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  • The January/February 2018 Issue of Corbin's TechTalk Newsletter/Blog Now Available +

    The January/February 2018  issue of TechTalk   is now available and is packed with new meetings technology articles, links and ideas! 
    In this issue:
    • NEW ARTICLE: 7 Event Design Ideas from EventTech Las Vegas
    • NEW VIDEO: 2018 Event Industry Trends
    • NEW ARTICLE: Overcoming SMM Tech Challenges
    • NEW ARTICLE: What are Blockchain and Ethereum and How Can They Be Used for Events?
    • NEWS
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  • Corbin Ball & Co. Marks Its 20th Anniversary +

    In April of 1997, I left my career as Head of Conference Operations for a high-tech association (SPIE) and set out to form my own speaking, consulting and writing firm focusing exclusively on technology for events, exhibitions and meeting venues. I was the first person to do this full-time -- the 'OG' of event tech! Today, I am happy to say
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    Latest Articles

    • 1 7 Event Design Ideas from EventTech Las Vegas
    • 2 Blockchain and Ethereum -- How Can They Be Used for Events?
    • 3 Overcoming SMM Technology Challenges
    • 4 Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2017 Technology & Innovation Watch
    • 5 The Top 5 Benefits of Augmented Reality for Trade Shows
    • 6 Eight Meetings Tech Trends to Watch for 2018
    • 7 How to Leverage Live Social Media Coverage for Event Engagement
    • 8 Evolutionary Changes In The World Of Event Tech
    • 9 The Rise and Benefits of Text Apps and Chatbots for Events
    • 10 5 Major Developments in Augmented Reality (AR) that will Impact Events, Exhibitions and Venues
    • 11 3 Digital Technologies That Are Quickly Becoming Exhibitor Trade Show Essentials
    • 12 How Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality Is Making Headway at Exhibitions and Events
    • 13 Maximizing B2B Sales from a Tradeshow Exhibit
    • 14 Negotiating the Internet Landscape at Hotels and Convention Centers: A Primer for Event Planners
    • 15 Chatbots, Voice Activation and AI – What to Expect for Events

    Excel Spreadsheets

    The spreadsheets below (unless otherwise noted) were developed and honed over years of planning international, city-wide technology meetings. Although designed for large, association meetings, many of them are applicable to many types and sizes of meetings. All are fully functional Excel files -- just click on the hyperlink and save if you wish to keep for your own use. Thanks to my colleagues at SPIE who assisted or advised in their creation.

    Downloading notes: On some browsers, a username and password is requested. Simply hit "cancel" and the spreadsheet will load. In order to save the document, click "File" and then "Save As" and name and place the document on your hard drive where desired.

    Meeting Specifications Spreadsheets:

    Conference Matrix Grid View
    This provides a one-page view of a large, multi-session, multi-day meeting. This works especially well for meeting room assignments and finding out at a glance what is happening where.

    Conference Resume
    Answer all the questions the hotel may have even before they have a chance to ask them! Convention Services Managers (CSMs) will love you for providing this information before they have to track it down. This document should be the opening pages of the Specifications Document and it addresses most of the department of the hotel.

    Complete Conference Specifications
    This spreadsheet contains an example of the full specifications that are sent to the hotel CSM. This should follow the Conference Resume listed above. Included in this are numerous ideas on how to streamline and improve your communication with the hotel. Many CSMs have mentioned that these have been the clearest an easy-to-use specifications that they have every received! Check them out.

    Specialized Tracking Spreadsheets (listed alphabetically by function):

    Attrition Calculator MeetingU.
    Is your sleeping room pickup coming in short of the block? How bad is it? With this worksheet you enter your historical pickup pattern, your room block and your pickup up to date. It will automatically calculate the variance and note a danger flag based on the amount of contracted slippage is allowed.

