2019 is going to be one of the biggest years in event planning. With larger budgets and better technology, you will be able to have one of the best events of the year. With the Conference Center at GTCC you will be able to plan the event with ease and flare. Below, we will showcase how 2019 is the year of innovation and niche marketing for corporate events and other conferences.

Creating Social Experiences

People are craving connection at home and when they attend your event so why not meet them half way? Using live stream services like, YouTube Live or Instagram TV lets your audience interact with what’s happening from home. Live chat features and two-way video allow for an even further level of involvement from the at home audience. Using live 360-degree cameras also allow for an easy all-around view experience for anyone online. Utilizing these services and products will boosts your events attendance digitally and lead to future interest.

Chatbots for Customer Service

Let’s face it your attendees often have easy to answer questions that are not worth your valuable time. By utilizing a chat bot in your event app or at your event with a voice assistant can show your attendees that your innovative and care about every detail of their experience. One of the most valuable ways to use chat bots is to have end of event surveys be sent out via the chat bot asking users about their experiences in a conversational manor. This has been proven a better way to collect survey data with higher response rates. Using a chat bot in the right manor will no doubt be a highlight of your event.

Event Email Personalization

Everyone loves when a friend writes you a hand written get well card or thank you note. So why not use personalization in your event email campaigns. According to Statista, the average email open rate for a personalized message was 18.8% versus 13.1% for one that was not personalized at all. But personalization is about more than just adding someone’s name to an email. By analyzing attendees’ preferences by keeping track of click throughs and noting URL drive click. You can then present on content based on everyone’s interests. Leading to better rates of engagement from attendees.

Influencer Marketing

Using the right people on social media can lead to higher online interaction than any lone digital ad campaign can do. For example, Casper was able to us Kim Kardashian as an influencer and after she posted using a Casper, Casper’s Website nearly broke with the high number of users visiting the site. You do not need to use any large influencer, using a micro influencer that is popular in your niche market can be just as valuable and save you money. Some companies have even deleted their own social media accounts in favor of just using influencers for their social marketing campaigns. No matter what direction you go in using an influencer can gain you those valuable millennial/ gen z attendees.

Personalized Event Experiences

Creating a VIP experience for a select few is what younger audiences are craving. This can be personal one on ones with each speaker or even an elevated food and bottle service during your event. This will create an in and out group that attendees will crave to be a part of and would willing to pay extra. This will create an experience that your attendees will not forget.

Innovation paired with niche offerings is where 2019 is heading and GTCC is a prime location for you event. Offering a beautiful modern space and amazing options we can fit most any need you can toss our way. Choosing what trends to follow every year can be costly, but we will always make sure at the Conference at GTCC we optimize your budget.

With every event, there come hurdles and bumps in the road. But by using technology in strategic ways you can lessen or even fix these issues. At the Conference Center at GTCC we offer a suite of modern technological features to best suit your events needs and give your attendees the best experience possible. Below we will list a few ways to leverage technology for your event.

Digital Advertising

The first step in marketing any event is getting the word out to your potential attendees. By using Google Ads and Facebook Events/Ads you can begin to attract your attended base. Start using by targeted ads with specific demographics to make sure you are utilizing your ad budget. Monitor your results to make sure your campaigns are reaching the right people and adjust your campaign budgets as necessary. Altogether, this will give you the best chance of attracting the right attendees.

Registration and Check in Software

Utilizing event check in software like Facebook or Foursquare creates an easy process for your attendees to check in. This also enables planners to produce and print coded badges, which can be used for lead retrieval and attendee tracking and gives planners a way to collect attendees’ information and apply it to reports that help them optimize the event, as well as future events.

Digital Signage

Using digital signage lets you instantly update attendees on any event changes or even have sponsored ads roll across the screens. GTCC offers mobile fifty-inch plasma TV screens to use at your event. With these large screens, you can have news tickers, images, and videos playing across your event. Digital messages can be customized for optimum target marketing and modified on the fly to drive attendance to session or networking events.

Charging Stations

Your attendees will be on the move constantly and that means a lot less time to charge their corporate phones or laptops. By placing charging stations strategically throughout your event, you will be giving your attendees the extra boost they need to get to your next speaker/session. Using these stations as information hubs also encourages networking and will make sure your attendees are getting the information they need.

Audience Response Systems

Audience response systems give your attendees another way to share their voices with the speakers and others at the event. They’re perfect for audience polling about the event, exhibits attendees are enjoying, the winner of a prize drawing at a sponsor’s booth, reactions to speakers, and more. They promote a highly interactive event while helping planners stay abreast of attendees’ opinions regarding various aspects of it. All this data can be used to better gain insights int your attendees and better inform your future event decisions.

