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Happier, Healthier Attendees
Happier, Healthier Attendees image
Nov 10, 2015 by Anonymous

Wellness is a trending buzzword for workplaces and business events—and for good reason! For business meetings, events, trade shows, and conferences, happy, healthy attendees are far more likely to:

  • Engage with other guests
  • Interact with exhibitors
  • Share and network through social media
  • Attend sessions more frequently
  • Report higher satisfaction levels about the event itself
  • (Most importantly) RETURN year after year!

Happiness, however, can seem quite elusive. Here are some tips and trends that are breaking guests out of the rut, leading to the ideal combination of a positive professional experience AND an exciting personal experience.

Business Events that Energize and Engage

Yoga – According to a recent article in Adweek, yoga is replacing coffee and happy hour as the event networking opportunity of choice. For example, this year’s SXSW provided extensive yoga opportunities, either branded or targeted for networking purposes. Since yoga is both invigorating and relaxing, it’s an ideal way to help attendees release tension and focus their energy (or “Chakra” energies, if you prefer) on being present and mindful in the moment: in other words, yoga helps create perfect attendees!

Branded yoga has become a particularly “hot” (sometimes literally, yes) sponsorship opportunity. Brands and sponsors have a chance to fund and coordinate a yoga class that functions as a refreshing and relaxing attendee break and also doubles as a networking session.

Interactive Exercise Classes – Provide classes and challenges that make it easy for guests to incorporate exercise. Consider exercise options that encourage guests to loosen up—mentally and physically.

  • Pilates, climbing walls, obstacle courses, punching bags, dancing, and cycling opportunities allow attendees to fit new, personal, healthy practices into their conference experience.
  • Pedometers, water bottles, and yoga mats all make excellent branded promotional materials.
  • Offer fitness wearables as a giveaway and provide opportunities to connect wearables to the event app.

Foodie Fun – Culinary experiences have always played an important role in human interaction and enjoyment. Consider working both the health side (accommodating the guests that would prefer low calorie, high fiber options, and allowing for food allergies and intolerances) while also creating exciting taste options that mix the best of local cuisine with fresh, unique menu items.

  • Offer local, organic, farmer’s market and heritage produce as part of the menu. These items taste fresher, support local farms, and reduce the event’s carbon footprint.
  • Offer appropriate portion sizes.
  • Make fresh water conveniently available throughout the entire event.
  • Modify food vending contracts to increase the number of healthy options.
  • Label foods to show high-quality ingredients and nutritional content.

Green Initiatives – Attendees feel good knowing that the event has taken steps to reduce waste. Help guests to feel that the event supports socially and environmentally responsible practices.

  • Provide reusable or compostable plates, drinkware, and cutlery.
  • Offer extensive recycling opportunities for food waste, paper, and plastics.
  • Lower the event’s carbon footprint by utilizing renewable energy and sustainable materials.

Natural Connections – if possible, consider an event venue that can allow for outdoor interaction! Hiking trails, beautiful views, natural spaces, and inviting gardens are all chances to help attendees get their nature fix. In conclusion, by enhancing business scheduling with opportunities for self-care, business events can double as a retreat where attendees can feel personally recharged!

 

About SmartSource Rentals

With over 30 years of experience and 21 locations nationwide, SmartSource Rentals has the knowledge and inventory to help provide your event with any technology necessary. Our Long Range WiFi Router can help provide excellent WiFi for outdoor spaces—allowing your events’ deeply contented outdoor sunset yoga class members to tweet . . . “Namaste.”

Digital Document Libraries – the Green Solution to Generating Leads
library
Jul 07, 2015 by Karen Daniels

Even with the online world at your fingertips, attending events and trade shows continues to be a prime opportunity to generate leads and gain customers. Unfortunately, we all know that trade shows can be costly for your company—both in money and time. This heavy investment can leave you wondering—is the ROI from trade shows truly worth the effort?

Although the high cost of trade shows may tempt you to focus your marketing dollars on Internet leads rather than belly-to-belly events, the most loyal customers are built through direct relationships. Profitable business relationships more often come from looking a client or customer in the eye, shaking their hand, and truly listening to their needs; however, seasoned exhibitors and account executives know that a tremendous amount of data and follow-through need to happen before a face-to-face meeting can convert into a profitable long-term business relationship.

