Graham Simon

Is AI Matching at Events a Hoax?

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To some event organizers, “AI Matching” sounds like a dream come true. Let your attendees register for your event, get them to answer a few choice questions, and hey presto, some clever machine can tell them who they should be meeting. If event attendees’ meetings do not yield fruit, blame it on the machine.

But is life really that simple? First, does the smart-arsed computer know that you and Joe used to work together and were glad to see the back of each other? Does it know that Carol is a family friend, and you can just pick up the phone and call her at will? Does it know that Fred registered for the event as a visitor instead of as an exhibitor and that he is a competitor of yours and not a potential client? Or that you and Penny spoke last week and have no need to meet again for a while? Or that Bill and you already do business, but you are looking for an alternative supplier? The number of things computers do not yet know about us is thankfully still rather large.

Where’s the AI?

Second, is there any AI involved, anyway? AI implies the machine learns. Amazon uses AI. It looks at what you buy. It looks at people who bought similar products and suggests other things they bought too. How often do you take up Amazon’s suggestions? If you are like me, then the answer is rarely. Invariably I am offered products that are substitutes for ones I have already purchased or supplementary items in which I have little interest.

Can the same hit-and-miss machine learning principles be applied to one-to-one meetings at events? Possibly, but why bother? All you need are a few well-crafted questions to establish your event attendees’ areas of interest, products and services sought or supplied, regions of operation, etc. With a couple of algorithms, the software can present attendees with a list of potential meeting partners whose profiles complement their own.

Most companies who offer one-to-one meetings do just that. The “AI Matching” slogan is marketing gloss. Unlike our competitors, we do not try to persuade event organizers that there is any magic involved. What we can offer, not readily available elsewhere, is the ability for attendees to build ordered lists of preferred meeting partners. Armed with this information and matching compatibility scores derived from profiles, the event organizer is just a few mouse-clicks away from creating optimal itineraries for their attendees. That is what we already do for many of our clients.

Alternatively, if the organizer does not wish to be involved in the matching process, we can let attendees quickly identify the most suitable meeting partners and arrange meetings among themselves.

Either way, there is no AI involved. We take great comfort in knowing that there is still room for conscientious event organizers to create satisfactory outcomes for their attendees. Perhaps we should call the process MAHI*.


* Machine Assisted Human Intelligence

Graham SimonIs AI Matching at Events a Hoax?
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1-to-1 Meetings at Events with No Boundaries

People attend business events primarily for two reasons. First, for content: attendees come to hear informed speakers or partake in a panel discussion where different perspectives are presented. Second, for networking: with peers, potential customers and suppliers or with new business partners. The networking might take place in small discussion groups or through 1-to-1 meetings.

While COVID-19 has changed the world and event industry in so many ways, two facts of life remain. People will still want to attend events and for both content and networking. For business events, the overwhelming proportion of the costs will still be borne by the suppliers.

What will change in the post-COVID world, however, is the shape that events take. Pre-COVID, most events were in-person. Today, almost all events are happening virtually. Once the event industry starts open up again, it is reasonable to assume that most business events will be hybrid events.

Hybrid Events are the Future

To understand hybrid events, it is important to view them from the perspective of both content and networking. Hybrid content has been happening for many years. I’m sure most of us will have seen a TED talk at some time. Presentations to a live audience are broadcast live to remote viewers, or they are recorded and broadcast later. With the advent of fast internet, live-streaming has supplanted TV broadcast, but for the viewer the end result is very similar. However, pre-COVID, neither the streaming of live nor recorded content was a priority for most organisers of business events. They were just keen to get as many “bums on seats” as possible on the day of their event.

By contrast, hybrid networking is a completely new phenomenon. Even at in-person events, many boundaries are imposed on event organisers by software suppliers, through the design of their solutions. Who, for example, can choose the time when arranging a meeting? Can hosted buyers book appointments directly into suppliers diaries? Can organisers collect attendees preferences, but schedule the meetings to ensure that less popular suppliers get a minimum number? Delegate Select has been addressing such user requirements for over 12 years and today we offer the most flexible solutions on the market.

