#NCBSHOW2014 Kicks Off in Las Vegas

#NCBSHOW2014The Nightclub & Bar Tradeshow & Convention kicks off this week in Las Vegas.

2014 marks the best conference program in the show’s 28-year history, offering 70+ educational classes taught by today’s industry-heavy hitters. Nightclub & Bar is the leading education program for bar, nightclub and restaurant owners, operators, managers, bartenders, chefs and other industry professionals. Over 67,000 are expected to attend.

The show will provide timely education tracks, comprehensive workshops, world-class back-of-house tours, and visionary keynote presentations that dive deep into specific areas of the nightlife industry.

Jon Taffer of Spike TV’s “The Bar Rescue” is the President of Nightclub & Bar Convention & Trade Show and created the show to streamline the education process for those in the nightclub and bar industry.

The 2014 Conference Program Features:

  • Keynotes
  • Super Sessions
  • Workshops
  • Back of House Tours
  • Breakout Sessions (see tracks below)

2014 Conference Tracks:

  • Bar Management & Bartending
  • Promotions & Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Operations & Management
  • Beer, Wine & Food
  • Customer Experience & Liability

One of the large highlights this year is Comedian Adam Carolla delivering the Tuesday Keynote Presentation and open the show alongside Jon Taffer during the annual ribbon-cutting celebration!

Adam hosts The Adam Carolla Show, a talk show distributed as a podcast which set the record as the “most downloaded podcast” as judged by Guinness World Record. He will be taping an original podcast at the show! He’s also now breaking into the beverage business with his new creation, Mangria.

I’m excited to be attending this event and presenting a “Working with Visual Platforms” session in the social media track on Wednesday afternoon. Many consumers are abandoning text and letting pictures do the talking. Focusing on Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and YouTube, this session will highlight trends related to the current sensation of image and video sharing.

Attendees will learn how to optimize these features to help drive buzz and brand awareness along with increase website traffic. We’ll also cover what kind of images should be shared, how to engage with consumers; as well as SEO basics that will help you get the most out of these channels.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the show this week!

 

3 Ways To Bring Social Media Into Your Next Event

The power of social media continues to amaze me every day. As Event Planners, we are constantly adapting to the needs of our clients whether it be through F&B trends or new event technology.

If you are not already incorporating social media into your events, today is the day to start. Here are 3 fun and creative ways to incorporate social media into your next event!

1. Host A Social Media Contest

Everybody loves a little friendly completion, and a contest is a great way to engage your attendees in a fun and interactive manner.

Make your attendees a part of the experience; that’s what makes a contest fun!

2.  Hashing Wars

Assign attendees a specific (Insert color, fruit etc.) hashtag when they check-in at the event (Ex: #TEAMRED). Attendees use this hashtag in addition to the event hashtag to post live pictures and commentary at the event.

The team who generates the most tweets during the event wins and there is a prize drawing for the winning team.

There’s even a service that will help you set-up your hashtag battle and track the competition for you.

3. The Red Balloon

This awesome idea comes from one of my favorite event planning blogs BizBash, and I love sharing it at all my trainings.

AT&T created a social media buzz at several of their events this year with a red balloon, which is activated by an event hashtag.

The balloon expands as attendees tweet using the event’s hashtag. The person whose tweet makes the balloon POP wins a prize.

Image provided by BizBash

The bottom line is that social media enhances the experience for your event attendees.  Whether it is generating buzz and excitement to connecting niche audiences, it’s all about the SOCIAL in Social Media!

This article was contributed by Alex Cameron. Alex is a Corporate Event Planner and Social Media Consultant. She works with event planners all over the US and she is passionate about helping clients plan successful events in today’s tech-savvy world! She can be contacted on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

 

How to Promote an Event Using Social Media

The inception of social media has made it incredibly easy for people to connect with others from anywhere in the world. Regardless of your location, you can now instantly establish connections with friends, family, or associates. A large number of businesses, both online and offline have identified social media as one of the most effective as well as cost-effective tools to promote their brand. Event managers too admit that few options are as beneficial to their profession as social media. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, social networking sites have the potential to reach out to a large consumer base and help your business reap excellent rewards.