Technology can be the best thing for your event, and here at The Conference Center at GTCC we make sure you are prepared to take on any innovative practice. Contact us today to schedule a tour before your next event!

When planning your corporate event, the most difficult part can be communicating with attendees during the event and following up after. An event planning app can be a great tool to make sure your attendees know what’s happening and alert them to any changes. Organizations of all sizes use apps to manage all types of events. Read on to learn the top benefits of using an event app for your next conference.

1. Green Event Planning:

Using a mobile app as your conference’s go-to for all the information about your event saves paper, time, and money. The last thing any event organizers wants is a sudden change of location or time. But with a digital platform, you can change all this information and send updates instantly, cutting costs and saving the planet in the process. As you continue to consider green event planning and reducing your carbon footprint, remember the power that mobile tech has to replace much of your current communications and processes.

2. User-Friendly Interface:

By far, the most popular features in any event app are bound to be the schedules of sessions and/or the searchable listings of exhibitors and other presenters. These features help attendees find out where to go and what to do. Just because you offer the perfect set of information in print doesn’t mean attendees will thoroughly read it. A digital version of your schedule or other vital information is more portable, easier to access in a pinch, and more user-friendly overall.

3. Social Media Integration:

In this day and age, it’s unlikely that people will not be posting about your event on social media. People use social platforms to find out which sessions are worth attending and topics are worth listing to. Carefully integrating social media into your event app can enhance this participation tremendously and increase your app adoption rate.

4. Maximizing Sponsorship Opportunities:

Your app is not just for attendees it’s also a great way for your sponsors to get the results they are looking for. Using your home page and display banners can create brand recognition and provide higher referral rates to your sponsor's webpage. App insights using polls or quizzes also give the crucial psychographic information needed to generate leads for your sponsors.

5. Post Event Follow Up:

Performing a critical and informed evaluation of your event after the fact can gain you critical insights into how well your event performed. Using data from your event app software can give you the information you need to make better decisions for your next event. Tracking data like which page was most viewed or where users spent most of their time can tell you what you could improve on and what you are already doing well. Just be sure to always keep this data private and secure so to best protect your attendee’s data.

Event planning can already be a complicated experience, so why not utilize the technology we all have today? There are many event app platforms out there, so make sure to choose the one that best fits your business needs. See how The Conference Center at GTCC can best fulfil your needs no matter the occasion.

When it comes to choosing a venue for your next conference or professional event, you’ve probably considered things like how it fits into your budget and whether it’s right for your audience size. However, it’s important to consider the broader locations of venues you’re considering. A centrally-located venue can make your event truly special and show your guests that you planned your event with them in mind, boosting attendance and making your event even more desirable. This is true for several reasons.

First, it shows that you’ve thought through how much attending your conference will cost your guests on top of any ticket costs or membership dues required to get in. This is especially important if your guests will be personally footing any bills rather than their companies.

For example, if a large portion of your audience will have to fly in for your event, a location closer to the airport cuts down on Uber, cab, or rental car costs. Choosing a central location shows that you’ve considered other price-sensitivities that your guests may have. A centrally-located venue will be near restaurants, hotels, and other activities in a broader range of price points than choosing an exclusive destination-conference venue.

In addition, it can improve your conference’s attendance because a central location is more reachable for guests of all types. Perhaps some of your guests are busy parents who have a hard stop time to pick up their kids from soccer practice. Choosing a central location means that more of these guests can stay longer, even if they do have to leave a little early.

They’re also more likely to attend your event overall because they won’t feel like they’re wasting money if they do need to miss the last half hour of the event rather than the several hours they might need at a more out-of-the-way location. Even guests who must travel further to reach your event are more likely to attend if they know they’ll be able to reach the venue easily from the highway rather than navigate an unfamiliar city’s crowded downtown streets.

Finally, a centrally-located conference or event venue is the right choice if you’re looking for a unique setting. While it may be tempting to go with a standard hotel banquet hall or other venue, choosing something a bit different can impress your audience and keep them interested when your next event rolls around. Because it’s neither in the heart of a major city or in the middle of nowhere, a central venue can offer the easy access that your guests require with the more spacious ambiance that will make your event extraordinary.

If you’re ready to discover the perfect centrally-located venue for your next conference or event, schedule a tour with us today! Our team of dedicated event planners will ensure that you can create your ideal event without breaking the bank.

