The rate of change in meeting technology accelerates at an unprecedented pace these days. Thousands of ideas, apps and innovations are now available at every turn to help meeting planners do their jobs better.
The expert sales and event teams of Marriott’s Convention & Resort Network (CRN) have come together to share tips to maximize meeting technology. CRN is a network of more than 60 JW Marriott, Autograph Collection Hotels, Renaissance Hotels, Marriott Hotels and Gaylord Hotels that provides the ultimate meeting experience for meeting planners.
While CRN is a great resource for sourcing meeting space, it’s also a reservoir of ideas from F&B to meeting technology.
Here are six tips to maximize meeting technology:
Video mapping technology allows for an unlimited amount of unique and creative video content to be projected on almost any surface. Planners can transform stages, walls, rooms, entire buildings and any other regular or irregular-shaped surface into an environment that will greatly enhance attendees’ meeting experience. Video mapping allows versatility in staging design options. Transform a general session set to an awards banquet for the same attendees without physically altering the staging equipment. This means no adding or removing of set pieces.
−Robert Parrish, director of sales, PSAV, Baltimore Marriott Waterfront
Custom Wi-Fi Branding
Make the Wi-Fi network for your group recognizable. Most networks in a hotel or convention center can have custom branding. For instance, when a guest connects to the Wi-Fi here at Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa ,they see “Marriott_conference, Marriott_guest or Marriott_lobby” but with a custom SSID or splash page, planners can have attendees connect to the Wi-Fi by connecting to “XYZCompany_Wi-Fi”.
−Tim Downing, director of event technology, Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa
A SocialWall is a live and real time feed of Twitter and Instagram. Participants post using the event hashtag and those posts are displayed on the SocialWall feed. You can use multiple hashtags for any event, control content by excluding explicit content and retweet. Groups can also create custom posts to be added to the feed to be displayed on a rotation basis. SocialWall is customizable and banded to the needs of the client/event.
−Alex Brahms, team leader, PSAV, Boston Marriott Copley Place, and Hope Wiggins, PSAV, sales director
FaceTime or Skype
Consider the everyday functions of smartphones. FaceTime or Skype tours come in handy when meeting planners have a quick space question or can’t remember what something looks like. Oftentimes, pictures do not do the space justice, so utilizing smartphone technology is a quick solution.
−Carolina Viazcan, director of group sales, Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa
Deliver a Lasting Message
Meeting technology should be seen as an important tool in delivering a lasting message. A screen and projector serves no purpose without considering how this “canvas” will present content to attendees. Planners should consider the following: Will there be audio and video elements? Is there a new logo this year? Are you presenting yearly earnings and want to be sure your attendees can see every number? When you go beyond asking for “just a screen and projector” and you instead explore “why do I need a screen and projector and how can I accomplish my goals” it’s no longer “audiovisual.” It’s meeting technology.
−Jose Laboy, sales and production manager, Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club
Engage with Meeting Technology Teams Early On
Many times when planners plan conferences or galas, they have specific visions of how their event should look and feel based on prior experiences. Great content is the base, but lighting, video, decor and sound make the difference in creating a truly intriguing event. Planners should lean on the meeting technology teams early on to discuss prior experiences, options, and budgets. The individuals on these teams have found ways to build environmental interest at every budget level and appropriate to a multitude of agendas. Whether planners need complex decor to completely transform a space or to simply energize a coffee break with music, these teams will make the vision a reality.
−Pat Sullivan, director of audio/visual, Denver Marriott City Center