TechFest (http://tech-fest.co.uk/) is an event aimed purely at event organisers and focused on Event Technology.
I have to admit that it was lovely to be attending an event as a delegate for a change rather than to be ensuring everything runs smoothly behind the scenes for others! I started the day armed with a brand new notebook – not sure if that is allowed at an event focused on event technology but as a stationary geek it made me happy at least (simple pleasures)!
We were greeted and welcome to the event by Oscar the Robot. It was good to see Oscar live in action as I am desperate to use him for my own future events but haven’t yet had the opportunity! Oscar was at his most charming, commenting that he “liked my red bag” as I went past. As anticipated Oscar proved a great hit throughout the event talking to delegates, smiling for photos and generally attracting attention to himself – an excellent engagement tool which is proven to be particularly valuable in terms of attracting footfall to exhibition stands and other promotional activities.
The event had tried to do things differently, rather than by traditional means; for example attendees were invited from the “Making Good Organisers Great” LinkedIn Group and there were no delegate packs at the event. We did find however that by our very nature event planners are generally very meticulous and so many of us attending the event had printed out our own event programme and brought it with us to refer to!
At the registration desk we had to choose a badge based on our knowledge of event technology. Gemma thrust a Pink Badge onto me – signifying that I was knowledgeable about event technology! Other colours signified those that had some or little expertise in this area and the badges were designed as an ice breaker and conversation starter.
The event was expertly Chaired by Alan Stevens (@mediacoach). He highlighted that technology can be a great thing if used appropriately but also gave wise words of warning that all speakers should be prepared to manage with or out technology when presenting “just in case.” He also outlined a true story of an event which had the event Twitter feeds prominent on the stage behind the speaker but in full view of the audience. The audience used Twitter to complain how bad the speaker was and then collectively decided to do a countdown to leave the room, at which point three quarters of the audience departed. The remaining audience then had to point out the Twitter messages to the bewildered speaker to explain the reason for the mass departure.
Jamie Vaughan, Sales Director at So Visit gave some interesting facts during his presentation:
80% of leads from an event are never followed up.
As an event organiser this is both baffling and disappointing as this is a massive lost opportunity. Proving the Return on Investment of attending or exhibiting at an event is vital to ensure the business opportunities and revenue is maximized and ensure future approval.
94.9% of attendees welcome ongoing communications post show.
To highlight once again the lost opportunity represented by the previous fact – leads from an exhibition are generally “warm” and receptive to communication. This should be seized and definitely not wasted under any circumstances!
Hellen Beveridge, Trainer and Consultant at PureRocketScience gave a commons sense presentation on social media campaigns. She stressed the importance of knowing your audience, seeing your event from the audience perspective and setting the goals you want to achieve from the campaign.
After hearing from Quick Mobile about the many benefits of using a mobile app for events William was asked why he hadn’t had an event app for the event. This started comments about how mobile apps can be time consuming in terms of adding the event information. Many of the audience disagreed with this, telling others they were using the wrong apps if it required hours or days of work! (By the way – if you are looking for a competitively priced mobile event app we recommend that you should investigate www.advancedeventsolutions.com).
In the afternoon we joined tables for World Cafe Discussion Groups. The groups highlighted the difference in experience and knowledge between some of the attendees (e.g. some still use paper registration forms) but the groups I joined sparked some interesting conversations and discussions.
The day was frankly over too soon with cars waiting to whisk us over to HAC for champagne and show rounds.
I got a lot out of the day in terms of the networking opportunities and some of the presentations. I met some fantastic people and it was great to finally meet in person some contacts I only knew previously through email or social media.
All credit to William from Gallus Events for putting on this free conference for event organisers – probably the most critical audience he could have targeted! Well done and thanks also to Gemma Pears for looking after everyone so well.
I will definitely look forward to TechFest 2013!
Did you attend TechFest 2012? What did you get out of the day? What would you like to see from TechFest 2013? I would love to hear your thoughts below.