From In-Person to Virtual…

Moving from in-person to virtual events, especially if your event is an international one, two more variables are introduced – time and space. All your participants have to see times automatically adjusted to their own locale. They have to be able to make themselves unavailable for meetings when they are sleeping, or otherwise engaged. Meetings, once scheduled, have to result in a single link in participants’ itineraries, which, when clicked, will bring them all into the same online ‘meeting room’ at the same time (and throw them out when the meeting is over!)

From Virtual to Hybrid

Moving from virtual to hybrid – where some people attend in person and others attend virtually – brings further challenges. The software now needs to cater for the vagaries of human nature and the changing rules set by politicians attempting to contain the pandemic. It needs to super flexible. Participants should be able to reschedule individual meetings at the drop of a hat and flip between attending them in-person or virtually.

For Delegate Select, enhancing our 1-to-1 meeting services to cater first for virtual and now for hybrid meetings has taken plenty of development resources. But, we are pleased to say that we have risen to the challenge. Please contact us if you would like a demo.

Graham Simon1-to-1 Meetings at Events with No Boundaries
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Ten Golden Rules for Virtual Event Success

After years of lurking in the wings, virtual events have been thrust centre stage, courtesy of Covid‑19. Because of their novelty, no-one can yet claim to be an authority. But based on 12 years of providing software solutions to the event industry, here’s my list of do’s and don’ts:

  1. Make your event an event!
    A few webinars arranged over an extended period do not constitute an event. Events run for defined period of time and give participants a concentrated experience in which they and their industry colleagues are fully focussed on topics of common interest and convergent goals. Virtual events may run for a few hours or for many days, but they need a clearly defined structure – a beginning, a middle and an end.
  1. Include a mixture of online activities
    Events where ‘experts’ deliver presentations all day long are, at best, an acquired taste. Nowadays, event attendees look forward to a mixture of activities. Use webinars for the keynotes and main content presentations. But also include plenty of time for 1-2-1 networking and small working groups. If applicable to your event, consider having roundtables or workshops sponsored by suppliers.
  1. Make your webinars engaging
    Plan your webinars carefully and make them engaging. There are a lot of good products out there to help you. Look for ones that permit presentations with a moderator, ongoing chat among listeners, the posting of questions to speakers, and polls. Consider a variety of other formats, such as moderated panel sessions, interviews with industry thought leaders, or even a light-hearted quiz.
  1. Don’t be afraid to make your event exclusive
    Quality is more important than quantity. Attendees want to feel they are amongst their peers. Virtual events give you a great opportunity to vet your audience. Use registration software that lets you preload invitees or else allows people to register provisionally, pending your approval.
  1. Carefully profile your registrants
    Use your registration process to collect valuable profiling data. Some of this can assist in marketing, but its primary purpose should be to enable participants to quickly identify suitable meeting partners. If your event brings together buyers and sellers or multiple attendee types, then consider profiling them differently.
  1. Make the networking format fit the event
    Good networking opportunities are a powerful magnet. The chance to have a 15-minute meeting with a major buyer or key executive will be gold-dust to some attendees. But not all events are the same. Peer-to-peer networking events are different from buyer-supplier forums. Sometimes, you may want to let the attendees arrange meetings among themselves. At other times, where certain participants are in high demand, you may want to collect everyone’s preferences but curate the meetings yourself.
  1. Ensure activities run on time
    Timeliness is important at events. But even more so with attendees, some in different time zones, all trying to keep up with the programme. With 1-2-1 meetings and invigorating roundtables, participants, left unconstrained, will merrily over-run allotted times. Your meeting and roundtable software should visibly count-down the time remaining and then terminate your online sessions.
  1. Include sufficient breaks between activities
    Include enough downtime in your programme for refreshments (self-catered!), bathroom breaks, and a chance to make vital business calls. If people are in different times zones, they should see times adjusted to their location. Participants should be able to block out their schedule when unavailable for meetings and other programme activities.
  1. Communicate clearly and provide simple personalised event itineraries
    Regardless of the underlying delivery platforms used for webinars, roundtables and 1-2-1 meetings, users should just see a single itinerary with simple links, e.g. “Join Webinar”, “Join Roundtable” or “Online Meeting”. Use email or SMS to remind participants of upcoming activities.
  1. Make recorded content available after the event
    If you are recording webinars and other sessions, make the content available, but only after the event. This could be made accessible to registrants who signed up for the event as well as selected business partners, prospects and VIPs with whom you wish to further your relationship.

