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Planning an event is always exciting, particularly when it comes to finding the right theme and decor. Having a successful event takes both patience and proper planning to adapt to the newest industry standards. There is even a variety of event planning professional certifications available today to help you keep up with all of the changes in the market.

One of the biggest shifts we are seeing in the industry is an increased focus on health and the environment. As the world continues to become more health conscious, event planners and caterers alike are slowly but surely moving away from plastic and leaning toward more sustainable options.

Being environmentally friendly is no longer just a trend, but a lifestyle.

But clearing out your plastic doesn’t mean your next event or gathering has to suffer. In fact, replacing your plastic with more sustainable materials will add elegance to your tablescape. Here are just a few of the many options available to help you if you’re moving away from plastic and looking for more eco-friendly choices for your next event.

Consider Using Classic Porcelain or Metal

Some venues or caterers offer the opportunity to rent their porcelain dishes for your event. Not only are these options sturdier than plastic plates and bowls, but the finery also adds a chic touch to the dining experience guests will notice. This material is especially ideal for romantic or traditional themes. After the party, reception, or other gathering is complete, these dishes can be washed and reused, rather than tossed and added to a landfill.

Stainless steel, aluminum, and pewter are not necessary just for the cutlery. Once you have decided on a theme, you can choose unique platters or serving trays that are etched with various nature or holiday-inspired images that fit perfectly. Embracing this trend will give the celebration a warm vintage feel.

Being eco-friendly does not mean that you have to sacrifice on style. Try combining these two materials for a truly sustainable and modern-looking event.

Make Your Banquet and Event Natural

There is a variety of eco-friendly dinnerware options available today that are great to use for events. Bamboo, in particular, can be a great material to use for boho or beach events because it is incredibly flexible but durable. The beautiful patterns inherent in this material give bamboo dishware or decor an earthy texture.

Wood is also very practical when it comes to serving utensils and cutlery because it is incredibly sturdy, in addition to being a great accent material. The grains give dishes and decor a chic, rustic feel that is great for country or whimsical themes.

Having an environmentally-friendly event and catering options are now easier than ever before. There are so many healthy alternatives to plastic available in the market today. From fine porcelain to natural wood, there is something that can work for every occasion. The key is to find inspiration for how you want your event to look and feel and then get creative in how you bring that picture to life.

Author Bio: Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and a fan of the eco-friendly. She is a former HR professional who, in addition to writing about the latest developments business communication, recruiting, and CRM solutions, covers trends in event planning and weddings for several companies, such as Bio and Chic.

The post The Path Away from Plastic: What Other Options Do You, Your Caterers & Event Planner Have? appeared first on Pathable.

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Just like in any other field, events organizers are using technology to create a simpler, more enjoyable and more effective experience for the people who are attending the event. Whether you want to create fewer lines, get people really integrated and engaged with the event itself, or to help network and share information, there is now event technology available that can do all of this.

The type of event that you are holding will affect the technology which is most suited to you. Let’s take a look at four of some of our favorite event technology innovations. 

Ticket scanning and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)

Ticket scanning technology such as that developed by Ticketbooth uses technology to scan tickets on entry to your event, making the entry process faster and more accurate, with the option for the use of online tickets and tickets bought through Facebook events. It can be helpful against fraud and can also help you to accurately audit your numbers, so you know exactly who and how many are attending at any given time. It also makes the ticket buying process easier for your attendees and there is almost no risk of losing the ticket.

It can also allow you to sell merchandise along with your event tickets and can give you the option of asking specific questions to your attendees to give you information about those who are going to your event – without interruption to your event.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) is being used with events at the moment in one of two ways – to enhance the experience of those who are attending and to help those who are not present enjoy the event from a different location.

Some of the ways that virtual and augmented reality can be used in an event include:

Attendee Engagement–allow attendees to try out products through VR – in fact, according to research by Hidden Creative there is a rise of 135% in the number of people who are likely to buy a product after seeing an augmented reality version of it. This means that they not only see value in the product but also engage with it.

In training – VR gives attendees an excellent way of practicing and training. For surgeons, for example, to be able to practice on a `virtual` body, it means that fewer cadavers are needed while allowing individuals to repeatedly go over trickier processes and assessment can be made easier.