In any industry, the competition can be fierce; sales teams need every possible advantage. SmartSource Rentals offers a technology solution that can lower costs and increase sales—an interactive digital document library! This tech option can not only cut down on the expense of printed trade show collateral and eliminate waste, but it also enhances your ability to capture leads and follow through with potential customers—arming your sales team with specific knowledge about each customer’s problems and the products and services that interest them the most.

Going Green – Saving Money 

Accordingto the Center for Sustainable Tourism, the typical trade show can generate the equivalent of 170 trees worth of paper waste, and attendees can carry home as many as ten pounds of paper. As our culture focuses more attention on globally appropriate practices, a business that fails to adopt a digital solution for their document library fails in more ways than one:

  1. They’ve failed to be environmentally responsible.
  2. They’ve failed to consider their attendees’ convenience.
  3. They’ve failed to utilize the new technological standard.
  4. They’ve failed their own bottom line.

While paper certainly had its day, times have changed. Paper documents cost a company in materials and printing costs, but also in shipping, storage, and drayage. Print collateral has been the standard for a long time, but it does very little to generate actionable, trackable leads. You have no idea if people are actually reading what you hand out.

If you’ve ever attended a trade show, you’ve probably been on the customer end of this cycle of paper waste. You come back from the trade show floor with piles of paper, which you might—or might not—look at before they go into the recycling bin. These flyers and pamphlets were easy enough to pick up, but reading, processing, sorting, filing, storing and acting on them is an overwhelming task.

Generating Leads with a Digital Document Library

A digital document library offers a paperless place for potential customers to find the information they need; however, digital document libraries also provide an additional, enormous benefit to businesses because they gather data!

  • They offer the ability to generate leads by capturing the user’s information as they research your material and download the documents that are most relevant to them.
  • Digital document libraries can be presented in a completely customized way—giving the user a more in-depth view of your company, as you highlight what matters most to your business (and your customer).
  • Customers can view videos, add items to a cart, and read materials that interest them personally—simply by scanning their badge. The items they select are automatically emailed to them (without creating ten pounds of paperwork to carry!).

Behind the scenes, your company gets detailed information on guests that used the library and a list of the items viewed or downloaded. Data reports can include information such as the guests’ names, jobs, associations and titles, the data they received, and the documents they viewed. The system can also provide analytics by day, hour, or workstation, and all data is easily exported. All lead generation information can be programmed to automatically ship to your regional sales people.

No waste lead generation. How great is that?

For more information on the SmartSource Digital Document Product, watch this video hosted by David Schmerbach, Digital Communications Coordinator at SmartSource Technology Rentals.

Why Using a Digital Document Library is so Useful at Events
Dec 30, 2014 by Anonymous

If you’re gearing up to create some spectacular events in 2015, there are a few elements that have to be included if your event is going to be powerful and memorable for the attendees.

As we’ve written about before, interactive technology is big and only going to get bigger. Interactive technology is becoming one of the must-have elements for any successful event today. We live in a time where using a touch screen is becoming second nature. In fact, you’ve probably experienced touching a computer screen that didn’t respond and feeling a vague sense of disappointment. As customers we now expect interaction, and we want technology to interact back with us. So, how do we create the most effective interactivity for event attendees, and not only in a way that intrigues and captures their attention, but in a way that can also increase the bottom line so it’s worth the investment?

Well, certainly there are a myriad of different ways to create an interactive experience including using event apps and games, social media, or audience response systems. But it’s important to think in depth about your tech choices as an event planner or exhibitor, so that you’re utilizing some form of interaction to help you fulfill your goals and objectives – and deliver high value to attendees.

For instance, one very effective interactive technology which has a broad range of uses and is highly adaptable is a digital document library. So we’ll use the digital document library as a specific example of a powerful method for creating an intriguing interactive experience.

If you are one of the many people who believes that a digital document library is simply a one-way avenue for providing information to people, then it’s time to take a closer look at how you can use one to your advantage at an event.

