• 28 Ideas for Doing Good for Yourself and Our Communities

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Apr 27, 2020

    “True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests.”
    – Eleanor Roosevelt

    For many in the meeting and event industry, one rewarding aspect of our work is giving to others – whether that’s customers, co-workers or the industry as a whole.

    But when our ability to be creative, serve others and create memorable experiences is on pause, it’s hard letting go of that innate hospitality mindset.

    We created a list of 28 ideas for #eventprofs and #meetingprofs to do good for communities and practice self-care at the same. And while this list is a good starting point, it doesn’t include every possible resource or organization needing support.

    Remember: we’re all in this together, and we’re stronger together.

    Practicing Self-Care

    1. Practice mindfulness: Several times a time, spend a few minutes taking a few extra deep breaths, clearing your mind, listening to an upbeat song or podcast, calling a friend or colleague, or undertaking any other activity that helps you feel more grounded and centered.

    2. Get active: Following local guidelines, get moving – even if it’s a few minutes at a time around your neighborhood or using one of the many free at-home exercise apps.

    3. Video chat with family and friends: With all the social distancing, it can get lonely – especially for those who live alone or are self-isolating. Set-up a time for group FaceTimes, Zoom get-togethers or Google handouts. 

    4. Try a new recipe: Cooking and enjoying a home-cooked meal nourishes the soul – both literally and figuratively.

    5. Laugh: From a funny meme to an old-fashioned rom-com to whatever else tickles your funny bone, in addition to pushing the stress aside, some studies have reported that laughing for fifteen minutes a day extends your overall lifespan.

    6. Set a time to disconnect:
    When homes become virtual offices, it’s harder to limit work time. Establish start and end times and try to honor those times to step away and re-charge your batteries.

    7. Create a positivity journal:
    As negative news dominates the headlines, the good stories can get lost in the mix. Spend a few minutes each day reflecting, noting and jotting down a few positives from the day.

    8. Explore a new creative hobby: Baking, sewing, knitting, puzzles, coloring and many other creative outlets are resurging in popularity. If you’ve always wanted to try one of these hobbies, now is the time!

    9. Indulge in self-pampering: Favorite salons or spas may be temporarily closed, but you can still practice a little self-pampering at home with DIY face masks, scrubs, relaxing salts or yoga.

    Giving Back to Our Communities

    10. Give blood: With many local blood drives canceled, the nation’s blood supply is dangerously low. There are many ways to give blood safely. Find a blood drive near you through the American Red Cross or America’s Blood Centers.

    11. Donate medical supplies: You’ve likely heard about personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages facing frontline healthcare workers. You can make donations to MedSupplyDrive, which is helping organize donations of protective supplies across the U.S.

    12. Help frontline workers: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation strengthens the CDC’s work to supply immediate supplies and emergency staffing to state and local communities responding to COVID-19.

    13. Support local food banks: Demand is high and supplies are low. Find a local food bank and contact them to see what is needed most.

    14. Feed families, seniors and frontline workers: The World Central Kitchen and the #ChefsForAmerica initiative are working directly with restaurants to provide meals to those who need them most while putting those businesses back to work too. 

    15. Give to vulnerable communities: Homeless individuals and families are especially vulnerable. The Salvation Army has a fund to assist with food and utilities and to provide safe shelter to those affected by the crisis.

    16. Support small businesses: Purchase gift cards now from local restaurants and shops to use in the future.

    17. Keep kids learning: Donate to help kids who don’t have internet access or home libraries to keep learning.

    18. Fund scientific research: Support the development of methods to better detect, diagnose, treat and prevent the manifestation of COVID-19.

    19. Order books from independent bookstores: #SaveIndieBookstores by finding a local bookstore to order from, or donate to the emergency fund set up by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation.

    20. Keep the food and beverage industry going: The James Beard Foundation has started a Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage small businesses in need. The United States Bartenders Guild is offering emergency grants for bartenders, their spouses or their children through the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.

    21. Donate hand-sewn face masks: While not a substitute for medical PPE, many individuals and organizations need fabric coverings to protect their vulnerable communities. If you have a sewing machine, sew cloth masks to donate.

    22. Contribute overstock: For organizations with surplus supplies, the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources collects overstock inventory from businesses and distributes them to schools, nonprofits, and churches in exchange for a tax break.

    23. Check-in: If you have elderly neighbors or friends, call them to see how they’re faring. Offer to help with non-contact chores, like putting the trash out, getting the mail or mowing the lawn.

    24. Write letters: Call or email local senior centers, memory care centers or nursing homes in your area and let them know you’d like to write letters or send cards. Ask friends and neighbors to join in to shower residents with cards!

