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Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Spring White Paper: Commonsensing Your Meetings

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Commonsense
The Spring edition of Meeting Discoveries is now available and it’s all about adding common sense to your meetings. The theme for the white paper came about during an exchange with a current customer who noted that his company was going through a “commonsensing” of its culture. With the challenges of the economic landscape, especially when meeting planners become the most contentious about stretching dollars, conducting meetings “smarter” becomes critical.  The solution is not to cut back on face-to-face meetings altogether, but rather to employ the common sense approach of taking it back to the basics. The white paper examines this concept further and outlines the core fundamentals of effective meetings offered by conference centers, to maximize and achieve the best outcomes. You’ll hear from industry experts from Apria Healthcare, American Red Cross, Pompan Hospitality Group and our sales team here at NCC. Check it out here.


Pinterest to Plan Your Next Event (with Definitions)

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

As natural-born communicators, when trying to explain ideas that we’re envisioning we can do several things to portray a concept. Without being stereotypical, women for example will tear pages out of a magazine to show her stylist the hairdo she wants or send her friends several emails with links to place-settings that match her taste. Men on the other hand, might try to explain their idea without visuals or with a YouTube video they found. You may be tickled to know a new website helps make events easier to organize and share ideas. Pinterest, the new website that allows users to share their tastes was named by Time Magazine, “50 Best Websites of 2011.” Event planners are using it to show off their past work. While, clients who plan bigger events like galas are using it to portray concepts they appreciate.

To join Pinterest, you’ll need an e-invite by someone who is already a member. I first recommend brainstorming your mission in setting up an account, who your target audience will be and map-out your end-goal in establishing yourself on this social network. No one wants to join another social network they can’t keep up with, so if you think Pinterest may fit your clientele then make it your New Years Resolution to not let the site drop off your agenda half-way through the year.

Words to understand before implementing it with clients and events:

  • Board – It’s a virtual corkboard. For every “board” a user creates, it should categorize different interests. A client may have boards titled: Event themes we like, Neat audio-visual concepts, Creative centerpieces or Banquet Food Ideas.
  • Pin It - When a user wants to add a idea or photo to their board, they simply pin it virtually. Users can browse the boards of others and pin anything he or she finds inspiring. Users can also add a Pin It to their internet browser toolbar to easily pin things as they randomly come across ideas he or she likes.

With this new way to show event concepts and story-tell, you’ll also increase your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and possibly boost your business. Our blog post tomorrow will explain 5 Ways to Use Pinterest With a Client, how to meet them on the same page and build a strong loyal relationship. Planners, have you joined Pinterest yet? What are your thoughts? Have you clients jumped on board?

Spicy Ideas: PlannerTech in DC

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Event Farm, the first presenter of PlannerTech DC held at Town Danceboutique.

For events industry people who like to stay on top of trends like a shopping addict with sales, meet PlannerTech. It’s an evening showcasing the newest technology for events. It’s debut by Liz King Events started in New York City and made it’s way to Washington, D.C. last week. Sponsors of the event are given a few minutes with their prepared slides to quickly discuss their event technology and what differentiates them, thus making your life easier as a planner.

It’s only a guess that the experience at PlannerTech in NYC and DC were each different, with a diverse collection of sponsors and speakers. D.C’s PlannerTech can be described as a “planners’ networking event f8 style meets pecha kucha, gaming and food trucks.” At Town Danceboutique, our seats were lined up like a comedy club while sponsors presented their brain-child made into technology. Tools ranged from seating chart apps to online communities for events and self-service apps. To see the full-list of presents, visit Liz King Event’s summary of PlannerTech DC presenters.

PROS: If you never quite have the time to wait in the atrocious line for D.C. food trucks during your lunch hour, I commend the advisory board of PlannerTech for thinking outside the box when it came to the venue location, the concept of the event itself and the food. Food trucks were parked outside for participants to sample foods from vendors like Big Cheese (for the grilled cheese lovers) and Juice Revolution (healthy fresh squeezed juices), just to name a few.

PlannerTech had not only presenters lined up with innovative tech tools, but there was entertainment as well. Josh Norris, a D.C. based magician performed and entertained between speakers. Opportunities to network were plentiful at PlannerTech, also known on Twitter as #PlanTech. The hashtag enabled registrants to see and “follow” who would be attending to connect with them before PlannerTech and during the actual event. An intermission gave people a window to network. The presentation showcase ended around 8, leaving almost 2 hours to mingle, meet new professionals, eat and connect with sponsors/presenters.

