SmartSource Rentals Blog


The Power of Numbers: How Your Event Partners can Help You Build Meeting Attendance
Aug 31, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan


Quick: Think about your last meeting. How many organizational partners touched your event? You may be surprised when you add it all up — from speakers to the caterer to the conference equipment rental organization. And the list goes on and on. Would it surprise you if the number was 25? Or even 100+ with a large event and trade show?

And what if you asked them this simple question:

"How are you going to help me market this event?"

As your event services company looks at you with glazed eyes and stammers to answer your question, perhaps you add the following:

"What if I give you a road map for promotion that will create a "win-win" for both of us?"

As they let out a big sigh of relief, you share with them these 6 relatively simple ways they can help you drive attendance.

YOU ASK them to promote your event on their website — including an online registration link. 

In return…

YOU HIGHLIGHT their logo, website and Twitter handle on your event page. 


YOU ASK them to create a personalized email blast to their clients sharing the benefits of attending your event. 

In return…

YOU PROVIDE an email template that can be easily tailored. 


YOU ASK them to include your event information in their e-newsletter including the registration link and pricing information. 

In return…

YOU INCLUDE their logo, website, and role at the event in your e-newsletter. 


YOU co-create a press kit including a press release about the meeting, and ask that they share this kit with all their media contacts. 


YOU ASK them to be a guest blogger highlighting why they chose to speak, exhibit or be apart of your meeting. The registration link can be part of the call-to-action at the end of the blog.

In return…

YOU AGREE to be a guest blogger on their site stating the reasons why you they are one of your preferred meeting partners. 


YOU ASK them to leverage their social media platforms including:

  • Promoting the event hashtag on Twitter
  • Liking your Facebook Fan Page and posting comments or questions on it
  • Inviting 50 of their LinkedIn contacts to the event and
  • Creating a short video explaining why they are excited to be apart of your event, posting it on YouTube and promoting the video on the social channels. 

In return…


  • Follow them on Twitter
  • Like their Facebook Fan Page and
  • Follow their Company Page on LinkedIn


Give your partners a stake in the success of your event and see them as organizations that are interested in generating enthusiasm about your meeting. After all, if attendance is up it creates more contacts and revenue for everyone involved. 

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment partner, is ready and willing to make your next event a fantastic success. Contact them today to learn more about their unique offerings! 

Ins and Outs of Hosting a Hybrid Event
Aug 29, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan


After many discussions with your team and stakeholders, you have decided to hold a hybrid event in order to extend the reach of the meeting content to remote attendees. Whether you are faced with the reality that some people have  stopped coming to your annual event due to economic or scheduling difficulties or you are trying to reach potential attendees that might be enticed to attend your live meeting in the future, hybrid events can be an attractive offering to associations and companies alike.  

But how does live streaming your meeting  work…really? Here is the basic breakdown: 

  1. You need to hire an event audio visual rental company to film the speaker and send, in real time, the film to an online live-streaming provider
  2. The online provider will compress the video
  3. This provider transmits video to the cloud and
  4. The video rebroadcasts to virtual attendees. 

And all of this happens with a "blink of the eye"  to the virtual audience. We're talking nanoseconds. 

Now that you know how it works, what does your event meeting services organization need to make a hybrid event happen? Here is a checklist developed by Dave Lutz from Velvet Chainsaw Consulting:

  • When on the site visit, check out the room setting. Is it conducive to a hybrid event — with cameras, computers, and controllers? If not, move to a room that is large enough to handle both the people and the equipment. 
  • Is the lighting right? Virtual events require special lighting so testing the equipment in the room  will be key to your success. Consider light equipment rental options if the venue lighting isn't enough. 
  • Will the camera be manned or unmanned? 
  • Is the venue's Internet secure enough? If you are broadcasting sensitive or confidential data, you want to provide access points and bandwidth that is not available to anyone other than your attendees. 
  • How fast is the Internet? Remember, in addition to your virtual attendees, you will have your F2F audience pulling on the bandwidth. If you rent iPads instead of producing binders and your attendees have smartphones, each device requires an IP address which can bring a standard Internet system to its knees. Consider Wi-Fi network array rental units to boost your bandwidth and increase access points. 
  • What live-streaming online provider will you be using and what support will they provide you? 
  • Does the online provider allow for integration of social, especially Twitter? 
  • Are you charging virtual attendees to participate? If so, how much? 

AV Event Solutions is a California meeting equipment provider that can work with you on all your hybrid needs! Contact them today to learn more about their wireless network array rental options! 

Why Offer Digital Signage at Your Next Meeting? Let Me Count the Ways!
Aug 27, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

video wall

A year ago or more, the prospect of digital signage was overwhelming to an event meeting services organization. It was so much easier to order expensive one-time use posters, plastic signs and hire staff to direct and answer questions of attendees, exhibitors, and speakers.