Live streaming – massively expand the number of people who you can reach out to with your event. You might have people in different countries or with mobility issues who would find it difficult to attend your event, and by live streaming it to them, they can not only see what’s happening, but other technology could allow them to have all the information and an experience as close as those already attending as possible – but with the best seats in the house!

Interactive Mobile Event Apps

There are many interactive mobile event apps around which can be helpful to enhance an event and build attendee engagement. And there are also always more becoming available, so you should be able to find the app that suits your needs. Some of the apps available at the moment include:

-A nearly all in one event app like Pathable which help connect people with similar interests, expertise or other common features

-To help attendees remember names

-Virtual business card apps

-Apps which will help people to find their seat. Constantly growing in size, auditorium seating has become popular with these apps.

-Audience response system apps

-Apps which allow presentation material to be shared with the audience on their mobile device – where they can like, comment or share it

-Apps which can turn an attendee’s smartphone into a microphone, so everyone can hear the question or comment

-Apps where organizers can create puzzles and games to help attendees to engage with the subject.

Facial Recognition Technology

Facial recognition technology is becoming increasingly used at events. Whilst at the moment it is used mainly for things like Facebook tagging – which is great for the marketing of your event, did you know that planners can use this feature to ensure better security, automated check-in, fraud prevention, and even to be able to read people’s moods to see how they react to certain things.

The use of digital technology at events is on the increase. By being able to cut out the boring, time-consuming parts – such as getting people in, security and organizing them to be in the right place at the right time, event organizers can concentrate on engaging with those attending, making it interesting and making the event a success. 

The post Keeping Up to Date with Digital Trends at Events appeared first on Pathable.

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The number of conferences happening worldwide is on the rise, according to American Express’ 2018 Global Meetings & Events Forecast. But even with more competition than ever, most conference budgets have stayed stagnant. That means conference planners must get creative when it comes to executing great events.

Luckily, creativity doesn’t have to come at a high cost or time investment. Event planners can use technology to set their conferences apart.

Whether your goal is to boost registrations, drive return attendance, or increase your return on investment, investing in technology can help. But which options will provide the best returns without breaking the bank? Here are three tech solutions to help you get started.

Capitalize on RFID

Radio-frequency identification, or RFID, technology uses a chip in an attendee’s wristband, card, or badge to streamline entry and engagement at events. This capability allows attendees to just tap their badges to enter a conference or session, engage with sponsors, or even pay for items at the event cashlessly.

RFID also helps track how your attendees move through your events, giving you real-time insights into what changes might need to be made during an event or for future installments. The technology simplifies the event experience for everyone — including yourself. And if you’re already using a registration platform, there’s a chance that RFID can be added to your package so that you can get started easily.

Invest in SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is particularly important for marketing your event. In fact, almost 90 percent of attendees said they use online search when deciding to go to an event. If an attendee allows Google access to his or her location, the first thing Google will look for is location data on your event page. Be sure your event’s “when” and “where” are clearly labeled on your website.

You’ll also want to make sure your event ranks at the top of searches for your event name. Make sure your event webpage has a URL that matches your event’s exact name. An Eventbrite study determined that search usually drives 5 to 10 percent of event sales. Use the strategy to help your staff get the word out about your event in a low-cost manner.

Test-drive Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Most people hear “artificial intelligence” and think of robots. But options like voice assistance and chatbots show there’s a lot more to it. In fact, AI is becoming so common that 88 percent of conferences and corporate events planned to use it in 2018, according to Eventbrite research.

AI’s applications to the event space are endless. Test AI by enabling chatbots through Facebook or your event app. The chatbot can answer basic customer service questions automatically so that your staff can stay focused on your event’s schedule. Event chatbot templates are usually affordable, with some starting at just $89.

Whether your goal is to reach new attendees or keep your existing ones coming back, technology can get you there. Use these three technologies to make the process a breeze.

Ronnie Higgins works at Eventbrite, helping event planners level-up their registration game. Born and raised in New Orleans, he enjoys nothing more than helping people get together — whether it’s for a conference, class, or a citywide party like Mardi Gras.

The post 3 Efficient Technologies to Help You Create a Conference appeared first on Pathable.

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Virtual and augmented reality has exploded into the events world and we are already seeing many exciting use cases by companies at conferences, at trade shows, and through training.

Is your company getting left behind? It’s not just about what’s cool; these digital experiences immerse spectators into a live experience. It’s not only as if they were there themselves, but as though the user is closer to the action than ever before.

