Top Criteria for Selecting an Event Technology Solution Provider

December 13, 2018

Craig Sukenic

Craig Sukenic is Vice President of Sales for SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals. Sukenic is responsible for advancing the company’s strategic sales goals, including driving increased sales and broader partner relationships within SmartSource’s key target markets of conferences, events, trade shows and business solutions.

Exhibitors and sponsors invest significant resources – financial and human capital – to make their presence at leading trade shows and conferences a success. In fact, event marketing budgets are on the rise as evidenced by a Bizzaboo “Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends” report that found that 63 percent of marketers plan on making higher investments in their event, both in terms of dollars spent and number of events in which they exhibit. 

One area where event budgets are growing is event technology. For instance, Bizzaboo research suggests that $50 million was invested in 2017 for event management solutions alone, with Frost and Sullivan’s data putting the event management software industry’s revenues at over of $28 billion. 

There’s no question that marketers are recognizing the benefits derived from these and other leading-edge event technology solutions: increased engagement, lead capture and branding support. As a result, they are relying on a wider range of event technologies. Where some, however, fall short is in their selection of an event technology solution provider. Many simply do not take the time to properly vet this resource and, in failing to do so, struggle with deriving the maximum benefit. By evaluating a provider against key criteria, marketers can gain the full benefit of each technology’s performance features.

National Reach with Local Execution

First, it’s important that a provider has a broad geographic reach in order to assure that the solutions needed will be delivered on time to the event venue regardless of whether it’s on the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest, South or anywhere in between. Ideally, the organization will have fully-staffed offices across the nation with ample onsite inventory and effective logistic protocols in its various branch offices. This coast-to-coast reach facilitates delivery schedules as fast as same-day service, as well as providing savings in shipping costs. This is often critical towards the ability and willingness to accommodate potential last-minute changes.

Broad and Deep Product Portfolio

Marketers should seek out providers whose product line includes the latest in brand-name event technologies. The selection should include a wide range of event solutions, from event management software, mobile event apps, lead retrieval software, audience polling and beacon technology, to LED displays and video walls, digital signage, interactive kiosks and charging stations, touch screens, sound equipment, lighting and projectors, computers (laptops, MacBooks, iPads, etc.) and related peripherals. 

From Concept to Deployment

A provider whose value proposition extends beyond simply having the right products, including having experienced “architects” to help design and customize technology solutions to best meet an exhibitor’s specific needs, is a marketer’s best choice. Solutions Architects are the missing link in so many event technology applications. They raise the right questions at the onset of an engagement to ensure that the right technology is used and optimally configured. Then, they apply their technical expertise and integration skills, giving exhibitors access to their in-depth knowledge of the technology, and ultimately, the ability to harness the technology’s full performance features. 

In addition to seeking out providers with a team of qualified solutions architects, select an organization whose team also includes other trained technicians and dedicated project managers, who serve as single points of contact to manage all aspects of their clients’ event technology needs.

Reputation Matters

An organization that has been named the official and/or preferred event technology provider for leading trade shows, expositions and convention centers across the nation should indicate to an event marketer and exhibitor that this provider is a reliable, high-quality and professional resource. This is a provider that won’t let you down in terms of equipment performance or technical support. Not many providers hold this distinction but it is well worth a marketer’s due diligence in seeking out this type of high-caliber event technology provider.

Additionally, industry referrals are an excellent way to identify your preferred Event Technology Solution Provider. In doing your due diligence, consider asking for examples of similarly scoped events along with industry standard benchmarks such as Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS accounts for promoters versus detractors and is an excellent way to validate capability to ultimately realize your vision for an event.

It’s Not about Price, It’s about Value

As always, while pricing is a factor, it should not be the only criteria used to consider your preferred event technology firm. Your presence at these events is highly visible and likely critical to your overall marketing strategy. What happens if a microphone goes out while your CEO is presenting if a backup isn’t in place? How does it look to your target audience if the aspect ratio of your digital content is misaligned with the display? Look for an event technology firm that is capable of executing your vision by offering a high-value solution.  

Experience Equates to Confidence

Finally, look for an event technology solution provider that can cite a decades-long, proven track record meeting the needs of marketers and event and meeting planners across all industry sectors and geographic territories. This experience, backed by a guaranteed commitment to quality assurance, is a real testament to an event technology solution provider’s commitment to its clients’ complete satisfaction.

There’s little doubt that event technologies will continue to see broader application in trade shows, conferences and industry events. The Bizzaboo Event Marketing 2018: Benchmarks and Trends report also found 86 percent of event marketers feel that event technology can have a major positive effect on the success of their events and that a majority of “over-performing” organizations plan on raising their event technology budgets. This action is supported by data from Enterprise Event Marketing, which found that event technology can help increase event engagement by 20 percent, increase productivity by 27 percent, and decrease costs by 20-30 percent. Even higher performance metrics can be attained when the right event technology solution provider is used.

Your vision is critical. Finding the right event technology solution provider is essential towards the execution of your vision.  


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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.