In my last instalment of ‘Memories from Event Solutions Catersource 2010′, I thought I’d share some pictures from the Anthology party. I’ve been to my fair share of industry parties, but this one was full of so many great ideas. Enjoy the pictures!
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A lot of people ask me, “What’s the deal with tweetups?”. First, let’s define what one is. A tweetup is basically a scheduled meetup between Twitter friends. Tweetups allow you to take the relationships you’ve built online and extend them in person. The beauty with tweetups, which is hard to describe to someone who doesn’t use social media, is that all of the awkward “um, hi, errr…I’m Lara” is replaced with “Oh my Gosh!!! You look nothing like your picture! How are your daughters? You mentioned they’re moving to California for University, right?…”. They’re fun, they’re unpretentious, they’re meaningful.
The Queen of tweetups (aka Debra Roth of PinkInc) planned this one at The Event Solutions / Catersource 2010 Conference. We met at Bally’s Indigo Lounge before the big Anthology party later that night. It saw a mix of girly drinks (yes, even the men had a few pink, fruity concoctions), a lot of smart phone comparisons and a tonne of business card trading. A perfect combination.
Next time you attend an event, follow the event’s hashtag on Twitter and you too may just be lucky enough to find yourself at a tweetup!
Over the past year, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know corporate event producer, Ryan Hanson of BeEvents. Ryan is in 2 words an Event Provocateur. Convention irks him…instead, I do believe he spends his sleeping and waking hours trying to determine how to redefine events and our roles within them.
Last week I attended one of Ryan’s events in Las Vegas. He produced the Spotlight/CATIE Awards…and he lived up to his reputation. Gone was the stage – instead, the entertainers wove their way throughout the crowd and, as a result, we were intertwined in the entertainment. Gone were the table rounds – and the feelings of stodginess went with them. Gone was the traditional ‘In Memoriam‘ – it was replaced with all of the themes, trends and concepts that have died a horrible death over the years (i.e. client budgets).
I have a lot of respect for people who are not afraid to take calculated risks and are willing to wag their finger in the face of convention. This is why I asked Ryan Hanson if he’d be interested in a short interview…
Lara: Tell me how you wanted to make the Awards different from others?
Ryan: When we set out to create the 2010 Spotlight/CATIE awards, we set several specific goals in order to define the design. One of those objectives was to present something different with this show. Now that can be terribly ambiguous: what event doesn’t try to be “different” from past projects. Everyone says it. But we had to be specific:
Lara: Were you successful?
Ryan: Yes we were. We broke rules. We had some fun. We created a show that went on too long, but which did what it was suppose to do: celebrate the work of the finalists, the success of our industry in an intimate environment for that audience. We gave the attendees a say and told them that we offered that vote. we presented a beautiful environment which had no stage, which used entertainment effectively and uniquely. We gave people their due on stage – which made the show go on too long – but remained respectful of the recipients. We presented ideas: table-side presentations, Social Media campaigns, new products. I think at the end of the day the design was very coherent and we were mostly successful in branding the experience more
cohesively than in the past.
Lara: What can other event planners learn from your successes (or failures)?
Ryan: This was predominantly a sponsored event – and especially this year you must be absolutely grateful for everything sponsors give you. (I wish it could be made public how much was spent on this event in comparison to what was donated). But also, for a predominantly sponsored event, you have to learn to be happy with what you can live with. There are several things in the show I would have done differently, but sponsors have the right to show what they want to show and to do what they want to do. You have to be able to give overall guidance and live in the gentle chaos of many voices trying to make a project happen. And at the end of the day, it is only you who know what you would have done – and that which is created in incredible and the guests are able to enjoy!
Lara: Are there any technologies, ideas or concepts that have sparked you? How will you incorporate them into your future events?
Ryan: I have been impressed with the work of several of the vendors involved with the event – their ability to design and work with their teams have been an inspiration as I continue to define how I work with teams and develop my on-sight team.
I loved being able to work with the entertainers to craft some customized songs which we found relevant to the event. Scripting and choreographing their performances with them was a blast – there is so much you can get working with professional local talent.
I want to continue to develop the Social Media engagement of an audience through an event – it is critical that you have someone focused and attentive on such a project. We were good on the outset, but I think not as strong finishing up. You have to be committed, strategic, and follow-through to keep the community building going and growing.
Will you be attending the Event Solutions Conference 2010 in Las Vegas, March 8-10th? If so, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. A birdie told me that there will be a Tweetup on Tuesday, March 9th @ 6:30pm at Bally’s Indigo Lounge.
What’s a tweetup, you say? Why only the most fantastic way to meet all of the people you’ve been developing relationships with online. It’s basically a meetup that’s planned from Twitter – and this one started with a tweet from Deb Roth of Pink Inc.
