• 15 Go-To Meeting and Event Planning Resources

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Dec 03, 2018

    Meeting and event planning sometimes gets a bad rap – like consistently being ranked one of the most stressful jobs in the world.

    But planners know how to get it done. Between handling all the logistics of finding and booking a venue, wrangling speakers, making decisions about food and beverage or any of the other million details associated with planning meetings and events, MacGyver could take a page from planners’ resourcefulness.

    To ease the stress and add a little dash of inspiration, we’ve compiled a list of helpful meeting and event planning resources.

    Contact the OLC to learn more about our turn-key concierge planning services that take the stress out of planning any event!

  • 5 Ways to Plan a Meaningful Medical Meeting

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Sep 18, 2018

    In Ashfield Meetings & Events’ 2018 The Science of Healthcare Professional Meetings study, more than three-quarters of HCPs said they would only participate in a meeting that can show a good return on their investment of time and money.

    With it becoming harder for HCPs to take time away from their practices, here’s a look at five ideas for planning a meaningful medical meeting.

    1. Combine Learning and Networking

    In the study, nearly 75 percent attend to network with colleagues or other specialists, and 68 percent say they attend to meet with global experts and key opinion leaders.

    Combine learning and networking to increase the educational value of interactive workshops and hands-on training sessions by pairing attendees with an experienced mentor. For both beginners and advanced learners alike, this type of mentoring format is conducive to learning new medical skills while also fostering connections with fellow colleagues.

    2. Add Interactive Learning

    Seventy-six percent of survey respondents believed more workshops and interactive sessions would increase the educational value of a meeting.

    Rather than only offering PowerPoint-heavy lecture formats, switch things up with new formats designed to better engage attendees and appeal to different learning styles. For example, offer small-group discussions or roundtables to spark discussion and debate.

    3. Provide New and Interesting Content

    Eighty-one percent of survey respondents said they go to meetings to learn what’s new within their disease specialty, and 72 percent said they attend to find out about the latest products in their disease area.

    When you consider that a good deal of information can be found online, make a medical meeting more meaningful by focusing on new and exciting content – especially as it relates to attendees’ practice areas.

    And as a full 85 percent said sessions should be kept short and impactful, move beyond the days of long PowerPoint-driven lectures. The Ashfield study found that 45 percent of survey respondents believe meetings don’t have enough of the workshops, small-group discussions and other interactive elements they’re looking for – even though more than three-quarters said interactive sessions would increase the meeting’s educational value.

    4. Offer Convenience

    With heavy workloads, time away from practice is a big concern for HCPs. According to Ashfield’s research, HCPs said they wanted their time commitment – including travel – to be just 3.2 days. They also don’t want to travel as far, saying they only want to spend 4.7 hours to get to a meeting.

    As PCMA reports, as time-strapped physician attendees look to maximize time spent traveling, hotels and event venues near airports are becoming a bigger draw. Pat Schaumann, senior director of health-care compliance at Maritz, told PCMA. “It’s easy to get in and out, which is a big selling point for physicians who don’t want to be away from their practices for a long time.”

    5. Ask What HCPs Want

    It sounds so easy, but medical meetings can be made more meaningful simply by asking HCPs what they’d like their experience to be.

    Eighty percent of respondents said they wanted to help shape the event to meet their needs – but 38 percent said they had never been asked for their input. Gather feedback through informal Q&A with attendees throughout the event, simple post-meeting surveys, formal research channels or an advisory board.

    But don’t be overwhelmed with the idea of gathering and analyzing feedback. Start gathering what feedback you can and build from there. A little information goes a long way to make medical meetings more meaningful – and keep attendees coming back.

    Looking for a medical meeting venue that’s convenient to a major airport hub and is home to an advanced hands-on bio-skills lab?

    Contact the OLC to learn more!

  • 4 Hacks to Ease Planning Year-End Appreciation Events

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Aug 29, 2018

    ‘Tis the season to start thinking about year-end celebrations – especially employee, customer and volunteer appreciation and recognition events.

    Recognition events like these are a great way to motivate and engage employees, and thank customers and volunteers for their contributions. But when they fall at an already hectic time like the end of the year, who couldn’t use a little extra help to make planning easier?

    Leave the stress behind and spend time actually enjoying the holiday season with the help of these four year-end appreciation event planning hacks.


    1. Be Flexible

    Who says your appreciation event has to be at year-end? After all, there are only so many available dates at the end of the year and it’s hard enough to find a date that works with your internal team’s schedules. On top of it, your guests’ calendars are likely loaded with other events, family obligations and additional holiday-related plans.

    So get flexible – flexible with the type of the event and the timing.

    Perhaps guests will be more available and appreciative of a breakfast or luncheon event instead of a cocktail party or dinner. Hosting an event earlier typically lowers costs and reduces obligations on employees’ personal time and commitments.

    Or think about other times of year too. Early October and mid-to-late January can be great alternative times to hold an appreciation event because typically more guests are available to attend.


    2. Book a Venue Early

    All too often appreciation events – especially for employees – happen in the office. This may or may not continue to be feasible because of space constraints. And it may not have the same effect or atmosphere as hosting guests at an off-site venue.

    If you decide to host your event at an outside venue, book early! Venues are typically in high demand throughout the year-end season.

    You’ll have the best date availability the earlier you start the venue sourcing process. Plus, if you’re looking at days and times beyond evenings in December (which tend to be the most expensive), you’ll likely save money on catering and other expenses.


    3. Go All Inclusive with A/V

    Sourcing, coordinating and booking an A/V vendor often adds extra time and stress. So rather than adding to an already long to-do list, look for a venue with A/V included.

    You’ll save the hassle of planning equipment needs and all the back and forth correspondence about equipment compatibility, and set-up and dismantle schedules will be eliminated too.


    4. Get Creative with Food & Beverage

    With so many guests having dietary preferences and restrictions, it can be a challenge planning a menu that satisfies everyone’s needs.

    Rather than defaulting to the same food and beverage set-up you’ve always used, think creatively to make your menu planning easier:

    • Instead of a full bar, come up with three or four hand-crafted signature cocktails and mocktails for guests to sip.
    • Get attendees to mix and mingle with several mini food stations instead of seated meals. Think self-serve, small bites that allow guests to taste local dishes, trendy foods or classic throwbacks. Offering multiple options also makes it easier to satisfy vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and even Kosher or Halal dietary restrictions.
    • Banish the boring menu with a food truck or similar “pop-up” food experience. Guests will enjoy the extra treat surprise. And planning is easier because food trucks are used to frequently rolling and setting up in new locations.

    Ready to start planning your year-end appreciation event? Talk to the OLC about our turn-key concierge planning services that take the stress out of planning any event!

  • How to Develop a Backup Plan with Your Meeting Venue

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jul 19, 2018

    “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.”

    There’s a reason why Murphy's Law is still a popular adage. Many planners have learned the hard way to have alternative plans in case something goes wrong – whether it’s for a minor inconvenience like printing a new attendee badge on-site or a major mishap such as a speaker no-show. 

