When the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) wanted to improve the on-site booth space selection process at the 2013 Annual Conference & Exhibition, in order to book more space and make the process easier, they looked to a2z. And a2z’s Exposition Management Solution proved to be the answer, according to Elli Riley, HIMSS Director of Exhibits and Meeting Services.
At the 2014 event, held Feb. 23-27 in Orlando, the results were even better for the 1,211 exhibiting companies utilizing over 535,000 net square feet of exhibit space, and for the 38,000 attendees as well, Riley says. "With a2z's Online Exhibits Contract Management technology, our booth selection process improved not only on-site but throughout the year. It’s more user-friendly, offers more features, is better visually, and is quicker and easier both for the exhibitors and for us."
Riley notes that the a2z system is web-based and operates totally in real time. Its seamless admin and public portals make it easier not only to view available exhibit space and rent it, but also make it easier and faster to pull reports and access other functions. Riley says that a2z’s floor plan’s user-friendly look and feel makes it easier for exhibitors to identify available spaces and their locations near other companies, food areas and entrances and exits.
"We processed more people than ever before in the on-site booth selection,” says Riley, “and exhibitors rated it their best booth selection experience ever. They were able to select, sign contracts and pay for their deposits in one process."
HIMSS utilizes a priority point system, notifying exhibitors of their selection time and day about two weeks in advance. Selection is done in a 3,200-square-foot meeting room and in the process, representatives of approximately 15 exhibiting companies at a time – about two or three reps per company, Riley says – enter the room, check in and are given their password and information on the upcoming show (locations of registration, education sessions, specialty pavilions, etc.), go to a row of computers and view what spaces are available. They then proceed to one of seven tables in the room where they view large dual screens showing the entire show floor from which they make their space selection, with assistance from an HIMSS or a2z representative.
Exhibitors are then sent to a set of kiosks to complete signing their contract and paying their deposit, all in one easy transaction. Some exhibitors complete the process in less than five minutes and most in 10-15 minutes, Riley says, but there are variables: some larger-footprint companies that are selecting bigger spaces, combining spaces, evaluating other companies or who want specific areas on the floor need longer. These larger companies select on day one; on day two, with fewer spaces still available, the process can take longer.
"It worked great this year. Exhibitors understood the process better and it all went even quicker," says Riley.
HIMSS will hold its next annual event April 12-16, 2015, in Chicago. "There won’t be much to change in the process; a2z is a great company, they have impeccable customer service, and they go above and beyond to help their clients. The ease of use they’ve enabled us to offer our clients has made a big difference to our business."
"We're always looking to improve and we’ll hopefully continue to add their product offerings to the a2z financial, content management, floor plan and other software services we currently use," Riley says.
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