Event Planning Equipment

While proper planning, healthy budgets, and well-trained staff all contribute to great events, there’s an integral piece of the event experience that cannot be overlooked.

Event planning equipment can make or break your event.

While we’re not saying a business is only as good as its tools, we are saying that purchasing and using the proper tools can make your event registration and check in life a whole lot easier. Because we strive to make all of our software web/universal based, the event planning equipment necessary to create a fantastic check-in experience is widely available, not pricey, and simple to use.

Clicking anywhere on the image below will take you to our custom Amazon page, where you can buy equipment directly from Amazon. While some companies may prefer to rent you some marked-up, proprietary hardware, we think the cost savings from buying it yourself is worth it. Also, the printers are re-usable! Just remember to have a few rolls of badges and ink on hand.

We’ve used and recommend all the products above, and have full confidence they’ll work great for you, too. First, a few notes:

-Buy extra ink right away if your event is more than 100-200 people. Running out during registration isn’t fun.
-A back-up printer is always a great option.
-Don’t buy cheap labels or badges.
-Save the boxes for easy shipping.
-Be sure to have USB printer cables! Not every model comes with one.

Our software is designed to make these devices plug-and-play, but be sure to have an active internet connection when connecting them to your computer for the first time, just in case there are any updates from the manufacturer.

Happy event-ing!

(Disclosure: items purchased through the affiliate links above nets us a small percentage of the sale. Also, we can’t officially troubleshoot the above devices, but our support team will do their best to walk you through any issues you may face, as we’ve likely already experienced them.)

Do Hallway Conversations Make The Event?

More Serious Matters 1

When Josh Strebel of Pagely first thought about hosting Pressnomics, his main concern was how to transform the productive hallway conversations he’d had at other conferences from afterthought into happening. While a conference of hallway conversations only is impossible, striving for greater attendee interaction is almost never a bad thing.

As Al Pittampalli discusses in a blog post, the serendipity required to achieve indirect collaboration or spontaneous hallway conversations can’t be manufactured, but it can be fostered. While direct collaboration has a roadmap — which requires leadership — the kind of indirect, yet often often more important over the long term, interaction most conferences seek don’t happen often enough.

But if hallway conversations are an integral part of events, but can’t be directly planned or scheduled, how do event planners go about fostering them?

Start simple
If event planners want their attendees to interact, start by giving them plenty of places to do so. We don’t mean just one lounge in a room removed from the main events, but rather chairs placed to the side in the main area. Add some tables, maybe make some food available nearby, and you’ll have people chatting in no time.

Provide tools
Most deep hallway conversations usually require internet access so participants can compare notes, show developments, or share other relevant (digital or otherwise) material. Keep that WiFi fast and open in your main areas.

Give time
Five minutes between scheduled sessions is barely long enough for a few guys to hit the bathroom, and it’s even worse for most women. Try giving 15-25 minutes for passing time and see what people do with it. If most people are seated before the next session starts, shorten the time next go around.

Be an example
Too many event planners end up with staff or employees that shy away from public conversations, either about the event itself or anything industry related. Hiding out from attendees sets a bad example, and we’d like to see more event staff participate in hallway conversations not only to provide a great example, but to better be able to understand attendee needs.

See you between sessions.

Why Corporate Events Are Still King

Some will tell you that marketing, advertising, and selling are necessary evils in order to make money. Too many event professionals see those three as an afterthought to the event itself, thinking that higher quality events will automatically attract more people. Those people think about at least two of those three wrong.

John Jantsch says most event planners view marketing and selling in one of two ways:

1. Target a market, tell them what you have — work in a little solution selling — and hope they choose you.
2. Fill out RFPs from your target market and hope they pick your price.

John details a few solutions in the rest of his post, but we have a few tips on why our favorite client is still corporations. While the more progressive attendees and event planners likely bemoan the traditional stodginess of traditional corporate events, most of those concerns are from poorly-run happenings, not the tech-infused events we’ve helped create.

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Compared to your average free or almost-free community event (which are often backed by generous business donations), corporate events stand out for one reason above all: most of them have the budget to pull off the look they want. While restrictions, marketing rules, and brand guidelines will always apply, there’s no reason a big-budget corporate event has to be stodgy and boring. But it’s going to take a little imagination.

Microsoft In San Francisco
A few months ago, Microsoft asked us to run registration and check-in for an Azure event held in San Francisco’s MOMA district. Planned inside a part-time art gallery, Microsoft’s event planners need some serious manpower and money to transform a concrete display case into a tech funhouse. Thanks to plenty of lights, enough cables to fill a truck or two, and a host of live food, live music and live entertainment options, what would have been impossible on a small budget absolutely nailed its mark.

Microsoft In Seattle
Less than 90 days ago, Microsoft’s team again transformed an old, concrete structure (part-time cruise-ship marina) into a purple wonderland to introduce the latest Visual Studio. Thanks to a healthy budget, a large staff, and a small army of third-party contracts, the gray walls, gray floor, and baggage check stations here hidden behind an array of purple drapes, curtains, and well-placed seating and eating areas.

Because events like those above are usually customer facing, it makes sense for Microsoft to pull out all stops to impress the very people responsible for their company profits. Not only does this approach often equal a satisfying attendee experience, but staffers there to help attendees are able to do so without your typical, low-budget event problems, like a lack of basic supplies, manpower, or the need to pretend your event is under the sea when it’s really in a high school gymnasium.

Here’s to corporate events with event planners that know how to get the most out of their budgets!