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Value of Face-to-Face Meetings, Part 2
Feb 28, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Value of Face-to-Face Meetings - Part 2
In Part 1, the findings of the study, The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy, were highlighted.  Today, we take a closer look at the  interesting discussion taking place on the value of face-to-face (F2F)meetings.

Below are the opinions of event meeting services professionals from all over the country weighing in on their importance.

Pat Ahaesy, CMP, CSEP, President & Partner at P & V Enterprises shared, "One of the things that is greatly missed in a virtual meeting is the one-on-one chats before and after sessions with other attendees and the session speakers. You can see the expressions on peoples faces, shake hands, have a cup of coffee, or a meal. There is no better way to develop a new relationship or maintain an old one."

Maya Northen, Executive Travel Consultant, Uganda Travel Network said, "First, I feel it’s the easiest and most accurate way to sense other people’s thoughts, reactions, and feelings about an issues is face-to-face. Often, I feel words, actions, and just the overall tone of a meeting can be misinterpreted when it’s not in-person, as a virtual event seems to feel a bit cooler, more impersonal."

Dan Jourdan, Certified Speaker at Buy Gitomer, thinks, "The relationship with a customer will grow stronger and faster when meeting in person."

Beth Hecquet, CMP, Director of Meetings and Events at the National Association of Sports Commissions said, "Learning on line is great, but there is no substitute for a room full of peers and a facilitator to guide you. When you set aside time and distractions and gather together with a common goal/purpose, the sky’s the limit."

Mark Steinmetz, Senior Account Manager at IMS Audio Visual chimed in with the following "The candid networking and communication you get from in-person meetings exceeds that of conference calls and virtual meetings."

The following websites will assist you in justification of face-to-face events:  This website gives you tools, case studies, and best practices regarding Return on Investment (ROI) for meetings and events. The tools are free, the publications have a cost associated with them.   Susan Roane wrote a book called "Face to Face in a Digital World." The price on Amazon is around $10 and she has written many other books about networking and working a room. This website talks about the 7 significant trends with regards to F2F meetings.

As corporate event planners, it is important to understand that face-to-face meetings:

  • Allow networking, before, after and during the meeting
  • Strengthens and develops relationships
  • Allow the speaker and event services company to see the expressions of the crowd and adjust appropriately
  • Allow the attendee to be focused on the speaker and subject matter
  • Bring together peers that can work on common goals or solutions.
Event planning in California? AV Event Solutions is here to help with your next meeting, event, conference or trade show.

Value of Face-to-Face Meetings, Part 1
Feb 25, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Value of Face-to-Face Meetings - Survey ResultsThis week a landmark study was released, The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy. This study was commissioned by Pwc and made possible through the help of 14 Convention Industry Council members. This blog is dedicated to the findings of the study, while Monday’s blog will bring together information from planners on their perceived value of face-to-face meetings.
  • It is estimated that 1.8 million meetings, trade shows, conventions, congresses, and incentive events take place in the United States each year. 
    • 72% are corporate or business meetings
    • 21% are conventions or conferences
    • 5% are incentive meetings
    • 2% are trade shows
    • 85% of these meetings are conducted at venues with lodging
    • They generate 250 million room nights per year
  • 205 million people attend these meetings; the average meeting size is 114
    • 117 million or 57% travel more than 50 miles or stay overnight
    • 83 million or 40% travel less than 50 miles or do not stay overnight
    • 5 million or 3% are international travelers
    • 79% of the 205 million are attendees
    • 12% are event meeting services staff, media, or other providers
    • 9% are exhibitors
  • These 1.8 million meetings, generate $263 billion in direct spending of which:
    • 57% is event meeting services planning and production related
    • 43% is travel and tourism related
    • Attendees, event meeting services staff, and exhibitors spend:
      • 46% of the $263 billion on registration fees
      • 17% on accommodations
      • 13% on food and beverage
      • 9% on air transportation
      • 3% on gasoline
  • The 1.8 million meetings, create directly 
    • 1.7 million Jobs, which
      • Generate $60 billion in labor income
      • $14.3 billion in federal tax revenue
      • $11.3 billion in state and local tax revenue
  • In addition, the 1.8 million meetings, create directly and indirectly
    • 6.3 million Jobs, which
      • Generate $271 billion in labor income
      • $64 billion in federal tax revenue
      • $46 billion in state and local tax revenue
"As the nation grapples with effective ways to work its way out of a recession, the meetings industry plays a critical role in supporting jobs in communities across America, creating environments that foster innovation, consensus, and business success, said Karen Kotowski, Executive Director, Convention Industry Council.

