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Are smartphones helping or hindering your event?

Whether we like them or not, smartphones have become an important part of our daily lives. They are used to aid with various tasks including shopping, getting from one place to another, scheduling plans and setting reminders.

People spend hours each day scrolling, checking emails and social media notifications. Wondering what this means for your event? Chances are most, if not all, of your attendees will arrive at your event with smartphone in tow. They are hard to ignore. So it might be time to address the elephant in the room – the sea of smartphones in your event space.

So are smartphones just another distraction for guests to be swallowed up by? Or can they help with your event outcomes?

The disadvantages

There is no doubt that smartphones can be distracting. They can divert attention away from your event sessions. Disengaged guests won’t experience your event for what it is, potentially harming your re-attendance rate.

If you were to have a no-smartphone policy at your event, your guests would certainly have fewer distractions and might be more engaged throughout the event. Whether this is a realistic and productive request is less certain.

The advantages

Smartphones have become a huge part of events. When it comes to event planning, there seems to be a smartphone app that can help with every aspect of organising and running an event. Whether it’s organising ticket sales, sharing your event agenda or facilitating a networking platform for guests, there’s an app for pretty much every stage.

There are several apps on the market, both free and with subscription costs, including Eventbrite and Ticketbud for ticket sales, Whova for attendee networking and Pathable for developing and sharing your agenda – just to name a few.

Smartphones also provide your event with an opportunity for marketing and promotion. Never underestimate the power of your guests taking selfies at your event, using your event hashtag online, live tweeting or checking-in on social media.

If you can’t beat them, join them

Smartphones are an integral part of everyday life. While they might be distracting and addictive, they can serve the really important purpose of helping you reach your event outcomes. They can be used to simplify logistical tasks, engage guests and build an awareness for, and at, your events.

So, if your main objective is to run a seamless event with good occupancy, it might be time to embrace what smartphones have to offer.

If you would like advice on social media for your next event, the AVPartners team can help. Contact us today.

The secrets to a successful event hashtag

Hashtags have become an important way for event planners to create a buzz around events. Think of the last conference or event you attended. Chances are a hashtag was used. So what exactly are hashtags and why have they become so popular in the events industry?

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), which makes it a searchable link. Most commonly used on applications and social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, hashtags give users the ability to organise or ‘file’ online conversations. When a user clicks on a hashtag, they are able to view all other discussions which use the same hashtag.

Why use a hashtag for events?

An effective hashtag can improve the reach of your event. It can help build anticipation surrounding the day, drive more ticket sales and boost awareness for your brand. An event hashtag also helps drive engagement throughout the event itself. Attendees can post about your event using the hashtag to signal that they are part of the conversation about your event.

There are 4 factors that make a great hashtag:

1. Unique

An effective hashtag will be unique to your brand and event. This will ensure that your event and brand doesn’t compete with other unrelated posts which use the same hashtag. Before settling on your hashtag, make sure to do a quick search across social media to make sure it hasn’t been used before. Examples may include #GFWS2018 or #vividtaronga which are time or location specific.

2. Succinct

Short hashtags are effective because they are memorable and get to the point quickly. They also remove room for typo errors, particularly when your event guests will be required to type the hashtag out.

3. Playful

Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, a hashtag which is playful and uses a bit of light humour may do the trick. A good example of this is Red Bull’s #PutACanOnIt campaign. The campaign used the catchy hashtag #PutACanOnIt to encourage people to take photos of their Red Bull cans in interesting locations. This strategy encouraged engagement amongst their audience and successfully created a buzz around the brand.

4. It has no hidden meaning

This is a really important one. Triple check your hashtag before sharing it. Remember, your hashtag will display without breaks between the words, so new words might form in the amalgamation. Check for any embarrassing words or messaging that may have been created. While you will want to build reach, you won’t want to bring attention to your event for the wrong reasons!

Broadcasting your hashtag

To really make the most of your hashtag before, during and after your event, it’s important to include it on all of your promotional materials, and make sure it’s in full view for guests throughout the event. Use audiovisual (AV) technology to keep your hashtag front and centre throughout your event. By projecting your hashtag on your stage, screen or even on the walls of your event space, you can encourage real time conversation about your event on social media. With your hashtag in full view, your event guests will be encouraged to include it in their tweets, live videos and other social posts.