    It’s just as important to work with your meeting venue to have a backup plan for life’s unexpected curve balls. Here’s how:


    1) Prepare for Common Mishaps

    No matter the best-laid plans, there are always factors beyond the control of both you and the venue. Preparing for possible common mishaps minimizes disruption and stress for everyone if something unexpected does happen.

    Work with your venue on how to handle common issues like these in case they arise:

    • Lack of parking: Establish designated locations for overflow parking and have signage at the ready to direct attendees where to go.
    • Food and beverage shortages: There’s a fine line between ordering just enough and running out. Ask your venue to help you determine the right amounts to order. If you run into a case of very hungry or thirsty attendees, ask your venue what kinds of options would be available on short notice.
    • No-show vendor: Transportation occasionally breaks down or inclement weather disrupts plans. Talk to your venue about a list of backup vendors that you can call on in case of an emergency. 


    2) Focus and Prioritize on High-Risk Scenarios

    It isn’t feasible to have a backup plan for every little thing that can go wrong during an event or meeting. Work with your venue to differentiate between two types of scenarios:

    • Issues that would cause a big impact if they were to go south, like any possible problems related to attendee safety and security. 
    • Items that could be a nuisance, such as not enough power outlets or bathroom lines. 

    Neither scenario is desirable, but one is dramatically worse than the other. As part of your backup plan with the venue, focus on high-risk scenarios.


    3) Ask the Venue’s Contingency Plans

    Ask your venue to share their security protocols and contingency plans, such as:
    • Contingency plans in case of a power loss. Does the venue have emergency generators, and if needed, what power will remain on [like stairwells, elevators, exit signage, etc.)?
    • Protocols in case of an unexpected medical emergency. Have the venue identify how and where emergency responders, paramedics or fire personnel will come into the building to maintain privacy and keep disruption to a minimum.
    • Evacuation plans and locations of exterior rally points.


    4) Establish a Communication Chain of Command

    You may have a communication chain of command within your own internal team, but don’t forget to loop venue staff into those plans. As part of the chain of command, it’s important to establish who decides if the backup plan needs to be implemented. 

    As an example, if something unexpected happens like a venue power loss, who needs to be identified on your team? Or if you have a scenario requiring a response from local emergency officials, who from the venue is designated to make those calls?

    One helpful tool we’ve seen used is distributing a laminated card to all key internal and venue staff with a detailed listing of contact names and numbers, and who to notify about what kind of issue.


    5) Communicate the Plan

    It’s important for everyone – executive management, speakers, attendees, internal staff and vendors – to know that there is a backup plan and in what kinds of situations it could be implemented.

    If the backup plan needs to be activated, tell all stakeholders and attendees how and when they’ll receive information – whether that’s through announcements over the public address system, texts or other forms of notification. Remember: there’s no such thing as over communicating. 

    No matter how well every detail is planned and the number of precautions put in place, creating a backup plan with your venue keeps it any unexpected issues that could arise from becoming a disaster.

    Looking for a venue for your next meeting? Contact the OLC to learn more!
  • 4 Research-Backed Insights about Meeting Venues of the Future

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jun 26, 2018

    To get to the heart of how venues are changing to meet the needs of both planners and attendees, we dug into the recently released 2018 IACC Meeting Room of the Future™.

    To support effective participant learning and information retention, here are four research-backed insights about the meeting venues of the future:


    Insight #1: Venues need to support experience creation.

    The IACC study found that more planners are responsible for “experience creation” – which will become even more important over the next five years.

    For planners looking to create a memorable attendee experience, the IACC report suggests looking for a venue that offers “a variety of on and off-site amenities that foster ‘experience creation’.”

    Venues can support planners with experience creation by providing elements such as:

    • Creative meeting rooms
    • Themed food & beverage
    • Outdoor meeting rooms/spaces
    • Ice-breakers
    • Team-based sporting activities/facilities


    Insight #2: Flexible venue spaces are on the rise.

    The IACC reports that the need for flexible, creative space is continuing to intensify, with 60 percent of meeting operators feeling the flexibility of meeting spaces will become more important over time.

    One of the biggest trends in meeting space development and design over the past three years is incorporating more flexible, “non-traditional” meeting room furniture.

    Other opportunities to create flexible spaces is by activating under-utilized spaces, such as transforming foyers or atriums into a networking lounge, or creating informal huddle spaces for attendees to brainstorm.


    Insight #3: High-quality internet in the venue reigns supreme.

    Seventy-seven percent of venue operators in the IACC report said high-quality internet infrastructure will become even more important in the next three to five years.

    Sufficient bandwidth is of growing importance too: in meeting rooms, hallways, public spaces and even outside the venue itself.

    The IACC reports many venues increasingly offering internet access free of charge to clients or include it as part of a meeting package.


    Insight #4: It’s time to re-evaluate break time trends.

    Eighty percent of venues surveyed by IACC offer continuous refreshment break service – up slightly from 77 percent in 2017. That’s just one major trend changing up food and beverage offerings. Another is the increased use of sustainable, healthier and more locally-sourced food and beverage choices.

    When it comes to finding a meeting venue of the future, research confirms that venues that support experience creation, provide flexible spaces, include high-quality internet and offer healthier food and beverage options are key to meeting attendees’ evolving needs and expectations.

    Contact us to learn more about how the OLC Education & Conference Center’s flexible space, included WiFi and AV and turn-key service can support your next meeting experience.  
  • Top Tips for Building an Effective Conference Agenda

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | May 29, 2018

    Ask any medical or corporate meeting planner about the importance of an agenda, and you’ll likely hear that it’s the critical backbone of any event. For both organizers and attendees, a well-planned agenda keeps everyone on track. And it’s also a critical tool for presenting event information in an organized and relevant manner.

    From beginning to end, here are top tips for building an effective conference agenda.

    1. Build in time for announcements

    When a meeting or event starts, many planners tend to jump right into the agenda, especially if a keynote or general session is scheduled first. While it’s tempting to start off on a high note, don’t forget the need to spend a few minutes on general announcements too.

    Just like when you’re at the movies or another unfamiliar venue, allocate time to communicate safety protocols and security procedures. Planning these announcements in advance keeps you on track with the overall agenda – while keeping everyone safe and secure.

     

    2. Allow for plenty of time for networking and meals

    Networking is one of the top reasons people attend events and meetings. Build in ample time to allow guests to mix and mingle with each other.

    An effective agenda has networking time spread throughout the day. One successful formula:

    • Dedicated early morning networking during breakfast
    • Casual networking during refreshment and meal breaks
    • Dedicated afternoon networking prior to a closing keynote or general session that attendees don’t want to miss
    • Optional early evening networking during a reception

    Planning the right amount of agenda time for meal breaks is also important. A few helpful rules of thumb:

    • Refreshment breaks for groups of 100 or less should be a minimum of 15 minutes. For up to 1,000 guests, schedule 30 minutes. And for groups over 1,000 attendees, schedule 45 minutes.
    • Allow 30 to 40 minutes for a breakfast and a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes for lunch, depending on the number of people and how the meal is served.
    • Self-serve buffets usually require less time and are ideal for smaller groups. Plated meals take longer, especially if one server is used to serve multiple tables versus one server per table.

