What challenge(s) did the show face?
Challenge 1: During 2017 (year 1) we faced many challenges in the Business Exchange when 80% of the attendees showed up at the same time to check in for their appointments. We knew this could not occur in 2018 (year 2) and we needed to find ways for faster and efficient check-ins to get attendees to the business partners for their schedule appointments.
Challenge 2: We planned on having (4) time banks of (3) concurrent sessions, Idea Accelerators, throughout Day 2 but our contract did not allow for enough breakout rooms for us to achieve this.
What was the Best of Show solution(s)?
Challenge 1: We worked with our registration team to create an email based "check-in" process for attendees to check in the night before. As an alternative, if attendees did not check-in via email, staff could easily scan QR codes on attendee badges upon approaching the Business Exchange. This process helped to reduce the amount of attendees checking in at the same time. To create a controlled flow, attendees were welcomed onto the Business Exchange floor based upon appointment times through "group numbers", similar to how passengers are boarded onto a flight.
Challenge 2: We worked with the hotel to add an outdoor terrace to our contract, allowing us to brainstorm ways to create event space outside of the hotel. By working with a tenting, furniture, and AV vendor, we created unique learning environments that showcased the views of the Potomac as well as allowed us to host the concurrent sessions we previously did not have space for.
And what were the overall results and impact on the show?
Challenge 1: The changes for the check-in process and "boarding" onto the floor helped to reduce a mad rush of all attendees at our check-in counters when they arrived. Attendees felt as though the process was smoother and allowed them to arrive to their appointments in a timely manner. This solved many challenges we experienced in 2017. Business Partners were happy to see the changes in place which allowed them to stick to their appointment schedules without delays.
Challenge 2: Attendees were inspired by the unique learning environments created for the show as a result of space needs. An added bonus to this was the proximity to the Business Exchange which allowed attendee to flow quicker between the two event elements, allowing them to experience multiple sessions and appointments within Day 2. This also allowed the Gaylord to showcase ways to utilize the Orchid Terrace as well as create breakouts in other areas of the venue.
What innovative practices, customer service and/or networking environments occurred to make it the best show ever?
Day 1 of the Lab created three unique zones of learning all within the same ballroom. Radio headsets and comfortable seating allowed attendees to participate within their zone without the distraction from others. Throughout the team atmosphere, Business partners and Association Professionals learned from each other as they worked through team exercises.
Between zones in the Lab, we provided mental palette cleansers in the form of "Pop up Talks". This helped to break up content and train-of-thought between zone rotations. The pop-up speakers introduced provocations prior to attendee's next set of conversations.
After a day of learning in The Lab, attendees were treated to a reception/concert which allowed continued networking and entertaining.
Throughout Day 2 we energized the crowd with morning musicians and closed the event with an illusionists who bridged the gap between perception and reality to increase our powers of persuasion and influence. XDP helped to not only showcased and educated our attendees on how to create experience, it also inspired them on how to deliver this at their events.
Did you initiate an “out of the box” idea?
The Lab, serving as a collaborative learning environment, inspired Association Professionals and Business Partners on how to break free and try new ways of thinking, ushering in a new era of success through their events. Led by a dynamic host and incredible industry thought leaders serving as zone captains, The Lab took place in a hub-and-spoke designed learning environment. Attendees rotated throughout the day to experience the three simultaneous zones of education in The Lab, each focused on a distinct segment of the XDP core curriculum. While in the zone, attendees would tune into their zone captain through personalized headsets, used similarly at sporting (golf) events. This provided distraction free learning while in a ballroom with 1,000+ attendees.
Tent Created Learning on the Orchid Terrace Day 2 of XDP
Association Professionals meeting with Business Partners throughout Day 2
Day 1 learning in the Hub and Spoke model with three distinct learning environments
The Lab - Unique Furniture
Unique furniture arrangements throughout the Lab on Day 1 of XDP
Location of Show:
Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center
Date of Show:
April 19-20, 2018
Number of attendees:
Number of exhibitors:
256 Business Partners participated in an appointment based "Business Exchange" (rather than a typical trade show format)
Size of showfloor in net sq. footage: