SmartSource Rentals Blog


Event Beacon Technology for Better Decision Making & Revenue Growth
Jun 22, 2016 by Michelle Bruno

Beacon technology in the event industry is picking up steam. While it was originally designed in conjunction with event mobile apps (and many providers still deploy beacons that way), it can also be implemented (sans app) using a wearable. Either way, beacons deliver actionable data, which can translate into more compelling customer experiences and revenue opportunities.

Beacon how it works diagram

Exhibitor App collects in-booth data; beacon readers placed around show area capture activities in common areas; everything is processed in the Cloud.

Heat maps—an aggregated visualization of how event participants move through a space—can highlight (often in real time) areas of a trade show floor or meeting space that are either heavily or sparsely trafficked. If the lack of activity in a location is chronic, planners can take action in any number of ways:

  • Place a food or beverage cart in the area, so that attendees have to walk by the poorly trafficked booths or area in order to get a soft drink or snack.
  • Send out push messages via the event mobile app with coupons, gift certificates, or bonus game points for attendees that check into booths or visit the area.
  • Review the layout (post-event) to determine what may have been the cause of the diminished footfall and prevent it from happening in the future.

Beacon technology collects the attendee’s identity, the day/time that he arrives to a specific place, and the length of time he stays there (dwell time). With such simple data points, planners can see who has visited the trade show floor or meeting rooms, as well as how often and how long. So, if attendees leave and reenter multiple times throughout the day to, for example, have private meetings, make phone calls, attend sessions, or grab lunch, planners can make changes to keep attendees inside the event and save them the trip:

  • Place more amenities inside the show or conference space: napping pods, food and seating areas, smartphone charging stations, quiet areas with good cellular/WiFi connections, and interesting demonstrations.
  • Schedule conference sessions and show floor hours so that they don’t compete with each other.
  • Place readers/beacons offsite (in hotel lobbies, at elevator banks, or by the pool) to determine whether attendees are actually even interested in the meeting content and make programming changes accordingly.

Show organizers can track attendee activity in real-time and make decisions on the fly from data shown on the beacon dashboard.

Depending on the provider, beacon software can report on any number of data points, including the user’s role (director, manager, VP), department (marketing, IT, communications), or type (attendee, exhibit staff, speaker). It can inform planners of the average number of trade show booths visited or average length of dwell time in certain locations. Event organizers can use such fine-grained detail to build additional revenue streams:

  • Selling data back to exhibitors, ranging from a segmented list of attendees (a list of all the CEOs that visited their booths whether they engaged with staff or not) or reports on everyone who came to the booth, how long they stayed, and with whom they engaged in a format that can be exported into the firm’s CRM.
  • Justifying the sale of larger booth spaces to exhibitors that register healthy numbers of highly valued attendees compared to others with smaller booth footprints.
  • Charging companies more for sponsorship opportunities that yield high-value data vs. those that only deliver awareness (hanging banners, for example).

Proximity data (who, where, when, and for how long) can also reveal behavior patterns, such as “session hopping” (when attendees visit multiple sessions in an hour rather than stay in a single one-hour session) or “scan and dash” (when an attendee allows his badge to be scanned (often to obtain CEU credit) at the entrance of the room, but leaves before the presentation is finished. With this kind of intelligence, planners can make some specific changes:

  • Reduce the length of presentations so that attendees can get the information they need in a shorter amount of time (three 20-minute sessions of highlights vs. one-hour of a PowerPoint lecture).
  • Modify the business rules around what makes an attendee eligible for education credits (visiting multiple related sessions for fractional credit, for example) to make it easier for them to get credit.

When beacon technology supports a strategic plan for meeting event objectives and is provided by a vendor that understands the event industry, it can be one of the most powerful tools for enhancing the customer experience and discovering new business opportunities.


To learn how beacon technology can create opportunities for revenue and improved attendee experience at your next event, click here.