The best thing about social media is that any individual or company can join networks for free. All you need to do is create an account with a website. Here, we will discuss the importance of social media in event and exhibition promotion.

Facebook

Facebook is one of the most popular social networking sites. It can be used as a scalable, effective, and inexpensive tool to promote your company’s event. Preparations must begin at least a month before your event. Sign up on the network and create your company’s profile. Developing a presence on Facebook and establishing connections can determine the amount of success your company will have. Add friends and join groups to increase your fan base. Then, create a page dedicated to your event. To do so, you will have to enter the ‘Events’ division of the company’s main page and click on “Add Event.” Crucial information regarding the event must be entered in the ‘Description’ section. If you add more information, more people will know about your event. Specifics such as entry fees, date and time, address of the venue, dress code, and other details can be included on the page.

Once the event page has been created, you will have to attract audiences. People who have ‘Liked’ your company, or those who are ‘Fans’ must be invited to the event through Facebook. The rate of response can be significantly increased if you also send out emails to the people you invite via Facebook. Links to your company website must be inserted in your company’s Facebook page so that interested folks can check it out to know more about your events. Joining groups can have a great impact on your efforts as your event will be exposed to many more users.

Fans must be encouraged to share your events with their ‘Friends.’ Each fan will have diverse connections, and each connection in turn, will have some more. Spreading viral messages will attract a lot of attention and help your event get more audiences. Buttons such as ‘Share’ and ‘Like’ have immense power to make your event truly successful, and requesting your fans to share the information with their connections will help your cause to a great extent. Your company’s employees must be requested to post notices regarding the event on their ‘Walls.’ You may also post your event on public forums within the site as a large number of people who follow similar events will be alerted about your event.

Twitter

Use your company’s email ID to create a Twitter account. Signing up is very easy, and once you establish a presence on the social network, the results can be truly rewarding. Scour through the site to check for those who have a good number of followers. Look for groups that promote events on Twitter, and join them. Those who already have a strong presence can help you get more followers, which in turn will attract more attention to your event. Tweet regularly and release important information that will interest potential attendees. Ask your helpers to ‘retweet’ your posts so that their followers can see them and be enlightened about your event.

The best way to reach out to a large number of people is through hash tags. A short and unique statement about your event must be created and inserted in each tweet you post. Everyone who shares your tweets, or tweets about your event will be connected through the hash tag. Since Twitter allows only 140 characters per tweet, catchy phrases and details of influential attendees can help you attract more guests. You can also communicate with those who ‘Favorite’ your tweets or mention your event in their tweets.

Posting the same or similar tweets can bore and annoy your followers. Make sure that each tweet is unique and is sent at regular intervals. Tweets that mention the countdown to your event must be sent everyday along with some highlights of the event. Art, in the form of your company’s logo or event’s graphic will certainly catch the eye of users, and inserting them in your posts will help your event gain more exposure.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social networking site that is designed primarily for businesses and professionals. Signing up with the site is fairly simple. Once you have filled in your company’s details and created a page, you will have to establish connections. Invite your employees and associates to join the page, and interact with them on a regular basis. Inserting links that lead to your company’s page will allow your connections to get closer to you. Join groups so that your company gains publicity. Groups that are related to a particular niche will expose your company and event to a large number of people, thereby spreading the word and attracting interest.

Direct messages can be sent to people who are part of specific groups, and these messages must contain important information regarding your event. Content is crucial when promoting your event on LinkedIn, so gauge the right information and make your messages as interesting as possible. LinkedIn ads are great if you’re looking to reach out to a large consumer base. Although it costs a small amount of money, your business and events will gain publicity across the social network and not just with your business connections. This will help your event attract many more potential attendees.

