SmartSource Rentals Blog


Five Reasons Why Meeting Planners Should Not Treat Google+ Like a Redheaded Stepchild
Jun 28, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

google plusThere is no doubt about it — the brainiacs at Google work very hard at making their social channel appear before all others when a search for your organization occurs.  Partly, this is due to a push to promote their own product and partly, it is because social giants like Facebook and Twitter will not share their search algorithms with Google. However, no matter what social channel appears on top, Google+ may appear on the right side of a search page which can contain strategic information from your G+ page as long as you have a complete, verifiable profile. 

Most individuals do not understand G+ so they ignore it BUT with 400 million users, it is on target to surpass Twitter in the next year. If you haven't taken a look at this channel for awhile, many changes have occurred in the past 3-4 months with more changes are coming in the next year. 

All that aside, you are probably wondering what benefit it brings to your event marketing and attendee interaction. Below, are the five reasons you should make some fuss about Google+:

1. New Content is Indexed Fast.

Without getting too technical, the idea behind blog and social posts that contain your event keywords and URLs is to contain spiders that can spread out to the World Wide Web for maximum search results. Most of the time it takes several weeks for this to occur, but not with G+. 

Meeting Applicability: Post the same content on all social channels including URLs. If you need to shorten a URL, go to the Google URL shortener site. If you rent iPads for your meeting, encourage attendees to also post on their G+ accounts. 

2. G+1 Your Pages to Help Spread the Word.

When you G+1 a website or blog post, you are putting your stamp of approval on it and letting others in your circle know it too. It is easy to obtain the G+1 code and it requires a simple cut and paste onto your website or blog. 

Meeting Applicability: If you have an online registration and blog site, incorporate the G+1 button and make certain you and everyone in your organization G+1s the meeting pages.  

3. Google+ Provides Unlimited Editing. 

Unlike other social platforms, you can edit your posts at any time. This allows you to make changes and updates as they occur without necessarily eliminating the original content. 

Meeting Applicability: As your conference starts to take shape, consider adding content to the original post rather than creating a brand new post. 

4. Take Your First Sentence Seriously. 

According to Cyrus Shepard, Senior Content Astronaut at Moz, the first sentence of your Google+ post becomes part of the title tag which is highly correlated with rankings. 

Meeting Applicability: Identify your keywords and make certain to work 1-3 of them into your first sentence. 

5. Tag Photos with Your Company Name.

Again according to Shepard who did a series of tests with his G+ author photo, this led to an increase in the click-through rate to his website.

Meeting Applicability: This should be true for every photo you post on every channel. Make certain to tag your company in the photo

AV Event Solutions can help your meeting attendees remain connected to their social channels through the use of iPads, computer kiosks and digital signage. Check out their Express Quote page to get this process started! And don't forget to look at their  Google+ Page

Want to Draw a Crowd to Your Trade Show Booth? Rent a Charging Station!
Jun 26, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

Mobile Charging Station Rental

Exhibitors take note: Conference attendees are addicted to their mobile devices. Just look around at your next event and see how many people are looking at their phone or tablet as they are sitting, standing or walking. If you are trying to find a way to encourage meeting participants to cross paths and gather at your booth, rent a charging station as a way for them to keep connected remotely and keep them on the show floor. 

Pensa, a strategic marketing consulting firm who has been involved in a pilot project with charging stations, believes if you have them people will come. "We're looking to create something that complements its surroundings and invites people to hang out and recharge. We have also found that where people gather — opportunities develop," stated Marco Perry, Principal Founder of Pensa. 

If you still need be convinced of the value of charging station rentals, look where people charge their mobile devices. They will use any outlet available to them including the one in the back of a meeting room, convention dead space or even the hotel's cocktail lounge. So, given that attendees usually visit the trade show floor several hours into a conference, it only makes sense that they might be hunting for an outlet on the floor or feel compelled to return to their hotel room — thus cutting down their interaction time with you, the exhibitor

Concerned about the investment fee associated with charging station rentals? Don't be because you can sell sponsorships that can run PowerPoint presentations, photos or videos that will loop on the top portion of the station. In addition, you can streamline information about your organization, thus enforcing your own brand awareness as attendees stand by their mobile devices checking emails, posting social updates or texting.

Be sure to check the floor's Wi-Fi access if you are investing in your own private network to make certain they do not interfere with each other. If there is enough need for Wi-Fi on the floor, the show manager may recommend a Wi-Fi network array rental unit to handle the needs of several exhibitors. 