For many, planning an event comes down to execution and proper planning. Having a smooth experience with everything from scheduling your event and booking your venue to hiring caterers and hosting guest speakers can be difficult to achieve. However, there are some strategies that, if taken advantage of, can really optimize your conference planning experience.

Get Ahead
Sooner is always better when planning a conference. Lots of road blocks can appear out of nowhere, so it is essential to make sure you have enough time to take care of them and find solutions. It is recommended that you give you or your company anywhere from 3-6 months’ notice when scheduling. This is an ample amount of time to ensure everything runs well and doesn’t get derailed by any hiccups in the way.

Communicate
Communication is key, most important is getting everyone on the same page. This involves making sure that your attendees know how, when, and where the conference is taking place. One way to make sure this happen is to create email blasts for those attending. These email blasts should include when and where the conference is, an explanation of why the event is being held, and a call to action for why they should attend. The key is to find ways to create anticipation in your delivery. You want those attending to be excited for the conference well before the actual event

Plan for Everything
When we attend conferences as an invitee and not as a planner, it’s easy to lose sight of all the work that went into planning the conference. And as someone who is merely attending it is easy to think that anyone could prepare one of these large-scale conferences. The answer to that, however, is that it is rare that, while planning a conference, everything goes one hundred percent as planned. It is essential to have a backup plan. These plans can include anything from having a backup caterer to having a few volunteers on hand at the venue to help out in case of planning emergencies.

Taking on the task of scheduling a conference is tall one. Not everyone wants to take on this job! If you find yourself in this role, be sure to remember each of these tips. Get ahead of the game and begin planning 3-6 months prior, communicate actively with everyone involved, and have backup plans for when the unexpected happens. Lastly, be sure to create a committee to be a part of your planning team this will help break up the work and reduce the stress on yourself. If you follow these steps in planning your conference will be done with ease!

If you’re ready to tackle planning your organization’s next event, contact us today! Here at the Conference Center at GTCC, our dedicated event planners work to make your life easier, serving as a single point of contact across each step of the process. Learn more about us or schedule a tour today!

Is your organization considering planning a conference for the first time? Are you wondering whether a conference is even the right choice? If so, read on, and learn about a few of the reasons why planning a conference could be the right move for your brand, field, or cause.

Choosing to plan a conference is a great way to build new relationships with potential customers, donors, or business partners as well as strengthening existing relationships. Placing your organization front and center in an event that unifies a group of high quality connections is a great way to make your attendees see even more value in what you’re offering them. When your guests know that they’ll not only be able to learn more about a subject or product of interest but also make beneficial connections with like-minded individuals, they’ll be more likely to associate your organization with quality, thought leadership, and lasting value.

If you’re a retailer, vendor, or sales-related brand, holding a conference is a great way to connect with your customers on a new level. You’ll have the opportunity to strengthen your connection with the people who already use your service by adding even more value. The options for ways to do this are virtually endless, and they can easily be customized to your specific market or field. From giving away branded freebies and exclusive discounts on future purchases to holding small breakaway group meetings to share ideas and discuss different areas of interest to your guests, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Most small and medium sized organizations struggle at some point with the moving target that is customer satisfaction. Whether it’s adding faster shipping, rolling out more software updates, or adding new services to your business’s capabilities, finding the happy medium between your organization’s long term goals and consistently impressing your customers can be tough. However, it’s not impossible. And talking to those clients face to face is one of the easiest ways to predict what they’ll want next.

Whether you ask for suggestions, send out an email survey, or simply take the time to ask your best clients what they’d like to see, conferences are fantastic for helping organizations plan ahead. Look for trends in what your customers have to say about your services or products, and look for ways to give them what they want. By the time your next product hits the market, they’ll likely have forgotten about making the suggestions themselves, and they’ll be impressed that you read their minds.

Choosing to plan a conference isn’t a decision to be made lightly or at the last minute, but it’s often an ideal way for organizations of every size to build new relationships, impress their customers, and plan their next big thing. Take the time to truly consider what your attendees would find valuable in an event. It could be a knowledgeable guest speaker, a Q&A session with a panel of interesting guests, or a hands-on presentation of the newest addition to your lineup of services or products.

If you’re ready to start planning your organization’s conference or event, contact us. Our staff of dedicated event planners is here to make conference planning simple, fun, and affordable. Learn more about our all-inclusive event packages, event spaces, and other services today.

Planning a conference in today’s technology-saturated climate presents event planners with new and mounting challenges. Because would-be conference audiences have virtually instant access to brands and information online, their expectations continue to grow. This means that in-person conference experiences need to adapt to improve the attendee experience, elevating it above the experience a potential guest could have by participating in the event in an online format like a webinar or live-stream.

