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  • The November/December 2018 Issue of Corbin's TechTalk News Now Available +


    The November/December 2018 issue of Corbin's TechTalk Newsletter  is out providing the latest in technology to nearly 9,000 events, tradeshows and hospitality professionals in over 70 countries. This issue is packed with articles, links, videos and ideas on how you can use technology to improve the business process for events and tradeshows. 

    In this issue:

    • NEW ARTICLE: Event Tech
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  • Corbin Inducted into the EIC Hall of Leaders +

    Corbin Ball, together with Henry Givray, Edward Liu, and Deborah Sexton was inducted into the Event Industry Council's Hall of Leaders for 2018, the most prestigious honor in the meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events industry.  The awards celebration occured on October 16, 2018 in Las Vegas during IMEX America. 
         Personal note: I feel tremendously honored and thrilled to
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  • IBTM World announces 2018 Tech Watch Award shortlist +

    29 October 2018

    IBTM World has announced a shortlist of nine finalists for its prestigious IBTM World Tech Watch Award. The winner will be announced on 28 November at IBTM World 2018, which takes place at Fira Barcelona from 27-29 November.

    In addition, this year sees the introduction of the Tech Watch People’s Choice Award’ , which gives the MICE industry

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  • Corbin to Chair IBTM's Technology and Innovation Watch Award for the 15th Year. +

    This award is the longest running and one of the event industry's most significant award recognizing technology innovation - the "Academy Awards" of events technology. I am very pleased to I have been asked again to chair the judging committee. This award is a great opportunity for technology companies to show their new stuff and get a free booth at IBTM
    Read More
  • Corbin Ball & Co. Marks Its 21st Anniversary +

    In April of 1997, I left my career as Head of Conference Operations for a high-tech association (SPIE) 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 there are many Read More

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    Latest Articles

    • 1 Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2018 Technology Watch
    • 2 6 Tips to Maximize your Tradeshow Booth
    • 3 Virtual Vs. Augmented/Mixed Reality for Events: The Pros and Cons for Each Medium and the Likelihood of Adoption
    • 4 Retrospect Article: The Revolution - The Future of Mobile Technology for Events
    • 5 Tips to Come Up with More Effective Promo Videos for Events
    • 6 As Technology Changes Events, These Five Elements Will Likely Stay the Same
    • 7 Five Trends That Will Revolutionize Trade Show Marketing in 2019
    • 8 Facial Recognition – The Next Step to Streamline Events
    • 9 Three Steps to Cope with Technology Change
    • 10 50 Ideas Using Video to Market and Improve Expos and Events
    • 11 Leveraging Social Influencers to Build Meeting Involvement and Attendance
    • 12 Event Chatbot 101 - Essential Questions Answered
    • 13 7 Event Design Ideas from EventTech Las Vegas
    • 14 Blockchain and Ethereum -- How Can They Be Used for Events?
    • 15 Overcoming SMM Technology Challenges
    • Event Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2018 Technology Watch

      ©2018 Corbin Ball, Chair of the IBTM Technology Watch Judging Committee Established in 2000, The IBTM World Technology & Innovation Watch is the longest running and regarded by many as the most significant technology award for the meetings industry. The goals are to recognize technology innovation and to highlight significant
      Read More
    • 6 Tips to Maximize your Tradeshow Booth

      ©2018 Guest post from Shem Szot Everyone knows that tradeshows are an excellent chance to spread the word about your business. A physical presence and personal engagement can often leave deeper impressions than online interaction alone. And joining a tradeshow means you don’t have to worry about bringing in the
      Read More
    • Virtual Vs. Augmented/Mixed Reality for Events: The Pros and Cons for Each Medium and the Likelihood of Adoption

      © 2018 Corbin Ball The twisting of reality is becoming common practices in the meeting, tradeshow, event and exhibition world. By using an ever-evolving array of technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality, users can enter worlds created from scratch to entertain, provide demonstrations and eventually sell a
      Read More
    • Retrospect Article: The Revolution - The Future of Mobile Technology for Events

      Editor's note: As part of the 20th anniversary issue of TechTalk, I thought I would include an article I wrote in 1999 -- at the turn of the new millennium (back in the time of 1G phones when even flip phones had not yet been invented). In this article, I predict
      Read More
    • Tips to Come Up with More Effective Promo Videos for Events

      ©2018 Arthur Retman, Movavi As a medium there are many ways to utilize videos for events – but one of the most popular is definitely promo videos. A promo video is basically any video that is used to promote or market the event, and boost its visibility, entice prospects, or directly
      Read More
    • As Technology Changes Events, These Five Elements Will Likely Stay the Same