The key is to create a space where attendees can recharge themselves while recharging their mobile devices. Creating a "living room" look and feel with comfortable chairs and a video wall rental or Plasma TVs can allow attendees to relax and view what is going in different parts of the conference, thus keeping them engaged and connected.  

If you are looking for 10 minutes of attention from meeting attendees, rent a charging station from AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family. They have thousands of interactive technology tool rentals including iPads, computer kiosks and Wi-Fi network array systems. For more information about charging station configurations, contact AV Event Solutions at 888.249.4903. 
Six Surefire Ways to Secure New Sponsors for Your Meeting or Event
Jun 24, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan


Sponsorships for a meeting and event used to be easy. You would pick up the phone — tell them the date, location and sponsorship levels — and voila, within minutes the decision would be made and within days a large check would arrive at your office.  

This is not true any longer. It isn't your event that is the problem, it is that organizations are just becoming more and more selective about what events they sponsor and they don't necessarily want to be "sold" in the process of making up their mind. 

So if you are having a hard time getting new prospective sponsors to return your call or email, try these six tips to get the conversation going: 

Surefire Step #1: Remember to Name Drop

When calling or emailing a new prospect, they will want to know why you are calling and who you are. One ways to set their mind at ease is to let them know how you are connected to someone they know. Make certain to call your mutual contact first and ask if it is okay to use their name as a way of introduction. Ideally, you want a reference from an existing sponsor who is happy with your event. 

At the end of a conference, ask sponsors if they are planning on returning next year and if they would refer you to other organizations who would be a good fit for the event. 

Surefire Step #2: Do Your Homework. 

Google the company and check out the contact's LinkedIn profile as well as the company LinkedIn page. Set a Google alert to see breaking news about the organization. Follow their social feeds. Find out what events they have sponsored in the past and why they have done so. 

Based on your research, put together a few tailored qualifying questions. The point of the initial contact is to find out if they are a fit for your conference and if they have the interest and budget to participate in it. 

Surefire Step #3: Find Out What They Want. 

I think the major problem with sponsorship opportunities today is meeting planners approach selling sponsorships like selling a car. You have packages A through G and the associated benefits of each program. The problem is, most companies don't want your structured offerings, they want something custom to meet their needs. Finding out what they want and then tailoring a custom offering, will get you noticed and your phone call returned. 

Surefire Step #4: Get Creative. 

Sponsorships can be both print and digital. They can be anything from sponsoring the keynote speaker to sponsoring the Wi-Fi splash page. Rather than having "run-of-the-mill" offerings, complete a focus group or poll existing sponsors via Audience Response System rental units and ask for their feedback and ideas. 

Surefire Step #5: Give Them Enough Approval Time. 

One thing that is taking longer is the approval cycle from companies, especially if the sponsorship cost is large and it requires many individuals for approval. One phone call or email is probably not going to cut it. If possible, start the sell cycle at least one year prior to the event. 

Surefire Step #6: Ask for the Appointment. 

Don't try and close business over the phone or email, it just doesn't work especially with a first time sponsor. The goal of a phone call or email is to get in front of the company representative that can make the decision about sponsoring your event. 

Are you event planning in California? Then look no further than AV Event Solutions for all your conference services needs. With a large inventory of computer kiosks, iPads and charging stations, they are the perfect AV company to support your sponsors in style! Contact them today! 

Should You Consolidate Small Meetings or Leave Them Alone? 5 Things to Consider in Your Decision
Jun 21, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

meetingThere is no question that large meetings have the greatest economies of scale and lend the most negotiating muscle to planners. And with meetings on the upswing and travel budgets loosening up a bit, many planners are looking at consolidating their smaller meetings into one or two larger ones. But does this make sense for your organization and attendees? 

According to Carlson Wagonlit Travel, 67% of all North American meeting spend occurs with small meetings which they define as one with 25 persons or less. With the premise that combining meetings will save on planner staff time and cut meeting costs, it is something to take a hard look at — especially as most organizations are into the planning process of next year's meetings and beyond. 

Here are five things to consider when making your decision: 

Establish Definitions.

Identify what constitutes a small, medium or large meeting by your organizational definition. Is it just the number of attendees and budget? What if it has a trade show attached to it? Or sponsorship dollars? 

Take Inventory. 

Now that you have the definitions identified, determine the following for each meeting: 

  • The number of small, medium and large meetings you held in the last 18 months
  • The budget, including renting audio visual equipment
  • The venue and guest rooms attained
  • Where attendees traveled from and their transportation methods
  • The length 
  • The number of speakers and where they came from

After completing this process, you may be able to identify rather quickly whether to eliminate, consolidate or leave the meeting as is. 

