AttendBee: An Online Travel and Concierge Service For Your Attendees and Exhibitors
Trade Show and expo organizers always are striving to make their exhibitor and attendee experience run smoothly. They take great pains to make the event registration process as painless as possible. In many cases, the online registration process takes just minutes.
But it doesn’t end there for the attendees and exhibitors. Now, they have to start the laborious task of booking flights, arranging ground transportation and booking dinner reservations for meetings with clients or team dinners.
AttendBee, an online concierge service, steps up to eliminate much of that frustration. AttendBee will help your attendees search for flights, find the top restaurants with gluten free menus, book a dinner for a team dinner, get tickets to a ballgame or Broadway show, arrange for airport shuttle services and more.
Like many good services Attendee was born from a personal frustration. Raviv Turner, co-founder of AttendBee, and his partner had registered for a conference in Boston. “It took just five minutes to register, but managing the logistics from that point on was time consuming,” Turner said.
Turner had registered late, and all the rooms in the block had been sold. He had to find a hotel, book flights and arrange transportation. On top of all that, their plane had mechanical problems causing their flight to be cancelled. They had to scramble to re-arrange their trip home. “I thought there had to be a better way,” Turner said.
Lauren Cramer, director of events for User Interface Engineering (UIE), is now using AttendBee for her attendees coming to UXIM14 in Denver. The very same conference that Turner and his partner had attended in Boston earlier.
Cramer saw a lot of value in this type of service, and decided to test it out at this year’s conference to see what the level of interest would be. The service is offered only to those who registered for the full conference.
AttendBee’s service is purchased in blocks of 100 at $49 per attendee. Event organizers can choose to absorb the fee, build the cost into the registration or make it an add-on for attendees who are interested in the service.
Cramer said she had no problem filling all the spots. Her attendees tend to go to only one conference per year, so they are not seasoned travelers. They are happy to turn over the tasks of searching for flights and getting restaurant recommendations over to their AttendBee concierge. Some attendees are arriving a day early, and AttendBee is helping them find fun things to do in Denver.
Cramer used the service herself when she traveled to Denver for a site visit. “There was a storm coming through and my flights home and my service to get from the hotel to the airport was cancelled.”
When Cramer started to call around to find a room she kept getting the same message. There were no rooms available. She contacted an AttendBee concierge and asked for assistance. A half-hour later she was booked at a hotel near the airport at a lower rate than she could have gotten on her own.
What really impressed Cramer was the follow-up service. Her AttendBee concierge got in touch with her the morning of her flight to confirm that everything was on track. When she arrived home, she had a welcome message.
Cramer also used the service to book their speaker dinner. She simply asked AttendBee to find a restaurant that had a private room that could fit a certain number of people, in a certain price range, and that was within walking distance.
There is a lot of potential for offering a service like this not just your attendees, but trade show exhibitors as well. Exhibitors are often entertaining clients and arranging team dinners while at a show. They would certainly benefit by the type of service Cramer received.
For events that typically do not pay their speakers it would be a nice way to show that you value their contribution.
Cramer is still unsure if she will absorb the cost again next year or have her attendees pay for it. “I think my people are a bit more price sensitive,” she added, “What we have talked about it is giving it away as an incentive to register early.”
Whether you offer the service as an incentive for early bird registration, give it away to VIP guests or have your attendees pay for it, one thing is certain - it will help create a more positive impression of your event in an area that is beyond your direct control.
Until recently, the opportunity to have a celebrity attend an event, attach themselves to a name-brand or endorse a certain product or idea was untouchable. The thought of paying a person to promote a product was seen as something only Fortune 500 companies could afford. Social media has changed all that with brands and businesses utilizing celebrity influencers to connect directly with their demographics and increase sales and profits.