The beauty of a tool such as the document library is that it is such a win-win for the developer and the user. Yes, it’s true that a digital document library is a managed collection of information – a way for users to access and retrieve important documents. But that’s only the beginning. The key to the importance of a digital document library at an event is the fact that when set up properly, it creates an engaging and memorable method for delivering information while at the same time giving you the ability to captures leads and therefore generate potential sales.

On the user side, the library gives your customer, or potential customer, unlimited information. And providing them with the right information that is useful to them is great for your brand.

Some of the information you might want to include in a digital document library includes:

  • easy-to-follow links on how to use the library
  • company brochures, marketing collateral and how-to videos (relate to products and services)
  • whitepapers (tips and information that help the user with their businesses)
  • industry resources (highlighting important and useful links)
  • relevant ebooks
  • how to connect info (social media information)

Remember, though, your digital library is not just about the information you are providing to the user – you, too, will be receiving useful information to increase sales. When a digital document library is set up properly, you can track what documents or resources are being accessed at each event, which attendee is accessing them, what specific document they are accessing, and how much time they are spending in your ‘library’, and from which location. In other words, you’ll know who is accessing what, when, where, and how much – detailed lead information that can help you fine-tune sales messaging and campaigns. All of this can help you accelerate your event revenue.

In addition, these sales-ready leads can be a huge time saver for your sales team who will know instantaneously which person interacted with which documents, giving you a solid platform from which to approach them. Plus, all that great lead information can be automatically stored for your use so you can respond to the user from anywhere in the world, in real time, which can keep your leads from growing “cold”.

And like any well-chosen technology, there are other benefits as well. For instance, you can also use that same document library to generate income by selling sponsorships and ad space. On top of that, a digital document library will save you money since there are no printing fees (remember 70% of printed event material gets thrown out before it’s even read), shipping, or storage for all that material.

There is also the versatility aspect to consider. Users can access your library from virtually any device:  large screens, tablets, PCs, mobile devices, iPads, or interactive kiosks.

Though we’ve focused on digital document libraries as an example of effective interactive event technology, it’s important to approach any technology decisions by keeping in mind how it will serve your customers and how it will increase your bottom line. When technology is beneficial to both the end user and to your company, the choice becomes a no-brainer.

Happy New Year!

Saving Green by Going Green
Saving Green by Going Green
Nov 20, 2014 by Anonymous

Events are fleeting, but their environmental impact can last forever. Delightfully, we live in a time when environmentally responsible options are not only tolerated, but encouraged! Modern Event Planners no longer need to make sacrifices in order to meet the green standards that their clients and attendees now prefer. Best of all, many green options save money as well as resources—leaving budget goals met, and allowing for upgrades in other areas!

Think Local

While it’s easy to dream of exotic locations and to assume that attendees will flock at the chance to travel to a new and exciting city, from a global perspective the more complicated our travel becomes, the more wasteful (and expensive) our energy requirements will be. In fact, the “local” movement has taken off on its own wings—becoming a call-to-arms against impersonal, generic choices and one-size-fits-all business options. Use the power of the local and green movements to support and validate environmentally (and fiscally) responsible choices for your next event. Consider these points as you begin your planning:

  • Venue – as much as possible, determine a location that is centralized and convenient for the majority of your attendees. Sending employees to far-away places is expensive, both financially and in the use of non-renewable resources. Staying close to the home office saves money and reduces the carbon footprint of travel, but familiar doesn’t need to feel routine! Find a local venue that inspires your guests with a sense of community pride. Your budget will breathe a sigh of relief, and you can feel good about the amount of jet fuel your event didn’t burn. Look specifically for a venue that is committed to efficient, clean, renewable power, and be certain that the venue is able to assist you with appropriate recycling options.
  • Vendors – once your venue is selected, look either for local vendors, or national vendors with a strong network that makes them “local everywhere.” With local choices, not only will you pay less in shipping, delivery, and travel costs, but you’ll know that you’ve made a responsible choice by avoiding the unnecessary cost of importing. The less distance that products and service-providers need to travel, the lower the carbon footprint of the event. In every supply category, search for providers that are willing and able to help you along the “path to green.” Does the caterer use organic, pesticide-free produce? Can (and will) compostable items be handled properly? Don’t worry about being perfect, just look for partners that are aware and making an effort. Look around for products and suppliers that are already in the area. It’s an excellent way to support a community, while reducing costs and carbon emissions.