The benefits

Social networks have the potential to make your business highly successful. Not only are they effective marketing tools, but the fact that you will have to incur barely any expenses makes it ideal for all kinds of businesses. Event promotion through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn can attract more attendees than any other form of promotion, making it crucial for all businesses to establish a web presence. Time and effort are the main elements required to effectively utilize social media to your benefit. You can communicate with people from all kinds of backgrounds and inform them about your events or business. If used in the right manner, social networks have the ability to see your business grow from strength to strength in a relatively short period of time.

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This post was contributed by Chris Thompson. Chris is an experienced hotel manager having worked around the world in many hotels. He also has experience in event planning and management. These days Chris enjoys sharing his wisdom through writing about his travels and tribulations.

Coffee Bean Debuts Ice Blended Truck This Summer

From May 20 – September 2, 2013, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® will keep their customers cool during their landmark 50th anniversary celebration with the introduction of a new Birthday Cake Ice Blended® beverage.

Available nationwide, the drink will be offered alongside the brand’s limited time summer Rocky Road and signature Mocha flavors. The Original Ice Blended® drink from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® pioneered the frozen coffee craze. The innovative handcrafted beverage was created in 1989 when a team member at the Westwood, CA store brought a blender from home, borrowed ice from the store next door, and blended together coffee, chocolate powder, milk, and ice.

Today, over 20,000 Ice Blended® drinks are served daily worldwide and over 7 million annually.

Marking the new Ice Blended® flavors’ debut on Monday, May 20, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® hosts its 50th Birthday Celebration with Buy One Get One Free Birthday Cake, Mocha, and Rocky Road Ice Blended® beverage daily June 3 – 7 from 2pm-6pm at participating stores across California and Arizona.

In addition, the brand will designate Thursday, June 27, 2013 as ‘The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Day’ in Los Angeles, CA.

 “We were ahead of the curve when we first introduced the Ice Blended® beverage, sparking the future of iced coffee drinks” notes President Mel Elias. “In honor of our 50th anniversary and continuing to keep our customers cool and refreshed, we want to tap into our favorite childhood flavors to create new memories with our guests, those young as well as those young-at-heart.”

Treating loyal The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® fans throughout summer 2013, the company’s new Ice Blended® mobile truck will tour Southern California cities including Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego sharing free Birthday Cake, Rocky Road and Mocha Ice Blended® samples.

Coffee Bean Ice Blended Truck Summer Tour

The truck will also participate in various outdoor events including KIIS FM Wango Tango, the Billabong XXL Big Wave Awards, the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, and the X Games. Fans can track the truck by following @TheCoffeeBean on Twitter and using the hashtag #IceBlendedTruck.

Tying a food truck, and thereby adding mobility, to an already-established brand is an ambitious idea, one that seems fruitful considering the summer tour lineup. Utilizing a hashtag will allow fans to track its whereabouts and streamlined any shared images of the experience.

Will you visit the Ice Blended Truck this summer?

SoCal Socialite’s “Digital Street Team” to Spearhead the Oscar’s Social Media

AEG Digital Media Group has selected SoCal Socialite as the new strategic social media agency partner for the 85th annual Academy Awards event on Sunday, February 24, 2013. The agency, headquartered in Laguna Beach, California, will work closely with AEG Digital Media Group to create an integrated live Oscar experience that will engage fans both on-air and online throughout Oscar Sunday.

“On Oscars night, the social web explodes with millions of conversations. Last year, Bluefin estimated nearly 4 million social media comments around the Oscars,” commented Erin Gargan, President of SoCal Socialite. “With so many communication channels, social buzz around an event like the Oscars can be overwhelming to users. Our social street team, in partnership with AEG Digital Media, will be monitoring, reporting and making sense of the world’s reaction to the Red Carpet and awards ceremony on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

SoCalSocialite logo

SoCal Socialite will deliver a unique experience to the Oscars online fan base by leveraging both on-air and online happenings to create an integrated conversation during the live event. SoCal Socialite’s “social street team” will be broadcasting in real-time from the Academy Awards Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to report live on all the trends, updates, best and worst dressed commentary, key moments, interviews with Fashion Face Off designers and Oscar award winners.

