Monday, June 23, 2014

Mobile Attendee Management ~ Death of the Binder!


I just returned back to my office a few weeks ago from attending a major tradeshow for event planners; this was my first time at the event so I was prepared, extra bag to pack materials I received and any other items the conference was supplying.

The week before we were sent an email to download the mobile event app and we were told when it would go live. Now as a planner I have managed them for my client but this was the first time using as an attendee. It was great! Within the event app I had my scheduled, map, speaker information and social media feeds at my finger tips and to top it off I did not have to take one piece of paper; all I had to do was scan the suppliers barcode and presto I had access to their information.

Well; over the past few months I have been discussing the benefits of Mobile apps and how they can increase efficiency, productivity as well as improve the overall bottom line.

That is where Mobile Attendee Management comes into play! By getting rid of heavy three ring binders and folders crammed with all of your event information. By using Active Network’s mobile event app your attendees can now can easily access all event information from your mobile device or tablet and your make quick updates wherever and whenever you need to. You can also easily handle registration and session check-ins

Embracing mobile event apps will not only allow you get relevant real time information to attendees, but it will also allow you save money by not having to print and ship materials to your destinations, allowing the event manager to make changes to materials quickly and efficiently without having to reprint materials. Also this helps build a reputation of implementing green practices and protocols.

  • Environmentally friendly - not only are you saving trees, but less paper is less pollution
  • Saves space – reduce storage for collateral
  • Easy access – can be accessed from anywhere
  • Reduces Cost of Printing & Shipping of materials
  • Reduces Stress – you no longer have to worry about possible shipping delays or last minute edits to materials

To get more information on how mobile apps can work for your event; go to ACTIVE Network Business Solutions’ website, today and download the entire Mobile Playbook for free.

President  & CEO
Ellegant Affairs by Juanita http://www.ellegantaffairs.com

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What I’m Reading

Yes; I know this is my business blog; however if it was not for God and all that he has seen me through; there would be no business. 
So take a look at what I've been reading to keep me going!



I’m been out of the reading circuit for a while. But when I got back in I went full tilt. The book that I am currently reading is by Beth Moore it is titled: Jesus: 90 Days With The One And Only. The book is apart of the personal reflections series that she did a few years back and to be honest I have had the book for about three years.

But will all that is going in my life personally and professionally I knew it was time to get my spiritual being grounded and centered. 


I want to be ready for all the success that is coming my way, so I’m preparing and enjoy the process while I do!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Favorite Social Media Platform


My Favorite social media platform without a doubt has to be FACEBOOK!!


Facebook has allowed me to reach more potential clients and convert them to paying clients versus any other platform to date. 
It’s like a secondary portfolio for Ellegant Affairs by Juanita and my clients, friends and family love the updates and to see what I’m doing.

But these social medial platforms below have been very key to my business success as well.
Twitter: EllegantAffairs
Instagram: EllegantAffairs


So follow us to stay in the know!!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Toot Toot!


When you most people start to discuss themselves and their accomplishments people tend to think that they are egoistical and self-centered. Well I beg to differ; if you don’t toot your horn and promote your talents how else are your current and prospective clients going to know what you can offer them in solving an issue that they have.

There are many things that I love about myself personally and professionally. But today I am going to talk about the one trait that is truly prevalent in both arenas and that is: My innate attention to detail.

Yes I take attention to detail to levels and heights unknown. In my world there are just things that my family, friends and even clients never have to worry about. When I say I have it, I have it. No (t) will go uncrossed and no (i) will be left undotted. My overall mission is to allow you to do what you do whether that is run your company, encourage your department, or enjoy your event; the minute details are my job not yours.

So the next time you need the details managed call me; and let me worry about the small details so you can focus on the BIG PICTURE.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Give Me What I Asked For & How I Asked For It!



Being an event planner, designer & manager for the past twenty years you come to realize all the small details that come together to make an event a successful one. Over the years technology has made a lot of our day to day easier; but it has also made it harder. 

How you say? People have become lazy and complacent and no longer pay attention to the minute details that are needed to make the process smoother.

Which leads into my main pet peeve within my industry: Suppliers not paying attention to what is sent to them.