     

    3. Don’t forget to plan transition time

    After a session, most attendees need time to listen to voicemails, return calls, check emails, visit the washroom, or physically move from one location to another.

    Before finalizing any agenda, one helpful suggestion is to walk the agenda as if you were in an attendee’s shoes. This experience is a great check to see if there is enough time to do all of the above, knowing crowds and lines for the bathroom add more time too.

    And don’t forget to work with your venue to understand the amount of time they need to transition a room set-up. You’ll want to accommodate their schedules too when planning an agenda that moves from general sessions to breakouts or hands-on training sessions.

     

    4. Schedule downtime

    It’s hard to remain focused and energized when education and activities are non-stop. Allow attendees time to see the sights, quiet moments to digest and reflect on what they’ve been learning, and time to unwind.

     

    5. Stick to the published agenda

    Once your agenda has been published, don’t deviate from it. Remember attendees have reviewed the schedule in advance, likely planning con calls, meetings or other work catch up during breaks and downtime.

    For more corporate or medical meeting planning tips, follow the OLC on Twitter.

  • GDPR: A Roundup of Top Resources for Meeting Planners

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Apr 20, 2018

    In just a few short weeks on May 25, 2018, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) officially goes into effect. It’s been big news for EU-based companies for several years now.

    But what about U.S. companies without business operations in the 28 member states of the EU. Nothing to worry about, right?

    Not true.

    GDPR is changing data privacy for both EU countries and the rest of the world, and is set to shake things up for everyone – especially for those involved in planning meetings and events.

    We’ve compiled a list of industry resources to help you better understand what GDPR means and steps to take to prepare.

    (Note: this article is intended to provide information, not legal advice. Contact your organization’s legal/compliance director or Data Protection Officer to specifically understand how GDPR applies to your organization.)

    Articles

    Other Resources

    These resources are intended only as a starting point for understanding GDPR issues. Before making any changes or plans, confirm with your company compliance expert or get legal advice to know what makes sense for your specific meeting or event.

  • Seven Tips for Planning Your Meeting Venue Budget

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Mar 29, 2018

    Finding a venue is likely the biggest decision you’ll make for your meeting or training event. It’s also typically the largest line item in your total budget.

    What should you consider when planning your meeting venue budget? Here are seven tips:

    #1: Be Realistic About Head Count

    Don’t overestimate when it comes to total number of expected attendees. A high head count often means increasing the expected food and beverage budget, plus space costs. 

    Be realistic about expected attendance. Avoid surprise charges if you go over your initial estimate by talking to the venue ahead of time about their policies for increasing head count for food and beverage or space needs.

    #2: Ask What’s Included in Venue Rental

    Make sure you aren’t double-counting budget line items because those costs are already included in the rental fee. Some venues include the following costs already in their agreements:

    • WiFi

    • Security

    • On-site staff support during the event

    • Office supplies, like flipcharts, easels and markers

    •  

    #3: Plan Catering Carefully

    Food and beverage is an essential item in your meeting budget. Keep your budget in check by planning in advance for frequently overlooked items like minimum guarantees, gratuities and surcharges.

    And if your venue allows outside food and beverage, don’t forget to account for additional catering costs like set-up, service, replenishment and clean-up. Many venues with in-house catering include all of those services as part of their service costs. But if you’re having food delivered from a restaurant, these additional services aren’t included – and need to be planned for.

    #4: Understand What the A/V Line Item Includes

    First, understand what, if any, A/V is already included. Some venues, like the OLC, have built-in projectors, display screens, microphones and other AV equipment and don’t charge extra for use. Other venues may only permit you to use their in-house A/V services, or charge an extra fee for bringing in an outside vendor.

    While many venues include power, don’t assume it is automatically included in your A/V costs. Some venues charge to plug anything in, and some only charge if additional power is needed to support power-heavy equipment lighting or sound rigs.

    Beyond equipment costs, ask if the A/V line item includes on-site labor costs or service fees, or if those are additional charges.

    #5: Assess Décor Costs

    Some venues come fully equipped to meet your needs, while others are “raw spaces.” For example, if you’re hosting a hands-on medical training, a fully equipped venue can save considerable money on the cost to bring in equipment, the labor to load it in and set it up, and the additional time to rent the venue for set-up.

    Don’t forget to ask about costs for different room configurations, additional chairs or tables, or other décor set-up costs for items like special linens, signs, banners, extra lights, table decorations or draping.

    #6: Determine Insurance Needs

    Meeting and event venues don’t always come with insurance. If the venue does provide insurance, get details about what is specifically covered.

    Work with your in-house legal team to determine if and what additional insurance is needed to guarantee attendee safety.

    #7: Pay Attention to Hidden Costs

    Read your venue contract carefully for any mention of hidden costs, such as:

    • Corkage fees

    • Credit card processing or wire transfer fees

    • Cleaning/housekeeping fees

    • Early set-up or late fees if you’re in the space before or after your scheduled event time

    • Parking for attendees

    • Security/damage deposits

    • Service charges

    • Storage costs

    • Tips and gratuities

    • Taxes

     

    Remember: decide how to spend your meeting venue budget with the overall attendee experience in mind. Don’t skimp on items that directly impact perception of your meeting or event.

    Contact the OLC to learn more about our meeting packages.

  • Emerging Technologies Medical Meeting Professionals Will Be Using in 2018

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Feb 19, 2018

    When it comes to planning and executing medical meetings and trainings, meeting management professionals face a variety of challenges -- from adhering to evolving compliance and regulatory guidelines to staying on top of new trends.

    With 65 percent of meeting professionals saying creating compelling meeting environments that enhance learning will be a challenge in 2018, here’s a look at two emerging technologies medical meeting professionals will be using this year to make their meetings more compelling and effective.


    Livestreaming

    In Eventbrite’s, “The Pulse Report: 2018 Event Industry Trends”, 96 percent of event creator respondents indicated they’ll use livestreaming this year (up from 59 percent in 2017). Why the dramatic increase? Of course, livestreaming allows medical meetings and trainings to reach more attendees wherever they might be.

    But beyond the ability to reach larger audiences, on average, viewers spend 8X longer with live video than recorded video.

    Expect more medical meeting planners to tap into the power of livestreaming this year because the technology is no longer just for mega-sized meetings. Today’s technology has made livestreaming more affordable and accessible for any-size medical meetings.

    For example, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) hosted a two-day hands-on training lab course for a targeted group of a few dozen orthoapedic surgeons. But they also livestreamed a portion of the training to extend the learning to other remote viewers.

    And when you especially consider that 30 percent of people who watch a livestream of an event will attend the same event in person the following year, there’s no reason why livestreaming shouldn’t be a larger part of medical meetings this year. Just make sure to follow these five best practices to ensure a successful livestream medical meeting or training.


    Virtual Reality

    Hands-on experiential education has always been a big draw for medical meeting attendees – whether it’s for continuing medical education, bio-skills training, medical device training or new surgical product and technique education.

    But expect virtual reality technology to shake up and provide new ways of delivering hands-on education at medical meetings and trainings in the coming year. In their 2018 Event Industry Trends report, Eventbrite found 88 percent of event planners plan to use virtual reality this year – up from 43 percent in 2017.