Interview Stakeholders. 

Once you have identified a potential game plan for your meetings, interview company officials, attendees, sponsors and exhibitors to determine if the new plan will meet their wants and needs. Gathering feedback and then tweaking the plan will help make the proposal successful. Be certain to document what was said by whom in case further clarification is needed. 

Make Your Case. 

When you take your proposal to management, highlight the amount of money and time you will save when consolidating or eliminating certain meetings. In addition, you will want to present why certain meetings, such as sales and training seminars, are more effectively completed in a smaller, more personalized environment. 

Engage Suppliers. 

Once management has signed off on your plan, don't be afraid to negotiate with suppliers on a volume discount basis. For example, if you are going to continue with several off-site small meetings across the US, perhaps you negotiate a meeting room and block rate with a chain hotel who will treat the revenue as it does one large meeting. When looking at your corporate audio visual needs, consider multi-location or a multi-year contract with your supplier

AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family, services small- to medium-sized events with state-of-the-art total technology solutions. Let them help you shine with cost-affordable solutions at your next meeting!  

Do Your Meeting Presentations Have Legs? 10 Killer Ways to Get Them Going
Jun 19, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan


One of the things most speakers and event organizers desire is for their presentation or meeting to live on and on in the digital stratosphere. If the proper planning takes place not only can this happen, but it can build brand awareness about your organization, products and events.

An "optimized" presentation is just that…one that utilizes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques within a presentation to drive home the organization's message. Here are ten things you can do to help your event "get legs":  


  1. Create a listing of the top 50 keywords for your event and ask the presenters to work at least 25% of these words into their presentation. 
  2. Optimize the title of the presentation and each headline. Work your keywords into as many slides as possible without being awkward.
  3. The last slide needs to have a "call to action". Sign up for your free e-book, register for next year's conference at a discounted rate or follow the company's Facebook page for exclusive deals and offers. Whatever it is, you want them to feel compelled to do it now. 
  4. Use more images and less words with the PowerPoint presentation equipment. The more visually orientated and to the point your presentation is, the more likely it will be retained by the live audience and viewed by a virtual one. 


  1. At the bottom of each presentation slide, the following should appear: 

    1. Your organization's linkable logo, 
    2. The speaker's Twitter handle and
    3. The meeting's Twitter hashtag

      If your organization is going to rent iPads for the meeting, attendees can post questions and comments directly to the speaker. The hashtag serves as the central comment repository for the event — even long after it is over. 

  2. Videostream presentations and upload them to YouTube and use keywords in the description. Let attendees know where they can find the presentations by promoting the URL on your social channels. 
  3. Utilizing wireless Audience Response Systems, ask attendees about the presentation and speaker at the end of each session. Promote the statistics on social channels and consider using the overall statistics in an infographic. 


  1. Upload all presentations to Slideshare and summarize each presentation in 12-50 words, using as many keywords as make sense. 
  2. Ask guest bloggers to write about the presentations they attended. Give them a set of keywords to incorporate into the post and the URLs for the presentations. If it make sense, incoroparate the YouTube video or SlideShare deck directly into the post. 
  3. Identify tips within a presentation and post one each day on your social channels, linking the tip to the presentation. For example, here is one AV Event Solutions recently posted on their Facebook page:  Powerpoint Event Tip — Reading slides can annoy and bore audience since humans can read 5x faster than we can speak (Presentation URL). 

What are your tips for optimizing presentations? Please share with us your thoughts! 

AV Event Solutions is your California conference equipment rental company that has the breadth and depth of equipment to help your presentation grow legs. Give them a call today at 888.249.4903 to get the process started! 