Good luck and feel free to contact me at Delegate Select with any questions or comments.

© Graham Simon – May 2020

First published in Event Industry News on May 1, 2020

Graham SimonTen Golden Rules for Virtual Event Success
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Virtual events are not just fancy webinars

Virtual events have been around for years. So too have webinars. While there has long been a vibrant demand for webinars, virtual events have never really taken off – that is, until the advent of covid-19. Now virtual events are on everyone’s mind in the event industry.

Although a webinar may be a significant component of a virtual event, the two are distinctly different. That’s because people attend events for two primary reasons – one is content, the other is networking. Webinars go some way towards addressing content, but they do not begin to address the desire among event attendees to network.

The Appeal of 1-2-1 Meetings

Without doubt, nothing can beat a face-to-face meeting. Your counterpart’s demeanour, gestures and subtle body language communicate much more to you, even subconsciously, than you are going to pick up when talking online. This is especially the case when the other party may not have video or is connecting over a laggy line in jerky robotic motions. Still, if you can’t meet in person, online is the next best thing. The technology gets better by the day and users are becoming more familiar with the idiosyncrasies of their devices.

Typically, many ‘real-world’ business events comprise presentations, workshops, roundtables or break-out sessions, as well as 1‑2‑1 meetings scheduled in advance or during the event. Half-a-day is the minimum length for such events. Most last at least a whole day. Many run for two or three days. Some can span a whole week.

Virtual Events to Mirror Real Events 

So won’t people expect virtual events to be similar in format and duration? Delegate Select along with our competitors are betting that they will. You may argue that people can arrange meetings between themselves online without the need to attend an event. But event organisers who can bring a diverse group of people together with a multiplicity of common interests in a virtual environment, for a day or more, and can deliver compelling content, organize stimulating roundtables, and enable participants to schedule meaningful 1-2-1 meetings among themselves, may hit on the winning formula. The only thing missing from the participants’ viewpoint will be the refreshments and finger food, but if the event is well planned, they can always find time in the program to make their own coffee and raid the fridge.

One concern for many in the event industry could be that if covid-19 impacts our lives for too long and virtual events become too slick, people might just decide they’d rather attend events from the comfort of their own desktop than venture out and mingle with the masses!

Graham SimonVirtual events are not just fancy webinars
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Match-making – A new twist on an old idea

The term “match-making” has become quite fashionable within the event industry of late, but is both misleading and a little disingenuous.

The suggestion is that somehow a third party, such as a “concierge” service or even some clever algorithm, can match attendees at an event with the “right” people. If you have ever attended an event where such a process or technology was used, you may have experienced mixed results.

At a recent industry event focused on event technology, the award-winning “matchmaking” service we were given to use identified all our competitors as our best matches! We were, needless to say, less than impressed.

But even when the software is accurately matching those seeking products, services or information with those supplying them, there are many reasons why people may not particularly want to meet at an event and no amount of intelligent software will ever be able to take these considerations into account – e.g. bad history, already doing business, met last week, friends or relatives ….

Ultimately, providing they are given the right information, people themselves know best who they want to meet and how they want to plan their day. Present this in a simple, intuitive interface and they are off and running. So the key to an effective meeting service at a business event is profiling your visitors and exhibitors (or buyers and suppliers) in a manner that quickly lets visitors identify exhibitors who are offering what they want and exhibitors identify visitors who want what they are offering. Once you do that, you can simply permit each party to filter the list of counter-parties by checking a box that says “Show me everyone who matches my profile” or by selecting a specific set of criteria, such as “Companies over a certain size that sell product A in markets B, C and D”.