    As an example, the Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) has embraced virtual reality simulation education as an additional learning methodology to continue the advancement of medical and surgical skills training. AANA and VirtaMed recently signed a two-year collaboration agreement to use simulators for knee, shoulder and hip arthroscopy training, plus FAST basic skills training for their courses at the OLC. New content and curriculum is being developed specifically for use with the virtual simulators.

    It’s a big undertaking. But AANA Learning Center Committee Chair, Joseph C. Tauro, M.D. says this collaboration will help AANA “ensure all arthroscopic surgeons have access to high-quality skills training and continuous education.”

    Livestreaming and virtual reality are just two technologies medical meeting planners will be using this year to make their meetings more effective.

    If you’re looking for a facility capable of supporting state-of-the-art technologies like these as part of your next medical meeting or training, take a virtual tour of the OLC to learn more.
  • 6 Considerations for Choosing a Corporate Meeting Venue

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jan 18, 2018

    Your venue plays a big role in the success of your corporate meeting. Here are six considerations for choosing a great venue for your next corporate meeting.

    Consideration #1: Start Early

    If you have a specific date in mind, start looking for your venue early. Popular venues can book months in advance. Start your search at least four to six months to improve your chances of securing your desired date.

    As you begin your venue search, identify the answers to these key questions:

    1. Estimated number of attendees
    2. Space requirements – include your total space needs, plus any plans for networking, education or training space
    3. Budget


    Consideration #2: Location, Location, Location

    Whether the meeting is for locals or attendees traveling in, location is a top primary consideration. For locals, evaluate whether the venue is easily accessible by major roads or public transportation.

    If attendees are coming in from out of town, pinpoint how close the venue is to a major airport and hotels.

    Don’t forget to consider parking and other local amenities.

    • Does the venue have ample parking?
    • Is it free?
    • Are restaurants or other attractions nearby to provide attendees with dining and shopping options?


    Consideration #3: Capacities & Maximums

    Venues have to abide by fire and safety codes, which dictate the maximum number of attendees that can fit into the entire venue as well as individual rooms. Ask for maximum capacities for any rooms you plan to use. Don’t forget – maximums vary by room set-ups too. If you’re planning to use round tables, be aware that maximum may be less than a classroom set.

    At the same time, make sure your rooms won’t be “too big.” While you can technically seat 50 people in a room designed to hold a maximum of 175, you may not want to have that much room to spare.

    You’ll also want to know if there are food and/or beverage minimums. Some venues have a minimum spend requirement. Make sure your planned catering spending is in line with their requirements.


    Consideration #4: Space Flow and Layout

    When reviewing floor plans or layouts, think about how attendees will move throughout your event:

    • Are there a variety of rooms, like auditoriums, classrooms and conference rooms?
    • How flexible is the space to change into other configurations?
    • Is there ample room to accommodate registration and check-in?
    • What space is available for attendees to use in between meeting sessions or during networking breaks?
    • How easy is it for attendees to get around the venue? Are there potentials areas where bottlenecks may occur?

    As you look at specific rooms, review:

    • Sightlines. Can attendees see the speaker from anywhere in the room without any obstructions?
    • Temperature controls. Do rooms offer individual ventilation and temperature controls that can be easily changed as needed?
    • AV. Does the venue’s rental agreement include all the AV you’ll need, like projectors, screens, microphones, outlets/charging stations and WiFi? And most importantly, is it up-to-date to handle graphics-intensive presentations or videos?
    • Wayfinding. Is there clear signage to identify each room and help attendees find where they need to go?


    Consideration #5: Comfort, Safety and Security

    The safety and security of your attendees and your employees are paramount. Understand the overall ambience by looking at areas like:

    • Overall cleanliness, upkeep and maintenance
    • Locations of washrooms
    • Attendee-friendly amenities – like a mother’s room or meditation/prayer space
    • Accessibility options such as elevators or automatic doors


    Consideration #6: Venue Staff

    You’ll be working hand-in-hand with the venue staff for several months. As you’re going through the evaluation process, get a feel for what it will be like working them.

    • Are they timely and responsive to your requests?
    • Do they seem friendly and easy-to-work with?
    • Does the staff make suggestions or offer other ideas to improve your meeting?

    There’s a lot that goes into choosing a venue. But careful considerations of these six areas can set your corporate meeting up for success.

    Take a virtual tour of the OLC to learn more about our facility.

  • Five Tips for Coordinating Security with Your Meeting Venue

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Nov 15, 2017

    Meeting security for attendees and staff has always been top-of-mind. But recent world events have heightened awareness and concern. Many meeting planners wonder what questions they should ask and how to work with their meeting venue to ensure safety for all.

    Of course, it’s always best to work with your own legal and compliance teams on your specific meeting security needs. These five meeting venue security tips can help you get the conversation started while easing the minds of meeting attendees, sponsors, vendors, speakers and internal staff.

    #1: Start the Security Discussion at the Site Visit

    Don’t wait until after you’ve signed the contract with your meeting venue to ask about security. Start the discussion early.

    An initial site visit is ideal to get a first-hand look at the security and safety measures the venue has in place. As you walk the venue, look for:

    • Visible security at the facility entrance. Do you need to show credentials to gain access to the venue?
    • Additional visible security measures, like personnel or closed-circuit cameras and monitors.
    • All of the ways in and out of the building, and locations of stairwells and emergency exits. Ask for a floor plan to make sure all are clearly marked.
    • Access points from delivery doors, loading docks and storage areas.
    • The vehicle access allowed around the venue. If you want to limit how close vehicles can get to the venue, look for physical barriers or open areas between drop-off zones and the building entrance.


    #2: Ask About the Meeting Venue’s Security Protocols

    Ask your venue to share their security protocols and evacuation plan. They may not be able to share every single detail, but they should be able to tell you the basics, such as:

    • What are the protocols in case of an unexpected medical emergency? How and where will emergency responders, paramedics or fire personnel come into the building to maintain privacy and keep disruption to a minimum?
    • What are the contingency plans in case of an unexpected issue, like a power loss?
    • What are the venue evacuation plans and where are exterior rally points for evacuates located?
    • If your meeting has a high-profile speaker or executive in attendance, ask your venue how they’ll coordinate with third-party security details. For example, depending on the speaker, walkthroughs or inspections are conducted leading up to the meeting as well as extra security protocols put in place during the time the speaker or executive is on-site.
    • Ask if the venue staff will make housekeeping announcements, or work with your own staff to inform attendees about what to do in case of an emergency.



    secure wifi for meeting#3: Protect Proprietary Information and Products

    If your meeting features proprietary information or products that needs to stay out of the public eye, you’ll want to make plans to ensure it stays protected.

    Ask about:

    • Locked storage rooms and monitored loading docks to ensure equipment or products are protected at all times. Who has access to the areas throughout your meeting?
    • A dedicated LAN or hard-wired phone to keep top-secret files off public networks.
    • Password-protected WiFi for attendees.


    #4: Prepare Your Backup Plan

    Remember -- security is all about the “just in case.”