      We are living in a time of unprecedented technology change. How will these changes affect meetings and tradeshows? Will they remain a central form of education, networking and marketing? Will virtual meetings and other communication technologies replace the need for face-to-face events and exhibitions? Although there will likely be very
      Read More
    • Five Trends That Will Revolutionize Trade Show Marketing in 2019

      ©2018 - Guest Post by  Ryan Gould, Elevation Marketing If you’re a business owner or marketer who’s serious about maximizing ROI, then you need to have a presence at industry trade shows. It’s all in the statistics—when it comes to efficiency, 85% of B2B marketers and salespeople say that trade shows
      Read More
    • Facial Recognition – The Next Step to Streamline Events

      Facial recognition (FR) is rapidly becoming part of our everyday lives. iPhone X users open their phone using FR as their passwords. Airlines and TSA are starting to use FR as a faster and more secure way of check-in and boarding flights. Apple, Facebook, Google and Snapchat have made recent
      Read More
    • Three Steps to Cope with Technology Change

      When laptops computers first appeared in the early 1990s, manufactures called them “freedom machines” with ads showing smiling users inputting at the poolside and the beach. We don’t see these ads anymore. People are aware that technology isn’t increasing our leisure time -- we seem to be working harder than ever!
      Read More
    • 50 Ideas Using Video to Market and Improve Expos and Events

      ©2018 By Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES Video marketing is king! The State of Video Marketing in 2018 report from Wyzowl details numerous survey statistics about the growth and increasing power of using video for marketing products and services. This applies to events. The creative use of video can help
      Read More
    • Leveraging Social Influencers to Build Meeting Involvement and Attendance

      ©2018, Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES Celebrity endorsements have been around since the start of advertising. The athletes on the Wheaties box, the movie star promoting to the TV cameras, the Nike Swoosh on sports star’s clothing all are part of advertising. Psychologists have long realized that buyers are more likely
      Read More
    • Event Chatbot 101 - Essential Questions Answered

      ©2018 Guest post by Mark Kao, COS Rental Chatbots aren’t new. Joseph Weizenbaum created a prototype in 1966 and named it ELIZA. But the idea didn’t catch on until 50 years later. Today, chatbots are the talk of the event planning and marketing town. If you’ve wanted to know more
      Read More
    • 7 Event Design Ideas from EventTech Las Vegas

      Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES As someone who sees a wide array of event designs in the 30-40 events I attend annually, it is refreshing to see a number of innovative event designs in a single conference. This was the case with the recent EventTech conference in Las Vegas produced
      Read More
    • Blockchain and Ethereum -- How Can They Be Used for Events?

      ©2018 Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES, MS What is blockchain? According to Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016),“blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” Blockchain is a means of managing electronic
      Read More
    • Overcoming SMM Technology Challenges

      ©2018 Robert Walters, Meeting Evolution Recent articles have indicated that many organizations attempting to deploy a Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) technology solution have not experienced the savings and improvement they expected.  In many instances, the reason has nothing to do with the technology selected – but the internal procedures and processes
      Read More

    Will Meetings Technology Threaten Meetings Industry Associations?

    I have been a passionate proponent for using technology to streamline the business process for the meetings industry. However, as these tools are taking effect, I am having second thoughts on how it might impact meeting industry associations, a key source of our industry education and networking.

    Technology can save time and labor. It drives out inefficiencies. “Faster, better, and cheaper” has been the mantra that has been driving sweeping technology changes in society and has made the U.S. the most productive country on earth. However, as this revolution more fully takes hold in the meetings industry in the next few years, several of our basic business models will be challenged on a national and international basis.

    These changes will have a huge impact on society and the meetings industry in general.

    One of the greatest impacts, however, is likely to be with meeting industry associations. This article will give several examples on how they could be impacted.

    Hotels – Leaner and Much More Efficient

    These past three years should have been an absolute disaster for hotels based on history. Hotels in the U.S. have experienced a 31-year low in occupancy in 2001, 2002, and 2003 (below 60%) and average daily rates have leveled since 9/11 according to the consulting firm Price, Waterhouse and Cooper. Yet, the meetings industry has had three of the most profitable years in history! Why?

    There are multiple factors, but a key one is technology. Computerization and automation have lead to major increases in efficiency – or, in other words, fewer staff needed per occupied room.

    Night accounting used to take a team of people in the early nineties; it is now done with a click of a mouse.  Sales force automation has made it easier for fewer staff to manage the sales process. Hotel online databases can answer many of planner inquiries and streamline the communication process.

    Technology has also allowed hotels to manage their room inventory more efficiently. Online bookings tools have driven much of the excess in the booking process. As with the airlines, commissions are being reduced or eliminated. It has allowed hotels to practice yield management allowing them to fill what were formerly empty rooms, although at discounted rates. The booking process is much more efficient that it used to be.

