From the fox’s mouth! Chilli Fox review ShowGizmo at CNSA 2014

From the fox’s mouth! Chilli Fox review ShowGizmo at CNSA 2014

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“We recently chose to use ShowGizmo for a recent cancer nursing conference for 500 delegates. Having received demo’s from a number of app providers we chose ShowGizmo as it has fantastic features such as live polls, note taking in sessions, a live event feed, session surveys etc.

In terms of pricing, ShowGizmo’s pricing structure is a simple fixed fee and no hidden costs. When comparing quotes from other companies, ShowGizmo was extremely competitive on price.

From the moment we signed up the support that ShowGizmo provided was excellent – they are speedy at responding to queries and even if the app isn’t capable of doing something we want, they will find a solution or workaround.  The developers were always on hand to help us – including planning a work timetable for the rollout of the app.

At the event we provided an “app help desk” which was manned by Chilli Fox staff to help troubleshoot delegate enquiries and queries as the number of delegates using the app was much

higher than the average first time app user.

The app was promoted strongly to delegates at the event and including information in the program book, asking the chairs of the sessions to remind people about it and asking delegates to evaluate each session using the session surveys.

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As the ShowGizmo App is incredibly intuitive to use we were also able to get our exhibitors involved by using the QR Code scanning feature, which enabled them to capture leads and delegate details.

We will certainly be using ShowGizmo again for the same event next year and would have no hesitation in recommending this app to industry colleagues.

 

Chilli Fox logo concepts page

Who is Chilli Fox?
Formed in August 2012, Chilli Fox Events is a boutique event management company specialising in conferences, exhibitions, corporate meetings, awards ceremonies, and roadshows. Everything Chilli Fox does is organised with passion, precision, experience, pride, innovation and a desire to do things better – we strive to deliver smarter, social and vibrant events for our clients.

Follow us on twitter @chillifoxevents #followthefox

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From the show floor: Hotels World

From the show floor: Hotels World

Frances attended Hotels World in Sydney a couple of weeks ago to check out their first use of our apps. Some of her observations:

Well I’m still lusting after more of the mouth wateringly good Peking Duck Rolls that were served at morning tea on the middle day of this ‘three events in as many days at two venues’ event! As one attendee said, you’d expect nothing less than five star from the Hilton. Nonetheless they (and all the food) was spectacular. Landed back in the middle of the southern hemisphere winter, I’m also struggling not to obsess about a getaway to one of the amazing hotels being featured on the luxury section of Day 1.

This blue ribboned event for senior executives in the Australasian hotel industry was slick, well run and staged in venues that provided the perfect backdrop. The view from the first venue — sponsor Ashurst’s offices in the 38th floor of Grosvenor place overlooking the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge — was quite literally breath-taking and the Hilton was …. well  … the Hilton. Enough said.

Take outs from the event:

Doing the basics well is key

The organisers did a great job in promoting their app ahead of the event, so pretty nearly everyone I spoke to had already downloaded it. However, they also prompted attendees to get the app at the beginning of day to ensure people who were only attending one of the themed days were reminded to use the app.

Less is more

In previous years the organisers had printed a large and expensive programme. By using an app, they were able to make the decision to shrink this down to a small DL size … maybe next year they’ll decide not to print it at all!

Matching features to event

Understanding your audience’s level of app use is very important. For this event at different venues, our multiple map feature worked well as did the ability to include mobile friendly web content for their Dealer of the Year and Hotels World First Awards.

Exhibiting at conferences is all about supporting the eco-system that supports you.

I hadn’t been to a conference for a while and it struck me again how radically different they are from trade shows. Hotels World had an exhibition attached to it — interesting mix with everything from beds to booking systems and AV suppliers like our friends from Staging Connections.  Unlike exhibiting at trade shows, the point is to see and be seen rather than to sell overtly. Understanding this difference, we’ve worked hard to enable people to configure ShowGizmo and build in features that drive value for these very different beasts. For conferences the event feed, adding notes, ratings, polls and surveys are paramount whereas for trade shows real time lead capture and qualification is king.