Contact us today to set up the AV at your next event.

The easiest ways for your event to reach all corners of the country…or globe!

Want to reach more people at your next event?

Your event doesn’t need to be confined to the walls of your event space. Using the right tools and technology, you can grow your next event so that it reaches people all across the country… and even the world!

The trick is to get people involved and engaged online. Here’s how to do it.

Choose the right webcast technology

Running a webcast of your event is the perfect way to encourage people who are unable to attend your event in person to get involved. Webcast technology can be incorporated into your event plan from the very beginning of your planning process. To make sure your online guests feel involved on the day, prioritise your webcast just as you would prioritise choosing your event space, organising your seating plan and planning your guest list. To really embrace your online guests on they day, consider having your MC and speakers address them directly.

A great AV team like AVPartners will use state-of-the-art technology to put the guest experience first. AVPartners will also step you through the planning process and ensure that your webcast is set up in a way that allows people from anywhere in the world to attend.

Use live polling

Live polling is a great way to engage with your online audience on the day of your event. It can be used during your Q&A session or anytime throughout the event to keep your guests from around the country and globe interested and involved.

Use an event app

Using an event app can strengthen the involvement and engagement of your online event guests. Apps like Whova and Grupio can keep your attendees up-to-date with your event agenda and special event announcements. Some apps even offer surveys and contests to engage online attendees as well as networking capabilities to help your online guests socialise with each other.

Create an event hashtag

Using a hashtag is a simple way to encourage online conversation about your event. A hashtag that is exclusive to your event can help you to build brand awareness with the people that matter by igniting discussion about your event across social media.

Make an event video

Using the right video technology can really bring your event to life online. By choosing a team of experts to create your event video, you can build a buzz around your brand and build anticipation for the next time your event is held. Sharing an event video online is also a great way to display the experience of your event with people in other cities and countries.

Share your event on social media

Social media is the perfect tool to create a buzz before, after and during your event. Social media is global in nature so using it gives you the ability to reach people far and wide. Leading up to the event, social media can be used to share content that builds anticipation for the event to attract online attendees. Posting live video snippets and images during the event is a great way to include people online. Sharing some highlights after the event is a great way to build buzz for the next time you run your event.

Contact us today to set up video and webcast technology at your next event.

The benefits of live streaming your event

Live streaming has become a bit of a craze lately. If Facebook Live, Youtube live stream and Twitter live video are anything to go by, people seem to love experiencing things online in real time. The capability of live streaming has become hugely popular in recent years, especially for events that attract global attention. Live streaming offers people the opportunity to experience events, even if they can’t be there in person.

Perhaps you’ve considered live streaming your event, but you’re not entirely sure if it’s the right thing to do. Maybe you’ve thought, “Well, it could be great exposure, but then again who will purchase a ticket if it’s going to be live streamed for free?” This is a very sensible question to ask. Although there are many benefits to live streaming events, it’s important to consider whether it is right for your event. Some events thrive on exclusivity. Keeping an event exclusive might help with setting ticket prices, selling tickets, or attracting thought leaders. These events might benefit from being kept intimate instead of being live streamed. But for many events, especially ones that have an objective of broadcasting information or selling a certain product or service, live streaming can be greatly beneficial. Here’s why.

Maximise your exposure

Live streaming, especially via social media can help build exposure for your event. Your event can be live streamed to your social media audience, but it can also reach a larger audience if the content is shared and interacted with online. Live videos tend to attract more online engagement compared with other types of content. They incite a sense of urgency, compelling people to watch. When you share your live stream to social media, you also have the option of running ads in order to reach an even wider audience.

Use data to improve your events

When you live stream your event, it gives you the opportunity to learn more about your audience through online data. Bringing your event online can help you gather important information about who your audience is and what they like (or dislike) about your event. Whether you’re live streaming on your website or social platforms, you have access to data on who is engaging with your content. This information can help you make improvements on your event next time around.