    No matter how well every detail is planned and the precautions put in place, make a “what if” plan so it won’t be a disaster when something doesn’t go as expected.

    • Educate your staff. Before the meeting, brief them on floor plans, emergency routes and exits so they can quickly and safely direct attendees where to go.
    • Know the location of any on-site Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in case of an unexpected medical emergency.
    • Be aware of the location of the nearest fire station and hospital emergency room.


    #5: Communicate Security Precautions to Attendees

    Give attendees a heads-up they may be subject to additional security protocols during the course of your meeting – like needing a photo ID to pick up credentials or going through bag inspections or screenings.

    Remind attendees if they’re expected to wear their credentials at all times—and let them know security personnel won’t give anyone access to the meeting venue without proper identification.

    It’s also a good time to remind guests common sense security precautions still prevail. Tell them to take personal belongings with them and not to leave anything unattended. And the familiar refrain of “see something, say something” applies too. It’s OK to say anything, at any time, about suspicious activity or out-of-place items.

    Visible security tells meeting attendees you have their safety in mind and take safety seriously. These tips are a great start to working with your own internal teams to decide the specific plans and precautions you’ll take when working with your meeting venue.  

    Looking for a venue for your next meeting? Contact the OLC to learn more!

  • What Emerging Technologies Mean for the Future of Business Meetings and Events

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Oct 24, 2017

    It wasn’t that long ago that we thought the technology featured in the hit movie Minority Report was far from reality. But here we are with autonomous driving cars on the horizon, roller coasters adding virtual reality headsets and voice-controlled assistants in our homes.

    Just as emerging technologies have rapidly changed our personal and professional lives, there is now an overwhelming landscape of technology options in the meetings and events space. It’s hard for meeting and event professionals to know where to focus resources, let alone how to make all these different platforms, applications and tools work together.

    But the future of our meetings and events depend on thinking creatively and strategically about how best to incorporate technology – not only to support our goals, but to improve the attendee experience.

    Recognizing this challenge, the PCMA Education Foundation engaged Association Laboratory, a leading association industry research consulting firm, to conduct an investigation into how attendees and event organizers are using technology to make face-to-face events more productive.

    The result is the Planning for the Meetings of Tomorrow report. If you haven’t seen the report yet, it’s available free for event professionals. (Hint, hint, download it now!)

    I may be a bit biased as a member of the report’s Research Advisory Committee, but it’s really insightful. Here are a few key findings:

    The Attendee Experience Drives Attendance

    The top three reasons respondents cited for incorporating new technology into events all focus on the attendee: improving the attendee experience, making the event more fun/engaging, and customizing the attendee experience.

    To accomplish increased attendance and revenue, organizations must take a market-centric approach. Organizations should consider:

    • The different attendee markets,
    • What each audience considers “engaging”, and
    • Specific strategies to link these two factors to the content, location and cost of the event.


    Factors Inhibiting Technology Adoption

    Report respondents identified development or purchase costs as the biggest barrier to adopting and using new technologies at events.

    Association Laboratory found successful technology adoption requires balancing what the technology adds to the attendee experience with the overall cost along with attendees’ learning curve.


    Current Use of Technology

    To promote the event and drive registration, email and websites are the most frequently used technologies. Surprisingly, speaker promotion, plus attendee-published information on social media is growing in importance for spreading the word about events.

    When it comes to the on-site experience, WiFi is an essential foundation to success. Any efforts to make access to WiFi faster, easier and more affordable are critical to an engaging user experience. It also paves the way for using event apps, communication tools and other technologies successfully and to their fullest potential.

    Technologies like remote participation, second screen technology and tracking technologies like iBeacon and RFID are also on the rise. Association Laboratory notes “behind-the-scenes” tracking technologies are one of the top three emerging technologies –something expected to become an important foundational technology too.

    After an event is over, post-event engagement is an area of potential opportunity for event organizers. But because it’s difficult to take subjective feedback and turn it into a usable format, this also represents an areas for organizers to take advantage of innovation as it’s developed.


    Emerging Trends

    It’s hard to predict the future, but Association Laboratory’s research noted the following areas to keep an eye on:

    • Virtual or augmented reality and gamification
    • Remote participation and second screen technology
    • The use of artificial intelligence to automate routine interactions

    If you’d like to learn more about this research, along with practical ideas for attracting the next generation of attendees, I hope you’ll join us on November 14, 2017 from 2:30-5:00 pm. The OLC is the host venue for the complimentary Planning for the Meetings of Tomorrow seminar.

    Dean West, FASAE and President of Association Laboratory will discuss how emerging technologies are altering event registration, the attendee experience and post-event follow-up. Plus, there will be ample opportunity to meet with fellow peers and colleagues to network and ask questions.

    Register today to reserve your seat before space runs out!


  • 5 Corporate Meeting Trends to Watch for 2018

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Sep 28, 2017

    Artificial intelligence. Green meetings. Corporate social responsibility initiatives. The rise of attendees using second screens. Corporate meeting trends may come and go. But a corporate meeting designed to create a positive attendee experience is always in style.

    How can planners and organizers keep their corporate meetings on-trend? With dozens of meetings and events at the OLC each quarter, we sat down with our crystal ball to identify five corporate meeting trends to keep an eye on for 2018.

    Designed for Experiential Learning

    The concept of experiential learning – rich learning from hands-on experiences and collaborative learning opportunities – has become a big meetings industry buzzword. More organizers are embracing this trend to increase the effectiveness and memorability of their meetings and events.

    Everything from hands-on learning labs and one-on-one mentor instruction to simulator-based training opportunities help attendees learn more effectively. More learning means more engagement and more satisfaction, which creates a positive and memorable experience that continues long after the meeting is over.

    Another reason experiential learning is on the rise is this approach appeals to a wide generation of attendees too, from millennials to baby boomers.

    Flexible Room Sets

    Hand-in-hand with the experiential learning trend is the use of non-traditional room set-ups. Organizers recognize that not everyone learns best in a typical lecture/classroom format.

    To create an environment more conducive to learning, organizers are veering from typical arrangements to alternative set-ups with comfortable seating, brainstorming hubs for group collaboration or even standing desks or tables with whiteboards.

    When attendees feel more comfortable, the exchange of ideas and information flows more freely.

    More Livestreams

    Forecasts project live meeting attendee is expected to grow 1.6 percent, with virtual attendance expected to rise 2.4 percent. 

    Nothing beats the learning and networking that comes from face-to-face meetings. But as meeting organizers continue to recognize the opportunity to reach a larger audience through virtual elements, expect to see more live videostreams as part of corporate meetings.

    The Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) successfully embraces this trend with their AANA Professional Excellence (APEx) courses. In-person attendees work with instructors one-on-one. But AANA also livestreams a portion of their live event to extend their event reach to remote attendees.

    The strategy is a win-win for both organizers and attendees. According to Digitell, a multimedia development company, “30 percent of people who watch a live stream of an event will attend the same event in person the following year.”

    Tighter Safety and Security

    After natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey and Irma plus global incidents on the rise, attendee security is top-of-mind for many organizers.