Planners are often asked to provide a better attendee experience without a significant budget increase. If you’re in a similar position, it can seem impossible to find the right balance to create the ultimate bang for your buck. As you plan your next event, consider re-evaluating the following areas to determine whether your guest experience makes the grade.

Sponsorships: The days of traditional conference sponsors are coming to an end. Brands that sponsor your event, whether by volunteering speakers, products, or services, expect to be labeled as thought leaders rather than bank-rollers. While there’s nothing wrong with recruiting sponsors to add wiggle room to your budget, organizations today typically respond more positively to being positioned in this light. Look for opportunities to highlight your sponsors by allowing them to better connect with your audience.

Audience Interaction: Most modern conferences, small and large, are now expected to include at least some level of audience interaction. Small discussion groups, team-building conversations, and breakaway sessions are just a few ideas that can help spark a more engaging audience attendee experience without breaking the bank. If you’re planning to rely heavily on audience discussion, be sure you have strategically placed facilitators who can help keep conversations moving along.

Technology: It's typically the area where conference planners choose to reallocate additional budget dollars today, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. If your event is solely to show off your organization’s new tech capabilities, it’s probably important to have plenty of cutting-edge devices around. Otherwise, leveraging technology strategically can be an affordable way to balance your budget against attendee expectations.

Virtually every conference guest has access to at least one form of mobile tech like a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Using an app, website, or other digital interface can be a great way to engage your audience in the best your brand has to offer. It’s also important to note that audience acquisition is more robust for brands that have more digital channels to communicate with potential attendees.

Now that you have a few basic ideas to look for ways to meet budget requirements while exceeding your audience’s expectations, you’ll be able to find the right ways to adjust your conference-planning playbook now and in the future.

When you’re ready to discuss innovative ways to balance your budget and attendee experience, give us a call today. Our experienced team of event planners are prepared to help you get the most from your budget by planning an unforgettable conference customized for your needs.

Finding creative, effective ways to better leverage an event’s budget is one of the most challenging aspects of planning conferences and corporate events. We know it’s not always easy to squeeze everything you’d like out of your budget, so we want to share some ideas that can help you can look for small ways to save big.

First, be proactive. When starting the planning process, it’s essential to make sure you position yourself ahead of the curve. Check on availability for venues, services like catering, and other necessities like seating and audio equipment. Be sure to follow up regularly with vendors who will be delivering these items to your event. Occasionally, vendors can unintentionally overbook theirs services. Choosing to follow up is an easy way to ensure that any mistakes are caught early in the booking process, giving you plenty of time to identify a backup plan. Failing to do this can leave you subject to not only using your less-preferred vendor but sky-high last minute rates and additional charges.

Next, choose to get creative. If you’ve been holding your organization’s events at the same venue and attendance has been steady, it might be time to consider trying out a new setting. Look for unique, lower-cost options that can meet your requirements and impress your guests. Don’t be afraid to try something a little different to see if you can make your event even more successful than it already is while cutting costs. You could also try adjusting the timing of your event so that rather than covering the cost of a fully catered meal service, you can provide your guests with light refreshments during the afternoon or coffee and pastries earlier in the day.

For inevitably pricier products like signage, look for ways to save costs in the long run. While you’ll likely still pay a similar initial cost upfront, opting for signs that can be reused or leveraged in other ways can be a way to save significantly year after year. Leave off details that are so specific that you can’t be sure they’ll remain the same the next time you need the signage. If those details are necessary, opt for the reusable signage with smaller, less expensive signs nearby that contain those details. Two other great options for indoor signs are chalkboards and whiteboards. Grab a few team members with a little creativity, and make custom signs that can be adjusted, erased, and re-used easily. On an easel or stand, these can be just as beautiful and effective as banners and other printed signage.

Finally, consider going digital. Eliminating as much paper and printing costs as possible can save even small events significantly. In this digital age, it’s likely that most of your attendees will have access to a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Choosing to eliminate printed brochures or handouts in favor of a digital copy isn’t likely to be an issue as long as you ensure your guests are prepared for this change in advance. Building out an event website, app, or social media page is a fantastic way to get the word out and make sure your attendees are ready to engage with your event or organization in a new way.

If you’re looking for other ways to cut event costs, explore our all-inclusive packages. We have a range of options available that include catering, A/V support, and a personal event planner to ensure that your conference-planning experience is extraordinary every step of the way. Learn more today!

After you’ve organized a conference a few times, you might have a lengthy list of email addresses from those who have agreed to receive marketing communications for your event. It can be easy to forget about maintaining email lists, and sometimes the task can seem daunting. If it’s been a while since you took a look at that list, now is a great time to do so! Making sure your marketing email list is neat and clean is one of the most important factors in effectively leveraging digital communications about your event.

