"Events of All Sizes Should Have Access to Top-Tier Technology,' says Moring
Expo, Inc. has a unique app for the events industry. Doug Moring, CEO, was at the IAEE Expo! Expo! in Anaheim to demonstrate Expo Pass to event owners, planners and attendees. It has the potential to make a big impact on the user experience. EventsInAmerica.com (EIA) spoke with Moring about his company, why he created his app and how the industry can improve. Here are his comments:
EIA: Tell us about your company and what you do?
Moring: Expo Pass is a full-service conference application consisting of registration, attendee app, lead retrieval and session tracking. We've created a robust event platform that allows you to create an event application in minutes and be as simple as creating a gmail account.
Who are some of the types of customers you serve?
Really anyone who puts on a conference, trade show or event. We have owners who serve from 200 attendees – as well as those who serve over 10,000 attendees. With Expo Pass, there’s no minimum or maximum number to get the best results.
There are other providers of similar services. What’s unique about Expo Pass?
Number one: It’s easy to use. As I mentioned, you can literally create an event application in minutes. Number two: It’s more integrated. When we surveyed the market, we saw companies who had certain components of what was needed, but not all together in an easy-to-use application. Some providers integrated lead retrieval, session tracking and registration, while others had an attendee app, session tracking and lead retrieval. But we wanted app with all of the essential components that’s both user friendly and applicable for conferences of all sizes, not just the larger ones.
What 1 or 2 trends do you see developing in the trade show industry?
Mobile is big and getting bigger, especially as we are able to leverage virtual/augmented realty, beacons, and artificial intelligence. I see this massively changing the attendee and exhibitor experience.
What 1 or 2 tips can you offer an event planner to ensure she has a more successful event?
Before I started Expo Pass, I came from the exhibitor side and have exhibited at hundreds of shows in my career. So my tip to the owner or planner is this: Care about your exhibitors. Exhibitors often get treated like second-class citizens. We’ve heard organizers say they could 'care less' about the exhibitors – and that attitude really needs to be addressed. Exhibitors are the lifeblood of the show and as important as attendees.
So give us a solution. What can a planner do to ensure her exhibitors are well served?
Exhibitors want leads. That’s why they pay to come to these shows. So make sure you have a good, affordable solution to connect exhibitors with attendees. Just think of the economics from the exhibitor’s point of view: The exhibition fee may be affordable but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There's shipping, drayage, flights, hotels and more. The total cost to exhibit can easily be double or triple of what the exhibitor fee is. Then, most shows add on a $500 or $700 lead retrieval fee. It just starts to get out of hand. It doesn’t need to be.
So besides cutting costs, what could the event planner do?
I think one way is to bundle lead retrieval into the exhibitor fee, even if that increases the total cost. In the end you may be paying the same but it doesn’t seem like it.
Since you’ve attended many shows as an exhibitor, you’ve probably thought,” This show could be so much better if………” How did you answer that question yourself when you were on the exhibitor side of the business?
Depending on the show size, I think organizers should explore alternative exhibit hall layouts. Shows are always set up in rows, because that’s what everyone is used to – even the small shows that may have only 50 or 60 exhibitors. And here’s the problem: Attendees enter the exhibit hall from the center but many of them will never get around to visiting the outside rows of exhibitors. But with different exhibit hall configurations – like islets or figure 8s – attendees can more easily loop around and see every exhibitor. You’re ensuring there’s a better route.
What’s the best new idea or development you’ve seen in the tradeshow industry?
The embracing of mobile. We’re in the beginning of a technology boom and I think technology is going to change the experience for the better for all participants.
What do you like most about attending the IAEE Expo! Expo!?
It’s a great show for getting all of the decision-makers together in one place.
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