    Fewer staff per occupied room and more efficient data processing have been significant contributors allowing hotels to remain profitable despite the abysmal business climate of the past few years.

    What are the long-term impacts? There will be fewer staff needed to run and sell hotels. Hotels will continue to be profitable, but there will be substantially less “fat” in the system. Less fat and fewer staff could mean fewer industry association members, fewer attendees going to meetings and dwindling sponsorships available to support the meeting industry associations.

    Commission-based 3rd-Party Planning Companies

    Technology is driving down commissions in many industry sectors. We have seen the elimination of commissions for the airline industry for example. The increasing efficiencies of online booking tools for hotels are driving down commissions for hotel rooms as well. With lower commissions, there will be less profit to be shared with the many independent meeting planning companies making their livelihood on commissions from meeting block sales.

    Procurement and Meeting Automation Lowers Meeting Spend and Staffing Required

    Meeting consolidation and changes in procurement have yield corporate savings of 30% or more in meeting spend. The basic premise behind meetings consolidation is to bulk-purchase meeting services from fewer preferred vendors at lower costs.

    Basic meeting automation tools, such as online attendee management, can achieve similar savings for all planners. There are a wide range of technology tools to drive labor and cost out of nearly every aspect of the meeting planning process.

    As these initiatives are embraced, one can expect fewer vendors operating on tighter profit margins. We can also expect fewer planners needed to run a given number of meetings.

    Again, with fewer companies, and tighter profit margins, there will be fewer members, attendees and sponsorship dollars that are at the heart of funding the meeting industry associations.

    Meetings Standards May Drive out Extra Costs

    Voluntary standards initiatives, such as APEX (Accepted Practices Exchange) from the Convention Industry Council ( will allow meeting professionals to digitize their business process. Very significant efficiencies in communication between planner and supplier will be created. This could yield labor savings of 30% to 40% or more – our current means of communication is very inefficient in many ways!

    On the positive side, the tasks being eliminated will center on the clerical and proof-reading chores involved with paper-based data management. These increased efficiencies, however, translate to substantial automation. There likely will be fewer staff needed to manage meetings when fully implemented.

    Virtual Meetings Will Eliminate Some Meetings

    Since 9/11, web meetings and other forms of meeting online have blossomed. Although there will continue to be a strong demand for face-to-face meetings, there are many inefficient meetings that will be eliminated. The cost savings in terms of travel/time out of the office and the shorter turn-around time will be too great to ignore. Fewer meetings also mean fewer planners needed.

    What does it meeting for meeting industry associations?

    Future meetings promise to be much more efficient. Technology automation will likely lead to fewer staff needed to run meetings, fewer staff to run hotels, tighter margins on all sides, lower commissions for meeting block sales, and fewer suppliers in general. We will be able to do more with less – fewer staff and lower costs.

    We are already seeing this in other industry sectors. The U.S. is one of the most productive countries on earth thanks to the substantial investment in the technology infrastructure. The “jobless recovery” from this last recession, however, is an example of how our industry will be run: more efficiently and with fewer bodies.

    The impact to meeting industry associations could be substantial. Fewer meeting and fewer staff needed to run meetings could mean fewer planner members joining associations. Few staff needed to run hotels and fewer suppliers in general due to tightened competition could likely lead to fewer supplier members. Lower commissions and tighter margins could likely mean fewer sponsorship dollars from hotels, other suppliers and companies generating their revenue from hotel room commission sales.

    Meeting industry associations such as MPI, PCMA, IAEM, ICCA, HSMAI, RCMA, SITE, ICPA, SGMP and most of the rest of the 143 associations linked in my online favorites file ( depend on member revenue, revenue from attendees coming to meetings and exhibitions/sponsor dollars provided by industry suppliers. Without these funds, most associations would not be able to support themselves.

    We are already seeing a contraction in membership in some organizations. We are seeing others such as SITE and ICPA being turned over to association management firms to increase efficiencies. ASAE and GWSAE are merging, not only because it is a good idea, but because it is more efficient. Although many theses changes have, in part, been forced from a down economy, technology automation will likely exacerbate and increase these trends in the next few years.

    I am not a pessimist by nature. I feel that meeting industry associations are invaluable for networking and education. The changes sweeping through business, however, could have a chilling effect on associations. As the fat is eliminated, as the frictionless economy continues to develop, the outcome could mean fewer members for associations and fewer funds for them to spend.

    The pressure on associations will be to use technology to more efficiently manage members while giving a more personal, customized interaction. Tomorrow’s association will not be “your father’s organization.”  They will need to reinvent themselves in order to continue to be able to provide the vital networking and educational services that they now provide.

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