Make it personal

I sat in on one session which looked at the what motivates the wealthy travellers to pick one hotel over another. Other than all the things you would expect, being recognised and remembered came across as being a very strong need. I’d say that’s a corner stone of any service delivery and one we certainly aspire to. We’re very aware that, however ground-breaking, the technology, it can be very a very arid experience without the  human touch.

I also learned that the revolution is here! Many congratulations to our partner iVvy who launched their ground-breaking booking engine for events at HotelsWorld. According to CEO Lauren Hall this ‘disruptive’ new new cloud-based product will transform the industry for ‘less than a cup of coffee a day.’  While I hope we won’t actually be manning the barricades, we’re delighted to be in the vanguard and wish iVvy every success.

From the Show Floor: The Internet Party Candidate Challenge

From the Show Floor: The Internet Party Candidate Challenge

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1. Event Apps are just one part of the live experience

Event apps are not the be-all and end-all.  It’s true!  They might replace some elements of your existing event design and they definitely capture data in a way that no programme ever can, but they are fundamentally communications tools.  Therefore they must be given their appropriate place in the communications mechanisms you’re using at your event.  There’s still a place for raising hands, scribbling notes, talking directly to people (heaven forbid!).  Apps should enhance, support and improve the live experience and never interfere with it.

The Internet Party’s Candidate Challenge was all about ensuring that the candidates themselves were accessible and audible, that people could really ‘feel’ what they were standing for, and how passionate they were about the Party.  We were really impressed by the team who put on the event, who continually made sure that the live experience dominated, and the app supported.

How are you using your event app to enhance the live experience?

2. Promoting the app as a means of engaging with the event for those that can’t attend, gives it a real purpose.

We’ve blogged before about the need to cement and then promote the one key element that you want people to engage with your event app for.  The ‘what’s in it for our event, and therefore what’s in it for you’ feature.  There are so many features in event apps that people can be confused as to how it will actually be useful to them, so pick one and promote hard.

The Internet Party made it clear they wanted their whole party membership to engage with the selection process, not just those who could be in the city where it was held.  The app was therefore primarily used to rate and evaluate candidates, and was promoted alongside the live stream.  Members could log into the stream, and evaluate using the app just as if they were in the room.  A hybrid event in action!

How are you extending your event to communities who can’t actually be in the room?

3. Don’t forget the data

The best way to capture real time data – feedback in the heat of the moment from your audience – is to use their mobile devices.  They take out their phone, vote, rate or respond and the data is captured instantly.  You can display it in real time, and access it later for manipulation and analysis.  Now smartphone penetration is so high, there’s no need to hire in specific devices.

The Internet Party event was a highly professional event, run by an organising team that needed to make sure their community’s voice was heard and captured and that there was transparency about the process.  They also needed to be flexible in their data capture options as the event design itself was continually evolving in the lead up to the Saturday night spectacular.  Eventually a combination of live polls (for real time display of results) and surveys (displayed against speaker profiles) was chosen.

How are you currently capturing data about your event – and what do you do with the knowledge you gain?

4. An app concierge can really take the pressure off

We deliver around 30 events each month in countries all over the world.  Sadly we can’t be at all of them (although think of the airpoints!)  For most of them indeed, our online support, training, knowledge base and helpdesk are enough to ensure event organisers are well prepared and excited about deploying the app at the live event.

Sometimes though, an app concierge is that extra team mate you need.  Our app concierges attend events (often just for the first morning to encourage and inspire people to download and use the app). We take the stage briefly to explain to the audience what you’d like them to do with the app and remain on hand for questions and advice. We can update notifications and content too.  We sometimes also take the stage for the keynote presentations and act as a social media concierge – liaising between your online and in-event audiences to bring the social media conversations into the room.

In this instance, our app concierge Kowhai was on hand to ensure that everyone downloaded the app before the main event started, and that the live polls were displaying as they should do behind each candidate as they presented.

Who have you nominated as your app concierge for your upcoming event?

“From an Internet Party perspective, it was important that we select our candidates via a democratic, transparent process that allowed all Internet Party members to have their say. Using the Internet to facilitate this via a live stream of the event with live voting via the ShowGizmo app speaks to the core digital values of the Internet Party and the digital world we live in.”