5 Fantastic Ways to Use LinkedIn to Help Reach New Audiences for Next Meeting or Event
Jun 17, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan
Everyone wants to grow their events and when used properly, LinkedIn can help you make more connections and provide Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA) about you, your organization and events. How? Here are five easy ways to reach new audiences for your next meeting or event: 
Tip #1: Make sure everyone in your organization has a complete and active personal profile and are connected to the LinkedIn Company page. 
From a credibility standpoint, it is important that all employees in your organization have a personal profile complete with photo, experience, and fresh status information. 
Easy Way to Get Started: Have one person in the company post something new about your event, organization or industry on the company page and have everyone share it on their personal profile. It helps attendees find you and the organization, and helps bring the message to thousands of contacts. 
Tip #2: Make it easy to be found. 
Optimizing your profile is the key. Figure out the keywords your prospective attendees will use when searching for your event. Keywords on LinkedIn are a little different than your website. On LinkedIn, attendees are looking for a person or organization by the name of the organization or your name. To make sure they have the right person, use the following words in your professional headline: "meeting planner" or "your title" or "your company". Use the keywords that your ideal prospects will be searching for.
Easy Way to Get Started: When you edit your professional headline, click on "what other people in the industry are using" as a guidepost. 
Tip #3: Give Individuals a Reason to Connect With You. 
It’s not enough to just show up in the search results. Here are three reasons they are more likely to connect with you:    
  • Your professional headline and picture compel them to click on your profile. Make certain you have a photo! Without one, they are less likely to make the connection. 
  • Make sure you have a LinkedIn company page and that you are connected to it. Without this connection, it says you and your organization may not be legitimate. 
  • Post value-driven content about your meeting, conference, or industry once a day. 

Easy Way to Get Started: Within 24 hours after a meeting or networking event, enter the individuals you met into LinkedIn and request a connection.

Tip #4: Make Your Summary Strong.  
Now that a prospective connection has landed on your profile, it needs to speak to their needs. Here are some tips:  
  • Make sure your summary section is well written. 
  • Be sure it speaks directly to your ideal attendee and positions your credibility in the industry. 
  • End your summary section with a call to action. Ask the person to register for your conference, go to your website or email you for more information. 

Easy Way to Get Started: Work the top 10 search words for your event into your summary section. 

Tip #5: Grow Your Network and Join Groups. 
You are limited to who can find you in the search results based on the number of people in your network. You will only show up in the search results of your first-, second- and third-level connections, and the groups you belong to.
Easy Way to Get Started: Once a week, answer a question posed in one of your groups. It will enhance your credibility and start to position you as a thought leader in the industry. 
AV Event Solutions is now part of the SmartSource Rentals Family! Check out their LinkedIn Company Page for more information on all the total technology offerings they provide including computer kiosks, wireless Audience Response Systems and much more! 
Four Ways to Contain Your Event Wi-Fi Costs
Jun 14, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan

A fast, reliable and secure Internet connection is probably the most crucial part of an event’s success and yet, it is probably the most misunderstood metric. And it isn’t becoming an easier. Just like a gallon of coffee is priced differently from city to city and venue to venue, so are Internet charges. But unlike coffee where you can have a pretty good estimation of the amount you need based on the number of attendees at your event, Wi-Fi is much harder to understand.

Here are four ways corporate meeting planners can use to help keep event  Wi-Fi costs under control:

  1. Stop Being an Ostrich. 
    All the things that make good planners great, like negotiating the right amount of F&B and a competitive room block, are now parlayed with the need to negotiate and understand Wi-Fi services. You don’t need to be an expert, but it is important that you have the knowledge to ask the right questions of the venue and supplier in order to meet your attendees’ needs.
  2. Know Your Bandwidth Needs. The concept of bandwidth is relatively easy. Think of a pipe pushing something through it. The larger the pipe, the simpler the flow (such as water) and the less pipes coming into the major pipe from different sources, the easier and faster it is for the water to get from Point A to Point B .Same with bandwidth.The larger the pipe, the less connections to the Internet and the simpler the data packet are all elements of making the transportation of data fast. But this is where you have to be clear and understand exactly what devices your event participants are bringing and how they will use those devices. For example, free Wi-Fi is usually shared among all the venue’s guests and if your event attendees are streaming video and connecting mulitple devices to the network, you can see how the system could slow down or even break.

    Chances are you will need to rent a Wi-Fi network array especially if your event is large and the data transmission is complex.

  3. Start Your Bandwidth Negotiations Early in Your Planning Process.Once you know what you need,  now you need to put a contract in place. Just like anything else associated with a event — guest rooms, food and renting audio visual equipment — this requires time, patience and understanding. Negotiation is just that…going back and forth in order to get what you want at the price point that will work for your budget.
  4. Go with a Wi-Fi Expert. Many organizations and venues claim to be Wi-Fi experts, but in the end, they really don’t have the experience to know what to do with your requirements. Ask probing questions and make certain to obtain referrals highlighting events that are simular to yours. Most important, ask how they will manage the “peaks and valleys” of bandwidth demand.

AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family, has been delivering successful Wi-Fi network arrays to events since 2011. They have both the knowledge and equipment to make certain your Internet connection is fast, robust and secure. Check out their Facebook Fan Page for great tips on how to manage your WiFi at events!

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