By Jake Rigby
The launch of Grip Teams earlier in 2019 saw the introduction of the first ever meeting management solution for real collaboration among exhibiting company’s representatives.
Since its inauguration, we are now seeing the average exhibiting company who uses the Grip software capture over 50 leads per event from attending meetings, networking, and making use of the smart calendar link.
Digital marketing has increased the accountability of marketing budgets in terms of providing quality lead capture and for many companies attending trade shows, the aim of achieving a return on their (large) investments is often measured through quantifiable, quality leads.
For corporate event planners, managing meetings and using those sales individuals to their fullest is not always an easy task, as exhibitor teams often struggle to manage meetings with clients. Whether this stems from a lack of integration between systems, a lack of visibility among colleagues on the show floor, or simply the use of inappropriate tools for meeting management, it takes its toll on the teams efficiency and maximising the opportunities during the event.
For exhibition organisers, there hasn’t been an effective solution for event teams to deploy which allows their exhibiting companies the opportunity to maximise their stand staff and increase each exhibitors capacity for meeting attendees – until now.
Grip has always been at the forefront of event matchmaking and networking software and since the introduction of its new functionality Grip Teams, exhibitors stand staff are now able to book meetings on behalf of each other, gain full visibility of the team’s diaries and meetings calendars and track progress across all of the events that they attend.
In fact, Grip saw a 41% increase in captured leads when Grip Teams was used by the exhibitors compared to others using the Grip platform.
For stand staff, the Grip Teams solution also serves as a valuable asset when managing meetings for upcoming events. Users will get a full view of the event that they are attending, the details of the meeting, including the location within the venue, as well as the number of people who will be joining the meeting. This allows sales managers to track leads in an integrated, streamlined and collaborative manner.
Grip Teams also includes a seamless meeting creation tool with fields that are specifically designed to capture all of the relevant information that is needed. These meetings are then automatically displayed on a comprehensive meeting calendar which gives a great visual overview as well as a collaborative interface. Grip also has a deep integration with iCal, Gmail and Outlook, so stand staff never miss a meeting!
Exhibitors are able to share their meeting availability with prospects by simply sharing a meeting link, and this can be shared on social media platforms as well as via email. It is a powerful asset when managing calendar availability.
Interested in finding out more about how Grip Teams can improve the ROI on your next event? Get in touch!
Having worked with hundreds of events to optimize B2B Meetings we have realized that the question “Where will meetings take place?” is not as simple as it might sound.
There are actually a lot of decisions revolving around it; “Is the visitor or exhibitor experience more important?”, “What level of commitment do I expect to create with pre-scheduled meetings?”, “Am I willing to allocate dedicated floor space to a networking area?” And many more questions are embedded into this seemingly trivial question.
In this guide, we will draw upon our experience in organizing meetings at trade shows, conferences and networking events to provide you with the pros and cons of the different meeting configurations.
Why Pre-Scheduling Meetings?
The first question is why would I enable pre-scheduled meetings at my event? Can’t people just use a chat functionality? The main reason, we believe, is Return on Time. For visitors and exhibitors alike time is the most valuable thing they have at an event, and any tool should strive to increase the return of the time allocated to the event.
As little time as possible should be ‘wasted’ by looking for a stage, waiting to get your badge to enter the event, and trying to find the person you are meeting.
Therefore, pre-scheduled meetings provide the ability for attendees to plan their day before the event in the same way they select the sessions on the Event Program they would want to go and see.
Different Configurations for Event Meeting Locations
General Location: The most simple way to set up a meeting location is to use general spots such as “at the entrance” or “Meeting Point A” as the place for meetings to take place. The benefits of this are mainly that it is very easy to set up and requires little interaction with operational teams as long as a banner is positioned indicating the area. There are however significant drawbacks to this. In general, meeting attendance will be lower, as there is less commitment when no table is assigned to the meeting, and people can sometimes get frustrated when they can’t easily locate individuals.
Meeting Tables: Numbered tables that are automatically assigned when a meeting is accepted on the platform is an incredibly efficient experience. When executed well it provides attendees with a streamlined way to have 10+ meetings a day in rapid succession with a minimal number of no-shows. We recommend it for any event with more than 200 people as the difference in satisfaction and networking efficiency is significantly higher than a “General Location”.
Booth: For any event where the product or actual booth of the seller is important, making it possible for meetings to be at the booth is vital. For example, at ProWien, the largest wine fair in Germany, all meetings happen at the booth because there are 6,000+ exhibitors that want to showcase their wines. It requires clear signage and communication that meetings are happening at the booth and where those booths are.
Hybrid: Several of our clients has successfully implemented a “Hybrid model” combining a smaller meeting table area for visitor to visitor meetings while enabling exhibitor meetings to happen at their booth. You can see in this video how the dedicated space worked for Imbibe Live where about 45% of the overall number of meetings happened. The other 55% of meetings actually happened at exhibitor booths, which shows that it creates a better experience for all meetings.
Meeting Location Decision Grid
To make it easier we’ve put together the grid below which we hope will help you come to a decision on where meetings are going to take place.
Monetization Ideas for Your Meeting Area
One of the issues organizers have with Meeting Area’s is that they don’t generally drive revenue vs. square footage bookings by exhibitors. We have seen two clever ideas to monetize your networking area and making it a great sponsorship opportunity.
