Last week we had the pleasure of conducting a webinar featuring a live case study interview with Lisa Schulteis, Executive Directorof the Northwest Event Show 2023, where we explored her first hand experience using Sessionboard for this year's show in Seattle.
During the webinar, we learned how Lisa leveraged Sessionboard to streamline their event build, making the process easy for their speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors. Lisa explained how she adopted the software and implemented it into her workflow from start to finish. She also shared tips and best practices for using Sessionboard to plan your own successful events.
The following is our 9 key takeaways from this insightful interview.
1 - The Northwest Event Show Is For Event Industry Folks, By Event Industry Folks
The Northwest Event Show is an event for the events industry held in Seattle that attracts various professionals, including:
Executive assistants who often act as event planners
Anyone connected to events
The event includes:
Two floors of exhibit halls with around 200 exhibitors
Other details include:
Approximately 2000 attendees over two days.
The event was held in the new Seattle Convention Center building.
The event was successful and energetic, with a great reception.
It was a great way to come back after the last three years and bring a live event.
2 - Communication With Constituents Can Be Full Of Challenges, Without The Right System In Place
Every event is different and has its unique challenges.
Challenges include managing speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors.
At the Northwest Event Show, there were 52 speakers to manage, including VIPs with gatekeepers.
Communication is a significant challenge, ensuring speakers have all necessary information and getting information back from them, including bios, headshots, and slide decks.
Similar challenges occur when managing exhibitors and sponsors for an event.
Managing multiple people and conversations while ensuring timely and accurate information exchange is always a huge an complex problem.
3 - Sessionboard Helped Her Say "Goodbye" To Multi-System Chaos That Plagues So Many Event Teams
The toughest challenge is tracking information and keeping it organized when planning events, with multiple team members using different systems, spreadsheets, emails, and sticky notes.
The challenge of tracking required information such as certificates of insurance for exhibitors has been difficult in the past, with complications arising from insurance companies sending information directly to the event planners.
Sessionboard was used to create a single system to track information, allowing multiple team members to access and update information in one place, reducing the need for phone calls and emails.
Sessionboard also allowed for tracking speaker communication and information, such as slide decks and formats, in a single place.
Additional tools were also integrated into the Sessionboard "tasks" feature to make the process faster.
4- Streamlining And Segmenting Communications Was Intuitive and Clutch
Mass emails and individual conversations through the platform's comment feature were effective in communicating with attendees and exhibitors.
The ability to segment communication was important to avoid flooding people's inbox with irrelevant messages.
The platform's comment feature was a favorite and streamlined communication, making it easier to respond to inquiries quickly.
Multiple contacts could be added to a record to ensure the right person received the messages.
Overall, communication was significantly improved this year through the adoption of Sessionboard.
5 - After Seeing An Initial Demo, She Knew She Needed To Implement Sessionboard Into Her Workflow
Lisa was introduced to Sessionboard less than a year ago at IMEX.
She was considering it for a large conference with 2200 poster sessions and 2000 regular sessions.
Lisa saw a demo of the system and decided that they needed it to manage the Northwest Event Show.
She contacted the person who owns the show and urged them to acquire the software.
They started using the software the next day and loaded tasks as they received them.
They communicated with exhibitors by sending messages and updates as new content was added.
6 - No More Digging For Information Through Inboxes And Folders = Huge Amounts Of Time Saved
Users (exhibitors and sponsors) appreciated having a centralized location to find everything they needed, rather than having to search through multiple emails and spreadsheets.
The software made tasks such as registering booth personnel and scheduling loading dock times much simpler and streamlined, with pre-populated promo codes and a DIY Calendly integration.
The loading dock scheduling task saved the person managing the schedule from having to make 200 phone calls, which was a huge time-saver.
The software was also well-received by internal staff, who found it simplified their work and saved them time.
The task list and visual indicators allowed for quick and easy oversight of tasks and the overall progress of their speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors.
7 - How Much Time Was Saved Per Speaker Thanks To Sessionboard?
Initially, it was estimated to be two hours per person for speaker/exhibitor management.
The actual time saved is hard to quantify because it's difficult to see the extraneous elements of communication and resources that are taken out.
From the standpoint of all the things they didn't have to do, it's at least in the 2 to 3-hour range per person.
The time saved might be even more because they were able to integrate many things to shorten communication time up.
They were using Expo FP for mapping, and they pulled their link from that map and put it in as a custom field in Sessionboard, which made communication more accessible.
8 - When It Comes To Building Successful Events, Always Start With The End Goal In Mind...
Start with the end goal in mind to know what to measure and determine if the event is a success.
Simplify and streamline the event planning process as much as possible.
Document the planning process and use project management systems to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Have a team to work with if possible, but if not, work through it as best you can.
Revamp and streamline processes to replicate and make planning easier.
9- What can you do with the time you saved using SB?
Lisa owns two businesses, including ElectraLime Marketing, and is also the Executive Director for the Northwest Event Show.
By saving time with Sessionboard, it allowed her to focus on other important tasks that can't be systematized.
She was able to redirect her focus onto changes and handling unexpected situations that may arise during the event.
The saved time takes away worry and stress and allows them to put their energy into other important things that need to be handled.
High quality speakers and content are the heartbeat of any event. That’s what inspired us to create Sessionboard. Our platform simplifies the complex workflows and disjointed communications that exist around speaker and content management today. The results? A faster-growing event, more productive staff, seamless collaboration with speakers and more time back to do what you do best—building epic experiences.
To learn why some of the most respected event teams trust Sessionboard to power their operations, schedule a demo today.