5 Surefire Ways to Surge Event Survey Response Rates
survey, events, meetings, feedback, SmartSource Rentals
Mar 08, 2016 by DeDe Mulligan

Make it Simple and Relevant


I don’t care if you use paper, an online system, mobile app or Audience Response System (ARS) rental — if your questions are not effective or the survey is too long, you will not receive the type of feedback needed to improve your meeting. Period.

However, there is much to be said for getting rid of paper. For starters, attendees don’t like it, want it and won’t respond on it (2% if you are lucky). Second, it isn’t green. Third, it takes resources to tally the results. Lastly, reporting the results can be sporadic.

So let’s make a pledge right now, that paper surveys are gone from your meeting!

Which leads me back to using better tools and implementing a better process.

Here is the best practices method for developing a great event survey and the technology options to gather the results.

Survey Best Practices


  1. Start with your purpose and be transparent.

    Why do you want this feedback? To make your event better? To ensure the proper outcomes occurred during a training session? To rate your speakers?Whatever your purpose, tell the survey participants exactly WHY you need their feedback and let them know how you will be reporting the results.
  2. Determine if you are going to do live polling, session and/or overall event surveys. 

    Live polling can occur on ARS units or via mobile apps (such as Poll Everywhere, polltogo or Pollex). This type of survey is usually completed real-time and the purpose to is to take the audience’s temperature on speaker, topic, event or venue at that point in time. All questions are closed and either answered via yes-no, true-false or multiple choice in nature.

Session surveys are given at the end of the breakout or keynote session and can be as simple as a star rating of the session/speaker or more intense multiple choice questions. If ARS systems are used, you will know if you have 100% completeness on each question and instantly know how the audience answered each question. Because you may be asking attendees to do this several times a day, it is best to keep your questions to a minimum.

Event surveys are completed at the conclusion of the conference. These usually have a combination of closed and open ended questions and may take a bit longer.

  1. Ask quality questions.Rather than focusing on quantity, look for quality questions that can make your event or meeting better. Let questions about the room set-up, food choices and entertainment go in favor for did it meet the expectations of each attendee and how can you improve the experience for them next year.
  2. Make it short and sweet.

    Whatever feedback you need should be answered in less than 10 questions and 10 minutes. If you start asking attendees deep questions on an event survey they will do one of two things – answer quickly without much thought or bounce out of the survey tool all together.
  3. Give them time.

    If you want participants to fill it out, you need to give them enough time to respond. Earmark time in your keynote and breakout sessions. Provide kiosk rentals where attendees can fill out the online survey during breaks. Work it into the program and ask them to do it while it is fresh in their mind.


Technology Options


In summary, these are your technology option depending on what type of survey you are administering:


Live Polling

Best used in a meeting, looking for a quick, one-question-at-a-time response

Mobile Applications: Some free, some fee

Hardware: Smartphones, Tablets or Audience Response Units (which require no software)


Session Surveys

Best used in a session, looking for rating and/or answers to close-ended questions

Applications: Most fee based – some web-based platforms are free

Hardware: ARS, mobile devices, kiosks


Event Survey

Best used to capture the overall feedback of the event – a combination of closed and open-ended questions

Applications: Some free, some fee

Hardware: Tablets or Kiosks


SmartSource Rentals is Your Home for Survey Tools

SmartSource Rentals can easily supply you with the right tools to support any training session, presentation or conference. Get your equipment quote today as we have a full line of mobile devices, ARS units and more!

Trade Show Booth Technology Tips for 2016
Jan 12, 2016 by Karen Daniels

With 2016 now upon us, it’s time to take a look at tech ideas and tips that you can use for your trade show booth to get the most engagement and best ROI this year.

You may, or may not, already know which industry shows you will be attending this year. But even if you haven’t made your final list yet, the most important thing you can ask yourself before you commit to any booth design, or technology, is this:

What technology did you use last year in your exhibits and how did it work for you?

If you don’t know exactly what worked and what didn’t work, it becomes much harder to determine what technology you might want to use again, or what you need to discard and replace with something more innovative.

Set Yourself up for Exhibit Success

Once you’ve completed a year-end evaluation, it’s time to determine your goals for 2016. Goals are an important part of creating a map to success for the upcoming year!