Users can also download the official Oscar App for an all access Backstage Pass which includes over a dozen live backstage and red carpet video streams. In addition to watching the show on ABC, users can follow all of the action in “Watch Mode” or “Direct Mode” directly on their mobile devices. “Watch Mode” has official correspondents guiding users through the ultimate Oscar experience, while “Direct Mode” allows the user to control which cameras they want to view in real time.

85th Annual Academy Awards

Also part of the Oscar app experience is multiple curated Twitter streams, #BestDressed voting, and the ability to cast and share virtual ballots to compete against Facebook friends using “My Picks.” Watch celebrities walk the Red Carpet, follow winners backstage in the Dolby Theatre, and see the stars mingle on Hollywood’s biggest night-all from a smartphone.

SoCal Socialite and AEG Digital Media have merged mobile, social, and broadcast to pioneer a truly VIP digital Oscars experience from the Red Carpet and Backstage. Viewers can follow @TheAcademy, @AEGdm and @SoCalSocialite using the Twitter hashtags #Oscars, #OscarRedCarpet, and #BestDressed. For exclusive access to all of the hottest buzz and moments of the show, download the official Oscars app here: http://bit.ly/W0RRfQ.

Since 1929, the Academy Awards have delivered a glamorous, fashion-filled event honoring the biggest film stars, producers and directors in Hollywood.  The Oscars event is now broadcasted in over 200 countries where viewers across the globe tune in on-air and now socially and digitally to enjoy the show.

Wedding Vendor Registry Win/Win for Couples and Venues

Special events are a major revenue and profit driver for hotels.  Special events increase occupancy, increase revenue from ancillary services and increase food and alcohol sales.

However, the event planning industry has been commoditized. Everything they can do, hotels can also do independently. Owners have already invested heavily and won’t invest in anymore luxury services.

Recently, hotels have began looking at registry systems. Let’s think about the wedding market in general: Twenty years ago people got married in their early 20s. Now, people get married in their early 30s.  When you’re in your early 30s, you most likely already have everything you need in terms of household goods.  If you want a certain blender, you go buy it.

But, what’s the one thing everyone does once they get engaged?  They still go register for more household goods!

Meanwhile, there are huge wedding costs the bride and groom are responsible for covering. How many times do possible venues receive emails similar to this: “We love your venue and all of the services you provide, but you are outside of our budget”?

A registry for weddings eliminates this possibility. Because the bride creates a registry for her ceremony rather than material items the couple doesn’t really need.

Ciderr Wedding Registry

They then state in invitations, emails, social media channels: “We are registered at ABC Resort.”

This has a positive brand marketing effect for selected venue. All of the wedding guests are perusing that site’s products and services their own website.

Even better, the bride and groom are doing the marketing and promoting for the venue! No more paying for costly advertising!

Having a registry isn’t a cure-all, but it is a tool you can use to increase your marketing and sales efforts while reducing your advertising spending.

This post was contributed by Jimmy Moncrief. Jimmy is a co-founder of Ciderr, a web-application that let’s wedding vendors create wedding registries. Social Hospitality readers will receive a free month of our Hard Ciderr plan ($100 value). Use discount code: socialhospitality

Social Media Tourism Symposium Turns to Fans to Choose Venue

The Third Annual Social Media Tourism Symposium is coming up this November and they’ve taken a unique approach to choosing its location.

After selecting their “sweet 16″ top destinations, they held a March Madness-style voting initiative on their Facebook page.

Each destination was numbered 1-16 and pegged against each other to be voted on in pairs beginning March 26.