    AV Equipment Bid Worksheet
    This worksheet provides a bid sheet that can be emailed to AV companies. It computes the total daily unit total for equipment from the day-by-day totals entered. A unit cost can then be assigned by the AV company, and automatically calculating a total cost per equipment type. The sheet provides cells for discounts to be inserted, as well as for sales tax, labor, and delivery charges. The total cost is found at the bottom.

    Catering Cost Estimator Worksheet
    The handy spreadsheet will calculate daily and overall catering costs, inclusive pricing, and event how many gallons of coffee, tea and decaf should be served..

    Budget: Cost Estimate vs. Actuals With Savings Template MPI Global Circle of Excellence

    Budget: Event Budget Template
    Fill in the blanks and it totals and graphs the budget and expense items.

    Budget: Meetings Savings Template MPI Global Circle of Excellence

    Budget: Meeting Expense Tracking Workbook
    Track your budget, forecast, and actual meeting expenses over several meetings in this easy-to-use, well planned and documented spreadsheet. Please note: the SUMMARY page is protected (you can't make changes to this page as it contains the formulas that consolidate the data from the meetings pages).

    Exhibitor Tracker
    This worksheet graphs three important exhibit variables:
    1. The total number of companies exhibiting at a particular show over the years
    2. The total net square footage sold over the years.
    3. Exhibitor company registration pickup.

    Hotel Room Pickup Trackers(2 worksheets in the same document)
    This worksheet monitors the hotel sleeping room pickup for a single hotel (the first worksheet tab) and multiple hotels (the second tab). They calculate individual hotel and collective room totals, compares these totals to a percentage of the room block, estimates total revenue and graphs it out on a weekly basis compared to the block. The single hotel tracker will even calculate your comp credits.

    Hotel Rack Rate Discount Calculator MeetingU.
    This worksheet calculates discounts off of the rack sleeping room rate and future years' inflation increases.

    Hotel Site Selection Rating Sheet by Marcia Neu.
    This decision-making aid for a site selection assists in comparing multiple sites. It allows for the decision-making factors and the weighting to be tailored to a particular meeting's priorities and needs. Ideally, the weighting of factors is set before the property review, so that a personal bias for or against a particular property won't show up in the weighting. After reviewing properties in detail or doing site inspections, you assign each property a number and rate it on a Likert scale (probably of 1 to 5 or 1 to 7).

    Marketing Campaign Tracker

    Packing List Worksheet
    The packing list is another item that naturally fits into a grid format, and, therefore, a good candidate for an Excel spreadsheet. It is broken down into areas (AV, Registration, etc.). This location is marked on the address label, making it easier to unpack on site. Each box is numbered as well. As the equipment is packed, the box number is noted on the master packing sheet. Then it becomes easier to track onsite.

    Registration Pickup Tracker
    This document tracks and graphs registration totals by category over years. The second graph looks at the registration pickup, and how it compares to the previous year. Note color coding by

    Sign List Worksheet
    Yes, even the sign list can be made in an Excel spread sheet. The idea is that, using the multiple-tab worksheet feature, all of these documents can be combined into one larger document, and kept in one place with all of the relevant data. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this sheet, to find many tips on how signs should be used in a conference setting. This document also demonstrates the multi-tab feature -- look at the bottom for the tab for "Signs" as well as one for "Sign Guide."

    Temporary Staff (Security Staff/AV Staff) Hours Worksheet
    This worksheet will calculate hour worked, standard pay, overtime pay for individuals and a total. It also servers as a bid sheet to send to temporary staff agencies, security, AV firms, or any firm where you will be hiring staff on an hourly basis.

    Timeline: Conference Calendar and Timeline
    This automated calendar allow you to enter a date and it will automatically calculate the deadline dates leading up to it. Thanks to Lisa Shimuzu, Corporate Meeting Planner for Milliman & Roberston, Inc., who contributed this sheet

    Timeline: Meeting Planning Timeline Jonathan Ricketts, DIY Conferences

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