Andy Pickering, Brand Manager, Internet.org.nz

Out and About – Convene Breakfast Panel

Out and About – Convene Breakfast Panel

brekkieI’m on the panel!  We’re going to debate (fuelled by VERY strong coffee) topics that include:

  • What’s changing about the way people expect to participate at events – how have their needs and habits changed, what’s likely to change this year and in coming years and are we adapting accordingly?
  • What are the challenges that we face, delivering events in the digital age?  How do we keep up with trends, so we can present a knowledgeable assessment of options to our clients? How do we get ROI from investments? How do we recruit and train staff who need to know about systems that are alien to us (!)? What can the industry to to help businesses and individuals stay informed, educated and aware?
  • How we as an industry can get a slice of the $2bn advertising budget and what media agencies do or don’t know about our industry
  • Do we need a digital strategy for the meetings, incentives, conference and exhibitions sector? What might it look like?

Register here to join us.  Look forward to your questions!

 

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From the show floor: PANNZ 2014

From the show floor: PANNZ 2014

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1. When utilising an event app for the first time it makes sense to focus on the promotion of a single feature: for the Performing Arts Network of New Zealand (PANNZ) it was the session evaluations.

Promoting the specific feature that is most relevant to your event type keeps your message very clear and simple for delegates. Getting them to download and use the app is the first task. For example, if you ‘evengelise’ a feature such as session evaluations, this incentives people to get the app for that purpose and once they do, they will understand what else they can do and try out other features. The PANNZ team wanted to provide feedback to their presenters during pitch sessions so they communicated this fact at the start of conference — I kicked this off on stage by demonstrating the download and login process. Our system was configured so that any session attendee could send comments to the organiser who made this available to the presenter.

What is the feature within your event app that is most likely to engage your delegates?

2. How you use your event space and where you place your exhibitors within it crucial to the success of the event for many people. 

PANNZ made great use of a small exhibition space built around working desks which were also serving positions for morning teas, lunches and post-event drinks and a great way of guaranteeing foot traffic for exhibitors. All exhibitors also had QR Codes displayed at their booths allowing delegates to favourite them and collect documents and contact details.

How are you guaranteeing traffic to your exhibitors’ booths?

3. The positive effects of going fully digital should not be underestimated. 

There was a specific emphasis on reducing paper at PANNZ this year. They were using an event app for the second time and it was great to see them continuing their commitment to reduce printing by making the programme and most of the communications to delegates in digital format. In point 2, I touched on the Exhibitor uploading documents to the app reducing the need for paper brochures and the submission of electronic session evaluations. The event evaluation forms were the other thing that went digital — these were only available through the app with no paper alternative.

What is your appetite for reducing paper at your events?

4. Networking opportunities don’t need to end with the event — promote post-event networking through your app.

Having our app opens up the possibility for on-going networking between all parties involved with the event for a full year after the event. Collaboration is crucial to people within the performance and arts community in Australasia. Through the use of messaging, contact lists and links within the app PANNZ attendees can now continue to connect with each other, event the ones who’ve returned overseas. It was great to see people who had not used an app before asking for help, then getting enthusiastically stuck in to the networking options.

How will you be promoting continued conversations after your event? 

5. What’s on offer at the venue can make or break contemporary events.

PANNZ had very definite requirements form a venue and went through an intensive selection process to find the best option. The venue in question offered an ideal space for the event. The venue staff, wifi … and coffee … were all top of the line; genuinely accommodating and clearly committed to making the event a memorable experience for everyone involved.

Could you be getting more from your venue supplier? 

“PANNZ was very pleased to be using ShowGizmo again for the market this year, in my opinion an event app is a ‘must-have’ for events these days. Having just returned from a similar event in Australia with no app, it made all the difference. The ability to send updates direct to delegates, including room changes and great functionality like the session evaluations meant more of our attendees were reaching for their devices this year. ShowGizmo is not a gimmick, it is an essential part of your event toolkit.”
Mark Westerby, Producer, PANNZ