Sponsored Meeting Areas
At Money 20/20 US the Meeting Area was called the “PayPal Lounge” and was a fully sponsored area at the middle of the show floor. It fits perfectly with PayPal’s brand of enabling companies to do more business with seamless payments and drives great brand recognition for them. Here is our CEO; Tim Groot and our Head of Exhibitor Management Laurie Delpino at Money 20/20 USA:
Premium Meeting Tables
Another “Premium” idea that we love is having premium tables inside your meeting area. For example, you can have 30 normal tables and 10 premium tables that are just for a specific company to have their meetings at in one area. This maximizes use of space and provides the 10 companies with a premium experience that sets them apart from other companies.
Have we missed something? We’d love to hear from you as we continue to move towards more connected events.
Powered by Grip Event Networking
In our ongoing quest to ‘empower the organizer’ we’ve added a whole range of new features to the Grip Dashboard. This includes new business intelligence features, organizer notifications for direct engagement with event attendees, sponsorship packages and a whole new data quality section on the home screen.
Grip now features two sponsorship packages that you can manage completely from the dashboard.
Lite – a simple way to ‘highlight’ certain exhibitors or potentially even visitors in recommendations and attendee / exhibitor lists. Boomset, in the mobile mockup, is not pushed to the top of the list but does has the featured label behind the name to increase visibility and catch people’s attention when scrolling through the list.
Premium – the full sponsorship package will push exhibitors to the top of lists on both the mobile app and desktop platform giving even greater visibility as is the case with Grip, CVENT and Circdata in the screenshot.
In addition to that, premium sponsors are also shown in the footer of emails and in the sidebar on the desktop platform.
Again, all of this can be managed from the Grip dashboard to empower you to take full control of your event to create event sponsorship packages of the Grip matchmaking platform.
With events becoming bigger and bigger the ability to quickly filter profile and interaction data from for example meetings is crucial and of great importance to organizers. Therefore we’ve made one of the most advanced filtering modules available in the industry.
It enables multi-facet and multi-rule filtering, to illustrate what this means let us give you an example. You can filter for all meetings that involve an exhibition company and are with a visitor and are not yet accepted. You can go as complicated as you want, there is no limit! See a small give with an example of multi-facet filtering below!
Data quality is crucial for successful event matchmaking and this new section gives you a great snapshot on the quality of the data you have provided from where you can start collecting more data and make necessary changes to the matchmaking rules to increase the coverage of them.
To make it actionable, we’ve added a suggestions section that shows you ways to improve your data quality so that you can set your event up for maximum success on the Grip Platform.
New data tables – we’ve simplified our data tables to no longer require horizontal scroll and are highlighting the data that is most important in the table.
New full profile design – we’ve created a whole new full profile that includes a real-time preview of the profile and improved editing functionality to update profiles if required.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that current signals around Artificial Intelligence are mixed.
Is it an over-hyped ‘new tech thing’? Or is it going to somehow Take Over Humanity As We Know It (like in the Terminator or Matrix movies)?
The reality is not quite so dramatic. Where it does get exciting is how Artificial Intelligence is shaking up processes that are currently inefficient or simply very random, such as networking in the events space.
And that is where Grip comes in.
Event matchmaking is currently a tedious data-entry process, usually only available at the biggest events. There’s plenty of legwork for organizers, getting through thousands of registrant’s names, often manually matching them for relevance. Attendees have reams of paperwork to get through to indicate their interests. And that’s before the meetings are scheduled.
Attendees who aren’t matched and scheduled, aren’t the meet-and-mingle type, or don’t already have an established network, may turn up at a large trade conferences disoriented and disengaged, despite organizers’ best efforts.
Using social media data from established networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, Grip offers attendees from the newest conference delegates to the seasoned old-hand a personalized networking experience, without the drudgery of form-filling. (Some of our attendees have called it ‘revolutionary’.)
Pre-event meetings with Grip happen after both parties have indicated a mutual interest in each other’s areas of business, and agreed to a timeslot to meet. This can keep changing as often as both parties need it to.
At the event, our AI takes attendee preferences and curates suggestions from the attendee namelist, based on mutual interests. So no one has to scroll through 5,000 names to find, say, 5 that they might want to meet.
Attendees also network in real time. That means that, in the midst of the event, they can ‘swipe right’ (that’s a ‘Yes’) on individuals on their personalized list whom they’d be interested to meet. Depending on how they interact with that list, a fresh set of contacts could be suggested.
Everyone, including celebrity attendees and speakers, has as much privacy as they can handle, with a curated list based on their indicated networking preferences, ensuring that only the right business prospects get connected. (Get the details here. And when we mean AI, we don’t mean the lipservice stuff. We mean the game-changing stuff.)
Under the hood, Grip’s Artificial Intelligence Matchmaking Engine combines algorithms, contextual vectors and natural language processing to interpret data from multiple sources including social media profiles and usage patterns.
Data is used to suss out networking intent, and how well that was satisfied. Users are anonymous to each other until and unless they indicate they are both ‘Interested’ to meet. And private messages between attendees are private.
When we provide insights — at an aggregated level — to event organizers and sponsors, it enables them to know which parts of their program were the most effective, and where they got the best return on their investment from.
Artificial Intelligence won’t replace human-to-human interaction. Grip doesn’t replace the random serendipitous encounter by the snack bar. It enhances it. Not leaving networking to chance means — no attendee will have to wonder if they’re in the right place, at the right time, to meet the right person. Ever.
We are Grip, a professional networking app for events. Grip empowers professionals to achieve their networking potential. The Grip matchmaking app connects delegates, speakers, and exhibitors in a fast and simple way.