Conference Presentations: Higher Technology, Higher Expectations

By Lynn McCullough Director of Meetings & Association Management, CMA Association Management | October 28, 2008

Over the last 10 years, many things have changed conference and convention attendees' behavior - the way they travel, and the way they conduct business from the road. Further, there is no question that the rapid advancement of technology has also had a great impact on the way a conference or convention actually operates. Let's take a trip back not too many years ago when an overhead projector was a commonplace presentation tool. Those days seem like ages ago but in reality, not too many years have passed. Now presentations are turning into a form of entertainment. Presentations today involve a wide variety of up-to-the-minute technology that every Convention Service Manager (CSM) and Meeting Planner needs to have a working knowledge of.

A member of the Association for Convention Operations Management (ACOM) and a technology guru, Dirk Bohns has first-hand experience with the new technology that is now gracing the stages at conferences and conventions. Bohns has provided a wealth of knowledge about the new forms of projectors, projection screens and monitors, and presentation technologies, along with a glimpse into what the future holds for technology in the meetings industry.

According to Bohns, here are some trends to look out for:

Widescreen is Here to Stay

The widescreen presentation format is becoming increasingly popular and is here to stay. The usual setup for a widescreen presentation is to use three projectors. The three projectors will overlap images to create a single seamless image projected onto a wide screen setup. This form of technology creates an image quality that is higher resolution than a High Definition image and allows the creation of a single surface with multiple elements including fly-in logos, I-Mag (image magnification) images from a camera, Power Point presentations and HD playback. ("I-Mag" images are live and will appear on one or more screens) The benefit of having a widescreen provides a panoramic viewable surface and a backdrop that can be infinitely changed throughout the event.

Finding the Right Projector

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.