    Before signing a contract, organizers are putting more emphasis on asking key security-related questions like “Is security included in the rental fee?” and “Does the facility offer 24/7 closed-circuit monitoring?”

    And unlike the past, on-site security personnel is a good thing. Organizers are helping attendees feel safer and secure with visible security personnel. Precautions like this will continue as they show an organizer takes security seriously.

    Locally-Inspired Cuisine

    The idea of local cuisine began gaining in popularity as organizers looked for ways to be green and sustainable with F&B at their meetings. But now, organizers realize locally-inspired menus and specialties provide attendees with a taste of the host city – and also contributes to the idea of creating a memorable meeting experience.

    Look for more local – and healthier – options as meeting hosts recognize the opportunities for meals and breaks to not only nourish the body, but nourish the soul too.

    Contact us to give your next meeting a boost by incorporating these on-trend ideas.

  • The Essential Corporate Holiday Event Planning Checklist

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Aug 21, 2017

    It’s time to make a list and check it twice…for your annual corporate holiday party or year-end appreciation event.

    Whether they’re big celebratory bashes or small appreciation events to recognize a successful year, corporate holiday events have been on the rise. Last year Challenger, Gray & Christmas found 80 percent of companies planned to host holiday events

    Meeting and event planners know there are lots of details to think about with any event. We’ve created this handy corporate holiday event planning checklist to keep track of important milestones.

    6 Months Before the Event:

    OLC Holiday planning - formal

    1) Decide on the type of party
    Is it a company-wide event? Are only employees invited, or plus-ones too? Formal or casual?

    Make key decisions like these early as they are important foundations to the rest of your event planning success.

    2) Think about the guest list
    This will likely change as you move throughout the planning process. But come up with an estimated guest list number to help estimate your budget and ensure the venue you choose is large enough to host all of your guests.

    3) Establish a budget
    Use last year’s budget as a starting point for discussion. If you know you’ll have a larger or smaller guest list, or you’re moving to a different venue, adjust your budget accordingly. 

    4-5 Months Before the Event:

    1) Identify your target date
    Our best advice: Choose your event date early. Many companies and associations book dates during the summer months for the best availability.

    And while Friday and Saturday nights are typically most popular dates, that doesn’t mean you have to plan your event for those days. If you plan your event for an “off” time such as a Sunday or Wednesday night, or early in January, you may find your venue and other vendors have greater availability – and more guests are able to attend.

    2) Find and reserve the venue
    Once you have a target date in mind and the expected number of attendees, call possible venues to ask about availability. It’s good practice to have a few backup dates too.

    When evaluating possible venues, don’t forget to think location accessibility and guest parking. If you have guests driving or flying from other destinations, a venue located close to a major airport or other amenities with ample parking adds convenience.


    3-4 Months Before the Event:

    OLC Holiday planning - decorations1) Send a “Save the Date”
    The holidays are usually a busy season for your guests. Make sure they save the date to attend your corporate holiday party by sending out a save the date announcement.

    Depending on your event budget and vibe, announcements can be casual or formal. Send the announcement out at least a few months before the event so guests can block time in their calendars.

    2) Pick a theme
    If applicable, start brainstorming possible themes. Remember, a theme doesn’t have to be big and bold. You may decide to simply use your event to celebrate a successful year, acknowledge challenges the team overcame, or recognize key goals that were accomplished.

    3) Line up key vendors and staffers
    If your venue doesn’t offer on-site catering, make sure to book a caterer several months before your event.

    Depending on your event needs, you’ll also want to make sure other special staffers, like photographers, DJs, hosts or speakers, reserve the date in their calendars too.

    2 Months Before the Event:

    1) Decide on food and beverage
    As you get closer to the holiday event, decide on food and beverage menus. Choose options that fit both your theme and budget.

    For example, elegant passed hors d’oeuvres or an upscale buffet usually creates a festive, casual feel while a seated formal dinner or family-style meal is typically used for more formal recognition or celebration events.

    Don’t forget to plan for any food allergies or dietary restrictions too. Thinking about options early ensures your guests have plenty of options to choose from.

    2) Send invitations

    Even if you’ve sent a “Save the Date”, send an official invite to track and manage RSVPs. Ask for all RSVPs to be returned no less than two weeks before your event so you can finalize catering counts and room set-ups.

    Today more companies use electronic invites, with custom graphics or animations to support the event theme. You may also decide to follow-up the first round of invites with additional reminders for those who haven’t yet responded, or even printed invitations if your goal is to create a memorable experience.

    1 Month Before the Event:

    OLC Holiday planning - deserts1) Schedule a site visit
    Bring together any key vendors and company staff for a site walk-through. This gives you a chance to visualize the event space while there is still time to make changes to room set-ups, add décor and or make adjustments to day-of-logistics.

    2) Finalize AV and other equipment needs
    Don’t wait until the last minute to decide you need audio-visual support. As part of your walkthrough, make a list of AV equipment that’s needed – including options for playing music or showing a video to create a celebratory ambiance.

    1 Week Before the Event:

    1) Do the last confirmation call
    Call the venue, caterer, AV technicians and any other vendors to confirm everything is all set.

    2) Double-check your to-dos
    Go back and make sure everything has been crossed off your checklist. Once you’ve confirmed everything is ready to go, it’s time to get ready for the event! Remember to take time during the event to enjoy all your hard work.

    If you’re planning a holiday party or year-end appreciation event, contact the OLC’s event management team for personal concierge service to handle all your meeting, catering and AV needs.

  • 4 Innovative Corporate Meeting Ideas to Try

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jul 19, 2017

    Make your next corporate meeting more memorable and productive by shaking up the format.

    After all, according to research published in the IACC’s Spring 2017 “Meeting Room of the Future” report, “while planners are still focused on return on investment, education and networking, an increased focus on attendee engagement and personal development is taking shape.”

    Check out these four innovative corporate meeting ideas to add interactivity, keep attendees energized and engaged, and boost bonding.

    Offer Experience-Based Education

    In the IACC report, “80 percent of meeting planners report their current role in planning meetings involves more experience creation.”

    Influenced by preferences of younger demographics like millennials, planners are adding new technologies, and providing more opportunities for interaction, collaboration and stimulation to deliver on those experience expectations.

    One easy way to make your meeting more memorable and productive is incorporating experience-based education, like hands-on product training or technical skill workshops.

    For example, the OLC hosted two Arthroscopy Association of North America (AANA) Resident/Fellow courses that included virtual reality medical simulators from simulation-based training companies Simbionix-3D Systems, ToLTech and VirtaMed.

    Each attendee had scheduled hands-on time working with a simulator on a single arthroscopic procedure – helping them learn and practice specific skills and techniques.

    This kind of experience-based education was invaluable. Rick Hoedt, Executive Vice President, Business Development at VirtaMed, explained, “From surveys conducted during the course, almost 100 percent of attendees felt that the simulation benefited their learning experience because the skills practiced on the simulator could easily be transferred to real-life situations.”

    And from AANA’s perspective, the additional experience-based education paid off. Christine DiGiovanni, AANA’s Senior Manager, Education, said, “Because of the overwhelmingly positive response to the enhanced format with the simulators, we’re looking to incorporate more of this kind of learning in the future.”

