Roundtable: Wi-Fi essential; photobooths keep meetings fresh

Corporate event planning has become enhanced and energized by the use of new technology, allowing for, among other things, use of online registration systems, photobooths and promotional tools. Local planners are focused on getting lots of feedback and using new technology to keep meetings fresh. Here’s what you can expect at your next meeting.

Jane Quinn, principal with Nix Conference & Meeting Management
2013 revenue: $1 million
What are the latest trends for corporate events? Technology, with apps and Twitter, are being used but we are seeing with our clients and in conferences we attend that people desire more networking time at events. That networking happens in structured and unstructured times. The one-to-one appointments continue to be a popular way to connect with a specific organization that you may not have reached otherwise. This format allows a set period of time to meet with a company representative or potential client. While the technology trends are ever-changing, networking face-to-face continues to be a strong preference at conferences.

What technology is required now for events? Wireless Internet is an extremely expensive item to provide in meeting common areas, yet is the most requested by attendees. Attendees are bringing multiple devices to conferences, including cellular phones, tablets and laptops.

What are some unique ways to keep the meeting or conference fresh? Changing the presentation format. This can be done by panel discussions with Q&A, networking events and vibrant general session speakers. Music playing in the general session rooms can set a mood and keep the pace of the conference energetic, too.

What are the most unique corporate event/retreat sites that you’ve used and why are they unique? We have contracted with hotels that use convention space, all-inclusive properties and retreat centers. They all offer unique features which meet the needs of the specific conference.

St. Louis Business Journal ©May 2014