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5 Defining Moments When Planning Your 2013 Meetings
Plan_First_hz_164024_7
Nov 30, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

plan first

Everyone who owns or runs an event services company is busy, busy, busy. Most planners run from one event to the next without much of a break. However, since December typically represents event planners' "down time" of the year, it seems appropriate to take a hard look at the reasons you have meetings and events in the first place and how the planning process can be improved in 2013. 

Here are 5 things to pay attention to as you move forward with next year's events: 

#1: What is the purpose of your meeting and why does it need to be face-to-face?  

Is the reason for the meeting one of the following:

  • A product launching event that can be best explained in a live audience setting
     
  • An annual meeting where important proxy issues need to be voted on via wireless audience response systems
     
  • An incentive trip to award and honor the top performers in the company
     
  • A sales meeting to brainstorm about new ways to gain more business in 2013
     
  • A social event such as a holiday party or employee appreciation picnic

Whatever the reason — gathering individuals together for education, voting, brainstorming or celebrating —  your meeting makes sense in a face-to-face environment. 

#2: What are the goals and objectives for the meeting? 

Using the SMART methodology for setting objectives can help determine what you need to make the meeting successful. 

Specific:      What are the key takeaways from the meeting? 

Measurable: How will you measure the goals? By number of new orders? New customers? New sales?

Achievable:  Is it realistic to have 500 attendees at the product launch? What is reasonable?

Relevant:     Is your meeting or event relevant in 2013? Are you giving attendees what they want? 

Time-bound: Are the above items tied to an end-date and series of completion dates along the way? 

#3: What is the history of the meeting? 

How long has this meeting been in place? Is attendance growing or dwindling? What worked and what did not in past meetings? What has been the budget for past meetings? 

#4: Take a hard look at your attendees. 

Here are some great questions to ask the individuals who are coming to your meeting:

  • Why are they coming?
  • What are their expectations? 
  • Where are they traveling from? 
  • Will they be bringing their spouse or family with them? 
  • Are there any special food or room requirements? 

#5: Find out why individuals stayed home last year. 

Finding out the reasons attendees didn't sign up for your conference will give you perspective on how to attract them to the meeting. Perhaps your pricing or location needs to change. Or the content and speakers need to be freshened up. Whatever the reasons, take their feedback seriously and be prepared to make some changes. 

AV Event Solutions is your California meeting equipment supplier. Give them a call at (888) 249-4903 to learn more about their innovative offerings! 

Want a Well-Connected, Successful Event? Rent iPads and Wireless Network Arrays!
coke_logo
Nov 28, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

conference

If you are looking to take your meeting to the next level by allowing your attendees maximum portability and efficient, fast connections — look no further than to the versatility of Apple iPads and the reliability of Wi-Fi network rentals that can support up to 1,000 devices. When an event offers iPad rentals and attendees use their own smartphones, event venues need more access points to handle all these devices. Adding a Wi-Fi network array ensures that the event has the best connectivity and portability option. 

Here are the key benefits of renting iPads and wireless network arrays for your event:

The network can be customized to your meeting needs and allow for web-based apps. 

Many planners are nervous running web apps on an iPad system because they think the app may not be available in a timely basis…especially if they have 700 individuals trying to access the information all at the same time. The key is to work with your AV provider to test, analyze and customize the Wi-Fi system to meet your needs. A "one size fits all" mentality with Wi-Fi is no longer necessary.  

All attendees can simultaneously see the same digital information on their iPads. 

Imagine having hundreds, if not thousands of attendees strewn all over a convention center and hotel. You need to get a message to all of them…RIGHT NOW. It might be about an impending session or an alert about the weather. Whatever it is, having iPads and the right network array allows everyone to see the same information at the same time. 

Meeting your bandwidth needs — including seamless roaming and video streaming. 

Most attendees are going to expect the same level of Wi-Fi speed and security they have at home or the office. They don't want to run into "dead zones" and they don't want to suffer from what might seem like endless buffering. The Wi-Fi network array allows for more access points, both inside and out, and boosts the bandwidth allowing for a network configuration that will keep your attendees happy with the network. 

Administer on-site surveys and centralize the data for instant analysis.