Social Media Tourism Symposium

After two weeks, the SoMeT team shared some #SoMeT12/#SoMeT contest stats on their Facebook page:

- 2,934 tweets generated with the hash tags since the competition started
- 52,452 votes cast in the 12 total contests
- highest number of votes was 15,884, where El Paso, TX defeated Buffalo-Niagara, NY – 8,175 to 7,709.
- Facebook fanpage added 7,254 ‘likes’ in the two weeks

Pretty impressive! This was definitely a great move in spreading the word about the event, creating a lot of excitement around it and drawing in fans, uniting users in various cities and making peoples’ opinion matter.

Fierce Leadership Summit Debuting in LA

I love going to social media and business-related events, and always leave them with some new nuggets of ideas. I think the pursuit of knowledge is never fruitless, even if the topic is a familiar one. That said, it’s still exciting when one comes along that’s “different,” and that I know will evoke some deep thought afterward.

An upcoming event that caught my attention as being unique is the Fierce Leadership Summit. The inaugural single-day conference will take place Sunday, March 25, 2012 at the Davidson Conference Center at the University of Southern California (USC).

The event’s focus is on inspiring women to reach their full potential by tapping into the power of their unique talents and strengths through a series of prominent, influential female speakers.

Nailah Blades, USC graduate and certified life coach, created this event after noticing a lack of events designed to help young women recognize the innate power they already possess, to become more authentic leaders. Blades realized her own passion for teaching and speaking during her career as a sales and marketing analyst.

Two years ago, Blades started her coaching and consulting business, Polka Dot Coaching, to help young women develop strategies to follow their passions and make their dreams a reality.

Blades and eight key speakers from the Southern California area will share the secrets, successes and challenges that have lead them to achieve their goals. Each 40-minute speaker session will leave guests with a crystal-clear strategy and the motivation to confront their ambitions and make them a reality.

Speakers will cover how health and wellness, marketing, personal growth and finances are all important factors to becoming a fierce leader and reaching personal goals. They include:

  • Erin Haslag | Certified Wellness Coach and Founder, Well in LA
  • Danielle Dowling | Author, Relationship Expert and Women’s Life Coach
  • Jodi Womack | Founder, No More Nylons
  • Alaia Williams | Owner, One Organized Business
  • Danielle Leslie | Marketing Consultant, We Are Big Fish
  • Dyana Valentine | Speaker, Life Coach at DyanaValentine.com
  • Samantha Bennett | Creator, The Organized Artist Company
  • Brittney Castro | Certified Financial Planner, Financially Wise Woman

Seminar tickets are $89. Notebooks, pens, water and light appetizers will be provided along with gift bags for the first 125 attendees. Sessions will be held from 9am-5pm, followed by a cocktail hour and networking.

Use promo code “LetsGetFierce” for $10 off! For more information, contact Heather Cereghino of the ACE Agency.

Starwood Hawaii Holds Tweetup in Los Angeles

hawaiiStarwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii, which has 11 great properties in Hawaii, just held a Tweetup.

Rather than host it at one of their properties or even on the islands, it was in Los Angeles.

At first, this may seem odd, i.e., how are Hawaiian hotels going to garner buzz from an event an ocean away?

But, it’s actually quite smart. When your audience is travelers, when your bottom line is for people to come stay in your hotelrooms, why not shoot for a popular city in an ideal location — Since Los Angeles International Airport is a huge hub, many destinations can be flown to easily from it, and then back home again.

The event took place at The W Los Angeles Hotel in Westwood, another Starwood property, with a great location right next door to UCLA, just west of Beverly Hills, and only a few miles from the beach. Nevertheless, the event wasn’t about how wonderful the W Los Angeles – Westwood is, it was about how wonderful those Starwood properties in Hawaii are.

They used Twtvite to draw attendees and shared the event on Twitter with #luwow. The invitation teased of games, prize giveaways, and even chances to win three-night stays at a few of the Hawaii hotels.