Provide a channel of communication for your audience

If you’re broadcasting your event on social media, your live stream will give your event goers and online audience a platform to interact with you while the event is running. It gives them the opportunity to ask important questions about keynote speakers, products being launched or whether there are follow up events.

When you’re live streaming a corporate event, it’s important to get it right. The last thing you want is a major disruption or delay in the audio or video. When you do it yourself there are many risks involved that can disrupt the smooth running of your event. Make sure to hire a professional audiovisual team to do all the hard work so that you don’t have to. At AVPartners we have the right technology and expertise  to broadcast your event so that you can rest assured that it’s done the right way.

Talk to us today to discuss how to live stream your next event.

How to hold an engaging panel discussion at your next event

A panel discussion is a great way to bring together influential speakers at an event to offer their advice, stories, and expertise to the event attendees. The audience is given a chance to ask thought-provoking questions and get different perspectives in real time. Panel discussions are a great inclusion to many events, however they do require a bit of planning to ensure success.

Here’s what you need to know to hold an engaging panel discussion at your next event:

Mix up your panelists

To ensure you have adequate diversity in your panel, make sure to include people with various opinions, backgrounds, industries, specialisations, ages, and experiences. This will mean your audience can benefit from a range of knowledge, and it also means your panelists won’t be competing with one another.

Choose an engaging moderator

A moderator is an important part of a panel discussion. They will introduce each speaker, ask questions and direct attention to certain people or topics. The moderator keeps the discussion on track and flowing, so it’s best to choose wisely. Ideally you want someone who can get the most out of the panelists while having a little fun with the audience.

Get prepared

It’s a good idea to prepare early and choose panel questions well ahead of schedule, giving each panelist time to prepare their answers. Make sure the moderator and panelists have input, this will make them feel valued during the process.

Set the stage

Generally speaking, panel discussions are on a stage with panelists seated on a lounge or chairs facing the audience. It’s best practice to not have them sit behind a desk as it can cut off the open flow of communication. It’s a good idea to check with your AV provider about what AV is required, such as spotlight lighting, fixed desktop microphones, lapel microphones or a shared wireless microphone that can be passed along to each speaker. At AVPartners we have an exciting ‘Question & Answer’ product called Catchbox. It’s the world’s first ‘soft throwable microphone’, allowing easy and fun audience participation, discussion and most importantly, encouraging engagement.

Using a reputable AV provider will ensure the panelists are successfully seen and heard, and that their messages are conveyed effectively to the audience.

Contact us today to start planning your panel discussion!

How to effectively communicate your event message

Events can help make your business stand out against competitors. When holding an event, it’s important to ensure that the message you want your guests to walk away with is presented loud and clear. This message could be about increasing brand awareness, letting guests know about your cause for fundraising, or communicating excitement for upcoming product releases and launches.

We’ve put together a few tips on how you can effectively communicate your event message:

Styling and decor

Visual components like decorations and colours are a very valuable part of any event, so it’s important that these make sense for the type of event and guests attending. You might decide to use branded decorations, themed colours, or modern decor to help convey your event message.

Marketing touch points

Every channel or technique you use to communicate your event provides a marketing touch point for your message. Make sure that every touch point is cohesive and consistent. You want the event message to be registering in a guest’s mind from their first interaction with your event, whether that be online, through an invitation, or when entering the room.

Audiovisual components

The production elements at your event can make a huge impact on the way your event message gets seen, heard and absorbed. Great audio can help build emotion and engagement, and effective lighting will set a mood and create a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment.

Remember that all event elements, when brought together, combine to create an atmosphere and experience which helps communicate your message. If you’d like to discuss this further, talk to us today.

Conference break out session

3 things to consider when planning a conference

Conferences are great for bringing a large group of people together to discuss and learn about certain topics. They are sometimes held over a few days, or even just within a few hours. Either way, there’s always plenty to think about when planning one.

Here are our top three things to consider when planning a conference:

Venue

Conferences tend to be larger scale events, so it’s a good idea to research venues that will cater to your needs in terms of size, amenities and style. You might need separate rooms or sections for break out sessions, or just one big hall to present in. Make sure the venue is appropriate for your conference, that it speaks to the style and theme you want to present, and that it is convenient enough for guests to get to by car or public transport.

