Samantha Whitehorne is editorial director of Associations Now in Washington, DC.
What if you could book your exhibit space a year ahead of your conference?
You're most likely a happy meeting planner if you welcome 34,696 attendees and 1,158 exhibiting companies and manage to fill 409,000 net square feet of exhibit space. So imagine the happiness quotient of Elli Riley, director of exhibits and meeting services for the Healthcare Information and Management System Society, when, at HIMSS' Annual Conference and Exhibition onsite space draw in March, the organization re-signed 368,000 net square feet of exhibit space for its February 2014 meeting.
Riley credits the successful signup not only to satisfied 2013 exhibitors but also to her team, who used several high-tech tools that allowed for a more efficient onsite space-draw process.
For the first time, the team used iPads to check exhibitors in throughout the daylong space draw. Once signed in, they could choose their spot for next year based on a points system. Exhibitors could sign the required documents electronically and pay at nearby kiosks.
Even with this success, Riley and her team are already thinking of ways to increase on-the-spot signup in 2014. One idea: allowing exhibitors to sign up and pay right at their booths on either their personal iPads or devices supplied by HIMSS.
Samantha Whitehorne is deputy editor at Associations Now in Washington, DC. Email: [email protected]