Scenario: I have just landed a new client; I am now sourcing for a venue and other items for their event. I create a detailed RFP (Request for Proposal) with every possible thing the client may need and finally how to contact me. I’m specific with my contact instructions; “after your review of the proposal should you have any questions or would like to set a time to speak please email me at (email address)”. That should be it right; wrong! Within hours of hitting the submit button I am receiving phone calls left and right saying they received my proposal and would like to speak with me regarding my needs. After speaking with a salesperson I realize that they have never read the event specifications that I have sent them.

Most suppliers don’t realize that I just mark you off my list and keep it moving; because if you can’t be bothered to follow details prior to an event; I am not convinced that you will follow them during my client’s event and that is not a chance I’m willing to take.

 I sent a request to your company because my client was interested in utilizing your services; so help me help you, please, please, please give me what I asked for and how I asked for it!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Top 5 Essentials for Long Flights


For my road warriors; this one is for you! 

As an event planner I am constantly traveling across the United States and the globe as a matter of thought and for those long flights (LA, Hawaii, Canada, Madrid) there are just some things that you will need to have in your arsenal to make your flight comfortable and enjoyable.

Surviving long hours of travel requires a few aides.  Like the ones listed below.  (Alcohol & Valium not listed – nor recommended, if you can avoid them!)

  1. Noise-canceling headphones drown out crying babies & loud passengers.  These also can be charged via USB, have tangle-resistant cords, and come with their own carrying case.
  2. A luxurious travel blanket that gives your economy seat a touch of first class.  Tip – do not use the airline-provided blankets unless it comes packaged in plastic. They are the germ magnets and will put a dent in your trip very quickly.
  3. Kindle - perfect when the movie selections are less than stellar. 
  4. A portable charger; my personal preference is the Energizer® XP4000; It was my lifesaver in Madrid. To be honest, it should be a permanent fixture in every work bag and purse.
  5. Snacks; airplane food is well blah, bringing snacks are essential especially if your have food allergies or need to eat a specified times.  Tip – Eat a hearty meal either before you get to the airport or after; and purchase a bottle of water after you clear the security check point.  No caffeine or alcohol while traveling.  In-flight hangovers are drastically worse than those on the ground.
So what item must YOU take with you on a long flight? Share below.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

What Motivates & Inspires You?



As an entrepreneur there are many things that motivate and keep me going in regards to my business, my social connections and my personal life.

No matter who you are you are motivated by something; if you are a business owner you were motivated by a speech a colleague or mentor gave in regards to growing your business or you were given a thought on the next conference you would like to plan for your stakeholders or existing clients.

On a personal level you were given motivation and inspiration to plan a dinner party or a special outing; or to take a thought to the next level. Motivation and inspiration happens in all aspects of life.

Below are just a few quotes that motivate and inspire me to take my dreams to the next level:
  1. Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.
  2. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. –Napoleon Hill
  3. We become what we think about. –Earl Nightingale
  4. The mind is everything. What you think you become.  –Buddha
  5. When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me. –Erma Bombeck
  6. Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work – Thomas Edison

So what quotes motivate and inspire you? Share below!! Until tomorrow!

Five Things Every Woman Entrepreneur Needs To Know



Being a woman entrepreneur there are some things that I have learned in the 20 years of being in business.

  1. There may never be a right time ~ You may be waiting for the "perfect" time to start your business, but the truth is, it probably doesn't exist. The economy might be crap. You're too young, too old or your children are too young or too old. You'll make it work.
  2. You can ask for help ~ Use your friends and family as much as you can, for support, babysitting, feedback. You don't have to do it alone, and really, you aren't supposed to. It’s not a weakness to ask for help, it's a strength.
  3. Your online presence is your storefront ~ You can’t just have a strong website. You have to be active on Twitter, have Facebook pages, video content and online communities of client feedback. Branding is carried out through a multitude of platforms beyond business cards and logos to social networking profiles and hashtags. Remember every channel is an opportunity to make an impression on someone.
  4. It will be 1000 times harder than you already think ~ There will always be challenges, but they are meant to be hurdles, not barriers. You need to pick yourself up and carry on when you get a knock back. You get tougher. Your skin gets thicker.
  5. Be fearless ~ It takes guts and determination to be about this life, but the payoff is worth the risk.