    25. Deliver food: Help senior citizens in your community by delivering food through Meals on Wheels.

    26. Shop for neighbors: If elderly or immunocompromised neighbors or healthcare friends are unable to go grocery shopping, offer to do their shopping or run other errands for them – with contact-free pick-up and delivery, of course!

    27. Help furry friends: Pet adoptions are at an all-time high and many shelters and rescues are empty for the first time in their history. Resources are still needed – whether to foster, provide supplies, or lend a hand to owners or those with underlying health issues that prevent them from getting out.

    28. Be a mentor: Volunteer and share your spare time, skills and knowledge with nonprofits.

    The time will return when we’re welcoming meeting and event attendees again and those valuable face-to-face connections will resume. In the meantime, there are many ways to do good for ourselves and our communities.

  • Livestreaming a Meeting? Use This Planning Guide

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Apr 03, 2020
    When unforeseen circumstances derail plans and meetings and events are postponed, a livestreamed meeting can help planners engage and communicate with audiences.
    But what if you’ve never livestreamed a meeting or event before?
    From promotion tips to ensuring the experience is engaging and compelling, use this planning guide to ensure a smooth livestream from start to finish.

    1. Establish Your Goals

    There are many ways to use a livestreamed meeting, including:
    •    Educational presentations and workshops: teach attendees something new
    •    Virtual training sessions: share valuable information and teach new skills
    •    Networking: facilitate new connections and information exchange
    •    Product launches: introduce or expand awareness about new products
    •    Employee town halls: bring together remote teams to share relevant information or news

    Once the goals are established for the livestream, you’ll have a firm foundation to continue planning.

    2. Know Your Audience

    Face-to-face success hinges on understanding audiences’ careabouts and top-of-mind concerns – and the same applies to any livestreamed meeting or event. When it’s easy to click away or tune out, attendees stay engaged when their needs and expectations are met.

    And when it comes to virtual formats, it’s especially important to understand audience demographics, including comfort with tech applications. Some audiences adapt easily to a virtual format, while others need a little more instruction.

    A deep audience understanding drives how to make it easy for all attendees to participate and achieve their goals – whether that’s to learn, network, or another objective.

    3. Select the Technology Platform and Delivery Mechanism

    Facebook Live. Zoom. GoTo Meetings. WebEx. Custom applications.

    The list goes on and on, with many different livestream technology platforms and delivery mechanisms available today.

    Knowing there are pros and cons to each, you’ll need to decide on the platform and delivery mechanism that best meets your goals and audience’s needs. As an example, DIY platforms like Facebook Live or Zoom are easy to pilot, working well for short presentations and casual small group discussions. However, broadcasting from a home office may be seen as unprofessional and some audiences may have challenges accessing or downloading the required software within their corporate firewalls.

    Other times, broadcasting from a dedicated studio wired for livestreaming makes more sense, especially as a more seamless approach designed for larger worldwide audiences, technical demonstrations or trainings, or recording meeting content for additional usage. Plus, meeting venues with dedicated studios add professionalism, and typically include all necessary audio/visual equipment and production staff.

    In the case of a complex livestream meeting or when a livestream compliments a face-to-face event, a venue with a dedicated broadcast studio adds professionalism. And by providing all necessary audio/visual equipment and knowledgeable and experienced production staff, the delivery and attendee experience is flawless – and less stressful too.

    4. Plan Your Promotion

    Livestreamed events need to be marketed just like a typical live event. Get the word out through social media, email marketing, websites, PR and more – especially if the livestreamed event is for the general public.

    For example:
    •    Use social media posts to highlight speakers, session previews, or a tutorial video on how to log into the livestream
    •    Create and use a hashtag for the livestream, encouraging followers to do the same
    •    Promote the livestream event in your email newsletter with links to the dedicated meeting webpage
    Don’t assume every attendee is familiar with how to join a livestreamed meeting. Provide detailed instructions in email invitations and confirmations, as well as how to contact support with any technical questions.

    5. Design the Content and Audience Interactivity

    If a speaker is boring or presentation content lacks engagement at a face-to-face event, the same happens in a livestream meeting. Crisp content, dynamic speakers and audience interaction are critical to keeping attendees engaged in a livestream.

    Because constant distractions surround attendees, don’t expect to keep attention spans for an entire day. Structure and limit the livestream agenda to respect people’s time and other commitments.

    Involve attendees, and test learning and retention by incorporating audience engagement techniques through the livestream, such as polls, chats, contests and moderated Q&A sessions. Real-time communication and interactivity builds and keeps connections going – even when attendees aren’t all in the same room.