"The results of our comprehensive research demonstrate the significance of the meeting industry as a major contributor to the U.S. economy," said Robert Canton, Director of Convention & Tourism Practice, PwC US.

Meetings mean:

  • Jobs
  • Education
  • Revenue
  • Spending
  • Handshakes
  • Business

AV Event Solutions, a California event services company, is here to assist meeting planners and conference services organizers with your next corporate meeting or convention.  Call us today!

3 Ways the Apple iPad is Changing the Face of Tradeshows
Feb 23, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan

The Apple iPad has taken the computing world by storm, selling over 13 million units in 2010, which has led to the introduction of several slate PC competitors including the HP TouchPad, Samsung Galaxy, and Dell Streak, just to name a few.

Gartner Group, projects that sale of Tablet PCs to reach 55 million this year and by 2013, approximately 80% of the workforce will be using tablet technology.

So how is this all changing the face of Tradeshow event planning and what is the benefit of iPad technology over current technology products?

Over the last several years, most event meeting services planners have attended tradeshows and engaged in face-to-face selling with the booth exhibitor. This has always been a hit-or-miss proposition for the  exhibitor because when they are talking to one prospect, another may be getting away. The way they have solved this issue in the past, was to have more sales people in the booth. Given today’s economic climate with travel and time away from the office, upper management is reluctant to send a slew of people to the show in hopes of  meeting the right prospects. So many exhibitors now have large plasma display rentals with a running video loop. Again, this is about as effective as a commercial; it may hold the person for 30 to 60 seconds, but they are going to move on if they don’t interact with a person. So what is a company to do?

Crank Sports uses iPad at Trade ShowWhy not make the booth more interactive with fewer people and bring the message to the attendee instead of waiting for them to come to the booth?

Below are a few ways an iPad rental can help:

  • Video Demonstrations & eMarketing  The iPad can be loaded with video demonstrations of the product or service the exhibitor is offering and the sales personnel can utilize the portibility and touchscreen of the iPad to go out to the masses and customize the presentation to prospect’s needs. At a point of interest, with one touch and a few clicks, the booth sales rep can email marketing materials, presentations, quotes, or contact information right to the prospect and they will have the information upon returning to the office. The emails will be collected in a very non-threatening way from the attendee and they will only be receiving the information requested.
  • Computer Kiosk    By putting the iPad on a stand, attendees can self-guide themselves through the demonstations and read the marketing material. This is a great option if the booth personnel are short handed. Many times, a giveaway is part of the video loop, enabling the exhibitor to collect emails, even if they never have an opportunity to talk to the prospect.
  • Lead Generation and Retrevial   iLeads is a software package for the iPad and iPhone that allows tradeshow exhibitors to gather data from the attendees badge, quickly and easily. It also allows the exhibitor to tally how many leads have been gathered and search for a specific name, after it is entered. All leads are uploaded to the Cloud, maximizing security and minimizing hardware dependancy.
Looking to rent iPads or rent Tablet PCs? AV Event Solutions, a California event equipment rental organization is here to help with your next tradeshow needs.
Mobile App Success Story: Newspaper Association of America
Feb 18, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Mobile AppsLast April, the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) took a huge, albeit, unexpected step to embrace smartphone technology. At their annual conference mediaXchange they partnered with Handmark, a media company that specializes in mobile applications for publishers and media companies, to develop a custom application for the conference. This application was free to the attendee and could run on any iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, or Windows Phone smartphone.

The application provided attendees with instant access to:

  • Latest conference news and information
  • Program Agenda
  • Speaker Bios
  • Exhibitor Information
  • Live Twitter feeds
  • Up-to-the-minute Tweets within the NAA Community
Of the 1,300 conference attendees, 48% downloaded this application. (This is in line with the estimate that roughly 50% of all phones in the U.S. are smartphones.) Of attendees that downloaded the application, headlines were viewed 25,000 times and attendees clicked and read the full description of a breakout session 6,300 times. There was an average of more than 40 interactions per user.