What You’ll Learn:

  • American Airlines events and marketing

The post How to Get Started with Virtual & Augmented Reality at Your Events appeared first on Pathable.

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For any event manager who loves a good exhibit hall that seems to stretch for miles, wants to meet up with old and new friends, or simply enjoys learning, the IMEX America event in sunny Las Vegas is always a treat. This year’s show was as fantastic as always. Here are some of our favorite wow-worthy moments.

  1. Did you check out the interactive Tech Zone? It was one of our favorite spots added to the expanded event floor that offered more ideas to event planners looking for new ways to interact and engage with attendees. If you participated in one of the sessions in the blow-up igloos, wearing a headset and asking questions through audience response systems, share it for us on social?  
  2. The Events Industry Council honored some of our favorite trendsetters, including Corbin Ball and Deborah Sexton. This year’s 23rd Hall of Leaders and Pacesetter Awards Celebration recognized the achievements of 4 industry pioneers and emerging leaders who have changed the landscape of the events and hospitality profession but changed the culture of business as well. 
  3. Association for Women in Events hosted five 2018 Women in Events Hall of Fame inductees on the trip and honored them with the help of IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer at a Women in Events Happy Hour.
  4. Smart Monday, sponsored by MPI, brought the association learning front and center. Nearly 850 people arrived a day early to attend educational sessions at Smart Monday. We especially loved the Julius Solaris keynote, feeling that the topic of leaving a legacy is timely.
  5. According to Smart Meetings, a record number of business cards changed hands at the eighth annual IMEX America in Las Vegas as some 70,000 formal private meeting appointments (learn more about adding private meeting scheduling to your next event) took place at Sands Expo in a complexly refreshed Venetian Palazzo experience. That number included 64,000 individual appointments, an increase of 7 percent. A total of 70 percent of those appointments had RFPs attached, according to reports from the closing press conference of the three-day event this week.

Want more? Check out IMEX’s full recap. See you in Frankfurt!

The post Wow-Worthy Moments from IMEX America appeared first on Pathable.

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It’s no secret that differentiating your legitimate event management experience can be difficult for those who aren’t as familiar with the meetings and hospitality industry. One of the best ways to demonstrate your value is through certifications. By applying for (and acquiring) recognition from the relevant industry groups, you can show that your expertise or agency meets a higher standard than much of the competition. You can show people why they should choose you over someone else.

And as an

The post Three Event Planning Certifications Every Event Management Professional Should Seek appeared first on Pathable.

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    This session trains the event planner to locate potential issues, understand the hotel’s approach to contracts and negotiate options that work best for your group.

    Contracts do more than confirm Space, Dates and Rates– Attrition, Cancellation, Force Majeure, Programs, Sliding Scales, Cut-off Dates and many other areas are quoted by the hotel and accepted by the planner, without negotiation. Hotels train their sales managers to negotiate and contract aggressively, extending the edge to the hotel whenever possible.

    Both new and experienced planners receive training in topics that are seldom discussed and planners receive immediate insights that will make them more effective planners. 

    During this session, you’ll learn: 

    • What is accuracy in space, rates, and dates: making sure you contract exactly what you need; 
    • Best practices for negotiating and contracting special considerations: comps, upgrades, wi-fi, parking, fees, and inclusions to maximize your results. 
    • Getting ahead on negotiating performance clauses: Attrition, Sliding scales, Cut-off dates to make sure both sides are treated fairly 

    CMP Domain: Strategic Planning

    About the Speaker: Tom Pasha has been recognized as one of the top meeting and convention planners in the industry. Starting in hotel positions of bellman, limousine driver, bartender, and cook, Tom began his management career as a Hyatt Management Trainee in Chicago. He went to Sales Management positions throughout the Hyatt organization, working in 12 Hyatt Hotels over 20 years. Tom was Director of Sales at Hyatt Hotels in Greenville, San Antonio, and Chicago O’Hare, and as Director of Sales, started the National Sales Office for Hyatt Hotels in Omaha. He won Sales Manager of the Year, Sales Director of the Year, Sales Team of the Year and the Donald M. Pritzker Award for Sales Excellence. Most recently, Tom founded CONTACT Planning, Inc. a national meeting planning company with headquarters in Orlando, Florida which works with premier corporate and association clients.

    The post Hotel Insider Series – Venue Booking Contracts Negotiation Tips & Tricks appeared first on Pathable.

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