Benchmark Hospitality International, in its “2012 Top Ten Meeting Trends,” points out that luxury is coming back, meeting demand is growing, and meeting space is at a premium.
Their number five trend, “Meetings Technology Has Leapt Into The 21st Century,” might be interesting to Dice readers. The organization says that conferences are using Facebook and mobile apps to help attendees with their registration, find their way around, and provide feedback to the organizers.
When I attended in July, OSCON used an app that worked in conjunction with their larger conference management software. The FETC (Florida Educational Technology Conference) had their own app, produced by AVAI, as well.
What else could mobile do for people at an event?
Much of the activity at a conference deals with marketing and branding. Michael J. Shapiro, at the Market and Conventions website, outlines a bunch of ways that conference planners are enhancing attendees’ and sponsors’ on-site and virtual experiences. One of his more interesting suggestions is the use of mobile technology to produce videos for promotion and branding. Current smartphones have high quality cameras, and there are quite a few new apps for taking and editing photos.
Uploading photos and video is relatively straightforward, with Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and yes, even email. If you really know social media, maybe you could approach a conference organizer and offer to blog or update their Web pages with near real-time photos or video interviews of attendees. Volunteers and press frequently get a pass, so helping out with a show might put you in a good position to network. Contact the conference organizer well ahead of the start date and make a compelling pitch.
I’ve seen precious few reporters running around doing interviews with a high-end smart phone and microphone. Maybe the quality is too low for most news organizations. Or, could it just be that nobody really has figured how to do it well, using these latest wonder tools. Somebody with outstanding knowledge of mobile technology could be a pioneer, in this area, since nobody seems to be paying attention.
Mobile professionals could also use their knowledge of Facebook to be an on-site social media expert.
Presentations using tablets is another area ripe for expansion. While the iPad can stream images and videos to an HDMI display device, using a little Apple TV box, I’ve seen few presenters using this great technology. What about Android? Have you seen any presenters, either at a conference or in your company using an iPad or Android tablet to put their slides up on the projection screen? Maybe there’s a niche for you.
What would you do to make conferences and meetings better and how could you leverage that into a possible paying gig?