    Have a food truck bring treats for a break.

    Surprise with Pop-Ups

    You don’t have to look far to see the concept of pop-up experiences – short-term, temporary stores, markets or restaurants – creating buzz and drawing visitors. A temporary or unexpected element adds interest and increases engagement just as easily to corporate meetings too.

    Pop-up event experiences can be part of your published agenda or a surprise to on-site attendees. And they don’t have to be elaborate or expensive to wow.

    Some of the OLC’s favorite pop-up experiences have been simply the arrival of a gelato stand during a break on a hot summer day or a special wine sampling experience during an evening reception. On a larger scale, we’ve had food trucks pull up in our parking lot to offer a different lunch break experience and get attendees up and moving.

    Besides making your meeting more memorable, adding any kind of fun pop-up surprise will re-energize attendees.

    Provide One-on-One Mentoring

    Another corporate meeting concept growing in popularity is pairing attendees with an experienced mentor for one-on-one learning. For both beginners and advanced learners alike, a one-on-one mentoring format works well for technical or product trainings.

    For example, the OLC hosts the AANA Professional Excellence (APEx) course series. These courses allow attendees – and in the case of AANA, entire teams – to train with a dedicated instructor.

    Attendees benefit from highly personalized instruction and the ability to learn from a respected expert. As the meeting host, including this kind of unique format in your agenda serves as a big draw for attendees craving a valuable learning experience.

    Red carpet rolled out for an eventing event

    Reward with the Red Carpet Treatment

    After a long day of learning, don’t forget about giving attendees a fun way to network and bond with each other. Turn a typical cocktail reception into a “red carpet event” by adding a themed décor and a fun experience – like the movie night the OLC hosted for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

    A red carpet set the stage for what was to come as soon as attendees approached the door. Theater-sized boxes of candy and props set up throughout the venue, plus the themed related movie playing on the large screens in all the meeting rooms ensured all guests had fun while mixing and mingling.

    Add interactivity, keep attendees energized and engaged, and boost bonding by incorporating any of these ideas to your next corporate meeting.

    If you’re looking for a state-of-the-art venue with flexible space to accommodate innovative ideas like these, contact the OLC to learn more!

  • 50 Questions to Ask Your Meeting Venue Before Signing a Contract

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jun 19, 2017

    From keynote speakers to networking breaks there’s a ton of important details to consider when planning a corporate or medical meeting. And meeting planners know that every detail matters – especially when it comes to choosing your venue.

    But before you sign your meeting venue contract, make sure you ask these key questions.

    Goals and Objectives

    1. How will your venue accommodate our meeting needs?
    For example, if you’re hosting a medical training meeting, what space is available for attendees to have hands-on labs? Or if you’re hosting a sales meeting, does the venue offer the ability for breakouts both in a large meeting room and throughout the building?

    2. Are there separate spaces for all the different types of activities to be hosted (general sessions, attendee registration, networking breaks, etc.)?

    3. Can the space accommodate any large equipment or special room set-ups that may be required?

    Availability and Location

    4. Is the venue available on our desired date?

    5. How close is the venue to a major airport? Is it also easily accessible from highways or public transit?

    6. Is the venue located near dining, cultural, sports and entertainment opportunities?

    7. When is the earliest we can start setting up? And how much time is available for breakdown?

    8. Does the venue accept shipments or deliveries prior to our meeting?

    9. Can you place a 24-hour hold on the space (meaning if your program is more than one day, the venue can’t sell that space to another event when you’re not using the rooms)? Is there an extra charge for a 24-hour hold?

    Amenities

    dedicated registration area10. How easy is it for attendees to get around the venue? Are all meeting rooms and spaces located on one floor?

    11. Is on-site parking available? How many spots are available? Is it free?

    12. Does the venue offer other amenities, like a mother’s room, prayer room or monitors displaying real-time event schedule or flight information?

    13. Where and how many outlets are available for attendees to keep their devices charged?

    14. What types of sleeping accommodations are nearby?

    15. Can the venue assist in discounted arrangements with other suppliers (i.e. transportation companies, local restaurants, hotels, etc.)?

    16. What is the typical turn-time for rooms (i.e. changing a keynote set-up into breakout sessions)?

    17. How many restrooms are available? Are there changing facilities/locker rooms or coat/luggage storage areas available if needed?

    18. Is there a dedicated area for attendee registration?

    19. What kind of signage is used to help attendees with wayfinding?

    20. Are there any special venue restrictions (i.e. décor, music, etc.)?

    Venue Staffing

    21. How many and what staff is included in the rental, and who will be present and available during the meeting?

    22. Will staff be available to assist in welcoming and directing attendees on the day? Can they also assist with check-in/registrations?

    23. How flexible are staff to accommodate last minute program needs or agenda changes?

    24. What is the staff’s experience with meetings similar to ours?

    25. Is the venue staffed versed in greeting and working with international attendees?

    AV and Technology

    Current av capabilities26. What AV is included in my meeting room charge? And what HD capabilities does the venue offer?

    27. Does the room rental cost also include technician(s) and labor?

    28. What are the technical backgrounds of your staff, and are they dedicated to the venue?

    29. Is there an extra charge to bring in my own equipment and technicians?

    30. What internet options and capabilities does the venue offer? If you’re showcasing new R&D, what about offering dedicated VPN lines?

    31. Are there separate networks available for your production team and your guests? How do they keep it secure/non-attendees from using the network?

    32. Is the venue wired for video livestreaming?

    33. Is there an on-site control room or HD broadcast studio?

    34. What kinds of microphones, cameras and lecterns are available in the meeting spaces?

    35. How is equipment loaded-in/loaded-out (i.e. a dedicated loading dock, freight elevator, etc.)

    36. Is there an area to store equipment out-of-sight to attendees?

    Food and Beverage

    Consider catering options37. Does your venue offer catering? Can we choose our own vendors, or do you have a list of preferred vendors?

    38. What kinds of food options are offered: Vegan? Gluten-free? Kosher? Halal?

    39. Can we have a food truck on the venue premises?

    40. Are there food and drink minimums and, if so, what are they?

    Safety and Security

    41. What kind of security personnel and equipment does the venue provide?

    42. Is security included in the rental fee?

    43. How secure is the facility? Is there 24/7 closed-circuit monitoring?

    Payment Policies

    44. What is the cost to rent the venue for our meeting’s date and time?

    45. Is there a cost difference between booking weekdays versus weekends?

    46. What is your policy regarding last minute changes or cancellations due to weather or other unexpected events?

    47. What kind of deposits/payment schedule is required?

    48. What are insurance requirements?

    49. Are there any additional costs like service charges, gratuities, cleaning fees, or overtime charges?

    50. Are there any additional packages offered to save money?

    Looking for an ideal venue for your next meeting? Contact the OLC to learn more!

  • The Future Has Landed in Rosemont

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | May 26, 2017
    Dan Shea of Association Forum recently interviewed our CEO, Lisé Puckorius about the origins of the OLC and how the facility provides a cutting-edge environment for medical learning and training designed to improve patient outcomes.