Reuse It

Reducing landfill waste is an important issue across the globe. Businesses want to be seen taking the high road and avoiding one-time disposable use items that will become tomorrow’s trash. Events rely heavily on large quantities of temporary items—food service and beverage options, table settings and decorations, hospitality supplies, paper materials. Let’s look at the following categories where simple and cost-effective changes will quickly reduce waste:

  • Printed Materials – switching from printed paper materials to reusable electronic options is one of the most straightforward ways to save money and reduce landfill waste. Although in the past, events needed brochures, printed maps, printed agendas, and other hardcopy paperwork, today’s event apps can almost completely eliminate the costly, error-prone, heavy, wasteful printing that was traditional for so long. It’s now remarkably easy to display, store, and distribute business and event materials without paper. Use kiosks for event registration—eliminating paperwork and printed ticketing. Kiosks can also be used for agendas—clearly allowing guests to navigate through the schedule, while being endlessly adaptable and reusable. Digital documents save time and money by eliminating trips to the printer and by preventing the high cost of emergency reprints. Interactive kiosks can also be used as digital document libraries—housing all of the information that a business or event would like to offer, immediately available for downloading directly to an attendee’s device, on demand.
  • Signage – in the past, Event Planners used printed signage for wayfinding and as banners. Unfortunately, these items were almost always unusable for future events. By using digital signage such as LCD, plasma or touch screen monitors, Event Planners have the option to create and recreate exactly the signs they need—whether for wayfinding, informational purposes, event promotion and decoration, or for sponsorship opportunities that can help stretch the event budget even farther by producing sponsorship revenue.

Overall, the green philosophy is good for any business—not just the Events Industry. If companies focus on eliminating wasteful practices and turn towards local supply chains, reusable products, and sustainable materials, those businesses will come out ahead . . . naturally!

 

 

 

 

Ask For It: The Mantra of All Sustainable Meetings
ask_for_it
Aug 06, 2014 by DeDe Mulligan

Last October, the Green Meeting Industry Council launched a campaign titled “Ask for It”. The intention of this campaign is  to promote the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards.

These standards (APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Event Standards) give meeting and event organizers a comprehensive roadmap for improving and measuring event sustainability for years to come.

Standard Benefits

These standards have three major benefits:

  1. They break down the sustainability technical language, making it easier to understand
  2. When event planning, these standards give you a strategy and an implementation guide to help ask relevant questions and
  3. They give you scoring forms to track and report progress to your stakeholders.

To access the tool, visit the Sustainable Meeting Planner (SMPP) website. This document is not free, but a special CIC discount code CIC50 is available to receive a 50% discount on your order..

Here is a brief video explaining the benefits of the program:

Standard Goal

The goal is simple: encourage event planners to ask suppliers about their sustainable practices.

After the initial assessment, the next step is to register the event and certify it at whatever level you find achievable to comply with the standards. This is a call to action for suppliers in the event and meeting industry to become more green.

“Planners have the power and the ability to implement change and push the industry along. The GMIC mission has always been to work to transform the event industry towards a more sustainable way of operating and a more responsible practice of managing and executing events. The Ask For It campaign is one more step in fulfilling that mission,” said Lindsay Arell,
Strategist and Principle at Arell Logic and GMIC Board Member.

Measurements of a Sustainable Audiovisual Rental Firm

You can insert the following information into your RFP and/or ask the following questions:

Our event planning team strives to be a leader in meeting and event sustainability. As such we are focusing our efforts in the areas of: waste management, energy, air quality, water and community partners.

To meet our goals in these areas we are pursuing the ASTM/APEX Standard for Sustainable Meeting and Events. As part of this process we are giving preference to suppliers who are able to help us meet these goals If you do not currently apply these sustainable practices to your operation, please indicate your willingness and ability to implement these practices for our event.

