that is another post for another time, but I am saying that people search for events and things related to your organization all the time on Google and some of the other search engines. Now they are doing the same for Facebook. Some of the best conversions and traffic are occurring on social networks like Twitter, Flickr, and of course Facebook. You need to have a presence on Facebook if you are a business, and certainly if you are an organization with a convention, trade show, conference or even that small meeting around the corner. Get your event on Facebook, and make sure you list in every possible place you can. You might even contact us here at Conventions.net to see if we have your event featured! Contacts us.
I grew up as a young man during the 80′s and “launching” something meant a completely different thing. In this sense we are about to drop a bomb on the world of event planning. In this case, we are taking off with a new site and a new area of Trade Shows, Conventions, Conference and Meeting planners. We are now in helping with resources in the United Kingdom! Conventions.net continues to show its forward thinking as a cutting edge resource in the industry. Our release provides further information.
Since Conventions.net is leading the charge in the convention, trade show, conference and meetings industry in the United States, it only strands to reason that we would then expand to include other parts of the world. After all, the industry is not merely limited to America.
Conventions.net is a valuable resource for the trade shows in your industry, the locations, the exhibitors, and each and every other facet of the conventions world. You can seek out information that will answer any questions you might have, and now we can include Europe and beyond by launching theTradeshows.co.uk as stated in the release:
Tradeshows.co.uk provides a full and complete lineup of everything planners need all in one place to make their next event a complete success. Meeting and Event planners throughout Europe and Asia can now source leading local and regional suppliers for all of their planning needs. In addition to being a top resource for planners, Tradeshows.co.uk is also the best place for prospective exhibitors and attendees to locate and register for events and trade shows of interest.
For information contact the team at Conventions.net and/or reach out to the contact information on the Tradeshows.co.uk for answers! I urge you if you are a meeting or event planner or organizer in this industry to bookmark this site for future use. If you are a business, vendor or supplier in the trade show industry looking to expand your exposure in the Europe or if you want to advertise to the rest of the world, let us know and we can make this happen.
[photo courtesy of jurvetson]
I have been at the heart of this debate for quite some time. I have been on the organizer side, and on the side of being one of the speakers looking to be paid. Scott Stratten recently voiced his opinion about the topic of paid speaking on his blog UnMarketing. In this instance Scott was given the terms by which you can speak at the event, a speakers conference ironically. In that instance the speaker had to register for the event and pay the fee to attend if they were chosen to speak. I know that this is a way to keep the ticket prices for the event low and that if you speak at the event, the pay is actually the prestige and the honor it portrays. As I have said, I understand both sides of this argument.
From an organizer standpoint, the real issue is whether the speaker can help them sell tickets and whether that value that the speakers are bringing to the event will make the organizer money. Plain and simple it is a matter of economics in that regard. Many speakers on the other side of the coin believe in their message and how well they do their job and with that comes the idea that they can sell out Yankee Stadium if they were to speak on their passionate topic. Many times that is not nearly the case. Both have merit and there should be a compromise somewhere in the middle.
As organizers we look to speakers to pay their way in and help us make money by adding that value. Speakers that help sell tickets or promote the event through their networks are the best value for an organizer and many organizers that see that can and will compensate the speaker for that purpose. If a speaker adds no other value than their message, it some times looks like a bad investment. Why should I pay you you speak at my event if you don’t bring value.
As a speaker, I am taking my time to make sure that value is there by making sure the message is such that it fits their audience. I am making sure I provide them an expert in the field which I know they are using to market the event. If I can help them by promoting the event through my network to help put butts in the seat then I am happy to do that as well. I could make money in other areas, and speaking is only as small component of my business, but I also realize that if you speak at events, you do get that recognition and exposure. I factor in a small part of my speaking as a way to market me and my business.
Both sides benefit from this relationship. It seems that where it gets lost is when one side cannot see the other side’s point of view. What is your position? Should speakers be paid? Should speakers pay to be a part of an event? Is the going rate for speakers too high or too low? I would bet your argument is slanted somewhat in your own economic position.
[photo via Photos8.com]
As you can see from our last couple of months we have been showcasing many of the convention centers around the country and letting you know their offerings and how they might fit into your convention plan. No matter if you are planning a large event or a smaller conference, we want to be seen as the place to come for information. You can find all of the information on any city or center just by looking at the categories we have here, or perhaps making sure to visit Conventions.net for the latest information on any of our locations we have featured there.
I wanted to get back to some of the nuts and bolts of actually going through the planning of a convention, trade show or conference. I have been busy with a few of my own shows, one in Las Vegas in 2009 at BlogWorld & New Media Expo, followed very quickly by the Social Media Business Summit in Hawaii at the [re]Think Hawaii event, and most recently I have been working on the Modern Media Man Summit in Atlanta which will take place in September, 2010. It seems I have a few plates in the air and have been doing many jobs over the last couple of years. I am sure this will continue as I think it is a great way to gain experience doing a number of different jobs in different locations.
This week I am going to start talking about some of the things that go on behind the doors or events. These are the things that might not be the glamorous things that occur and it might not be the things that we like to showcase as owners of events or conference directors or exhibit booth salespersons. I have met a number of interesting people along the way and want to talk about a few of those as well so stay tuned while I start my brain dump of all the things that go into what I see as convention planning!
[photo via Retronaut]
The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex is a multipurpose venue so diverse, it would take several pages to describe its capabilities. With over 220,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 19,000-seat arena, a 3,000 seat concert hall, 74 meeting rooms, 1,000 seat theater, 2 ballrooms, a high tech medical forum center, and 770 guest rooms, there is little this venue CAN’T handle!
Add to all of this ample covered parking and audio-visual facilities complete with distance learning capabilities, what more could your convention/conference/retreat/trade show/meeting possibly need?
The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex is easily accessible, too; it’s only ten minutes from the airport, and its downtown Birmingham location makes it easy to drive to, as well. The venue is convenient to most of the city’s attractions, and all hotel reservations booked with Hotels Convention Center are guaranteed to be the lowest group rates in the market.
This is an outstanding venue. Outstanding. The Exhibition Hall can accommodate over a thousand booths, and electricity, water, telephones, internet, and compressed air are available at 30-foot intervals. Your trade show will be perfection.
The acoustics in the theater and concert hall are so perfect that little voice magnification is necessary.
The venue adjoins the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, which can accommodate both small and large groups and offers many convenient services including a health club, indoor pool, and video rentals.
The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex is located at 2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North in Birmingham, 35203.