CONS: Too much great content can’t really be a con. If you aren’t familiar with some of the presenters in the line-up before going, I strongly suggest the notepad app or paper and pen because some of the technology is very similar. Like most information that is fed to you in an hour span, it’s easy to only remember the beginning and end of the presentations, while losing the message from the presenters in between. It wasn’t overwhelming, but I wouldn’t take a test on who did what afterwards – instead focus on your top 5 and try to connect with them after the presentations.

Stay tuned to see if Liz King Events will bring PlannerTech back to DC in 2012!

How Meeting Planners Benefit from the iPhone iOS5 update and iPhone 4S

Friday, October 21st, 2011

What’s your technology obsession? As an apple lover and tech-savvy sales manager, Carolyn Bradford at The National Conference Center shares with us some ways the iPhone iOS5 update and iPhone 4S are perfect tools for planners living the fast-paced busy life of multitasking. You may recognize Carolyn from our ever-popular January post, How iPads Make a Difference in Meetings and Conferences where she provided advice on the way she uses her iPad on site tours to help planners.

iPhone 5 Updatea downloaded update for any iPhone since the 3GS, with 200 new features.

REMINDERS FEATURE

“Reminders is a built-in app on the phone, it’s the new way for to-dos,” according to Carolyn “and, it’s perfect for planners.” Planners can create to-do lists and it becomes part of the notification center; rather than trying to remember to open an app for your running laundry list, you can pull down the top of the main screen for the weather, stocks and running reminders such as calling your contact to add a break-out room and scheduling your transportation. Carolyn uses her to-do list feature to make sure she covers all the planners’ hot buttons in their follow-up conversation for planning purposes.

iCLOUD

This is every tech-lover’s heaven – the ability to sync all your apple products together. Let’s say you have your running to-do list on your phone and you leave your iPhone at home, but you happen to have you iPad – start where you left off on the iPhone. Rather than having two to-do lists on two devices, your to-do list from your phone will automatically be synced on your iPad; thus, making it easier for you to check things off and add to it.

NEWSTAND

The iOS5 newsstand makes your subscriptions easier and overall means less material for you to lug around. Organize your magazine and newspaper subscriptions in newsstand; all your new subscriptions go straight to the newsstand. Carolyn who helps plan religious retreats at the conference center gives us the example, “Let’s say you were a planner subscribed to Rejuvenate Meetings magazine. Your monthly issue would show up on the newsstand each month and when the next month’s issue is out the cover of the magazine changes on the newsstand.”

MAIL

Carolyn explains the iPhone iOS5 update is making it easier for you to conduct business from your phone. New mail features include the ability to bold, italicize, or underline fonts. Users can also flag important messages to follow-up or just save. It’s also easier to use your Gmail account with the new update.

AIRPLAY MIRRORING

“This is great for presentations,” Carolyn explains. Share what’s on your iPad or iPhone via an Apple TV with an entire room. They’ll get to see everything you see on your iPad easily and if you rotate from vertical to landscape or zoom-in, the Apple TV screen presentation also displays these changes as well.

TWITTER

The #eventprofs community on Twitter will find most satisfaction in new Twitter capabilities on the iOS 5 update. You can tweet directly from Safari, photos, maps, and YouTube. You can mention friends and check-in to locations without any other apps in use. All come in handy for planners wanting to share something with their Twitter following, especially maps if they’re multitasking and need to quickly share.

iPhone 4S  - a newly released phone claimed to be “the best iPhone yet.”

SIRI

Imagine a personal assistant who has the answer and solution to all of your needs. You may need to watch the video on Apple’s website to fully understand her capabilities, but Siri will do everything from telling you if you need to pack a light jacket to giving you the specs for a venue upon your request. Siri reads texts, responds for you, checks your calendar and even sees if there’s a conflict. Tell her what you’re in the mood to have for dinner and she’ll list nearby restaurants with the cuisine, provide directions and read reviews to you. Carolyn foresees this as being the most popular feature for a planner who is juggling so much and helps he or she relax a little.

INTERNATIONAL USE

International meeting? Don’t let other phones stop you from staying in touch. The iPhone 4S is being considered the “world phone” for travelers who wish to use it internationally. iPhone 4S users will be able to purchase Micro SIM overseas, allowing them the ability to talk and access data for local fees rather than the usual cost of roaming.