The custom app was developed as part of the sponsorship program so, there was no cost to NAA. However, NAA had to come up with a promotion strategy as part of their agreement. In order to promote the mobile app, the association used the following tools before the conference:

Once the attendees were on site, the conference services organization promoted the application by:
  • Putting it on the front page of the printed program
  • Banner Advertising
  • Pre-session video loops
  • Daily emails to attendees
"Digital and mobile innovation was a key topic at this year’s conference and we wanted to offer our own mobile app to provide attendees with fast and convenient access to conference information from their pocket," said Kevin McCourt, NAA’s Vice President of Advertising and Exhibit Sales. "We want to do everything we can to get members involved in new technologies and help them stay on the cutting edge."

"It is fantastic to see organizations like the NAA embracing mobile technology and promoting discussions about mobile innovation among executives in the publishing industry," said Evan Conway, Executive Vice President of Marketing with Handmark. "Mobile applications deliver the next great customer experience for readers and revenue source for publishers and media companies."

According to attendee surveys, the mobile app was the second most important tool, after the website, for planning their mediaXchange conference services experience. NAA plans on utilizing mobile applications again in 2011.

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment company, is here to help with your mobile needs at your next meeting or conference. If you are looking to rent iPads, rent Tablet PCs, or Laptop rentals, AV Event Solutions is just a click or call away!

The Death of the Boring Meeting: 6 Ways to Bring it Back to Life
Feb 16, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
The Death of the Boring Meeting: 6 Ways to Bring it Back to LifeThe structure of most meetings today is the way it has been for decades; a presenter gets up and lectures, audience members take notes (or not), and the session ends with a standard 15 minute Q&A session with limited to no questions from the audience. C’mon meeting planners, am I right or am I right? I should know, this has been the way I have been planning most of my meetings for years, but I know there has to be a better way.

With all the technology available today, meetings should be interactive, engaging, and even (gulp) fun! Here are 6 ways an event meeting services company can help planners start to make it happen.

  1. Add Wireless Audience Response Systems. Audience response system units have come along way from the bubble buttons that allowed you to answer multiple choice questions on the screen. While those units are still available, newer units have texting and microphone capabilities integrated into the audience response rental. In addition, it has been shown to increase audience participation because attendees can provide feedback or questions anonymously.
  2. Create a Twitter group for the Event. Communicate to your attendees before the event (many times please) that you are going to use a Twitter group exclusive to this event. If the user has a smartphone and are already using Twitter, this is going to be easy. However, for those attendees who have neither, you might rent iPads or rent Tablet PCs and have the AV company install the Twitter app on each mobile device.
  3. Scratch the traditional room setting. Now this won’t work with every meeting, but get rid of the tables and have everyone sit in one large circle. It removes the physical barrier of a table, but you will need a large space and wireless mics in order to pull this off . The presenter or facilitator sits with the rest of the group, thus making every person equal. 
  4. Make the schedule "blank". At EventCamp last November, their were papers on a table near the registration area, where attendees indicated what they could teach, and then based on all the topics, attendees voted on what they wanted to learn.
  5. Let Presenters speak for only 20 minutes. Better yet, limit your presenters to only 10 slides. This allows plenty of time for discussion (40 minutes, in your typical breakout session) and it makes the presenter better because they are bringing "pinpoint accuracy" to their message. 10 slides, 20 minutes. Learn tips on how to create a powerful PowerPoint Presentation.
  6. Don’t let the Presenter be the Cop in the Room. Most speakers like to be the "teacher" and make the audience go where they are. Let’s stop that! Audience members do go off topic and that is okay. Go where the attendees are, not where the speaker wants them to go.
"The reality is, most people are not happy with the traditional conference experience anymore," says Adrian Segar, Owner of Segar Consulting. "When it was the only option, they grinned and bore it. Now they don’t have to do that anymore."

AV Event Solutions, is here to help you make your next meeting, event, or conference more interactive and fun! Call us today!

6 Great Mobile Applications for Meeting Attendees
Feb 14, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
Okay, okay perhaps the title of this blog is stretching it a bit because we all know that mobile applications are changing and growing like a Califonia wildfire. 6 Great Mobile Applications for Meeting AttendeesWith meeting apps reaching over 1,000 applications this week, this blog assessment may be only as good as the time as it takes you to read it (hopefully not). Here are a few software suggestions event meeting services professionals may wish to consider, especially if you are going to rent iPad technology.  


