Aiming to improve the overall event or tradeshow experience, Convention Data Services (CDS) offers technological solutions and services proven to ensure greater efficiency and return on investment (ROI) as illustrated by its work with various clients.
A CDS-designed and personalized data-driven marketing plan helped Graph Expo see increases in attendance and ROI. Nearly 20,000 people attended the show in 2010, and by 2012, it had a little over 21,000. Verified buyers grew from more than 12,000 to nearly 14,000 in the same time period.
For CDS, it was important to help show organizer Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC) overcome economic and industry uncertainty. A step toward this was lessening the amount of people who abandoned the registration process.
“We try to make registration pages easy for people so they don’t get frustrated and abandon it,” said Ken Ferreira, national sales application manager, Convention Data Services. “Abandonment varies among events and the complexity of the registration. There is a7 to 9 percent registration abandonment rate; depending on the size of the event, this could be a small or huge amount.”
Shown to be effective in keeping attendees glued to the registration process are incentives.
“Incentives are growing with tradeshows. They don’t have to cost the client anything. Clients can work with the host city or its convention visitors’ bureau, which could provide the incentives,” said Ferreira.
Attendees who updated their LinkedIn or Facebook statuses with pre-populated messages about the show received $5 off the registration fee. The pre-populated messages simplified the process as did the pre-determined content and subject line included in GASC-customized emails that helped attendees spread the word about Graph Expo.
“Attendee-to-attendee marketing is the most powerful marketing,” added Ferreira.
As part of the Invite-a-Colleague program, the 34 percent who registered for Graph Expo sent the customized emails to friends and associates. Due to their word-of-mouth, 73 percent attended the tradeshow.
Committed tradeshow attendees may not need an incentive or invite from a friend. What could ruin an experience they’re looking forward to is a long registration line.
“Many don’t realize the importance of a first impression,” said Dave Wuethrich, director of event services and product development, Convention Data Services.
CDS did; that’s why the company created its Onsite Wireless Will Call. This mobile registration check-in system reduces lines onsite after staff scans confirmation or check-in barcodes, and badges are printed thereafter.
During FABTECH 2012, waiting times decreased by 90 percent. Those using the traditional registration desk waited 10 minutes while those using Wireless Will Call waited 1 minute. Back in 2011, the registration desk wait time was 25 minutes.
“Wait time is down to 5 to 30 seconds per attendee,” added Wuethrich. “The registrant does not need to search through emails, resize a barcode or download graphics.”
To check-in attendees, Wireless Will Call uses Passbook, a native iPhone app that is also available for download on Android.
“Passbook is a central location for all coupons, tickets and boarding passes on iPhones. Apple does not let you delete it because they want to encourage users to keep their information in a central location, similar to your wallet or purse,” explained Wuethrich. “The idea [to use Passbook] was brought to CDS by one of our Advisory Group clients, and the efficiency through technology that it brought onsite was a big success.”
Wireless Will Call also allows attendees’ and exhibitors’ confirmation bar codes to be scanned on a shuttle bus, in a hotel lobby and during booth setup. This ensures that their badges will be waiting for them once the tradeshow starts.
Once again seeing a need for speed and efficiency, CDS created the self-service X-Press eReg to help organizers quickly set up registration for mixed-sized specialty events or regional meetings with a copy and paste feature.
“This [feature] is ideal for those who may be hosting a series of similar events. After copying and pasting the previous event, edit the information, such as event date or location. It’s a significant time saver,” explained Peter Abraham, senior account executive, Convention Data Services.
X-Press eReg presents the same branding, registration, real time updates and access to reports as CDS’ full-service X-Press Event registration system, which is used for larger events.
“Our clients were looking for a solution that would enable them to utilize the same platform [as other CDS tools], so all of their events, regardless of size, could be encompassed into one system,” said Abraham.
Although the tool has a learning curve of 30 minutes to an hour and a half for new users, CDS provides dedicated support, according to Abraham. After that, users can use the tool to get creative with graphics, change language options and more.
Seeing greater ROI after using CDS’ lead retrieval and management system X-Press Connect was Royal Master Grinders, which has exhibited at International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) since 1968. The company reduced its scan time from 96 seconds in 2010 to 45 seconds in 2012. Royal Master Grinders also saw a 246 percent increase in mobile lead retrieval sales by 2012.
“Account executives dedicated to building relationships with exhibitors [assist] with the lead retrieval apps onsite,” added Nate Knight, marketing communications specialist, Convention Data Services. “Partnering with exhibitors ensures success. Exhibitors understand the most about what they want to achieve.”
Unique features of the app include conducting multiple-choice surveys; scheduling appointments on a calendar for follow up; adding images to leads using the mobile device’s camera; sending immediate follow up emails from the app; and rating leads in order of importance, so sales executives know who to contact first.
A provider of registration, event marketing, data management as well as exhibitor and lead management services, Convention Data Services highlighted its toolbox of solutions at Expo! Expo!, the annual meeting and exhibition from International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), from Dec. 10-12, in Houston, Texas.
To learn more about the company’s tools and services, visit http://www.conventiondataservices.com/.
See related article: “Seeing and experiencing products on the Expo! Expo! show floor.”