We recently sent one of our solutions specialists to attend the 2018 PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) Convening Leaders event in Nashville. Besides enjoying the energy of the city, the incredible music that floods the streets, and the delicious southern cuisine, she took back with her some great event knowledge.

1. What was the most exciting part of PCMA?

Being a first-time attendee I was impressed with the number of attendees (4300+) and sessions. The most exciting part was meeting new people and really learning their needs for event technology. The live music daily by some of the best performers in Nashville was pretty cool too!

2. What were the 5 biggest event technology trends you took away from PCMA?

1. Live Streaming: If you’re not offering it you are losing online attendee registration.

2. Large Screens: Showing concurrent sessions in a community room so you don’t need to move around all day but still can attend an event.

3. Augmented reality and Artificial Intelligence: Give a live experience to the attendees.

4. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Understanding the regulation that covers the European Union and their protection of personal data and privacy.

5. Beacons: The ability to enhance your event and attendee experience.

3. What were some of the biggest challenges that event organizers face that they shared with you? How are the combating these?

1. The discussion of crisis management came up in a few sessions. Planners are aware they need crisis management plans but they realized no one is sharing these with fellow planners so they don’t know how much or how little they need in a plan. The idea of exchanging plans and helping each other grow was the best tool they could have taken away from the sessions. Of course, the Expo Pass app is always a great tool to utilize to help with your plan. Expo Pass has the ability to push custom notifications in case there was a need to communicate with all attendees which is a great add-on to any crisis management plan.

2. Sharing of personal information was more of a concern for medical/healthcare industries, especially with the beacon and RFID technology. In order to overcome the resistance, they need to show the value of the tracking to the attendee by giving them something in return. The idea of a detailed trip reports so they can see where they visited and articles specific to their needs.

3. Education is the main reason events have attendance and networking is the second reason they attend. Being able to offer more networking opportunities are only going to help them keep and attract more attendees. Having the capability to instant message in your event app or having the capability to add personal meetings to your event app calendar is always helpful.

4. Planners realized almost a third of the attendees go to the selected sessions they select at registration. Being able to plan for last minute changes (like varying attendance numbers) is important when picking technology for your event.

4. What were some of the most successful tools that Organizers are using to set their events apart?

The live streaming is a great way for them to get the attendees that were not able to commit to a full event. Since they can attend a session without the upfront cost of traveling they can show their attendees a slice of what they would get at the full event.

Data collecting – trying different technology to gather all the data from their event and then turning it into valuable information to enhance the next event is really the trend!

5. If you could pick one reason why you would attend again next year, what would it be?

The education sessions are the main reason I would go back. In every session, there was time at the end for others to discuss issues they have in relation to the session and get solutions from others that had the same issues. The value of the sessions for me increased immensely having open feedback from other planners!

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