BizBash Florida Expo Offers Tips on Event Technology, Industry Trends, Going Green, and More

By Mitra Sorrells April 14, 2011, 4:15 PM EDT

Photo: BizBash

The Florida BizBash Expo and Awards drew more than 1,500 event professionals at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center on Tuesday. The day included education sessions, keynote presentations, action stations, a trade show with more than 100 exhibitors, and multiple opportunities for networking.

One of the hottest topics in the event industry is the growing interest in green and sustainable events. Danielle Adams, president of the Green Meeting Industry Council, shared information about the new APEX/A.S.T.M. Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards, which are now being balloted through a consensus process. The standards encompass nine sectors: audiovisual, accommodations, communications, destinations, exhibits, food and beverage, meeting venue, on-site office, and transportation. Adams offered several ideas on how to make events more green, including “eco-chic nightclubs featuring dance floors that produce electricity, eco-fuel canisters to keep foods hot that can be recycled when empty, luxurious linens made from plastic bottles, and energy-saving LED lighting and electronic signage.” 

During a session hosted by BizBash editor in chief Chad Kaydo, on trends affecting events—among them: social media, lighting and projections, and new engagement techniques—attendees used handheld electronic polling devices to participate in an instant survey that asked, “What is the biggest trend facing the event industry?” With 44 percent of the vote, participants selected technology as the biggest trend. Shai Tertner, president of Shiraz Events, cautioned planners to remember to “still be hospitable and gracious and balance the technology with that. We don’t want people on their BlackBerries and phones the whole time.” Tertner added that when it is used properly, technology can be beneficial. “Once you have content online, you become global. And that adds to your R.O.I.”  

Veteran planner Howard Givner, executive director of the Event Leadership Institute, led a three-hour crash course on building an event company. “It’s important to understand the difference between a happy client and a successful event. A happy client is more important,” he said. “So ask your client, ‘What does success look like to you?’ Become in tune to the client; figure out what is going to make them appreciate their relationship with you.”

For a hands-on experience, Donald Braun, president of Donald Braun Events, donned a lab coat to lead four teams of attendees in a three-hour Design Lab, during which they created fully themed table decor. Braun said he gets inspiration from an unusual source: “I buy restaurant design books, because I think restaurants are on the cutting edge of really cool, unique things. And then you can create your own take on it.”  

The program ended with the presentation of the first BizBash Florida Readers’ Choice Awards and the BizBash Florida Event Style Awards.

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