In general, your overarching goal is likely increase new business, but as you know different shows often give you different opportunities such as:

  • Spreading brand awareness
  • Working your way into a new market
  • Networking
  • Gaining sales leads
  • Connecting with partners
  • Getting media coverage
  • Releasing a new product or service
  • Strengthening customer relationships

Having one or more show goals is the key to selecting the best technology because…

you want technology that is going to best support your specific goals.

TS floor

Booth Tech Tips

No one is asking if they should include technology in their booth exhibit, it’s really a matter of what types of technology are most appropriate to achieve show goals and positively impact the perceptions of your target audience.

1. Try something new to attract booth traffic

You’ve done your evaluation and have a good idea of what worked before and what didn’t. But here’s something to consider – technology is ever-changing. So just because a specific technology worked for you last year does not mean it’s the best choice for this year. There might be a new technology that will better support a specific goal, or allow you to gather more lead information, or create more of a wow factor that will increase booth traffic. So, know what tech choices exist.

2. Create more customer relationships, use technology for lead retrieval  

Selecting technology, such as our tracking and Lead Retrieval Systems, which allow you to easily gather attendee information, frees up your time so you can spend it where it matters – having face-to-face conversations to create more and stronger customer relationships.

3. Extend your points of interactivity  

Potential customers who visit your booth are certainly going to spend more time there when you give them something they can interact with. And since you will only have a certain number of employees working your booth, you can extend those points of interaction by utilizing certain types of technology. For example, Touch Screens boost interaction while providing information and extending your reach.

4. The reality is, relevance matters 

The point of exhibiting at different shows relates to having different opportunities, or achieving various goals. So, as you are determining which technologies are your best choices, make sure you are thinking about that show, that audience, those potential customers. The truth is, you might have the most high-tech, clever booth, at the show but if it is not relevant to that specific set of people, you won’t get the results you’re looking for. So know your audience and then select your technology.

5. Use technology to help attendees feel heard  

At a trade show, you can achieve this in numerous ways. For example, you can use digital signage to stream social media channels where viewers can watch their tweets and posts go live for all the world to see. Or, you could provide preprogrammed iPads to collect information and ideas on potential products and services.

No longer do potential customers want to sit and be spoken to. Business today is about strong customer relationships and letting your customers know they are being heard.

Get the Most from Your Trade Show Booth with SmartSource Rentals

The bottom line? For a successful trade show exhibit, your technology needs to support your goals, bring the customers in, boost interactivity and engagement, enhance your booths relevance to the audience, and let them know they are being heard.

We can help you achieve all that. Select from our extensive technology inventory to make your 2016 trade show booths the most successful you’ve ever had.

Call us at 800.888.8686 so that we can help you select the best technology for your exhibiting goals, or request a quote today.

Easy Event Technology to Boost Your ROI- Part 3
ROI Part 3 image
Dec 01, 2015 by Karen Daniels

The vast number of technology choices you now have to enhance your brand and exhibit booth at events means that with the right choices, you can make more impact than ever. To make the right technology choices, you should select tech solutions that support your specific company goals.

At SmartSource Rentals, we’ve been providing rental products and services for trade shows and professional conferences for over 30 years. So we know exactly how important your ROI is, and how vital it is that the technology you choose supports your unique goals.

To measure your ROI for an event you might look at:

  • Booth traffic
  • Closed sales or signed contracts
  • Increased prospects in database
  • Qualified sales leads
  • Increased distribution partners

Technology is an integral part of allowing you to track and measure your event ROI.  That’s why, in this series, Easy Event Technology to Boost Your ROI, we’re linking up technology with specific event goals so you are able to make better choices on which equipment to rent to get the maximize return on your investment

For this article, Part 3, we’re focusing on using technology to meet the goal of expanding your customer base.