Many people attend conferences and tradeshows for the networking opportunities – a chance to meet new people and hopefully trade business cards. The mountain they climb is standing out from the throngs of other (just as worthy) people trying to do the same thing. The opportunity for those of us who have been conversing and adding value online is that we’re not ‘just another guy trying to sell me something’. We’re friends, thought leaders, change agents, mentors, proteges and everything in between. In other words we’ve had the opportunity to blast past the awkward introductions and are already on our way to building great relationships. This tweetup will finally give us the chance to meet face-to-face. If history dictates future, there’ll be a lot of business card trading going on.
Even if you haven’t been networking online, I encourage you to come out to the tweetup to meet a great group of professionals and industry leaders. Grab a name tag and tell us how we can help you get started in social networking. You may just find yourself rushing back to your hotel room to start up a Twitter account.
I really hope to see you there. Feel free to email me (see the Contact page) and let me know you’ll be coming so I can look out for you. Tweet you later!
On March 8, 2010 event planners from around the world will descend on Las Vagas for the 2010 Event Solutions Conference & Tradeshow. The event will start with a bang…on the evening of the 8th, the Mandarin Oriental Ballroom will roll out the red carpet for the 2010 Spotlight/CATIE Awards (in association with ICA and Event Solutions Magazine). Yes, Vegas has seen its share of Trekkies, Adult Film Stars and Gadget Geeks, but they’ve never seen the likes of this bunch.
With my smartphone and my social media applications, yours truly will be reporting from the awards celebration along with Alan Smithson of Star Productions Inc, Brent Prockert of All Seasons Catering and the fabulous Ruth Moyte of Red Dandelion Creative (one of my blog sponsors – yay!). I’m very excited seeing as Ryan Hanson of Beevents (who will be producing the event), Event Solutions and many of the event sponsors have readily embraced social media and will be introducing some amazing social ideas leading up to the event and on the evening of the awards.
Over the next week and a half, the 2010 Spotlight/CATIE Awards will be asking its attendees to help shape their event using social media. In their first of three question to all of you, they ask: Which centrepiece would you like to see grace the dinner tables of this 60s themed event? Cast your vote here!
If you haven’t already, make sure you follow the conference twitter hashtag: #ESCS10. You’ll hear event stakeholders leak cool information about the event, attendees build relationships with one another and social media reporters weighing in on their event experiences.
I’ll be delivering 3 sessions at the conference & I hope to see you there. Please introduce yourself – I always love to meet my social media friends in the flesh!
MONDAY • MARCH 8 10:30am – Noon . State of the Industry: Where We are Now and Where We’re Headed
Moderator: Laura Schwartz, Principal, White House Strategies, Chicago, IL
Panelists: Branden Chapman of The Recording Academy, Steve Kemble of Steve Kemble Event Design, Lara McCulloch-Carter of READY2SPARK, Kevin Dana of CORT and Craig Bullock of TBA Global
From the A.I.G. effect to blacklisted destinations to the Great recession, the events industry has faced many significant challenges in the past year that have changed it forever. this March, join your peers and a panel of industry leaders to discuss all that we have faced as an industry and the way ahead. Leaders from diverse sectors of the event world will present their vision for the future of the industry; the top-line trends you need to be aware of; and how our industry will look one, five and 10 years from now. Whether you’re an independent, association, corporate, or nonprofit planner or a supplier, this must-attend session will give you the big picture you need to strategize your business or career for today and tomorrow. Stay tuned to learn more about the top event industry voices who will convene for this one-of-a-kind featured session!
MONDAY • MARCH 8 3:00pm – 4:15pm . Business Development: How to Turn Customers into Evangelists
Attracting and retaining customers is the age-old challenge for all business owners. In this session, explore how to find new customers, and more importantly, how to keep the ones you already have. In this ever-changing and significantly more sophisticated business environment, your relationships with your clients is vitally important to your company’s survival. You will leave with an accomplishable “to do list” for meeting your clients’ needs and having them shout from the roof tops about how great you are!
TUESDAY • MARCH 9 9:00am – 10:15am . Socialize With a Purpose: Building a Social Media Strategy For Success
Social media offers an excellent tool for business owners and marketers to expand their communities and their brand recognition – but just because it’s free doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a strategy behind it. The key to success is a clearly thought-out plan. This session will give you the tools you need to craft an effective strategy to achieve measurable results for your company.
Click here to access the conference program & event information.
Do you love food? Check √
Do you adore events? Check √
Do you love to share your opinion? Check √
Do you own a suit or gown? Check √
Do you have a vlog, blog and/or twitter account? Check √
If you said yes, yes, yes, yes and yes, you may qualify win 1 of 4 free tickets to the Event Solutions / Catersource Spotlight Awards Celebration in Las Vegas. This event is being produced by the totally fantastic Ryan Hanson of Beevents (so you know it’s going to be great). The Beevents and Event Solutions teams get the power of social media and would like to extend the gala experience beyond the ballroom. Ticket recipients will get ‘behind the scenes’ access and some trade secrets along the way!
Go to Beevents’ blog for instructions on how to enter. But don’t delay, these are sure to go fast!