But this is not the case any longer.

With the cost of technology coming down and massive improvements in IP-streamed video, digital signage will become more and more the norm within the event industry. Lets focus on the 6 benefits of digital signage — which can be implemented through video wall rentals or computer kiosks.  

  1. Display Real-time Information that is Easily Customized from a Central Location. 

    Having a speaker cancel, last-minute room change, or weather advisory can be very difficult to convey to the masses in a non-digital world. But by having all your signage controlled through a central system, these messages can be handled via a computer and changes can be made as often as you like. 

  2. Placing the Video Wall and Touch Panel Kiosks in Strategic Locations Can Create Natural Gathering Points for Attendees. 

    If attendees know the video wall or kiosk is going to be a constant source of information and entertainment, they will gather before them, garner the information, and make a decision –whether it be — what session to attend next or what restaurant to eat out at that evening. 

  3. Speaker Video Feeds can Bring More People to Their Sessions. 

    Providing running videos of your presenters during breaks and non-meeting times can allow attendees to get a feel for the speaker's presentation style and knowledge level.

  4. Live Video Feeds can be Displayed. 

    If attendees need to step out of the meeting room to take a phone call or are running late to a session, they can view a live feed of what is going on from the foyer or lobby of the venue. This is a particularly popular application of this technology for keynote speakers and product launching events

  5. Video Wall Rentals Can be of Great Help to Your Exhibitors. 

    As exhibitors arrive, they can obtain a virtual tour of the exhibit hall, see where they need to unload and set up their booth, who to call or tweet for questions and where their staff needs to go to get registered. 

  6. If You are Conducting a Hybrid Event, Information on the Wall or Kiosk can be Viewed from the Remote Attendee's Mobile Device. 

    This allows the virtual attendee to feel more connected to the event and get a feel for the energy level at the meeting. 

AV Event Solutions provides video-enabled digital signage through video wall and kiosk rentals, as well as, Wi-Fi network array rentals that can support the network infrastructure. Check out their website today to learn more about their great offerings! 

Why Virtual Meetings Will Never Replace Face-to-Face Conferences
Aug 24, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

face to face meeting     virtual meeting

It seems as technology becomes better, cheaper, and faster, senior managers push their event teams to look at the virtual alternative. While it is true that a lot of the issues with virtual meetings have been minimized — such as buffering and crashing systems — there is a time and place for each meeting option. Today's lets focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the Face-to-Face and Virtual format. What it really boils down to are these 3 questions planners need to ask themselves:  

  1. What are the event objectives?
  2. What is the budget? 
  3. What do the attendees want? 

Once you answer these questions, the right meeting format will seem clear.

Strengths of Face-to-Face (F2F) Meetings

  • Networking Rules. There is nothing like meeting someone, shaking their hand, and reading their body language. It is hard to start personal conversations, initiate brainstorming or run an icebreaker event remotely. 
  • Visual Cues Abound. From sound and lighting rentals to video walls, the attendee can be wowed with color and action. Speakers can integrate video and photographs into their Powerpoint presentation equipment and utilize the effects of sound and lighting to draw the attendee in. 
  • Spontaneous Interaction is Available. In a face-to-face meeting, attendees can drive the focus of the meeting. They can ask questions that can lead to additional questions and comments from the audience. The presenter can focus on what the attendees need, right then and there. 

Weaknesses of Face-to-Face Meetings

  • Budgets can be High. With these type of meetings you will incur food and beverage, travel, meeting room, and event audio visual rental costs. Although these costs are nothing out of the ordinary from prior meetings, management teams are always looking for ways to cut costs and some F2F meetings will be affected. 
  •  Limited Number of Attendees will Attend. It doesn't really matter how great your content is or how fantastic your presenters are, there will always be a segment of your members, clients, or prospects that will not attend your meeting due to scheduling conflicts or economic reasons. 
  • It is Somewhat Difficult to Measure Impact. If you are the type of planner who never surveys your speakers, exhibitors, or attendees, you might want to start. One easy and paperless way to measure impact is through the use of Audience Response System rental units. 

Strengths of Virtual Meetings

  • Lower Travel Costs and Time Away from the Office. The attendee may be able to access the conference via their home computer or go to a central location within driving distance to participate in the meeting.
  • Reaches a Wide Audience. Since expenses and travel time are no longer a consideration, virtual attendees have the option to participate live or view the speaker at a later date.
  • Easy and Effective Way to Measure Metrics. You will have access to exactly who signed on, when they did so, when they left, and the questions or comments that attendees contributed. 

Weaknesses of Virtual Meetings

  • Hard to Network. Most of the time you do not know who or how many other individuals are attending virtually.  
  • Small Event Screen. Individuals usually view the event from their laptop or tablet. It does not give them a total scope of what is going on. In addition, if audience members do not have microphones, the remote attendee cannot hear the question being asked of the speaker. 
  • Distractions Are Real. Whether you are viewing the event from home or the office, many interruptions can and will happen. 