CAMERA FEATURE

The camera feature is easier to use on the iPhone 4S. Without unlocking your phone, planners can take photos from the main screen – essentially site tours will much easier! You can edit, crop and print right from the phone, still without unlocking the phone. The camera piels are also higher making the photos better quality. On site tours,  in addition to virtually drawing on the floorplan on her iPad, Carolyn photographs the rooms she visits with planners.

If you’re a planner, how are you using the iPhone iOS5 update or iPhone 4S in your job? What’s the biggest difference? Are you more efficient with tech capabilities such as Siri?

 

Trivia for “A Countdown to Event Camp East Coast”

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

For those who may not be familiar with the Event Camp conference series, it’s a participant-driven event for planners and other event professionals to discuss topics that interest them, particularly in the realm of technology. The concept of the conference is fascinating to us and opposite of most training programs here at NCC. The agenda is decided by YOU upon arrival.  To help promote the conference, we’ll be kicking off trivia Wednesday, September 28th. Every Wednesday morning for the next six weeks, a trivia question will be posted on The National Conference Center’s Facebook page and Twitter. You’ll have until Wednesday at 9 PM to answer and one winner will be selected at random.



EventCampEastCoast.com provides more details on registration, agenda, pictures and reviews. The best news? ECDC is employing viral marketing – when you register, share your link for $20 off your original registration.




The official Twitter hashtag for Event Camp is #ECDC! Be on the lookout for Wednesday tweets and posts about how this hashtag will be important and how you can win prizes! If you aren’t a follower already, please follow us on Twitter and Facebook for some fun upcoming surprises!

How New Apps Will Change Our Travel & Hospitality Experiences

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

 

In a technology session hosted by Corbin Ball at the 2011 IACC Conference, we saw a glimpse of what is soon to come in the hospitality and travel industry. Corbin briefly discussed the basics of Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook and how they can be of use for the industry, but his main focus was where the hospitality and meetings industry is headed – apps and mobile solutions.

First, how do we know mobile apps are here to stay? Corbin explains,

“In 2011, we have 4.6 billion mobile subscriptions – 2 out of 3 people on this planet; this is more than those with access to running water or toothbrushes.” 53.4 million people in the U.S. use a smart phone and this number continues to grow.

What kind of apps exist thus far for travel & hospitality? American Airlines has an app for checking into flights, flight status/schedule, accessing your AAdvantage® account, booking flights, viewing terminal apps, your mobile boarding pass and of course playing sudoku while you wait at your gate. EDITION hotels has an app for some of their hotel properties including the newly opened Waikiki Edition which allows users to schedule housekeeping, turn down service, valet parking, wake up calls, transportation and more all through their app. If you’re traveling for personal or business, check to see if they have an app.

Possibilities for travel & hospitality apps:

  • Property information, floorplans, General Manager and Front Desk biographies
  • Check-in, arrange turn-down service, transportation and wake-up calls
  • Real-time transportation information and any airport delays
  • Control your room’s temperature and lighting virtually
  • Wayfinding – enter your room number and allow the app to lead the way!
  • Nearby services and restaurants – nearby businesses may pay for premium listings in the hotel’s app directory
  • Meetings – Meeting planner information, speaker biographies, course notes, meeting agenda, polls/surveys, social address book
  • Live hashtag tweets about the particular event, brand, and more
  • Live campus video of the hotel

During Corbin’s session, a student posed the question, “Where has the hospitality aspect of the industry gone if there is little to no face-to-face interaction?” Corbin Ball answered, “Providing your guests with real-time information in apps is now part of a hotel or conference center’s overall hospitality. People want to quickly find real-time information with out picking up a phone or asking anyone.”

In our opinion, these apps can be a catch-22. Most apps are designed with a simple look and maximum information in minimal space. If hotels don’t include all the information a guest could need it can back-fire. Hotels must also have the infrastructure to support an app, or guests could turn more aggravated than if the hotel didn’t have an app at all. On the upside, these apps could generate quicker response rates and solutions from management as guests are able to report issues immediately on their mobile devices. In the hospitality and travel industry, when a client attempts to report a problem 2 or more times but does not see a resolution, they’ll likely to take their experience online as revenge; this is more formally known as double deviation (i.e. think United Airlines and broken guitar goes viral on YouTube).

“Future of Technology in 2014″:

 

How iPads Make a Difference in Meetings & Conferences

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

If you’re in the meetings & events industry, iPads aren’t only for your personal life. Carolyn Bradford, account executive at The National Conference Center is finding new ways to use her iPad at work, with clients and at tradeshows.

Carolyn says she uses her new piece of technology to create visuals for clients and make their visit more personal.