    Read the full article
  • Lessons in Livestreaming Your Event

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | May 15, 2017

    There’s good reason why more planners are turning to livestreaming their meetings and events.

    For starters, there are plenty of times when potential event attendees want to attend, yet can’t make the trip because of conflicting commitments or long distances to travel.

    Livestreaming also gives planners the opportunity to engage a whole new market of people who haven’t attended a past event. According to Digitell, a multimedia development company, “30 percent of people who watch a livestream of an event will attend the same event in person the following year.”

    Despite the benefits, livestreaming an event has higher stakes. With larger audiences tuned in watching every move, your livestream deserves the same level of attention and planning that you give to every other part of your event.

    As a venue that has hosted many successful livestreams, our technical team draws on over 25 years of experience to share five important lessons for successfully livestreaming your event.

    1) Make a plan

    A livestream won’t be successful if you just “wing it.” The best event livestreams account for the following:
    • The audience. Who will be joining the livestream? Is it an internal audience of employees, or a whole new group of potential attendees who may not be familiar with your event? Clearly define your target audience so you can determine the best promotion strategies for getting your audience to tune in.
    • The promotion strategy. Just because you livestream it, doesn’t mean remote participants will watch. Actively promote the broadcast through email, direct mail and social media. Another promotion tip: get sponsors or industry partners involved. Sponsors can help spread the word. And at the same time, having a sponsor can create an additional revenue strategy to subsidize the cost of the livestream.
    • The venue. Make sure your venue is up to the livestream challenge. A venue like the OLC with a dedicated, on-site HD broadcast studio equipped with ample bandwidth and all the latest high-definition production switching, routing and editing equipment helps ensure your livestream audio and video is high quality.

    2) Decide what to livestream

    Many companies choose to livestream select parts of their event, keeping streamed segments to no more than 20-30 minutes max to keep attention focused. Here are several popular ways livestreaming can be used to compliment a face-to-face meeting or event:
    • Have remote audiences watch and listen to your kick-off or keynote presentation.
    • Stream a live demonstration or technical talk to help non-attendees see your products in action.
    • Unveil a new product or share important news to a larger audience.
    • Host a Q&A with company executives, or interview industry experts on hot topics and issues during a special segment.

    3) Specify your technology requirements

    There are many moving elements to a successful livestream – including cameras, lighting, audio and the underlying livestream technology.

    Work with your tech team, plus the on-site production crew at the event venue to determine what equipment is already on hand – versus additional AV that might need to be brought in. Don’t forget to ask if equipment rental costs are additional or included in your AV.

    4) Create a backup plan

    Lee Balthazar, instructional systems technician at the OLC, says, “A full technical rehearsal/dry-run is crucial.” Conduct it before the event to give you and your team the chance to work out any potential kinks or issues.

    Don’t forget about a backup plan too. Gregory Janowiecki, senior video expert at the OLC, says “Despite all the testing you may do, things can still go wrong. Have a plan for what you’ll do if an issue does pop-up.”

    One last tip? Make a technical phone number or dedicated email address available to remote participants. This way if remote viewers experience an issue, they can easily contact a technical expert for help.

    5) Give the livestream an afterlife

    Once you’ve made it through the livestream, don’t let all your hard work and excellent content be for nothing. Make sure to record a copy of the livestream. Then take the footage, edit it and repurpose it for future marketing. For example, if you have another livestream coming up, include a clip of the past event in your promotions.

    You’ll also want to share a copy of the livestream in its entirety shortly after the event ends. Viewers can catch up on anything they missed or re-watch their favorite parts again.

    Livestreaming can be a powerful strategy for extending your event reach and attracting a larger audience. Contact the OLC to discuss the best way to add a livestream to your next meeting or event!

     
  • Key Takeaways from the Chicago Industry Xchange 2017

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Apr 27, 2017

    Recently, thousands of meetings industry professionals around the world joined together to celebrate the second annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). Sponsored by the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, this day of advocacy was designed to showcase the real impact that business meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions have on people, business and communities. To celebrate GMID, a wide range of events were held across the globe.

    In celebration of GMID, here in the OLC’s hometown neighborhood, the Chicago Industry Xchange was held in special collaboration with Choose Chicago’s Annual Meeting.

    With well over a thousand attendees, plus a fabulous group of sponsors and industry partners, it was an amazing turnout supporting the meetings industry.

    As part of the event, I was incredibly fortunate to be invited to discuss trends with a distinguished panel of industry experts, who included:

    Following the event, I sat down with Katie Callahan-Giobbi, Executive Vice President for Minding Your Business, who served as event emcee, to talk about key takeaways from the day.

    The State of Safety and Security in Meetings

    During our panel discussion, one of the first topics covered was the state of safety and security in the meetings industry.

    Unfortunately, with the world we live in today, more than ever this is top-of-mind. So much so that when Callahan-Giobbi polled the audience, it was no surprise that 50 percent responded they have an emergency plan in place for their events.

    All of the panelists agreed that the meetings industry has a unique responsibility to secure the safety of those attending our events – whether that’s from the perspective of the destination, venue or individual organizers.

    While the progress that’s been made is good news, Callahan-Giobbi added, “This is still a critical topic that we all have to lean into more than ever before to keep momentum going.”

    The Importance of Event Design

    Following the discussion on security and emergency plans, Callahan-Giobbi polled the audience again to understand what they wanted to hear most from the panel. Effective event design came in number one – rising above other topical subjects like federal and state legislations, ROI and increasing event attendance.

    When it comes to giving our meetings a unique “wow” factor or finding new ways to push the envelope, technology is often a primary element. But each of the panelists spoke about using technology to enhance the overall experience – and not detract or take away from the very important face-to-face time that only meetings can provide.

    Callahan-Giobbi reiterated another important theme from the discussion: Keep the human touch in hospitality. “As high-tech as we are, let’s be mindful we’re still in the hospitality business. We can’t allow or encourage technology to take over every aspect of what we do.”

    Pass the Passion On

    As the event drew to a close, Goodman reminded us that as meeting professionals, we need to “sing the song” of the importance of the meetings industry. And coming full circle to the main purpose of GMID, we should be doing this all the time – not just when we’re trying to get support for a new initiative or questions are being asked about ROI.

    And that’s where the panelists echoed that the passion and commitment that we have for the meetings industry gets passed on, especially to future generations just entering the industry. When we all sing the same song about the value of the meetings and event industry, we continue increasing awareness about how critical all the aspects of the meetings industry is to our overall economy.

    Callahan-Giobbi offered one final piece of advice: “Get involved with industry organizations. It’s the best way to pass the passion on and help others understand the value of the industry.”

  • OLC Named by Bizzabo as Chicago Event Venue Attendees Will Love

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Mar 30, 2017

    Bizzabo, an event website and ticketing platform, named 30 of the best Chicago event venues. We’re honored to make the list!

    Bizzabo called the OLC, “a state-of-the-art conference center…[that] can hold a variety of events such as seminars, multi-day conferences, and streaming broadcasts.”

    Thanks for including us!

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA LinkedIn