Event Goal: Expanding Your Customer Base

Growing your customer base is one of the primary reasons to attend live events and tradeshows. And the secret to success in gaining more customers lies in getting them to take an interest in your company, and then interacting with you on some level. We’re not talking about that all too common surface interaction where someone walks by your booth, says hi, picks up a brochure, and then quickly moves on. We’re talking about true interaction, either through an actual conversation with you or your staff, or via the technology you have: the type of interaction which allows a potential customer to see just how much your product or service can improve their life or business.

That deeper level of interaction is what converts potential customers into actual customers.

Digital Document Library

Digital document libraries give you the opportunity to interactively deliver content about your company, products, and services. This is a great tool for allowing a potential customer to interact in a customized way while learning about all the great things about your company that matters most to them.

Human beings love touchscreens.

Humans love touch screen image

So allowing customers to access your digital document library through a touchscreen boosts the level of interaction and therefore interest.

The second part of being able to convert a potential customer into an actual customer is, of course, gathering that person’s information. This is where a digital library really stands out because it’s the perfect platform to retrieve those sales leads. The retrieval of this information is done automatically while the user is interacting with the library.

Items to include in your digital library to generate user interest can include:

  • Informational resources including product and service information
  • Videos, new product and other promotional trailers
  • Images and information that demonstrate how unique your services are
  • Add to cart – sell products and services right from your digital library

Lead Retrieval Systems

Call Out for ROI Part 3

“When it comes to lead retrieval, there’s still a disturbingly high percentage of exhibitors relying on the so-called “fishbowl method” of collecting business cards, without any formal lead form, lead-qualification system, or badge scanner.” Exhibitor Online

During an event, retrieving all those valuable leads is key to expanding your customer base. Using a lead retrieval system gives you a technical advantage because you can gather everything you need just by scanning someone’s bar-coded badge or a magnetic strip.

This means, your overly busy booth staff won’t miss those leads. Having those in-person conversations between staff and potential customers is one of the most important aspects of tradeshows. And those conversations are what makes live events fundamentally different from online marketing.

Because it’s important that every potential customer gets all the individual attention they need to make the decision to use your company, a lead retrieval system frees you and your staff from having to spend time entering all the vital information you’ll need later to follow up on your leads. Advantages of lead retrieval systems for expanding your customer base include:

  • Data is organized so you can import to a spreadsheet or database for follow up
  • Generating interest with prize drawings which attendees can enter with no effort simply by having their badge scanned
  • You can access the data in real time allowing you to follow up on leads the same day and as we know quick follow up leads to a higher conversion rate


If you’d like to learn more about Easy Event Technology to Boost Your ROI, in Part 1 we discussed three technologies, Digital Signage, Apple iPad Stations, and Video Wall Displays, that are great for grabbing a potential customer’s attention.

In Part 2 of Easy Event Technology to Boost Your ROI, we talked about how to spread brand awareness and be memorable using Sound Showers and Charging Stations.

To use our technology expertise to help you achieve tradeshow goals and expand your customer base contact SmartSource Rentals today.


5 Ways to Enhance your Event with Twitter
Nov 19, 2015 by Anonymous

Twitter walls have become an indispensable addition to business events. This unique social media technology enhancement is an important method for:

  • Facilitating business connections
  • Creating interest and buzz
  • Promoting the event and its sessions, both internally to guests and externally (to FUTURE guests and exhibitors)
  • Providing a valuable opportunity for attendees, exhibitors, and—of course!—sponsors to promote themselves

Twitter is More Respected than You Think!

According to a July 2015 study conducted by Pew Research Center, Twitter is quickly becoming a preferred channel for news updates, such as political issues, national events, or to fill specific informational needs. Of the 2,000 participants in the study, 63% are now depending on Twitter as their preferred source for journalism. Furthermore, 59% of participants said that Twitter was their preferred source for breaking news, as well as for following up on developing stories.

Indeed, journalists were one of the first groups to realize Twitter’s potential for reaching a targeted audience. According to Cision’s State of the Media 2015 Report, 80% of journalists use Twitter for marketing and promoting their work.

How does this information affect your business event? Twitter can boost your event by offering your guests, exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors a chance to promote themselves!