That, incidentally is what our software has been doing since its inception, over ten years ago.

Graham SimonMatch-making – A new twist on an old idea
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Making money from meetings at events

You want to add value for participants at your event. You understand that one-to-one meetings can do that. Ideally you would like the solution to add so much value that it becomes a source of additional revenue rather than a cost. If that’s the case, it’s important that you choose the right meeting solution for your event.

Here are three different implementations you might want to consider. There are others.

  1. Buyer-supplier wish-lists. This format is becoming increasingly popular for B2B events with between 20-100 suppliers and 30-300 buyers. Here, buyers and suppliers profile themselves separately. Buyers create wish-lists of, say, 20 suppliers they wish to meet and arrange their selections in order of preference, by dragging and dropping them up and down the list. Suppliers create a list of preferred buyers in a similar manner. Through a powerful administrative desk, the administrator can quickly instruct the system to arrange optimal itineraries for all attendees based on their stated preferences. Through the same desktop, the organizer can drag and drop buyers and suppliers, who were not scheduled to meet each other in one-to-one meetings, into other group activities or onto lunch and dinner tables. Clearly, if you have the right buyers in the room, suppliers will be willing to pay a premium for a full itinerary of meetings with people who have a strong desire to meet them.

    acina-paint2

  1. One group of attendees – with upsell of extra meetings and dedicated meeting place to sponsors.  If there is a desire among delegates to meet other delegates as well as sponsors, then the organizer might want to enable everyone to request meetings with everyone else. The amount of requests can be capped by default, but adjusted case by case. The person receiving the request is able to confirm or decline (or ignore) it. On confirming a request, the user is presented with a list of mutually available times. One advantage of this implementation is that sponsors don’t immediately stand out as attendees who want to sell to others and may actually end up with more meetings. There are two ways to effectively monetize this solution. The first is to permit only a few requests per attendee at no cost, but then sell individual packages permitting more requests. The second is to sell sponsors a dedicated meeting place ­– a table or a room of their own where all their meetings will take place. While they stay put, others will need to move around from meeting to meeting.
  1. Two groups of attendees. This works well for conference/exhibition-style events where there are exhibitors with stands and the organizer is primarily interested in facilitating meetings for them with delegates. Attendees are separated into two groups, labelled as desired – delegates and sponsors, visitors and exhibitors, etc. Both can be profiled differently. For example, exhibitors may indicate products and services offered; delegates may indicate the size of their company, their purchasing budget and areas of interest. Delegates get to book appointments directly into the diaries of exhibitors or, alternatively depending on how the service is set up, request meetings which the exhibitor should confirm or decline. Shortly before the event, the organizer can extend the service so that exhibitors can invite delegates to meet them. If sponsors have multiple personnel on their stand they are able to schedule concurrent meetings and manage the diaries of each individual staff member. Optionally, the service can also be opened for delegate-delegate meetings close to the event. When the program is run well, exhibitors can end up with appointments with dozens of “power buyers” before the doors even open. That will bring them back, again and again.

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Lastly, there is a great sponsorship opportunity in all these solutions for a company that would like to have its name and logo on all communications send out through the meeting service.

If you are wondering what is the best way to add meetings to your events, we are always happy to offer advice.

Graham SimonMaking money from meetings at events
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Getting the most out of one-to-one networking

meetings1Invariably the primary or secondary reason that people will give for attending a business event is networking. The other main reason – and this varies from event to event – will be the educational content.

Delegate Select considers itself a world leader at facilitating networking at events. Over the past eight years, we have witnessed many very successful and some less successful implementations by our customers of our one-to-one networking solutions. If I had to distil our accumulated learning into six simple lessons, they would be these:

Make sure your service is visible and easy to access. Having a meeting service but not having easy access to it on your main event website generally means you are relying on people to find the link to the service in emails or text messages they may (or may not) have to hand. This is very wasteful.