Sponsors

Having sponsors who pay to feature at your conference can really help with costs. You might have a few different sponsorship options and levels available, or just one or two main ones, and sponsors may be granted exclusivity or a chance to present at the conference. It’s entirely up to you and the needs of your conference when determining how deep the sponsorship relationship goes, but don’t be too shy when seeking sponsorship income as sponsors can be a huge support during this time.

Audiovisual support

A great conference relies on great AV support. Work out what you need in terms of AV – such as microphones, lighting, staging, monitors, teleconferencing capabilities, or video access for virtual attendees. Many venues have an in-house AV team, such as AVPartners, and are able to make your conference AV needs for sound, lighting and audio smooth and professional!

If you’d like some more information on planning your next conference, contact us today!

Event trends

Event trends you need to know about

Are you planning to hold an event next year? If so, you’re probably hoping that it’s an interesting and engaging one, and that everyone has a great time. One thing to consider when it comes to planning interesting events is what is ‘on trend’ at the time.

There are so many unique ways to impress your guests and give them a talking point during and after your event.

Here are our favourite event trends for 2017:

Creative catering

Unique catering is a great way to stand out and impress, and you can also use it to brand your event. Elements such as signature cocktails using your brand’s colours, or desserts with edible rice paper logos or messages on top, are interesting ways to get creative with catering.

The extreme dessert trend is likely to continue into 2017, with dessert walls (think donuts and Nutella) becoming part of the decor!

Personalisation

People want more than the standard cookie-cutter event, so they’re looking for more personalised options when they scout their venues and plan their events. The possibilities for personalisation are endless, with more simple things such as personalised email or app communications to guests through to more complex data driven elements such as tailoring events to the individual based on their reactions on social media.

According to a study by Eventsforce, personalisation is a key priority for 82% of event planners, with 97% saying they believe that event personalisation can change a guests perception of your brand or event.

Audiovisual technology also plays a huge part in personalisation of events. Lighting effects, colours and staging options can all contribute to a more tailored event. At AVPartners we pride ourselves on fully understanding our client’s event and design briefs so that we can deliver on a completely unique and successful event.

Digital interaction

More and more we are seeing that event planners are embracing digital channels to reduce costs, to be more environmentally conscious and to better engage guests. There are so many interesting ways to deliver information at your event digitally rather than expecting guests to take notes constantly or handing out paper. Examples include leveraging an event app, providing a digital handout via files made available on a USB or having notes delivered by email.

Video content

We all keep hearing that video is the future, and in 2017 we will see a greater role for video at events. One example of where video is being used effectively is through the live-streaming of events. This is where an event is filmed and delivered to online viewers in real time, so that they don’t miss out and can be part of the action as it unfolds. Usually this footage can then be packaged up and shared on a business’ website or social media, or used in-house.

It’s important to note that you don’t need to go overboard with event elements to create an impact. Choosing just one or two ideas and exploring how they can meet your business and event needs will be enough to impress.

Talk to us to start planning your 2017 events!

A team building event

The benefits of a team building event and how to plan one

Team building is vital to the success of your organisation. When you have a team that appreciates and respects each other, they will likely be more productive, efficient and happy. What’s not to love? A team building event is a great way to deliver on your team building goals and enhance the overall performance of your team.

The benefits

Team building events give employees the chance to test out their teamwork skills and have fun by engaging in activities or challenges together. Each person starts the day on the same level as everyone else, despite where they may sit in the organisation, with a task at hand and a novel approach to it. Everyone has the chance to be heard, have fun, and draw on skills they may not have had an opportunity to showcase within their workplace role. These events are also a great way for your team to form better relationships with each other, and truly bond over common ground.

The objective

When planning a team building event or activity, it’s best to determine a goal or objective before you begin. Knowing what direction you would like your team to go in, and what you want everyone to get out of the day, will assist you in choosing appropriate activities and venues.

Usually, team building events or activities aim to provide fun and boost morale, or they aim to solve a problem or a communication breakdown within the workplace. This is achieved by getting everyone out of the work environment and allowing them to relax and get to know each other better in a new setting. This can help people to open up to new experiences and can lead to a better understanding of each other. Additionally, tackling a workplace problem outside of the usual domain can reveal a new perspective on the issue, and potentially, how it can be solved.