    6. Repackage the Livestream Content

    Once you’ve made it through the livestream, leverage your hard work and excellent content. Repurpose the livestream recording by offering it to attendees to re-watch or offer edited segments to those who didn’t attend to reach a broader audience.

    Whether it’s to accommodate a postponed event or to add a digital component to a face-to-face meeting, adding a livestream is a powerful strategy for extending event reach and attracting a larger audience.

    Contact us for more information about hosting a livestream in our dedicated HD broadcast studio. 
  • 4 Meeting Venue Trends on Planners and Attendees’ Minds

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Feb 25, 2020
    What are planners and attendees looking for when it comes to finding the right venue for meetings and events?

    That’s a tough question to answer, especially as planners’ needs and attendees’ expectations continue to evolve and the demand for experiences rises within the industry.

    Drawing on research from the 2019 IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ report, here’s a look at four meeting venue trends top-of-mind for planners and attendees.

    1. A Continued Focus on Sustainability

    One of the key report findings was that “ethical operations and sustainable practices are a top priority for meeting planning in the coming years.”

    Of course, the idea of sustainability isn’t new. The topic has been talked about for many years. But as evidenced by the latest IACC report, it will only continue to trend upward. Concerned about the impact of meetings and events on the planet, planners, venues and attendees will collaborate more to reduce the overall environmental impact and carbon footprint of meetings and events.

    As just a few examples, look for an increased focus on more sustainable practices such as:
    • More expansive plant-based catering options on the menu. Eighty-nine percent of IACC report survey respondents indicated they want healthier food and beverage options.
    • Conservation initiatives, like replacing single-use plastic water bottles with permanent self-serve hydration stations.
    • New methods to deal with food waste. In the IACC report, forty-four percent of meeting buyers surveyed cited food waste as their biggest sustainability gripe, and sixty-two percent of respondents indicated they would in the future consider how prospective venues manage unused food.

    2. More Venue Flexibility for Experience Creation

    According to the IACC report, 85 percent of planners said their current role today requires more experience creation compared to five years ago.

    As part of the shift to experience-based meetings and events, and to facilitate the education and networking expected by attendees, venue characteristics like open and flexible space and technology integration will become increasingly important to planners and attendees.

    3. Improvements in Event WiFi

    Slow WiFi – or worse, dead zones – can quickly dampen the entire meeting experience and create a negative impression. In no big surprise, the IACC report found that 47 percent of planners see affordable or free high-speed internet as the most critical meeting technology needed in the next five years.

    With the importance of fast WiFi on everyone’s minds, planners will start discussions early with a venue to make sure the meeting’s WiFi will be secure and seamless.

    4. Fostering Live and Virtual Connections

    IACC survey respondents indicated that one of the top ten meeting elements that help achieve the focus of a meeting is “technology that fosters collaboration and connection” with attendees.

    In today’s hyper-connected world, video livestreaming options make meetings and events more accessible to participants unable to travel due to budget or time constraints. And at the same time, video livestreaming fosters the kinds of connections and peer networking attendees crave.

    Expect more planners and attendees to choose meeting venues with built-in and innovative technology like video livestreaming to bring people together.

    Research confirms that sustainable options, flexible spaces, high-quality internet and the ability to foster both virtual and live connections are top-of-mind to deliver both on planners’ needs and attendees’ expectations.
    Contact us to learn more about hosting a meeting or event at the OLC Education & Conference Center.

  • The 8 Fundamentals for a Successful Annual Kickoff Meeting

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Oct 21, 2019

    An annual kickoff meeting sets the tone and vision for the next twelve months. Done right, it encourages face-to-face team building, celebrates the previous year's successes, and ignites a new focus for the coming year.

    But how do you plan a kickoff that is valuable for attendees and also provides the foundation for success in the coming year?

    Plan an effective annual kickoff meeting by following these eight fundamentals.

    1. Set clear goals and objectives

    It may seem obvious, but before jumping into agenda planning, creative development or logistics, first set the goals and objectives of what you would like to see from the kickoff meeting.

    Your goal may be to celebrate a record-setting year, or perhaps the team needs training around an upcoming product launch. Once specific goals are set for the meeting, choosing a theme, organizing the agenda and determining speakers and topics becomes clearer.


    2. Incorporate feedback from multiple perspectives

    A kickoff meeting is often used to set the stage for taking your organization to the next level. As such, multiple perspectives are needed to communicate that story – from the CEO, sales leadership, the marketing and customer service teams, product specialists or managers, and others.

    When setting goals and objectives, get feedback from all stakeholders, including those whose support is necessary during the planning stages as well as those that will be part of the kickoff meeting itself.

    A few key questions to gather feedback:

    • What resonated with attendees last year;
    • Which kickoff elements helped them to be successful;
    • What could be improved or expanded upon; and
    • What are the frequent questions or concerns from employees that need addressing?