The iPad has great survey apps that can be integrated right into the presentation to allow for more flexibility with the speakers, sponsors or conference services staff. This solution allows planners and speakers to change things up as needed and create a meeting environment that is more geared to real-time attendee wants and needs. 

Wi-Fi network arrays provide for a multi-level secure environment. 

Free internet does not always provide you a secure system. As an event organizer, you don't want to worry that just anyone can log onto the system and access your data. This is especially true if you are conducting a product launching event that is going to give your organization a huge competitive advantage. Having a secure system is just as important as having a fast system. 

AV Event Solutions is a premier interactive technology tool rental company that provides iPads, Wi-Fi network arrays, kiosks and technical coordination for events. Give them a call at 888-249-4903 to learn more how your next event can become more portable and connected…guaranteed!

What are the Risk/Reward Factors in Outsourcing Event Audio Visual Rental Equipment?
risk-and-reward
Nov 26, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

risk  and reward sign

Your organization is in the process of assessing the number, location and needs for your meetings in 2013 and beyond. Even though you own some audio visual equipment, it is becoming increasingly apparent that your aged equipment and bare-bones staff is not in a position to keep up with the technological demands most speakers and attendees desire. 

So now you are faced with a dilemma — should you keep forging on with the same-old equipment OR rely on the conference services staff to meet your AV needs OR consider the possibility of outsourcing all your audio visual needs to a meeting equipment provider, such as AV Event Solutions?  

Lets focus on the risk and reward factors associated with outsourcing your AV needs and how to minimize your risk while maximizing your reward. 

THE RISK: What is the worst thing that can happen? 

You need to make a listing of all your risk factors both with an internal decision and with an outsourcing one. Here are a few questions to get your started:

INTERNALLY 

  1. What happens if key experts left the company? 
  2. Who can keep up with the technology coming out in the next year and know how the attendee/speaker/staff will benefit from said technology? 
  3. If the internal team is installing and striking the AV equipment, on top of maintaining and storing the same equipment, what marketing opportunities are going to be lost in the process?  
  4. How much time will it take your team to do the functions listed above? 

AV COMPANY

  1. What is your response time parameters on service calls, responding to phone calls, emails, etc.?
  2. How do you keep up with technological changes? What certifications do you hold and how do you educate your staff?
  3. What additional resources do you have on your team (such as a dedicated project manager)? 
  4. Make certain you interview and ask for references from the av companies you are evaluating. 
  5. What other events have you provided audiovisual rentals for that are similar to this one? 
  6. What is your communication style? 

THE REWARD: What is the best thing that can happen? 

If you choose the right strategic partner, your staff can gain back a whole lot of time that can now be dedicated to bringing in more revenue opportunities and focusing on your core business. 

In addition, your event audio visual rental company can provide the best value by focusing on the right equipment to meet the needs of your attendees and speakers. 

HOW DO YOU GET THE REWARDS?

  1. Create a communication schedule and plan. Have regularly scheduled calls to make certain everything is on target. 
  2. Outline clear responsibilities to your vendor team members. Don't leave anything to chance. 
  3. Control costs by understanding all the equipment and labor costs, especially overtime rates. 

The bottom line here is to find an AV company that can work well with your internal team. Outsourcing may not be right for your organization, but it is worth the time to analyze its value especially if you are running your organization with a limited number of employees. AV Event Solutions is here to help you with all your outsourcing needs! Give them a call to learn more about their staff and product offerings! 

How a Thanksgiving Get-Together Can be Like an Event
happy-thanksgiving-2012
Nov 21, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

thanksgiving

Have you ever considered what you might learn from a Thanksgiving gathering when planning your next meeting or conference? Here are 5 simple things we can all garner from this day of food, rest and relaxation!

#1: You always know the day. 

Thanksgiving falls on the 4th Thursday of November. Always. No exceptions. 

How about your meetings or events? Do they always fall on the the same date, month, or time of year? Have you conveyed that information to your attendees or employees well in advance?

#2: Only A-listers are invited. 

At Thanksgiving, we usually have only have family or perhaps a few very close friends. There is limited space in your home or at the table and only a certain number of people will be able to fit comfortably there.

