The Challenge:Plan and Market Three-Day Conference within Three Months
The Association for Facilities Engineers (AFE) held its first Facilities America Education Forum Conference & Expo at the Hilton Crystal City near Washington, D.C. Acquiring speakers/exhibitors and managing their every day operations were proving to be more than the small association staff could handle on their own. In three months, AFE had a three-day conference with 24 concurrent sessions and was expecting over 200 attendees – AFE needed help
The Solution: APEX Meetings & Events, Conducted Gap Analysis to Streamline the Event Management Process Working Behind the Scenes.
APEX marketing and event professionals helped fill the gaps. AFE took great first steps with initiating contracts. APEX, however, unveiled major gaps between what was assumed were fully executed by former staff and what was actually contractually obligated. After assessing AFE’s and the conference’s requirements, APEX reviewed each contract to ensure that AFE’s needs and interests were being met while mitigating risk and unnecessary costs as much as possible. After vendor contracts were signed, APEX prepared information that was crucial for attendee travel and lodging, exhibitor kits, speaker management and sponsorships.
With past conference experience, APEX offered existing templates for contracts, prospectus and sales materials. APEX simply tweaked the templates to cater specifically to AFE’s conference needs. By providing working documents, it saved time and money for AFE. The association’s legal council did not have to originate documents that otherwise would have cost AFE more. In addition, AFE did not have to “recreate the wheel” with standard-marketing and sales documents. It relied on APEX to provide professional insights to tried and tested tactics.
The APEX team is structured to manage multiple facets of a conference. AFE tapped into our existing structure and processes that outlined contacts, deadlines and procedures for attendees, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and vendors. Instead of establishing processes through trial and error, the association streamlined its procedures by entrusting APEX’s proven paths.
The staff at AFE had great relationships with their board, members and sponsors. By focusing on the relationships and the program for the conference, the staff had little time to manage the logistics of the conference. AFE turned to APEX as meeting planning experts to expedite all of the behind-the-scenes details including vendor negotiation/ management, food and beverage planning, audio/visual requirements and registration. While APEX focused on the details, AFE was able to nurture key relationships and ensure the attendee experience was substantive
- Alleviated work load on staff to focus on program & stakeholder relationships
- Maximized concessions in show decorator & hotel contracts
- Saved costs in managing audio/visual requirements.
- Eliminated rush charges by meeting vendor deadlines
- Streamlined exhibitor and speaker management
- Coordinated 24 concurrent sessions
- Managed 13 exhibitors
- Attracted over 200 attendees
- Supported AFE as the “GO-TO” organization for facilities technical training, education and information exchange