    3. Establish your kickoff theme

    A kickoff theme is useful to:

    • Provide focus around an overarching goal
    • Reinforce and increase retention of key takeaways
    • Add a touch of creativity that ties together kickoff meeting elements


    4. Determine and finalize logistics

    Since many companies host annual kickoffs in January or February and range from one to three days, it’s important to plan early to secure the desired meeting venue and dates.

    Many organizations choose to take their kickoff outside of the office in a convenient, central location to a major transportation hub. Hosting a kickoff in a conference center or meeting venue provides a change of scenery that is conducive to learning, minimizes distraction from regular day-to-day work and keeps attendees focused on the meeting.


    5. Draft your kickoff agenda

    Since your entire organization is together at a kickoff meeting, it’s tempting to cram in as much information as possible. Resist the urge and instead focus the agenda on topics best covered in a large group face-to-face setting.

    When drafting the agenda, crowdsource ideas from the entire internal team and review past feedback or surveys to guide sessions or highlight knowledge gaps needing focus.


    6. Mix up the session formats

    Since a kickoff meeting often serves multiple purposes, from information sharing, technical trainings, building camaraderie and more, the event needs should include different types of sessions to keep attendees engaged.

    For example, employees often rank the networking and collaborative aspects of a kickoff meeting as the most valuable, yet there are rarely formal opportunities for peer-to-peer sharing. And two to three days of endless PowerPoint presentations can diminish learning and retention.

    Plan your agenda with a mix of inspirational talks, informational meetings, training sessions and team-building activities, with plenty of opportunities for knowledge sharing and re-connecting with colleagues they may not normally see face-to-face


    7. Include recognition moments

    Another key component in your agenda planning is the inclusion of recognition moments.

    Whether it’s recognizing top performers through awards ceremonies, welcoming new employees or sharing employee stories from the last year, recognition moments throughout the agenda builds morale and helps employees get to know their peers.


    8. Set pre-work

    Your kickoff is an integral part of your company’s plans for the year. It’s reasonable to ask attendees to prepare for the big event.


    Get the ideas flowing before the kickoff by assigning pre-work tasks, such as asking attendees to record their thoughts on a few thought-starter questions or watch videos or webinars to brief them on training topics.

    Annual kickoff meetings provide a forum to align the entire organization around top goals and priorities for the year, share best practices and new ideas and encourage peer-to-peer learning – creating valuable connections and alignment to the company’s common goals.

    Take a virtual tour of the OLC Education & Conference Center to discover an ideal and centrally-located venue to host your annual meeting.

  • 7 Tips for Planning Your Meeting Venue Budget

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Aug 27, 2019
    The meeting budget.

    It may not be a planner’s favorite to-do. But managing and tracking costs helps planners make smarter decisions to align with overall meeting goals and objectives and keeps spending under control.

    A meeting venue budget includes many different types of costs, some fixed and others variable. Typically one of the largest fixed budget items is the venue rental, which on average accounts for 30 percent of a planner’s budget.

    Keep your meeting venue budget on-track and avoid any surprises by following these seven budget planning tips. 

    1. Identify what your venue rental exactly includes

    As you plan your meeting, work with the venue manager to understand all of the items covered by your rental fee agreement.

    For example:
    •    Set-up fees
    •    Meeting/function room rental
    •    Provided tables, chairs, furniture and AV equipment
    •    Security deposit
    •    Parking
    •    Housekeeping/cleaning
    •    Deliveries/handling

    2. Assess extra fees

    Once you’ve determined what is provided, assess potential additional fees and allot money to cover extras that may come up, such as:
    •    Union/labor charges (straight and overtime)
    •    Cancellation fees
    •    Insurance costs (check to see if/what insurance your venue provides and determine extra coverage needed to protect meeting attendees and your company)
    •    Damage fees
    •    Any applicable taxes and license fees

    3. Work out WiFi coverage and costs

    Meeting attendees expect accessible and fast WiFi throughout the entire venue. Find out if WiFi is included, and if so, if the speed is enough for your meeting.

    If WiFi isn’t included, or you need additional bandwidth, detail out the costs to add more coverage, including in public networking or outdoor spaces if appropriate.

    4. Take control of the A/V costs

    More venues, like the OLC, use an inclusive model for standard A/V equipment, which makes it easier to manage the meeting venue budget.

    If your venue rental includes A/V, check:
    •    Does it include A/V include projectors, switchers, microphones and screens?
    •    What about lighting?
    •    Is labor included?
    •    What about set-up and rehearsals?

     And if you need specialized equipment, such as equipment for a livestream, ask for a detailed pricing estimate. 