We need more women putting their passions and dreams on the line. Job creation is a dire need in the current economy, and women have great potential to help turn things around.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Woman Behind The Business



A couple of weeks ago; I was sitting and contemplating about how to bring excitement and great content back to my blog and saw a post regarding a blogging challenge for entrepreneurs. So I signed up! 

Just Blog It 30-Day Challenge for Entrepreneurs starts today and I can’t wait to share new and exciting content with all of you over the next 30 days and beyond. 

So today we are going to discuss yours truly.

My name is Juanita Gaynor, born and in Philadelphia, PA and raised in Boston, MA I moved to Atlanta about 5 and a half years ago. I started my event planning career at the age of 14. I was modeling at the time and was frustrated at the delays and the disorganization of the process. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands, I set a meeting with the organizer and said to them, “I can plan this where you can get the most for your money and be on budget and on time.” And the rest is history.

I was 20-years-old, when I founded Ellegant Affairs by Juanita, Inc., my goal was to help people visualize their dream events, and then assist them in seeing that event come to fruition. For me, establishing my business was about taking creativity to a new level and challenging the status quo of what an event should be.




Ellegant Affairs by Juanita; which is a full service special event and meeting management  company that designs innovative event solutions for small to large businesses, associations, community benefit and non-profit organizations. EABJ organizes all the logistics that go into planning an event; from start to finish we will work with you to create an event that is truly reflective of your style and personality. EABJ also offer wedding planning and design services; no event is too small or too large! Allow us to show you how “Ellegance” & Efficiency meet so that you can focus on the “Big” picture instead of the “Small” details.



Here are some quick facts about me:
  • I love music (singing, listening, etc.) ~ It keeps me balanced
  • I love to cook
  • I’m actually a home body and very kept to myself
  • I have a strong IT and Accounting background.


I could go on forever, but you will learn more about me, my businesses and the things that make this all come together over the next 30 days. Hope you join me for the ride!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mobile Event Apps are here to Stay!!


Mobile apps are not simply attractive tools to make a meeting or conference seem forward-thinking, but are real value enhancers that attendees are becoming more accustomed to using because they are using apps in their daily lives. So when you are considering whether or not an app is the right fit for you, don't be afraid to think outside of the industry for examples and confirmation of their benefit.

How many apps do you have loaded on your phone? How do they make your life easier and what features do you see in consumer apps that might translate to an event app?

Mobile technology allows event organizers not only to push information out to attendees, but also to listen to attendees to help them craft their programs on the front end, as well as make adjustments during the event to provide more value.

If you are still wondering about how to use mobile event apps for your event;  here are a few tips from Active Network’s  case study 20 Ways to Use a Mobile App for Events: Before, During & After ~ to help you to started:

Using mobile event apps before your event:
  1. Encourage attendees to view session and speaker information online.
  2. Promote the mobile event app often and early to encourage downloads and access.


And during the event:
  1. Easily provide information in the palm of their hand – sessions, speakers, maps, personalized schedules, etc.
  2. Push real-time updates and announcements, e.g. changes in schedule, news, bus schedules, etc.


Then after the event:
  1. Post presentations, Q&A transcripts and other content from sessions.
  2. Load ad more video snippets from sessions – or “behind the scenes” speaker interviews.


To get more information on how mobile apps can work for your event; go to ACTIVE Network Business Solutions’ website, today and download the entire Mobile Playbook for free.

President  & CEO




Saturday, April 5, 2014

Let Madrid Host Your Next Meeting!



Madrid will host in September the World Congress of Psychiatry, the ESMO Congress of medical oncologist and in October they will host the HUPO congress on biology & disease.

Located in the middle of Spain, beautiful Madrid is the capital and largest city in the country. The city's geographic location denotes its central role in Spanish politics, economy and culture, as it serves as the residence of the Spanish monarch, the richest region in Spain, and the home to many of the country's – and Europe's – top museums and attractions. With over seven million residents in the metropolitan area, it is also the 3rd largest city by population in the European Union, after London and Berlin.