Starwood Hawaii held true to their promise, and as is evidenced by the active twitter stream, they gifted many attendees those three-night Hawaiian stays, to much appreciation and hype.

They’ve now created brand ambassadors for their hotels from these winners that would have otherwise possibly not had the opportunity to go visit these resorts, or, in some cases, even know that they existed, the amenities they offer, etc.

It’s also entirely possible that these visitors will now not only talk about their awesome prizes and corresponding Hawaiian vacations, bu they’re also likely to extend their stays beyond the three-day prize period, thereby providing monetary ROI for the hotels as well.

Furthermore, the tweets about had massive reach — According to TweetReach, 50 tweets featuring #luwow reached 28,000 people and received 57,000 impressions.

This was definitely a great tactic in terms of tying in social marketing and related events to spread brand awareness and encourage over-night stays.

Would you go to a Tweetup for a far-away brand?

FohBoh Hosts Foodservice Social Media Conference

Foodservice Social Media UniverseLast week, a few hundred foodservice professionals gathered at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco for the first social media conference dedicated to the industry. Hosted by FohBoh, the leading social-business community for the global restaurant industry, Food Service Social Media Universe (FSMU) was created to bring together restaurant leaders and social media practitioners to share incites and best practices about this rapidly changing landscape.

Be Social

FohBoh encouraged guests to be social by using the #FSMU hashtag to follow and participate in the conversation surrounding the event. The results showed over 3,000 tweets were sent with the hashtag, drawing 15 million impressions and reaching 1.5 million people. They also created a mobile site along with a QR code, allowing guests easy access to the site via scanning the code in their programs.

There was also a social good component involved: money was raised for Share Our Strength, a charity that provides meal for starving children. Several FSMU attendees consistently tweeted about the initiative, with many offering to increase donations for spreading the word. People were RTing related posts all weekend, resulting in thousands of dollars raised for the cause. There was also a “Dine Out” event with the proceeds going to #NoKidHungry.

The conference covered a variety of topics from a pre-sessions “Social Media 101″ workshop to location-based services, social media policy, B2B application and social web analytics, with the goal for attendees to build better, long-term guest relationships. Mobile marketing, daily deal sites, capitalizing connectivity, brand loyalty and other topics were also addressed. The diverse curriculum and high-quality speakers allowed for guests to find opportunities that suited their specific needs.

Keynote speakers included Michael Atkinson, CEO of FohBoh; Nate DaPore CEO of People Matter; Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analyst of Altimeter Group and Kathleen Wood of Kathleen Wood Partners, LLC.

Because there’s far too much information to spotlight, I’ll touch upon one topic: Jeremiah held the opening keynote which offered a lot of great incite, highlighting the importance of a social business strategy.

5 goals for developing a social strategy for your business

  1. Learning: Make it easy for consumer to learn about you: start with free and inexpensive tools and use terms related to your products, locations and competitors stores.
  2. Dialogue: You’ve been listening, now you want to engage in conversation: strive to use social media for a tailored, personal experience.
  3. Advocate: Recruite an “unpaid army” of highly engaged fans to promote your venue through social media. Cultivate brand loyalists and acknowledge and reward them whenever possible.
  4. Support:  Assist your customers directly, or by facilitating peer-to-peer support via social technologies.
  5. Innovate: Be innovative! For example, the My Starbucks Idea campaign — tens of thousands of customers have submitted, commented, and voted on ideas. It’s like a public tip jar.

Foodservice Social Media Universe
The event as a whole was incredibly well planned and executed, and there didn’t seem to be any attendee who could find a negative thing to say about its quality. Everyone from independent chains to large corporate brands were represented, providing a great opportunity for this variety of players to learn from each other. There were several networking events, some planned and some spontaneous. The overall experience was incredibly positive and I’m looking forward to seeing what FohBoh puts together for next year!