Profile your people correctly. Sometimes called demographics, profiling refers to the information you collect from registrants. You don’t need to ask registrants lots of questions, but you do need to get them to classify themselves in such a manner that they appear in the right result set when people make qualified searches for potential meeting partners. The best way to design your profiling categories is simply to put yourself in the position of another attendee and ask what you would really like to know about your fellow attendees. If you are running a two-group event – e.g. solution providers/delegates or exhibitors/visitors – then you should probably be profiling each group differently. You can collect profiling information for your own benefit too. This information does not have be searchable by other registrants. But I’d suggest you keep this to a minimum, such as one question like “How did you hear of the event?”

In general, the longer lead time you can give people the more confirmed meetings you are likely to generate. However, there is a balance between lead time and having enough registrants on the system when the meeting service is opened to convey to users a sense that the event is going to be well attended. We have run our service at events where the one-to-one networking has actually fueled the desire to register, attend and arrange meetings – even to the extent that the ultimate constraint on the total number of meetings was the physical lack of meeting tables and time slots. This is not set in stone. We have also seen events where a good number of meetings were confirmed, even though the meeting service was opened only a few days before the event.

Send follow-up communications to boost the number of confirmed meetings. This does not need to be a burden to you. Nor do you want to bombard your attendees with emails. Our administrative desktop, like some others on the market, allows you to easily segment your target audience and send personalized emails to them. You therefore might want to prepare brief template emails for the following groups of people in advance:

  • People who have received meeting requests, but have not yet gone to the system. Remind them to respond.
  • People who received the introductory email but not yet engaged with the system (and have not yet been invited to meetings). Just remind them that the system is there and give them an idea of the sort of companies and people with whom they could be meeting. Perhaps let them know how well some of their colleagues/competitors are doing in this regard!
  • You might also consider a third email to be sent to all registrants three or four days before the event, reminding them that the event is approaching and they should hurry up and make as many confirmed meetings as possible before then.

If attendees do not have their own dedicated meeting place, have a meeting area with tables or booths that can be automatically allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. With two groups of attendees, it is likely that your solution providers or sponsors or exhibitors will have their own stand, pod or room. Their meetings should take place there. If your event permits peer-to-peer meetings among delegates, consider having an area called the “Meeting Zone” (or something similar) with numbered tables. Your meeting software should automatically take care of the allocation of tables and should not permit meetings to take place in a timeslot where there is no remaining meeting place (or vice-versa). Such a solution requires minimal or zero staffing prior to and during the event, because each attendee’s itinerary tells them, “You are meeting such and such a person, at such and such a time, at such and such a place.” An alternative is to let people meet at various meeting points during your event, but this is much less effective.

Brand your solution to give it some exclusivity. Consider branding the networking solution and, if you run more than one event, using that brand across all of them. Without giving away any secrets, one of our customers chose a brand that generated a real sense of exclusivity. When used in their marketing communications it has generated an enormous amount of participation, year after year.

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Delegate Select’s one-to-one networking solutions empower event producers with excellent opportunities to generate additional income along with valuable information about their registrants. We’re always happy to discuss these benefits with you and offer advice and suggestions about adding networking to your event.

Graham SimonGetting the most out of one-to-one networking
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The compelling logic of Hosted Buyer Programs

Hosted Buyer Programs are finally coming of age as a companion to B2B exhibitions and, for smaller gatherings where buyers and sellers come together, as events in their own right.

For exhibition organizers the logic is simple. You hold an exhibition with 300 exhibitors.  You bring 4,500 visitors. Of those, perhaps only one in ten might be considered a “power buyer” that many of your exhibitors would like to meet. Would it not therefore be highly desirable to set up quality appointments between your 300 exhibitors and those specific buyers? Certainly, most suppliers would willingly pay a premium for  15-20 guaranteed meetings with qualified corporate decision-makers.

While only a few exhibition organizers may be ready to replace their exhibitions with hosted buyers programmes, many are starting to run a hosted buyer programme alongside their traditional B2B exhibition. Until now, reticence in the events industry towards hosted buyer programmes has historically derived from two main concerns. First, a fear that any additional revenues or cost savings could be quickly consumed by the additional incentives needed to bring the appropriate buyers to the table; some organizers offer air travel, hotel accommodation and meals. Second, a concern that the work needed by event staff to arrange, schedule and consummate meetings is too burdensome.