First, ensuring that the list of emails you have is current helps keep your communications relevant. If you use a marketing email service, you’re probably paying them based on how many emails you send. If you’re sending emails to people who signed up for your email list years ago, they might not even be opening your emails, much less engaging with them through link clicks, which can mean you’re wasting money. However, many marketing email services offer the ability to automatically stop sending emails to those who haven’t opened any after a set period of time. Check with your provider to find out whether they offer this feature.

You can further optimize your spend by eliminating spam email addresses as well as those that return your messages undelivered. If your messages bounce off an email address that doesn’t exist, has a typo in the spelling, or is attached to an inbox that’s at maximum capacity, the marketing communications you’ve paid to send aren’t even making it in front of your audience. Many email marketing services also offer a feature that automatically eliminates these addresses.

Spam email addresses usually don’t bounce back to you, but they’re wasted because there’s no real person attached them. If you collect your email addresses through a paid registration or ticket purchase, you likely won’t have as many as those with email subscription forms available for anyone to fill in an email address and subscribe. A few factors that can indicate a spam email address include a long string of nonsensical letters and numbers, an email that includes the phrase “no-reply,” as well as the phrase “anon” followed by a string of digits. You might be surprised by how much removing these email addresses from your database can boost open rates and save marketing dollars.

Finally, one of the most important reasons to maintain your marketing email database is convenience. Often, email marketing services perform audits of their customers’ databases, looking for anything that could indicate the customer is using their service to send spam or otherwise harmful content through the company’s servers. If you’re on a deadline to send out an email to your messy database, the service you use could choose to prevent you from sending your message until you’ve cleaned up your list.

It’s easy to neglect, but you won’t regret performing regular maintenance of your email database. While it’s not always the most enjoyable task, it’s a smart way to save time, money, and headaches. When you’re ready to send out an email inviting your attendees to your next event, inspire them with our flexible, purposefully-designed venue. Contact us today to schedule a tour of our campus or to learn more about our all-inclusive event planning packages.

 Social media is one of the easiest, most effective resources for marketing events. However, it is often underutilized by professionals for a range of reasons. Many of those planning small and medium events aren’t sure whether social media could work for their conference or meeting. They’re often surprised to learn how strategically leveraging social media can streamline their process and offer great responses to their marketing efforts. You can do it, too.

First, consider whether your event should have a social media page. If your event is open to the public and is expected to occur annually or more often, this is typically the right decision. It also works for events that might not be open to the public, but to those within a specific industry or role. Next, determine which social media channels best fit your event. The most common option is Facebook, but, depending on the topic of your conference as well as your potential guests, it could make more sense to use LinkedIn, Twitter, or another service.

In the weeks and months leading up to your event, use social media as an opportunity to keep your event fresh in the minds of former guests with updates on dates, speakers, venues, and other details. Also consider encouraging followers to use a specific, unique hashtag with your brand or event’s name in it, which boosts awareness for those who don’t follow your page yet.

This is also a great time to launch a paid advertising campaign on social media. Even small budgets can outperform estimates with a few well-written lines of copy and a great image. Social media advertising is much simpler than many users anticipate, and there are options that work for every type of event. Just keep in mind that Facebook has additional guidelines for ads that are related to political issues and groups.

When your event finally rolls around, be sure to post lots of pictures and videos. Encourage your guests to do the same, using the same unique hashtag you decided on before the event. This not only ensures social media followers know how great your events really are, but it gives you plenty of posts to re-share as a reminder when your next conference is coming up.

Another great way to encourage your guests to engage with your hashtag or page on social media is by offering an incentive. 92% of attendees are willing to provide event feedback when a reward is involved, according to the Event Marketing Institute. This could be a free t-shirt, entry to win a giveaway, a product discount, or free registration for a future session or event. Your guests will be much more willing to share their great conference experience online, which will help your audience grow in a natural way.

As industries and organizations rely more heavily on digital resources for communications and marketing efforts, it makes sense to look for new solutions to the concerns event planners have had for years. When it comes to leveraging social media to raise awareness of your event and create engagement, the options are virtually limitless. Whether you have plenty of time and budget to schedule a social media campaign, or you prefer to keep things smaller, you can help your event gain traction through social media quite easily.

Here at the Conference Center at GTCC, we love helping our clients plan and execute great conferences and meetings. Whether you’re hoping for something classic or unique, our dedicated team of event planners is ready to help. Give us a call today to learn more

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