Are you focused on your A-listers for your meetings? Having 25 highly qualified clients or prospects is better than having 100 lukewarm prospects at your next gathering. Focus on the attendees that are the most important to your organization and get them to the table.  

#3: Everyone brings something to the gathering. 

Usually, the host prepares the turkey and stuffing while invited guests bring something to complement the meal. 

Every meeting needs 4 entities to be successful: attendees, event meeting services organization, speakers and suppliers. Is everyone contributing to the event's success and are they complementing each other by working as a team? 

#4: You bring an "Attitude of Gratitude" to the day

This is usually a time when individuals stop and reflect about the things they are grateful for and to let others know why they are thankful to have them in their lives. 

How many times have you thanked your attendees, speakers, sponsors and partners for a great event? When renting audio visual equipment do you go to the AV technician and thank him/her for a job well done? Don't take anyone or anything for granted. Thank everyone — all year long. 

#5: During the day, there is usually something for everyone. 

In my home, the men gather downstairs to watch the constant stream of football games. Women gather to play board games and the children usually play video games or watch movies. Some people opt to go for a walk. And some just go home after the meal. 

Does your meeting have something for everyone? Are you catering to the different generational and gender needs? Find out what your attendees need and plan accordingly. 

AV Event Solutions is very thankful for your business! Everyone in the company wishes you and yours a happy, safe and festive Thanksgiving! 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Hosting a Successful Corporate Holiday Party
SmartSource Rentals, holiday party,
Nov 19, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

holiday

Your annual holiday gathering is just around the corner and this year, you want it to be extra special for the employees. After all they have worked very hard and it is a time to celebrate your company's success. Rather than holding a run-of-the-mill luncheon, you want to host a motivational and festive party to start the new year right. 

Below are do's and don'ts about holiday parties that can help make the moment special:  

Don't treat a holiday party as a mundane meeting. 
Yes, it is quite possible that employees see each other every day and it is easy to assume that everyone knows the ins and outs of each other's lives. But because we are all so busy, often times employees use social gatherings to get to know each other better and understand the upcoming plans for the organization. 

Do take this opportunity to market your business, share plans for the coming year and bring the meeting to life. 
You know this to be true: your employees are your best sales team. If they are motivated by the CEO's message, are aware of what is planned for the coming year and receive some recognition for their efforts — they are more likely to be engaged in the business. Use sound and lighting rental systems to make certain everyone can hear and see what is happening on stage and throughout the room. 

Don't create a mood for the meeting. 
Due to budgetary concerns, you have had to cut back on the holiday party. However, a party is not a standard boardroom meeting with presentations services audio visual equipment and individuals in a darkened room at 8 am. It is much, much more. 

Do use all 5 senses to create the mood. 

  • Sight: Can everyone see each other? Can you use light equipment rentals in an unusual way to create the mood? Perhaps colored holiday lighting or strings of lights around the room?
     
  • Sound: If you are having music or entertainment, make certain all sound components are tested hours before your event. The last thing you want is the mic to cut in and out or the music to be so soft or loud it puts a damper on the party's mood. Have an AV technician on hand during the festivities to monitor the sound quality and make the proper adjustments when needed. 
     
  • Smell: If the venue allows for it, burn scented candles on each table. Or put food stations around the room where employees can smell the food each chef is preparing. 
     
  • Taste: Having well-prepared festive food and drink can make or break a holiday party. Eggnog, cookies, turkey, cranberries, and other holiday treats — that are made from scratch — will help set a positive mood and have employees asking for more. 
     
  • Touch: Set up photo kiosks for fun employee shots. Rent iPads as portable kiosks for employees to put social posts about the party on their wall and display them on Plasma TVs around the room in order to make the event more interactive. 

The more senses involved in the process, the better it is for setting the right mood for the party.

Are you planning a holiday event in California? Look no further than AV Event Solutions for all your party needs! They have sound and lighting rentals, iPad rental, and much, much more! Give them a call at 888-249-4903 to get started!

Is Your Meeting Stuck in a Plateau? 3 Ways to Push Past it
comfortzone
Nov 16, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

comfort zone

Is your meeting stuck in a time warp? Are you doing the same thing you did 5 or 10 years ago? Are you avoiding change because you don't want to go out of your comfort zone? 