    5. Factor in food & beverage

    This budget item is a bit trickier since costs increase as your attendance list grows. Beyond the actual food and beverage cost per person, look for other costs that can drive up your budget:
    •    Any minimum order requirements
    •    Tax and service fees/gratuities
    •    Corkage fees
    •    Bartender/server labor fees

    6. Plan for décor and staging

    If you’re incorporating your brand or event theme into the meeting, don’t forget to budget for additional décor items to enhance what is already included in the venue rental.

    Typical additional décor budget items include:
    •    Draping, linens, table skirting or chair covers
    •    Accent lighting
    •    Floral decorations
    •    Table decorations and centerpieces
    •    Podiums
    •    Risers and/or other staging elements

    7. Leave an emergency fund

    Of course, despite your best planning, you can’t predict what will happen in the days leading up to a meeting.

    By working approximately 5-10 percent of your total budget into an emergency fund, your budget will have the breathing room to absorb unexpected costs, like a speaker’s last-minute A/V request or additional food and beverage to cover last-minute registrations.

    Conveniently located near O’Hare for easy travel, the OLC is a multi-functional venue designed for corporate, medical and association events. Contact us to learn more about our turn-key pricing and concierge service to keep your next meeting on budget.

  • Creative On-Site Branding Opportunities: A Checklist to Discuss with Your Meeting Venue

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jul 24, 2019
    After the time and effort spent creating the look and feel of your meeting’s brand and promotion campaign, it’s time to turn your meeting venue into a physical expression of that identity.

    Of course, every meeting venue has different rules and regulations about what you can and can’t do to the physical property. But with flexible and accommodating venues like the OLC, there are often plenty of unique and creative opportunities to put your brand stamp on the physical space.

    Use this checklist to open up a conversation about available creative branding opportunities at your meeting venue.

    The First Impression

    When attendees arrive on-site, give them a warm welcome by taking advantage of these indoor and outdoor branding opportunities:
    • The entrance
      Add branded welcome signage to let attendees know they’re in the right place.
    • The lobby
      Once attendees step inside, window clings or vinyl lettering affixed to the walls or surfaces make the lobby feel more in line with your meeting tone. If venue rules don’t allow for affixed signage on hard surfaces, place uplights in the meeting’s brand colors around the lobby for an easy and inexpensive branding alternative.
    • Directional signage
      Use branded, simple standing signs or banners to guide attendees to session rooms, networking spaces or the sponsor/exhibit area.
    • Oversize visuals or structures
      Is there an element from your meeting logo or brand that can be turned into a large sculpture? If not, turn your event name into a larger-than-life physical display. Just like the Burning Man iconic sculptures (without the fire, of course!), an oversize visual creates a bold branded backdrop for photos.
    • Step and repeat

      If a dimensional structure is out of budget or not permitted by the venue, use a branded step and repeat backdrop instead. Your meeting’s brand will be highly visible as attendees snap and share pics.

    • The bathrooms
      It’s unexpected, but taking advantage of bathroom branding opportunities adds a little fun to your event. Think mirror clings with clever sayings or quotes to humanize and personalize your brand.

    • Other digital signs
      Many venues, like the OLC, offer digital signs throughout the meeting space. Ask your venue to provide specs to add branded visuals or videos to take advantage of these digital opportunities.

    The Meeting Rooms

    Extend the brand experience where attendees will spend the most time:
    • Walk-in and holding screens

      Create a branded slide for display when attendees walk into the room, or a “holding slide” to insert during session transition times. On the slide, include the meeting logo or other branding elements, plus key information like the hashtag and WiFi network details. Coordinate the technical specs with your venue and on-site AV team.

    • Lectern signage

      If you have speakers presenting from a lectern, don’t miss this prime opportunity to incorporate your meeting brand. All eyes will be on the speaker, and the audience will take and share photos of the speaker, making brand placement on the podium a must. Just ask the venue for the best way to affix your brand to the provided podiums.

    • Slides
      The actual meeting content slides aren’t typically a venue responsibility, but since the on-site AV team will upload whatever slides are provided to them, consider giving all speakers a custom branded slide template to use when building their presentations – helping keep your brand consistent throughout the event.

    The Food and Beverage

    Attendees take photos every chance they get, especially when it comes to creative food and beverage. Work with your venue’s caterer to extend the visibility of your meeting’s brand by sprinkling in simple branded touches such as:
    • Branded buffet signs and menus
    • Edible versions of your meeting logo or theme on everything from cupcakes and cookies to cakes and more
    • Color-coordinated snacks, desserts, cocktails or mocktails that compliment your meeting’s color scheme

    The Attendee Takeaways

    Attendee takeaways may be another area outside the direct responsibility of your meeting venue. Chances are, you’ve worked hard to come up with physical items that will leave a lasting impression.