Things to consider

Ensure that the activity chosen is appropriate for your team and workplace. A wine and cheese tasting or a trivia night are great options for fun casual events where the goal is to relax and socialise. If you want to take things up a notch, you could arrange a CSI night, where your team works to solve a ‘murder’, or a casino or games night where everyone can let their hair down and mingle with their colleagues. If the aim is to create greater team cohesion, activities such as ‘escape rooms’ or interactive matrix style mazes really test people and require them to pool their strengths to get out of the game.

More ideas for your next team building event include cooking workshops, live drawing, community service, bowling, and outdoor sporting activities such as bootcamp, rock climbing or rowing. These can all be fun activities, but you might find that some are better suited to your team than others.

At AVPartners we love supporting team building events to bring your team closer together! It’s important to think about what technology will be required to make your event a success – from getting the lighting and sound right, through to ensuring you have the right projection screens, or even considering what app technology you can leverage to strengthen communication and engagement – technology can often make or break an event.

When dividing your team into groups, keep the group sizes to a maximum of 10. This will mean that each group member can be fully engaged and it’s far more manageable than larger groups, where people tend to detach themselves.

Keep the momentum rolling after the event by setting action plans at the end of the day for everyone to take back to work with them. This could include making sure employees say hi to a new friend made that day, or keeping tabs on the progress of solved problems. These actions can ensure the team building event has a lasting and meaningful effect.

Keen to bond your team together with a team building event? Contact us today and we’ll show you how!

Why hold an event?

Events are a great way to bring people together, and share a moment, message or idea with a captive audience. They do, however, take considerable time, effort and organisation to execute successfully.

When deciding whether to hold an event, the first step should be to ask why you’re holding the event. This will help you get to the heart of whether an event will be valuable and help you achieve your goals. Here are some of the common reasons organisations hold events.

To build brand awareness

Events bring people together at the one location at the one time, giving you focussed time you can utilise to build brand awareness around your business with target audiences. You might make a presentation highlighting your services, or hold a workshop that builds on your thought leadership, making you a respected and trusted person within your industry.

To humanise the business

It’s usually quite fun and interesting to meet the people behind certain brands, so make sure you give your customers or clients what they want by introducing yourself and letting them know that there are real people in your business. It’s also a good time to thank customers and clients for their support, and offer to answer any questions they have or help them in some way if you can. People buy from people, so make sure your business is real and authentic.

To provide networking opportunities

Events are a great way to expand your connections, gain new clients, customers or referrals, and also to show your existing customers or clients what else you can offer them. It’s also an excellent way to meet like-minded individuals in your industry, and you never know where those relationships may lead!

To fundraise

For not-for-profit and charity organisations events are a perfect way to do drive fundraising efforts. They offer a controlled and focussed environment for you to spread the word and incite empathy and curiosity in attendees.

To launch a new product or service

New products or services are a cause for celebration! Events can allow you to inform guests of this, offer demonstrations, or give away samples. It gives your potential customers a chance to interact with your product or service in person, and in a fun and upbeat atmosphere.

To recognise and reward

Awards ceremonies are a very common type of event to hold, and a fantastic way to recognise your team or others for their hard work. Recognition is always appreciated, and usually makes for a more loyal team.

To offer a face-to-face communication experience

Too often in this digital world, we lose that personal, human interaction. While the internet has opened up a world of possibilities, the feeling of being in front of someone; having a conversation and sharing a laugh, can’t really be replicated online.

So, now that you know some of the reasons and benefits of holding events, you might be wondering just what type of event suits your business. Events vary in style, size and outcome, but some common event types include a sit down dinner, a fundraiser, an awards ceremony, a cocktail party, or a conference. You might like to read more about which events really engage your customers or clients, or how to know which conference type suits your business.

Once you’re ready to start planning your event, ensure you have a solid timeline in place. For tips on this, check out how long it takes to plan an event.

At AVPartners, we love to help bring your event dreams to life! Speak to us today and let us know your ideas.