Many meeting planners know the event process so well they rarely want to change it. Embracing change doesn't mean losing ground with your company, client or attendees. It means you are willing to look hard at your event and do what is absolutely necessary to make your meeting robust and exciting. 

So, how do you do this?

First, you need to be somewhat courageous. Look at other successful events and find out why they are sold-out, buzzed about or have positive impact on attendees. Be willing to gain insight from others so you can set your event apart. You don't have to implement everything other meeting organizations do, but this is a good start to the process. 

Second, you need to embrace an attitude of change. Just because you have always run things a certain way does not mean it is the right way to do things today. 

Third, you need to look at the event life cycle. Sometimes, meetings and events just need to die out and go away. This is very hard for people in the event meeting services industry to accept; but it is a reality. Every meeting has a purpose and sometimes, the purpose was met several months or years ago. 

Here are the 3 specific steps to push you past a plateau:

  1. Know your attendees.

    What do they want and need? What information are they interested in learning more about? What interactive technology tool rentals will help them meet their needs? Listen to their suggestions and implement them. 
     

  2. Understand your event's purpose. 

    What is the main purpose of your meeting? Does it fit within your organization's mission? Is the purpose still relevant to your attendees, especially as you may be attracting cross-generational individuals? 
     

  3. Understand past successes and failures. 

    If you hold an annual conference, which one was the best and why? Which one was the worst and why? Putting together a list of your successes and failures can help you capitalize on your successes and minimize your failures.

    A convenient way to keep a pulse on your attendee's view of the meeting is through a polling method with Audience Response System rental units. In addition, if you rent iPads for the meeting, you can ask attendees to give you feedback via direct messaging on Twitter or by sending you an email. Respond quickly to attendees when they have a question, comment or issue about the conference and you will start to understand what is great and not-so-great about your meeting. 

AV Event Solutions wants to know, what are you doing to push past your meeting plateaus? 

How to Hold Effective Meetings Before the Big Product Launching Event
meeting
Nov 14, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

meetingYour company has decided to introduce a new product or service and has put in place a team of individuals from all over the country to coordinate the launch. Since this will be the first time everyone is working together, it is decided among the group that a series of meetings is in the best interest of all concerned in order to have a successful launch. But are all those meetings really necessary?

Here are some tips and techniques for a product launch event to keep you focused on the process and make sure you are not wasting everyone's valuable time. 
 
First, find out the objectives of the launch. 
 
Establishing concrete objectives such as:
"We want all our A-list customers to be aware of our new product offering."
 
"We desire to have 100 customers place a product pre-order at the launch."
 
"We will show our customers and prospects how we dominate over our competitors with this new offering."
Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you stay focused on the outcome of the actual event and will keep the team aware of what needs to happen next.
 
Second, do we need to have a meeting? 
 
Be selective on how many pre-launch meetings you actually need to have. Can the update be handled through email or online project management software? 
 
Everyone's time is valuable, so call meetings when they make sense and keep them short, focused and to the point. 
 
Third, go through a logistics checklist and make certain everyone is on board.
 
Here are the questions your team needs to answer to make the most of your launch:
  • Who should be invited and why would they want to hear our message? 
    Having a defined target niche and identifying why they would want to attend your meeting will help garner how many invitations need to go out and the messaging on the invitation. 
     
  • What venue makes the most sense? 
    If you are holding a small meeting with a few select clients, it may make sense to hold it at the office or an upscale restaurant. However, if the meeting is going to be large and you want to take advantage of interactive technology tool rentals, an offsite property is going to make the most sense. 
     
  • How will you measure the success of the launch? 
    Determining if attendees liked the product and understood the message can be easily assessed through wireless audience response systems. In addition, going back to your objectives and seeing if they are met one week, month or year after the event can help you track the success of this event and set the bar for future launches. 
     
  • When should you hold your launch? 
    Sometimes, these decisions are made for you by the company and other times you will have a say as to when they happen. For example, holding a launch in the middle of winter in a snowy state like Ohio is probably not a good option. Try to hold it when you can maximize attendance and keep outside obstacles, like the weather, out of your way. 
Don't trust just anyone with your all-important next new product launch; trust the company with a proven track record of success. Contact AV Event Solutions by submitting an Express Quote for a same day response! 
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