Madrid is a world-class meeting destination. It comes as no surprise that the city hosts more than 4,000 conventions and meetings each year and attracts over 700,000 business visitors annually. After all, it boasts nearly 80,000 hotel rooms, more than five convention centers and expo facilities, and a never-ending list of cultural attractions. Plus, Madrid is home to the offices of 90 percent of the major companies operating in Spain, making it the obvious choice for showcasing products and services.

Visitors discover that Madrid is full of green spaces and parkland. Take a walk through the romantic and whimsical El Capricho Park, the former artistic retreat for 18th century cultural icons. Enjoy the fragrant blooms of Royal Botanical Garden, home to more than 30,000 plants and flowers and 1,500 trees. Or spend a day exploring the city's largest park, Casa de Campo. However if your attendees are more into the Arts the Art Walk Madrid will work wonders for them. During this stretch of just over one kilometer you will find the Prado; one of the world's finest art galleries, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofia, as well as a number of other institutions that will peak their interests.

Of course at the end of the day, there's no better way to make memories in Madrid than by soaking in its dining and nightlife scene. Snack on tapas, the traditional small plates of Spain, at taverns and bars such as Taberna de Antonio Sánchez or Baco y Beto. Or, enjoy classic favorites such as cocido, a hearty stew, and callos, or tripe, at restaurants such as La Gran Tasca and Restaurante Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world. After dinner, hit the streets of Grand Vía, which comes to life at night with bars, clubs and entertainment venues.


So when you need world class destination for your event, meeting or congress, Madrid is the place. For more information on Madrid and other available activities, please visit: http://www.spain.info


President  & CEO

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Smartphones for $200…Alex!!

Wondering how you can begin the process of incorporating mobile event app for your next event? Active Networks Mobile Playbook guide is a great resource to get you started on the right path.

I’m guilty, I can’t live without my cellphone!! I have driving all the way back home for a forgotten cell phone. You can have everything else just leave my cellphone and all will be well with the universe. As a planner my primary focus is to help my clients to create and valuable and lasting experience and my mobile is critical in helping with that.

It made me aware of how much we have come to rely on mobile technology. It’s convenient and you can have everything that you need in the palm of your hand.  Just a few days ago; I went to a venue’s open house and I did not have a clue on how to get there, I just pulled up my calendar on my phone, pulled up the address and plugged it into navigation and I was on my way. The open house was a success and it fit the needs of my client well; so from my cell phone I was able to send all the information to my client while traveling to another meeting and approving invoices.

With so many people relying on mobile technology and the increased offerings that are available, it is not a surprise that an increasing number of meeting planners are developing mobile applications for their events. 
If you are still wondering about how mobile event apps can benefit your event, here are 10 key benefits of mobile apps from Active Network to help you to started:
  1. Engagement. Increases engagement for attendees with the event and each other.
  2. Experience. Enriches the overall experience for attendees.
  3. Reports. Increases session evaluations and event survey return rates.
  4. Communication. Improves communication and interaction with attendees.
  5. Results. Attendees see tangible outputs from attending – content, contacts, etc.
  6. Cost Savings. Reduced cost from eliminating or minimizing event guide printing.
  7. Green. Environmentally friendly content delivery.
  8. Real Time Updates. Allows for real-time updates to schedules, exhibitor listings, etc.
  9. Immediate Action. Real-time reporting for onsite corrections/post-event decisions.
  10. Continued Engagement. Persistent engagement with attendees year-round.

To get more information on how mobile apps can work for your event; go to ACTIVE Network Business Solutions’ website, today and download the entire Mobile Playbook for free.

President  & CEO
           



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

eRFP to the Rescue ~ Hotel & Venue Sourcing made Easy

RFP's Should be SIMPLE!


eRFP, what is that??? If you have been in the meeting and event planning industry for longer than 10 years, you remember how we used to source and track RFP’s when we were looking to set up an event. Are you still using Email and Excel spreadsheets to send and managing your event RFP’s? Well if you are it’s time to move into the new way to search and source your venues.

eRFP to the Rescue!!! ACTIVE Network and i-Meet conducted a survey of event planners to get a feel on the frustrations that your fellow planners have when trying to set up an event; and the results have been complied and published in an article titled “What RFP’s Mean to SMBs: Turning Headaches into Solutions for Planners”.

