• #stellar event status

     
    POSTED February 19, 2017
     

Social media has drastically changed since I was in college. Thanks to Instagram, Twitter and FB, the hashtag symbol is becoming a larger topic when it comes to following, reporting and engaging with companies, friends or events. I personally love following the buzz during events that I cannot attend via hashtags. Savvy event planners can use hashtags to help our industry and business grow.

With many of my years being in the music and concert industry, I became obsessed with the Coachella and South by Southwest festivals. I wasn’t actually at those events, but through social media, I was able to know exactly what was going on. #SXSW was used heavily for pre-marketing, event reporting and discussion, and generated millions of mentions each year before the event even took place. I can compare older posts of the comments or photos that already happened to what is currently happening now as well as to the events to come.

While hashtag success can be planned, often the biggest social media hits are organic. Take Ellen’s internet-breaking 2014 #Oscars selfie, which brought the star-studded ceremony to the world with 3.2 million retweets and 2.2 million likes. It then became a Time Top 100 Influential Photo.

I experienced the power of the ‘#’ at the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s Kidney Ball. As part of our winter theme, we prepared a display featuring characters from the original Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cartoon, including the enormous abominable snowman, Bumble. No signs were placed by the area, but the #kidneyfoundation and #bumble popped up all over social media. Guests posted and retweeted photos and comments throughout the night and the hashtag’s momentum continued for two weeks after. Even without being in attendance, we could see how the event was unfolding, how people were participating and what they were doing throughout the night.

Hashtags are a great way to get people involved in an event, to spread the word and generate excitement and to see how people are responding to your products and designs. They’re also timestamped and perennial, so they can be used as a record of an event well after it’s done. That’s great for attendees—and great for vendors, who can review how people respond to an event and make adjustments accordingly.

Hashtags can be seamlessly incorporated in so many ways – photobooths, geomarketing, contests and even stationery – and we’re looking forward to finding new and exciting ways to use them with our events. Check out some of my regularly used “#”: #linenhero #topthatevent #roadwarrior #eventprof #princessinpink

Kristen Porchia is director of business development and events at Top That! Event.

MACVB Annual Educational Conference finally reaches the shores of Mackinac Island.

As I rode in the carriage from the Shepler’s Ferry terminal to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, my mind wandered to a scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” In said scene, King Arthur and his sidekick, Patsy, approach a castle while galloping and banging coconuts together. After a few moments passed and my mind wandered back to the tree-lined streets of the island, I realized it was the clippety-clop of the draft horses pulling our carriage that brought on my thoughts of Python.

 

First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month. 

 

A conference or convention venue might be described by meeting planners as offering ease and convenience for multiple reasons. It may be because its address is easily accessible from numerous compass points. Or perhaps it’s the destination—with a variety of opportunities for activities and entertainment close-by. And of course, it could be that the venue itself offers a peaceful, easy setting with all the comforts you could want. 

Well, at Treetops Resort, it’s all of the above.