AV Event Solutions can provide you with state-of-the-art interactive technology tool rentals to make your next face-to-face meeting a fantastic undertaking! Get started today by completing the express quote form

10 Tips to Make Your Event Wi-Fi Access Decision Easier
Aug 22, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

wifi areaWi-Fi access can seem cumbersome and overwhelming to a meeting planner. While most venues tout access to Wi-Fi for your attendees, the questions you should be asking are:

  • Is it free? 
  • If it isn't free, how much should I budget for it? 
  • Is it fast? 
  • Is it secure?

Many organizations claim to offer free Wi-Fi, but it can be slow or unsecure or both. And whether it is fast or secure depends on your definition what that means. If your attendees are expecting it to be lightening fast and very secure, you are probably looking for an outside vendor to boost the meeting venue's bandwidth and to monitor activity on the network.

AV Event Solutions has Wi-Fi Network Array Rentals available to boost your bandwidth and number of access points for a meeting or event. They have recently put together 10 great informational tips for your consideration. 

Wi-Fi Tip #1: Sell Sponsor-Branded Wi-Fi Splash Pages. 

In case you are wondering what a splash page is, it is the page attendees will first see when they log onto the Wi-Fi system. By selling a series of sponsor-driven pages, your organization can gain monetary contributions to offset the cost of the network array rental. Sponsors have the attendee's attention as they log into the conference. 

Wi-Fi Tip #2: Increase Event Buzz by Letting Attendees Know About the Wi-Fi Access Through  Specific Twitter Hashtags. 

Wi-Fi Tip #3: During the Site Inspection, Identify Wi-Fi Dead Spots and Plan to "Fix" the Problem. 

Creating more access points can help but if this won't solve the problem due to the building layout or security, make certain attendees know this through digital signage on Video Wall rentals or sending a message through the Twitter feed. 

Wi-Fi Tip #4: If You are Planning to Have a Press Room at Your Event, Letting the Media Know You Have Fast, Secure, and Robust Wi-Fi Available May Get You Greater Event Coverage. 

This can be a real benefit especially at a product launching event or annual meeting. 

Wi-Fi Tip #5: Free Hotel or Conference Wi-Fi is NOT Secure for Event Attendees. 

For a more details on why this is true, check out our blog about the risks of using Free Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi Tip #6: Attendees Should Only Know about Wi-Fi Security if they Attempt to Misuse the System. 

Having a process to draw your attention to individuals who may be trying to hack into your system is important. Establishing procedures, such as 3 login attempts, encrypting sensitive data and making sure that attendees cannot have lax passwords, can keep your system secure. 

Wi-Fi Tip #7: Have Your Event Audio Visual Rental Company Monitor Twitter for Real-Time Alerts from Attendees and Your Staff About Performance Issues. 

Wi-Fi Tip #8: Plan for Adequate Bandwidth by Focusing on High Density Areas and Outdoor Meeting Space so the Wi-Fi Doesn't Fail. 

Wi-Fi Tip #9: Make Certain the AV Company Knows About All the Devices Connecting to the Wi-Fi, including Smartphones, iPads, and Laptops so Proper Bandwidth Can Be Planned. 

Wi-Fi Tip #10: For Best Wi-Fi Results, Have Your AV Team Measure Channel Utilization and Signal Strength Throughout the Event. 

For more tips on Wi-Fi, please "like" AV Event Solutions Facebook Fan page and download their "Event Technology and Wi-Fi Tips" White Paper for Free! 

7 Terrific Trends to Build Better Meetings
Aug 20, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

living room

Things are changing in the meeting industry. Spaces will soon replicate a "living room" environment with top-notch interactive technology tool rentals that can bring a "wow" effect to the event. No more boring spaces — fun, vibrant, and creative are the words of the day.

BizBash Magazine recently published the top 10 trends they believe are changing the industry. I have plucked out 7 of the 10 in this blog post — highlighting changes in both the meeting space and with event audio visual rental equipment. 

Trend #1: The Anti-Meeting Look.

Anyone who has been in this industry for awhile, knows that most meeting rooms are set up in a classroom, round, theater style, or U-Shape format. That is going to be ending, sooner rather than later. Planners are asking that the meeting space be relaxing and homey, stocked with cozy furniture and soft seating. 

"It (a well decorated home) is a more comfortable atmosphere to relax and take in information," said Peggy Fang Roe, Vice President of Global Operations Services for Marriott International, where they are prototyping this setup. 

Trend #2: Turning Small Spaces into Something Useful. 

Hotel owners and conference services staff are taking a hard look at their unused space and converting it into gathering areas for 4 to 8 individuals. Housed with couches, easy chairs, recharging docks, and lighting — these small spaces are areas where attendees can network or work in small project teams. 