    Ask and show your meeting venue the materials you plan to hand out throughout the event so they can help determine the best method and place to display items like:
    • Registration packets
    • Attendee name tags
    • Meeting swag and other take-home items
    • Speaker gifts
    Review this checklist with your venue to take advantage of all of the creative – and on-brand – opportunities for incorporating your brand identity throughout the meeting venue.

    As a creative and versatile venue for corporate, medical and association meetings and events, discover the top 10 reasons to host your next meeting or event at the OLC.

  • Planning Meetings to Attract and Engage Millennials

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jul 02, 2019
    With the number of millennials projected to reach 73 million this year – overtaking baby boomers as the largest adult population in the United States – many meeting and event planners wonder, “How can I attract and engage this generation to attend my meeting or event?”
    One noteworthy characteristic of this generation is their desire to have a memorable experience. A recent study by Harris Poll illustrates these beliefs:
    •    78 percent of millennials would rather spend money on an experience or an event over buying something desirable.
    •    69 percent said they believe attending live experiences helps them “connect better with their friends, their community and people around the world.”
    •    83 percent of respondents said they participated in a “live event” in the past year.
    •    72 percent said they would like to increase their expenditures on experiences in the coming year.
    What can meeting and event planners do to attract and engage more millennial attendees? Here’s a look at five best practices.

    1.  It’s About the Connections

    Splash, an event marketing software platform, recently surveyed 785 millennials from around the world to identify what millennials want from events.

    The study asked, “what’s the main reason you choose to attend a brand event?” Fifty-six percent indicated networking opportunities or a chance to meet new people.

    To attract and engage millennials, planners can play to their desire to connect by promoting opportunities to meet with peers, speakers and other industry KOLs.

    2.  Visually Appealing

    Many planners now carefully plan and consider the “Instagram-aesthetic” – meaning how their event or meeting looks like when photographed and shared socially.

    But design isn’t just important at the event. According to the Splash study, 40 percent of millennials said if the invite or event page is “ugly,” they wouldn’t even go to the event.

    Instill a visually appealing approach from the very first communication throughout the entire event to attract to millennials’ keen sense of style.

    3.  Mobile and Technology-Friendly

    Technology has been at millennials’ fingertips, making them enthusiastic users who look for seamless integration in meetings and events too.

    Consider these elements to deliver on attendees’ expectations:
    •    Free WiFi – with enough bandwidth for fast connections to accommodate every guest (and more)
    •    Ample charging stations and laptops to keep devices juiced
    •    No more paper handouts and copies – communications and event materials are green/digital

    4.  Socially Shareable

    In the Splash study, 24 percent of millennials said they attend events just for “social media bragging rights.”

    In addition to meetings that are both visually appealing and technology-friendly, planners should encourage and incorporate social sharing into the overall meeting experience to appeal of millennials’ innate desire to share.

    Promoting a meeting-specific hashtag, or offering special incentives or discounts to those who post pics online or livestream their experience amps up social sharing for millennials and increases a meeting’s visibility to broader audiences.

    5.  Be Creative

    Technically, this last idea applies to engage and attract any audience. Unexpected creative elements, new ideas, surprises and more keep attendees’ engaged throughout the meeting – and give them something to share and continue talking about once the meeting is over. 

    It can be as simple as incorporating a surprise speaker, adding a fun theme, giving back to a good cause or some other creative element. Just don’t add a layer of creativity for the sole sake of creativity – align it with your audience, what they care about and the meeting goals.

      Take a virtual tour to discover how the OLC is an ideal venue for any meeting or event.

  • The Importance of Video for Your Meetings and Events

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | May 28, 2019

    From TV commercials to movie trailers, the use of video marketing isn’t anything new.

    Thanks to the Internet and the always-on smartphones in our palms, video marketing is rapidly on the rise – and for good reasons:

    Beyond these powerful statistics, the growing appeal of video is that it can be used in so many different ways.

    When it comes to meetings and events, video is a great marketing tool. It provides attendees with a glimpse into your event and gives them a taste of what to expect. Plus, it’s a lot more engaging and energetic – just like the experience they’ll have when they attend.

    Take a look at all the ways to use video to create enthusiasm before, during and after an event or meeting. 


    There’s a reason why every major motion picture releases a movie trailer. Film trailers are a way to attract an audience before the release of a film. If the trailer leaves the audience wanting more, they’ll be curious to see the movie when it’s released.

    Event trailers or teasers work the same way. They provide potential attendees with a sneak peek of the in-person experience.