I’m not an event organizer and therefore not qualified to contest the first concern. But my gut instinct is that buyers meet suppliers anyway and the opportunity to meet a lot of them in one place in a short period of time is very advantageous. If buyers are planning to come to an exhibition, then most would also participate in a well-organized hosted buyer programme without much prompting. Meanwhile some senior buyers who may not otherwise choose to attend an exhibition might actually be attracted by the opportunity to pre-schedule a full day of qualified appointments with suppliers. For the remainder, it’s a cost-benefit judgement the organizer has to make on a case-by-case basis.

As a technology provider whose company has been providing sophisticated one-to-one meeting services to the event industry for over seven years , I do feel qualified to respond to the second concern. Let’s start by noting that, with or without third-party technology, such companies as Marcus Evans, Richmond Events, the World Trade Group, Forum2Events and others have being generating healthy profits from exactly this format of event for many years now. Several  years ago, the CEO of one of these companies is alleged to have expressed surprise that he did not have more competitors. This is now changing.

Today, there are a lot of slick software solutions on the market that make it easy for event organizers to provide hosted buyer programmes at their events without a huge commitment of resources. Many software companies offer diary-based meeting solutions. One or two – Delegate Select being probably the first in 2008 – also offer wish list-based solutions to event organizers.

Diary Based Solutions

With the diary-based solutions, buyers and suppliers (exhibitors) profile themselves, telling each other what they are seeking or offering. Buyers arrange meetings with suppliers, choosing a mutually available time. If permitted by the organizer, suppliers send personalized invitations by email or SMS to buyers; the recipient confirms, declines or ignores the invitation.

Not all diary-based solutions are equal. It is worth checking whether the software provider’s solution is able to:

  • Permit an exhibitor to hold multiple concurrent meetings and assign individual meetings to other members  of his/her team.
  • Permit a buyer with a confirmed meeting to invite a colleague who is also attending the event to join the meeting.
  • Provide all participants with a bespoke itinerary of their meetings.
  • Update buyers and exhibitors itineraries on their mobile device, i-pad or tablet in real time, should changes occur or new meetings be arranged at the event itself.

Some diary-based software solutions promise to arrange meetings using just the profiles of the two parties. While this may sound convenient, it is not recommended. There are many reasons why buyers and suppliers might not wish to meet.  History, personal relationships, or even the fact that two companies are already doing business may all come into play. Experience suggests that meetings arranged by software systems without direct or even indirect consent of both parties will likely result in a high number of unfulfilled meetings.

Wish-list Solution

With the wish-list solution, buyers and suppliers create online wish lists of who they would like to meet and, if permitted by the organiser, a handful of companies they wish to avoid. Participants arrange their wish lists in order of preference online. Following a cut-off date, the event organiser, at the touch of few buttons, can quickly confirm and schedule hundreds of meetings between the two parties. The organiser has the ability to over-ride or manually supplement the selections made by the system. Attendees end up with personalised itineraries that, to the greatest extent possible, reflect the preferences of both meeting partners.

Regardless of whether a diary or wish-list solution is used, organisers should be sure to check that the solution has been designed responsively and that all functionality is accessible on desk-top and mobile devices alike, without users having to download an app… because many will simply not bother.

Five years ago, the first time one of our wish-list solution clients ran the scheduling for her event, she called me up in tears. “I’ve just scheduled 800 meetings in less than five minutes. You’ve saved me three days of my life”, she cried. We’d like to think that this is only a fraction of the time that has been saved cumulatively since then by bringing buyers and suppliers together in meetings they were both keen to attend.

Graham SimonThe compelling logic of Hosted Buyer Programs
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Do I need a mobile app for my event (and should I have to pay for it)?

