Meetings: Incorporating Technology - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Meetings: Incorporating Technology
Bring on the Tech: At today's meetings, technology needs to be more than a tool. It should be part of the experience.


Pharmaceutical Executive


Audience retention and Internet access Attendees can't receive information if they aren't at the presentations. Increasingly, an obsession with the access provided by personal technologies, such as cell phones and PDAs, runs headlong into the mission of planners to prevent attendees from leaving the conference environment. Internet cafes located directly outside the meeting room provide attendees with high-speed Internet access between conference sessions, often minimizing attendee loss during sessions and serving as a draw to trade show or marketing exhibits stationed nearby. The setup also can function as a marketing tool by featuring the sponsor's Web site or a specially designed advertising program.

Filling that goody bag With the PhRMA Code establishing the final word on the appropriate standard for meetings and conferences, the days of expensive take-away and follow-up gifts are over. Meeting hosts have been left scrambling for unique products that serve their marketing and customer-appreciation goals while staying within the limits of the Code. Among the options is a USB flash drive that can be attached to a keychain. Information about the conference and host can be downloaded onto the drive, which carries the host's name and logo. Attendees cantransfer this information to their computers easily, and are able to reuse the drive for other purposes.

Adding value Many technologies can deliver added value from the meeting professional to the sponsor. Digital photography and non-linear video-editing software can be used to manage images from the conference. It also can be used to produce screen-savers or short films on the computers in the Internet cafe, online updates of the conference proceedings on the host's Web site, or information to be downloaded onto a flash drive.

Pushing the Envelope

As attendees become more accustomed to the results of effective technology, they will demand far more sophisticated applications. Noted Heath Miller, vice president of media and production of Stellar Meetings and Events, "Technologies become outdated almost as soon as they are popularized. The only way to keep their use fresh and innovative is to push the envelope."

Launches

Marathon Multimedia Companies and Astute Technology are partenering to improve meeting webcasting. • Barcelo Hotels and Resorts will open two new resorts in the Cancun area on December 1: Barcelo Maya Colonial Beach hotel and the Barcelo Maya Tropical Beach hotel.

Awards

Las Vegas' New York-New York hotel and casino won the Nevada State Psychological Association's Healthy Workplace award.

People

Crestline Hotels and Resorts named Jack Burkam general manager at Maryland's Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort.

Bonni Skepcowski is president of Stellar Meetings and Events. She can be reached at


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