Promotion is a Powerful Motivating Tool at All Levels

Every event participant has a story to tell—or sales goal to meet, ROI to boost, and networking requirements to achieve. Twitter is an ideal platform for sharing ideas, actions, and conversations in real time! If you view your event’s Twitter feed as an open mic, the following five suggestions can help you set the stage for a business gathering that facilitates promotional success for all the businesses and individuals involved!

1.  Social media, popularity, and the “me” factor – at the very least, guests want their social circles to know that they’re participating in a vibrant work experience that is advancing their knowledge, expanding their opportunities, and accelerating their career. It’s exciting to let people know that you’ve been asked to represent your company! Provide a unique (sponsored) photo opportunity—one that’s easy to tweet and lets guests show off what a great time they’re having.

2.  Use Twitter to extend the event’s promotional capabilities – pre-, during, and post event commentary is all useful and appropriate.

  • Before the event, establish the event hashtag as soon as the venue and dates are set: starting a conversation, letting people know what the event is about, giving information on how to get involved, and—naturally—letting businesses, exhibitors, sponsors, and individuals spread the NEWS that they’re participating!
  • During the event, Tweet compelling content from every angle, perspective, and corner of the event floor. Distribute schedule reminders and teaseqrs. Include strong calls to action. Always encourage guest participation in the Twitter chatter.
  • After the event, continue promoting your hashtags, and ask people to share their event experiences. Unlike radio or TV (where you wouldn’t pay for ads about an event that’s already occurred), Twitter is an excellent way to continue post-event discussion amongst participants—also letting potential guests, exhibitors, and sponsors know what they missed!

3. Use live event tweeting to make the customer experience more fun! – A business appears more active, involved, engaging, and INTERESTING when it has a life outside of the office. Tweeting from the trade show floor or from a conference session is an excellent way of showing your clients and customers that your business has a lively social side!

4.  Offer behind-the-scenes and unlimited access information through Twitter Interviews – maybe your event does have a camera crew and reporter offering video coverage—if not, you can easily substitute Twitter interviews as a simple method to achieve a similar result. (If you do have a video feed, you can promote that through Twitter as well.) Simply select a staff member to do the interviews, create a list of compelling questions, and instantly distribute the interviewees’ responses to your guests.

5.  Create a deeper level of engagement with TweetChats – as an alternative to interviewing a single “thought leader” or speaker, TweetChats are a way to prearrange a panel discussion that’s published in real time. Select some exhibitors, speakers, or representatives with compelling ideas, and choose a time when these participants can promote their views to the preferred audience.

A Twitter feed is quickly becoming a necessity for any successful business event. SmartSource Rentals has all the technology that can make the most of this opportunity, including digital signage and video walls to display the feed itself, and WiFi boosters that ensure excellent wireless connections within the venue. Contact us for a quote today!

Discover 5 Questions to Evaluate Renting Audio Visual Equipment vs. Buying
Oct 21, 2015 by DeDe Mulligan


When does it make sense for your organization to rent audio visual equipment versus buying it? Many organizations are wrestling with this very prospect.

Here is what you need to consider:

Are you in the audio visual business or in the business of making money for your organization?

Let’s explore five questions that can help you better evaluate this:

  • Does your staff have the time to research, purchase, get trained on, maintain and store your technology?
  • What is the total cost of ownership? On top of the purchase price, you need to factor in accessories, supplies and insurance. For example, the average cost of a replacement projector bulb is hundreds of dollars.
  • What about the cost of crating, shipping to and from various locations across the country?
  • How will you retire your old equipment?
  • What are the benefits of renting?

If you decide renting is for you, examine the 14 things you need to look at when picking an audio visual partner.

Still not sure? Download our latest article titled “Rent vs. Buy Audio Visual Equipment” for more reasons why renting makes sense and how to choose a reputable AV partner!

Need more information about interactive technology tool rentals? SmartSource Rentals is the largest Total Technology Solutions provider in the United States with 21 locations to serve you!  Give them a call at 888-249-4903 to learn more about how they can help you be successful with your next event!

Page 1 of 512345

Blog Archives