    For an effective event trailer, go beyond location and date details. Show attendees experiencing the event or let them talk about their most valuable takeaway. Ask speakers, industry experts or even well-known subject matter experts to record snippets of their presentation or anything else that establishes your meeting as one not-to-be-missed.

    FAQs & Reminders

    What is the refund policy? What does the registration include? What kind of on-site parking is available?

    Chances are a running list of FAQs are posted on the meeting website. Instead of providing attendees with a long list of questions to read through, a video turns FAQs into a fun, fact-finding experience. (As an example, if you haven’t seen the Las Vegas McCarran Airport security reminder video, it’s a great example of how to make reminders and FAQs entertaining to watch.)

    Video also increases the likelihood that those important, but often-overlooked, reminders are seen and heard too.

    Live Videostreams

    There are plenty of times when potential attendees want to attend a meeting or event, yet can’t make the trip because of conflicting schedules or long distances to travel.

    A live videostream provides a cost-effective strategy to reach bigger audiences – whether it’s expanding the meeting to a global group or engaging a whole new market of people who haven’t previously attended. A live videostream gives a taste of the event experience and often increases the likelihood they’ll attend in person the next year. 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.”

    Another tip: record the live videostream and rebroadcast at a later date with the original presenter hosting live Q&A. Not only does this extend the life of a video livestream beyond the initial broadcast, but it’s also another way to build momentum for future meetings and events.

    Highlights and Recap

    What better way to thank attendees for coming than a video that shows all of the memorable moments? A highlights video provides a powerful recap of the entire event experience and is a perfect teaser to build momentum for the next meeting.

    To discover how our state-of-the-art venue supports video marketing for meetings and events, including video livestreams, contact the OLC to learn more.

  • 11 Rosemont Resources for Your Next Medical Meeting or Corporate Event

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Apr 03, 2019

    Located just minutes from O’Hare Airport and downtown Chicago, Rosemont has long been a popular destination for medical meetings, association events and corporate meetings.

    Rosemont is not only home to the OLC, a state-of-the-art medical meeting and corporate event venue, but also a wide variety of hotel, dining and entertainment options – making it an ideal destination.

    If you’re planning a medical meeting or corporate event in Rosemont, read this helpful guide of all there is to see and do for small and large groups. Your event and meeting attendees will thank you for giving them a great experience.



    • Gene & Georgetti
      One of Chicago’s oldest and finest steakhouses has a Rosemont outpost directly across the street from the OLC. After more than seven decades in operation, Gene & Georgetti is still family-owned and operated. Head to this institution for delicious prime steaks, chops and classic Italian fare.
    • Carlucci
      Rosemont is home to another top restaurant serving Italian traditions for more than 30 years, Carlucci. The restaurant has won dozens of awards and is frequently listed among the top 50 restaurants to visit in the Chicago area.
    • The Capital Grille

      There’s no shortage of delicious steaks, fresh seafood or world-class wines with the Rosemont location of The Capital Grille.

    • Harry Caray’s

      Eat, drink and be Harry! Looking for a dash of nostalgia from the Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame broadcaster combined with Italian favorites and aged steaks? Then a visit to Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in Rosemont is in order.

    • Hofbrauhaus Chicago

      Hofbrauhaus Chicago is only one of eight restaurants and beer halls in the U.S. modeled after the 400-year-old Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Communal dining, live music, authentic Bavarian dishes and beers make for a memorable outing.

    • Sugar Factory

      Delicious dishes, sweet treats, specialty candies, ice cream and more are on the menu at this festive American-style brasserie. Be sure to share pics and ‘grams of the signature cocktails, mocktails and epic desserts!



    • iFly

      Give meeting or event guests a memorable indoor sky-diving experience! If you haven’t experienced a state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnel, this is the place for beginners to world champions to try a human bodyflight.

    • Kings Dining & Entertainment

      This 28,000 square-foot facility features 20 ten-pin bowling lanes, 5 full-sized billiards tables, a shuffleboard table and more to give meeting and event attendees a memorable day or night of entertainment.

    • Zanies

      A trip to the Chicago and Rosemont area wouldn’t be complete without a night of comedy. Catch recognizable or up-and-coming stand-up comedians at one of the area’s top stand-up comedy clubs.

    • Fashion Outlets Chicago

      Looking to do a little shopping? Avoid the crowds on Michigan Avenue and head over to Fashion Outlets of Chicago. As the Midwest’s only two-level indoor outlet shopping experience, one-stop shopping beckons from over 130 designer outlets, including Gucci, Prada, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Burberry, as well as national brands like Banana Republic, J.Crew, Nike, Under Armour and more.