There are a lot of nuances surrounding mobile apps for events. People will tell you “you’ve gotta have mobile”, but in order to decide what you actually need and how much – if anything – it should cost you, requires a little clear thinking. So let’s start with the big question: “What issue am I trying to address?”

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Issue 1: People are now using mobile devices instead of (or in addition to) desktop or laptop devices

Nowadays people are increasingly using mobile devices including phones, i-pads and tablets to access the internet and do things they used to do through desktop PCs or laptops. If this is your issue, then the first place to look is your main event website. Does it offer a full range of functionality – registration, delegate profiling, conference agenda, session selection, one-to-one meetings, personalized itinerary, payment and event feedback? If it does, then what you really want is a way of ensuring that all this great functionality also looks good on a mobile device.

This used to be a big issue. Mobile devices have a smaller screen size than desktop PCs and laptops. Software producers had to write separate programs to cater for them.

But thanks to an exciting development in IT called responsive design, websites are now becoming intelligent enough to know what sort of device they are being displayed upon and reformatting themselves accordingly.

So if your event website does everything you want, there’s just one question you now need to ask your IT department or your software solution provider: “Is our event web-site designed to be responsive?”

If the answer is yes, no specific mobile app is needed. All people need is a link to your event website and an internet connection.

Issue 2: There is no internet connectivity at my event but I want people to be able to view certain information on their phone

Of course, if there is no internet connectivity at your event, such as wifi or a mobile internet connection, e.g. 3G, 4G or GPRS, because the local environment or infrastructure does not support it, then it will be difficult for people to view your website at all.

If it is imperative that people see information relevant to your event during the event, then the only solution may be a mobile app installed on their phones. There are some apps out there that do very clever things. But even with these, there are three major caveats of which you should be aware:

  1.  If people have not already downloaded your custom event app to their phone before coming to your event, they may struggle to do so at your event and many will fail or give up.
  1.  You can display static information and functionality through your custom app, as long as it does not need to interact with a web-server. But if, for example, you wish to allow people to see other attendees and issue meeting requests or make appointments, they will be unable to do so during your event.
  1.  Mobile apps are device dependent. All serious app providers will address the both i‑phone and android markets. Not all will go the extra mile to reach users with Blackberry and Windows phones.

Should I have to pay extra for mobile?

If you have a fully functional event web-site built with responsive design, the answer is probably “No”. With internet connectivity at your event, users can do pretty much everything they need before, during and after your event. What else is there to pay for?

A company such as Delegate Select will sell you a complete event registration site with your own branding, delegate profiling, session selection/tailored agenda and one-to-one meeting functionality for up to 500 participants for under £1,250. Now, with the implementation of our new responsive design, your site will run across mobile devices, i-pads and tablets at no extra charge.

However, if you do want a fancy stand-alone app requiring no internet connectivity built for i-phone and android that allows users to see where they are and plan their route to an exhibitor’s stand or the coffee and doughnuts, then expect to pay handsomely for it!

Graham SimonDo I need a mobile app for my event (and should I have to pay for it)?
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Organizing stress free Gala Dinners

Does your company organize Gala Dinners? If so, on a scale of 1 to 10 how stressful is it for those doing the organizing and administration?

If you have sponsors booking tables, it’s even worse, isn’t it? Making sure the right person is sitting in the right place and getting served the right food is a bit like driving a car blind-folded with someone in the back seat giving directions.

So what might your perfect stress-free Gala Dinner solution look like? How about this?

  • Sponsors book one or more tables, company representatives book several seats, individual attendees book a single seat
  • Payment is taken online or invoices are issued automatically
  • Everyone who books one or more seats and/or tables is wholly responsible for who sits on their seat(s) as well as their dietary requirements
  • Table sponsors have the additional benefit of being able to arrange the seating around their table
  • The event organizer can place any unassigned persons booked by company representatives or individuals to empty spaces at tables
  • Just before the Gala Dinner, the event organizer prints seating plans and presses a button to send notification by email or SMS to all attendees telling them where they are sitting.

Like it? Want one? Then call us.

Graham SimonOrganizing stress free Gala Dinners
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