Simplenote is a free application that runs on an iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. This software allows the attendee to keep notes, lists, and ideas on the web and mobile device. There is an instant searching capablilty and you can share information with other users as well.

Evernote runs on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Palm Pre and it is also free. It allows the attendee to save  their ideas and take notes.

MindNode is $5.99 per device and designed for the iPhone and iPad. It is an intuitive application that allows the user to collect and organize your thoughts and ideas as mind maps.


iTalk Lite is a free application that is simple to use and lets the meeting attendee start and stop recordings, choose the recording quality, and manage the list of recordings. It runs on iPhone and iPod touch. The user can email their recordings to their office computer or transfer via Wi-Fi.


Twitter is a microblogging social media website that allows the conference services attendee to "tweet" information about the event, 140 characters at a time. It can also be used to communicate directly with the event services company about a problem, create a group, or reference a website or blog. Twitter is free and can run on any mobile device.

TweetDeck is a free program that runs on an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, and Google Chrome. Not only can the user tweet about the event they can view and update Facebook directly, too. It is allows the attendee who has an iPad to view tweets in two or three columns and it fills the entire iPad screen.


Dub, allows Blackberry, iPhone, and iPad Touch users to unify and manage all your contacts in a safe and secure way. This application is free and syncs a user’s email address book, social media, and mobile contacts all in one place. You can also exchange cards via the smartphone. Dub automatically pulls new contacts from connected sources such as LinkedIn. In addition, the user can search and filter their new contacts. 


Yelp is another free application that runs on a Blackberry, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Palm Pre, or Windows Phone. Yelp allows the event attendees to see real time reviews about restaurants, attractions, and hotels in the area. It also allows the attendee to write a review, read reviews and connect with friends. 

AV Event Solutions, will work with event meeting planners to put together the best software solutions for your next conference. We rent iPads for large and small events in California. Give us a call!

Using MASS Communication with your AV Company
Feb 11, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan
MASS CommunicationContrary to what you may be thinking, this is not a blog about using TV, Radio, or Social Media to communicate better with your AV Team.

As an experienced meeting planner, I used to schedule and talk to my event audio visual rental company early in the process and then basically when they arrived on site. However, I have learned through many years and many mistakes, that process doesn’t work well, especially for large, complex events. So now, I use the MASS approach to communicate with my audio visual rental vendor, especially when it comes to "change" management.

So, what is MASS communication? Simply stated, it is an acronym that stands for:

Meeting Rooms
Space Configuration

Meeting Rooms
Usually, these get shifted during the last couple of weeks before the event. They might start happening a few days before, a day before, or (gasp!) during your event. This happens when breakout sessions become too big or too small for the space. Because event audio visual firms usually rely on schematics to set up and strike the room, it is imperative that you let them know, as soon as you know. This situation is only going become more fluid in the coming months and years, with agendas and registrations going to mobile applications.

It always amazes me how optimistic clients and event meeting planners are about attendance. They always think there is going to be a mad rush in registration 24 to 72 hours before the event. As if someone whispers in the potential attendee’s ear "it’s time to register for that event." If that doesn’t happen, the client is always hopeful for a huge walk-in population. Face it, folks! This almost never happens. Let your audiovisual partner know about your registered attendance one month, 3 weeks, 1 week, 3 days, and 1 day before your event. Give true numbers, not what you wish for!

A speaker canceled, your association general sessions is running over by 30 minutes, a break out needs to go because of a low number of requests for it. Let your AV team know immediately when these things happen. Have their cell phones, set up walkie-talkies, email or tweet to them…it doesn’t matter what you use…but when you know, they know.

Space Configuration
You told your audiovisual rental team you were going to set up the room in crescent rounds and one day before the event, you decided a U-shape configuration would be better. This is going to affect your AV team;  for example, the projector and screen rentals may be different due to the viewing angle of the audience. When and if you decide to change the set up, let the AV team know right away. Ask them if the audiovisual rental needs will change and if it does, how will it affect the budget.

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment provider, is available to make your MASS communication easier! They are ready to be your partner for all your audio visual rental needs.
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