    • Chicago Dogs Baseball

      Soak up the sun and catch a ball game at the newly opened Impact Field, home to the minor-league Chicago Dogs. In addition to the game on the field, great seating options, food selections and fun fan activities mean it is time to go out to the ballgame.

    There is much more to see and do in Rosemont. Check out the area’s local amenities or contact a member of our concierge planning team for other Rosemont resources to make your next meeting or event the best one yet.



  • 25 Years of the OLC: A Look Back and A Look Ahead

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Mar 01, 2019

    The OLC’s hometown of Rosemont has long been a major center for corporations, entertainment and business activities due to its close location to several interstates, O'Hare International Airport, and downtown Chicago.

    Back in the 1980s, to add to Rosemont’s growing reputation as a meeting destination, several of the Village’s larger professional healthcare associations recognized the need for a dedicated education and hands-on surgical training venue for members. After years of planning, the original Orthopaedic Education & Learning Center (OLC) opened its doors in 1994.

    It’s hard to believe how quickly time flies. Not only did we outgrow our original space and move to a new larger state-of-the-art meeting and event venue back in 2015, but this year also marks the 25th year of the OLC. 

    Today, the OLC plays host to thousands and thousands of attendees and hundreds of meetings and events each year.

    Here’s a roundup of just a few highlights how the OLC has grown during our first twenty-five years:

    OLC 2018 infographic long 650

    We wouldn’t be celebrating these milestones and 25 years without each and every one of our valuable supporters and partners. On behalf of the entire OLC, thank you.

    We appreciate your support and look forward to another 25 years (and more)!

  • Meeting Venue Trends and Statistics: What Planners and Attendees Expect in 2019

    by System.Collections.Generic.List`1[Telerik.Sitefinity.Model.IDataItem] | Jan 30, 2019

    After another strong year for meetings and events in 2018, many predictions show the industry continuing an upward trend this year:

    No matter what kind of event or meeting, venue selection plays an essential role in success. We took a look at trends and statistics to determine what planners and attendees expect in the coming year.

    Trend 1: Unique and Flexible Spaces

    In research conducted by SocialTables, an event management platform, 92 percent of planners and property professionals alike said they believe events are more likely to be booked outside of a hotel than they were five years ago.

    One reason why is due to the increased demand for nontraditional meeting and conference formats. For example, many attendees want to network and collaborate in informal or multi-purpose spaces. Beyond event content, the second biggest motivator for event attendance is networking.

    To accommodate a wide variety of needs, planners and attendees today expect flexible spaces that can be easily reconfigured to accommodate both group learning and peer learning. Hand-in-hand is the ability for planners to reinvent meeting spaces as they need them, quickly and easily, without needing long amounts of time to turn a room.

    Trend 2: Local Flavor

    According to Lodging Magazine, “millennials seek to immerse themselves in the destination in which they are staying.”

    But millennials aren’t the only ones who want a local taste. With the rise of bleisure travel, many attendees want to take full advantage of the locale when they attend an event or meeting.

    One way for venues to give planners and attendees a local taste is by providing sustainable food and beverage menu options or offering unique field trips or experiences to nearby destinations. These kinds of unique experiences give guests something they can’t get anywhere else and give back to the local community too – a win-win for all.

    Trend 3: Well-Connected

    According to the IACC Meeting Room of the Future report, a great venue should have good lighting and acoustics, excellent audiovisual capabilities and, most importantly, fast and reliable WiFi.

    With planners and attendees wanting to stay connected to their work and to participate in audience engagement activities during the event, high-quality broadband and solid technology infrastructure are no longer optional. Same with the wide availability of power outlets throughout the venue – these are just as critical.

    Easy accessibility to airports as well as local attractions, restaurants and shopping make it easy for guests’ connectivity to go beyond venue walls too.

    Trend 4: Wellness

    There’s no denying it – wellness continues to be a mega trend both at home and during meetings and events.

    Planners and attendees expect venues to offer healthier menu items – whether that’s vegetarian and vegan, or even Kosher or Halal options.

    Venues that take physical and mental wellness beyond food and beverage are also on the rise. Examples include facilities with water and air purification systems, ambient lighting systems to help guests relax and alleviate stress or even “unplugged” spaces for attendees to meditate or practice mindfulness.

    Trend 5: All-Inclusive

    With so many details to handle, planners increasingly want a venue that provides it all, especially when it comes to turn-key packages with A/V equipment, wireless internet and tech support included.

    All-inclusive packages reduce the need to source, coordinate and book multiple vendors – saving time and worry.

    Ready to plan your next meeting or event? Take a virtual tour of the OLC to discover more of our facility, including our 14,000+ sq feet of flexible space, all-inclusive AV and turn-key concierge planning services.

  • 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.)


    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.


    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.