As a planner like to handle all the aspects of setting up and managing an event for my client, but the having to work through various tools, is complicated, time consuming and draining. So your question is “Does such a tool exist?” Why yes it does; Active Regonline’s has completely overhauled and redesigned their software adding a robust and expansive Hotel & Venue search feature to it; now you can search, review and source a venue in one location without having to leave the event portal. Active RegOnline has created a datasheet on Hotel & Venue Sourcing; it’s a quick cheat sheet on how you can use the feature.

The Hotel & Venue Sourcing tools offers the following:

  • A single location to source and track your eRFP’s
  • An easy to use eRFP Wizard
  • Access to ACTIVE Network’s Global network that includes expansive hotel & venue locations in more than 200 countries.
  • Free specialist support for planners who want and/or need assistance during the planning process

Want to see what all the talk is about; visit ACTIVE RegOnline and try it out for yourself for free! This web-based application has no set up costs, no software to install, and no contracts to sign. With RegOnline your event will be up and running in no-time!

RegOnline offers best-in-class Online Event Registration Software and Event Management Software. Turn your next conference, meeting or trade show into a huge success. Event management software includes online registration forms, event websites, badges, event marketing, credit card processing and so much more.



Juanita E. Gaynor (http://i-meet.com/jegaynor)

President & CEO

Ellegant Affairs by Juanita (http://www.ellegantaffairs.com)



i-Meet.com is the worldwide business community for people who plan meetings and events. With over 111,000 members in 175 countries, i-Meet brings professional networking, online marketing, and social tools to create awareness and a voice for the industry.

I’ve Been There is a travel history and sharing application for planners and enthusiasts.

Active Network, The New ACTIVE RegOnlineTM is Here!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Innovation In Motion ~ The new and enhanced features of ACTIVE RegOnline




In July of 2013 at the Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress (WEC) in Las Vegas ACTIVE Network introduce the new and revised version of ACTIVE RegOnline. Even though I saw the press release and heard about it I did not immediately look into, due to past experiences with the product.


A few weeks ago I was given access to the newly revised RegOnline Event Management Software and I have fallen completely in love with the new interface. If you like me I know what you are thinking, “I have used this before and was an epic fail for me”. Well, I had the same mindset so when I was asked to look it over, I had my reservations, but you will definitely want to look at this tool from a fresh perspective.

ACTIVE RegOnline has completely overhauled and redesigned their product, and I absolutely love it! The dashboard screen has been simplified. The functions are streamlined and centralized in a single location and if you have used the software previously, you will notice dramatic changes, also they have added a hotel and venue search feature. The changes make the application user friendly, effective and efficient. Below are the features that I am most excited about:

  • Dashboard: with one click you can get the details your event. It gives you the number of registrants, event statistics, revenue, and a variety of ways to promote your event in one location. 
  • Social Function: allows attendees to promote the event to their connections through Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn. 
  • Hotel and Venue Search: (NEW FEATURE). Documents can be uploaded before sending RFP to hotels. Searches can be refined by meeting requirements, “must have” amenities, star rating or vendor type. Other tools are so complicated and with the functionality in embedded within the software I would use to register attendees and promote the event is priceless. It not only saves me time and money but it says my clients as well. 
  • The Analyzing Tool: (The accountant in me LOVES this feature) With a few mouse clicks it give you all the information you will need for you to effectively manage and track your event; attendees report, financial reports, rooming list, lodging and travel selections. 
  • eRFP: A wizard that makes it easy to create and submit RFPs 
  • Customer Support: Free specialist support for planners who want and/or need assistance during the planning process 

I am enjoying this process and I look forward to sharing my journey with the new ACTIVE RegOnline. Over the next few months I will give you reviews and insights on the product so that you too can experience the new way to plan & promote your next event.


Juanita E. Gaynor (http://i-meet.com/jegaynor)
President & CEO
Ellegant Affairs by Juanita (http://www.ellegantaffairs.com)


i-Meet.com is the worldwide business community for people who plan meetings and events. With over 111,000 members in 175 countries, i-Meet brings professional networking, online marketing, and social tools to create awareness and a voice for the industry.

I’ve Been There is a travel history and sharing application for planners and enthusiasts.

Active Network, The New ACTIVE RegOnlineTM is Here!

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