Is your organization currently certified or pursuing certification for the ASTM/APEX Standard Specification for Evaluation and Selection of Audio Visual and Production for Environmentally Sustainable Meetings, Events,Trade Shows, and Conferences?

YES – Please provide a copy of the certification
NO – Please review the following criteria:

  • Do you have a written environmental sustainability policy, signed by your executive or general manager?
  • Do you designate one or more staff members to implement your sustainability initiative?
  • Do you have a twelve-month waste diversion, disposal and energy use baseline?
  • Have you reduced hazardous materials consumption by 10% or more?
  • Have you developed a written energy reduction plan that establishes objectives based on the results of energy assessments or audits?
  • Do you turn off or place in eco-mode all equipment at the end of the work day?

For more information about these questions, please click on the following link:

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.gmicglobal.org/resource/collection/6349EC58-C7C3-47C5-8D65-6C6F7BF2FE91/AFI_AV.pdf

​SmartSource Rentals is available to help you make your next meeting sustainable! Give them a call today at 800.888.8686 to learn more about their environmental policies and how their total technology solutions are green!

What does it Mean to be Green? 7 Simple Sustainable Conference Ideas
go_green__aves
Apr 24, 2014 by DeDe Mulligan

green

Earlier this month, several of my peers gathered in San Francisco for the Sustainable Meetings Conference hosted by the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC). The focus of this conference was: 

  • Shorter presentations with audience interaction
  • Visitation of sustainable locations in San Fran – from a green hotel to a farmer's market and
  • Providing a more flexible event format to meet attendee needs. 

This conference got me thinking about sustainability. What is it? How is it different or the same as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? And with Earth Day just passing a couple of days ago, what does it mean to be green? 

It can all be so confusing when event planning. So here are the three definitions, along with seven simple ways to integrate "greenness" into your meeting. 

WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY? 

According to GMIC, sustainability is the avoidance of burning fossil fuels, the mining of rare metals and the use of chemicals. Sustainability requires that we source the raw materials which fuel our society in ways which are both ecologically and socially responsible. 

How does this definition relate to the meeting industry? 

  1. Since transportation is often the biggest burner of fossil fuels, look at all the alternatives for your meeting, including: 

    No meeting – make sure your purpose and goals are well defined
    Virtual meeting
    Hybrid meeting – when planning this, consider your event WiFi solution as bandwidth can be a problem
    Regional meeting
    Alternative transportation including train, bus, subway and carpooling
    Choose a meeting that is highly walkable – Walk Score is a great resource for this.  
     

  2. In addition, think about all the energy involved in tree milling to produce your paper, oil to produce your water bottles and chemicals to produce your signage.

    Look for paperless and sustainable alternatives – such as tablets to replace paper, pitchers to replace water bottles and digital signage to replace posters. 

WHAT IS CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY? 

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is when an organization furthers social good, beyond the interests of the firm. CSR encourages positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, and stakeholders. 

How does this definition relate to the meeting industry? 

  1. With regards to the environment, planners can start to look at the 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle).
     
  2. Often times, you are in a destination several miles from your office.
    Work with the local United Way to identify community projects attendees can contribute to for a half-day. 

     
  3. Find out what cause your attendees and employees are passionate about and work toward a monetary and/or labor contribution to that cause. 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE GREEN

Eco-friendly or green practices refer to goods and services, guidelines and policies that inflict reduced, minimal, or no harm at all upon the environment. 

How does this definition relate to the meeting industry? 

  1. Ask for local products and services. 
    From locally grown food to renting audio visual equipment from a local office, all of this has a positive impact on the environment. It cuts down on shipping and storage, plus it is a great boost for the local economy. 

  2. Reduce as much as possible – go paperless, have a good RSVP count, make things simple
    Reuse – go with glass, silverware and china, rent as many items as possible. 
    Recycle – set up recycling stations at your meeting and encourage attendees to recycle. 

SmartSource Rentals is available to help you make your next meeting sustainable! Give them a call today at 800.888.8686  to learn more about their total technology solutions.

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