Trend #3: Addition of Outdoor Spaces.

Even urban hotels are adding patios, terraces, and other outdoor areas for the meeting, a reception or for breaks. An outdoor space allows attendees to get into the fresh air and keeps the group energized over the course of the day. 

"People want more of an engaging experience in the meeting space," said Tristan Dowell, Director of Brands at Hyatt Corporation, where attendees regularly gather on the patio of  their New York Wall Street property.

Trend #4: Eco-Friendly Meetings. 

Many planners are seeking LEED-certified or "green" venues. According to the 2012 American Express Meetings & Events Global Forecast Report, 73% of meeting planners have an increased interest in hosting greener meetings. 

Hilton Worldwide has a program called LightStay that analyzes the economic impact of 200 event meeting services operational practices and can tell the planner the environmental impact of their meeting at a specific Hilton property. 

Trend #5: Utilization of Newer Technology Equipment. 

"More hotels are outsourcing AV — which does have an effect for the buyer — because their's (the outside vendor) is better quality," said Bjorn Hanson, Dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality at New York University. 

Some of the trends event planners will take advantage of are great pixel resolution via Plasma TV or Video Wall rentals, brighter lumens on LCD projectors, and the ability to tie sound into what is displaying on the screen rentals. All of these elements are going create a richer presentation for the attendee. 

Trend #6: Capturing a New Lighting Source: The Sun.

As hotel and conference centers renovate, they are adding more windows into their ballrooms, meeting rooms and break spaces — thus utilizing natural lighting whenever possible. 

Trend #7: Fewer Risers. 

Stages that are fixed are being taken out of hotels during renovations and the rental of risers from AV companies are in decline. Other than for entertainment purposes or a very large convention, a riser can put an automatic barrier between the speaker and the attendees something most planners want to eliminate. 

Contact AV Event Solutions for all your technology needs! They provide state-of-the-art AV equipment, as well as, experienced technicians and project managers. Don't delay, call them today!

How to Capture and Keep The Elusive Millennial Attendee at Events (Part 2)
Aug 17, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan


In Part 1, we shared with you the findings from The PCMA Foundation regarding the characteristics of Millennial attendees and what planners can do to reach and keep them at your meetings. 

Today lets focus on the motivational and communication aspect of this special group of attendees. On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is "least motivating" and 5 was "very motivating", about 2,000 individuals between 18 to 30 years old were asked 25 questions about what motivated them to attend a meeting, event, or convention.

Below, are the top 5 responses for attending a meeting or event plus how event audio visual rental organizations can help draw them in. 

Reason #1 to Attend: The meeting provides career networking and job opportunities. 

57% of these young professionals want the ability to move their career along. The best way to do this is to network face-to-face with other seasoned professionals in their field. Another trend in the event meeting services industry is to have companies that are in the same niche as the association and who are hiring, to participate in a job fair on the trade show floor. Providing special event pricing for those out-of-work professionals, giving them a chance to network and possibly connect with future employers is huge for millennials. 

Reason #2 to Attend: This is a fun, social event. 

52% of the respondents said this is very motivating to them. Planners need to ask their team when putting the event together the following questions: Is our meeting fun? In what ways are we making it less about work and education, and more about networking and socializing? 

Reason #3 to Attend: The convention has interesting and fun educational programs. 

50% of the participants stated this is very important and it seems to be a recurring theme. Interesting. Fun. Entertaining. How are your presenters and facilitators delivering this AND showing this group they are subject-matter experts? Rent iPads to put the presentation and gaming apps into the palm of the attendee's hand and to ramp up the fun and interest in your conference. 

Reason #4 to Attend: The program is about rewards and incentives. 

50% found it very motivating to attend an incentive trip in which corporations or associations understood the need to "earn" a trip or feel appreciated at one. 

Reason #5 to Attend: The organization offered a scholarship or financial inducement. 

50% of the respondents felt very motivated to attend if there was some way to defray the cost of the program. Does your organization offer a scholarship or financial break to those Millennials just starting out? If not, you may wish to look into it if you are not attracting this segment of the population to your meeting. 

Lastly, The PCMA Foundation measured the ways Millennials want to be communicated with. Here are their findings in a nutshell:

  • 54% through face-to-face interaction
  • 47% via e-mail
  • 34% through text messaging
  • 28% by way of Facebook and
  • 28% through your website

In summary, Millennials are looking for subject-matter experts that are authorities in their field that can present material in a visual, interactive and fun way. In addition, this generational learner wants to network, feel appreciated and have content tailored to their benefit. 

AV Event Solutions is your California meeting equipment partner for meetings, events, and conventions! Give them a call today at 888. 249.4903 to learn more about their outstanding offerings. 

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