NAVIGATION IN THE BUILDING

“I use the Google earth aerial/virtual image app so the client can understand how our facility is laid out. The iPad has the built in GPS System so it shows a blue dot of where we’re standing and it navigates/moves as we walk, which helps the client understand where we are in the building.”

iPAD AS A WHITE BOARD

“The iPad turns into a white board as well. Since I plan meetings with clients, it gives us a chance to draw with our fingers on the iPad – the room layout that he or she has in mind such as round tables on the left, podium in the front, blue drapes vs. red and so forth. We can also make corrections or different ideas in any color. At this point, I can email the idea we had to myself and the client so we’re all on the same page and it’s also green friendly.”

TAKING NOTES

“Another way I use the iPad during client meetings is taking notes during a site tour – either on a ‘virtual notepad’ or typing it in a document and sending it on my computer. This is also eco-friendly for our property as well.”

“After meetings, I also set my iPad in a stand next to my computer, so I can save function space on my computer screen and look at the floor maps and layouts on my iPad. I use my finger to touch and highlight rooms on the iPad I’ve saved for their meeting. Then just virtually print out the highlighted map from the iPad and save it in the file as well as email the client so he/she knows exactly what meeting space I have saved.”

TRADESHOWS

“Since the iPad has a great speaker system and has HD graphics, I take the NCC’s video to highlight our property and let it play throughout the tradeshow for attendees to see. The iPad itself attracts attendees to our booth, just to play with it!”

“I also use Google Map Earth images to show tradeshow attendees NCC and move it to show them the beautiful surrounding scenery, as well as nearby attractions, and “human eye” images of downtown Leesburg and restaurants.”

How To Host a Tweet-Up @ Your Conference

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

You’re just entering the world of social media and someone suggested you host a ‘tweet-up’ at your conference. Wait, what is a ‘tweet-up’? Here, we’ll define a tweet-up and the steps to hosting a successful one…

Tweet-up - is hosting an event for the people on Twitter to meet. In the business world, you may be ‘following’ local businesses or similar people in the industry or you could be following colleagues in offices across country that you haven’t met yet. Tweet-ups are considered networking events to make contacts. It’s informational and builds buzz about your conference and company.

Now, how do you host a successful tweet-up?

  1. Create a hashtag – To best explain a hashtag – it’s a “#” sign followed by the name of event, subject, or group. For instance, The Social Media Symposium Conference in Travel is given the hashtag #SoMeT – any tweets relevant to the conference end in #SoMeT.  The key to choosing a hashtag is making it short – keeping in mind there’s a 140 character limit on Twitter. What will your hashtag be?


  2. Start the buzz – Twitter is an awesome way to get people talking about it and gather the attention of the media as well. People gain an interest in the event when they continuously see tweets about it.


  3. Promote your event – use Eventbrite or Constant Contact to have attendees register for the event. Always remember though, because it’s usually word-of-mouth expect more attendees than you accounted for.


  4. Scout out the location – visit the venue before the tweet-up. If you can’t, have someone send you photos and verify that there is WiFi. No one wants to be cramped in a tiny room or with out WiFi coverage. People are there to make connections.


  5. Speakers or Presentations are Key – The speaker doesn’t have to be famous, just relevant (or at least have a sense of humor). Having a speaker creates more hype about the event, encourages people to attend, and gives the audience material to tweet about. 


  6. It’s Public – remember it’s the internet, so if you’re hosting a ‘tweet-up’ it will be tweeted. If you’re speaker is talking about confidential government information – you may want to rethink the speaker’s material.


  7. Plan ahead of time – spend money on the event, food & cocktails. If you want to host a successful event, you’ll want your attendees happy so their tweets are positive too!


  8. Implement other platforms – Use other social media tools such as QR Codes to capture emails. You can also collect business cards – but either way, gather some sort of contact information from your attendees to contact them again.


  9. Name-tags – Either provide name tags with their Twitter name or allow them to write it in.  With out it, you won’t know who you’re talking to if you’re accustomed to tweeting with them. People often recognize you by your twitter name first.


  10. Projectors with Streaming Feed of the Tweet-Up – if you’re at a conference center, this can be easily put in place. At restaurants or bars, this may be a little more difficult as most don’t have an A/V or IT Technician. However, attendees enjoy seeing a live feed of the hashtag streaming at the event. Occassionally, you’ll get people not at the event tweeting with you too.



  11. Most importantly, remember to have fun with it. Social media is about socializing!