Welcome to our recap of the educational session “Pick Our Brains: Your Event Tech Questions, Our Practical Answers,” presented at MPI WEC. This engaging breakout session was a treasure trove of insights into event technology, addressing common pain points and providing practical solutions for planners.

Industry experts from Encore led the session, which was a mix of myth-busting, real talk and interactive Q&A. Their goal? Equip event planners like you with the knowledge you need to better understand a crucial aspect of the event experience — your technology solutions.

Let’s dive into the key insights and takeaways.

Your Event Tech Experts

  • Bret Fendt, Director, Customer Relationships
  • Debra Mategrano, Regional Sales Director
  • John Rissi, Senior Vice President, Customer & Industry Engagement
  • Johanna Walsh, Vice President, Event Production
  • Rob Wilcox, Director, Sales Engineering

1. Navigating Event Tech Costs with Confidence

Insight: In-house event tech services can sometimes appear costlier, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.

“As customer expectations have changed from everything to celebrity restaurants and blow dry bars to immersive events, the ability for hotels to service those expectations meant they needed to partner with expert companies to deliver on those expectations,” explained Debra Mategrano, Regional Sales Director.

“In-house partners are invested in the hotel, including the infrastructure like the internet lines, the rigging points and the equipment, but also the people through training, benefits and enhanced safety protocols. When you’re working with an outside provider, they don’t often have the same business model and the same investments,” she said.

“The value of an in-house partner is that they are an integral part of the venue’s team, with intimate knowledge of the space, what works and what doesn’t, as well as the building infrastructure.

“That matters to you, the customer, in a live event environment when we are constantly problem-solving and adapting. So, there’s a value to that potential cost differential.”

When comparing AV proposals, keep in mind that a venue’s infrastructure may affect costs. Ask about the specific reasons for cost differences, such as equipment transportation and setup complexities.

“Even within the same city, AV prices can vary significantly due to factors like the layout of the venue, the ease of equipment transport and the availability of power,” Mategrano highlighted. For example, a venue might require extensive labor to set up equipment due to its floor plan.

Pro Tip: Have early and detailed discussions with your in-house event tech provider to understand your venue’s unique capabilities along with any helpful considerations to keep in mind. They can provide guidance on choosing the right solutions for your budget and space.

2. Experiencing Consistent Event Production

Insight: Consistency in event technology services is a top priority for event professionals. When the experience varies across different venues and locations, this becomes a pain point.

“Customer feedback indicated challenges with consistency in service across different venues,” said John Rissi, Senior Vice President, Customer & Industry Engagement. “We honor that feedback, we hear you, and we invested in additional training and internal tools to address it.”

When event providers keep track of planners’ preferences, feedback and past requirements, they have the insights to offer a more uniform experience. Encore is dedicated to continuously improving this aspect to best serve our partners.

By leveraging our customer journey data tool, we are able to streamline and organize vital information for each of our clients,” Rissi elaborated. 

“It consolidates relevant event information, customer service surveys and notes from past events to provide a comprehensive view of each client’s needs.”

The benefit to Encore customers? Not needing to repeat their needs from venue to venue; the Encore team has greater access to their history at their fingertips.

Pro Tip: Cultivate strong partnerships with event technology providers who prioritize consistency and utilize data-driven insights to tailor their services to your specific needs.

By maintaining open communication and sharing feedback, you can ensure your event technology solutions align with your objectives and consistently meet your expectations across different venues.

3. Mastering Internet Needs and Costs

Insight: Internet services are an often a crucial yet misunderstood aspect of the event experience. From basic connectivity to tailored solutions, your internet choice impacts both capabilities and costs.

Bret Fendt, Director, Customer Relationships, explained, “Whether it’s opting for no support, basic connections, or fully managed services, each approach offers distinct advantages.”

Understanding your event’s internet needs comes down to determining how participants will use it and their expectations.

“Do you want attendees to be able to download session resources, share clips on social platforms, interact with digital polls, Q&A or something else?” he said. “The answers to these questions inform how much bandwidth you need.”

This is where your event provider can handle the legwork. “Encore provides a bandwidth calculator to help estimate needs. From there, our network engineers offer tailored advice.”

Here are a few considerations your event internet partner can walk you through to ensure you get the most out of your internet.

  • Scalability — Start with a baseline bandwidth, determined by your use of the bandwidth calculator, and scale up as needed. This flexibility ensures that your event can adapt to fluctuating demands without compromising connectivity.
  • Real-Time Monitoring — Ask for a daily bandwidth report to understand your usage. A dedicated event internet provider can continuously monitor bandwidth use and adjust it on the spot based on real-time usage patterns. This proactive approach enables you to avoid potential lags, buffering and other bottleneck situations to ensure a seamless digital experience for attendees.
  • Expert Support — Leverage the expertise of local and national Encore network engineers to address any internet-related challenges swiftly. Having a dedicated support team ensures that you can navigate unexpected hurdles with confidence, minimizing disruptions during your event.
  • Avoiding Pitfalls — While free internet options may seem tempting, remember that reliability often comes at a cost. “Free internet is something that’s unreliable and inconsistent… you get what you invest in. If it stops working in a live event scenario, there’s nothing you can do,” Fendt stated. Investing in robust internet solutions is essential to safeguard against potential connectivity issues and ensure a smooth experience for all stakeholders.
Pro Tip: Use the Encore bandwidth calculator to get a feel for internet costs in advance as you’re mapping out how to use your budget. Let your event provider know your needs and goals so they can tailor internet services to your event’s requirements.

4. Leveraging Producer Expertise

Insight: Producers can handle the operational and logistical needs of an event, ensuring all stakeholders are aligned.

“A producer is key to managing stakeholders and ensuring the success of your event,” said Johanna Walsh, Vice President, Event Production. “Good production relies heavily on organization, documentation and communication.”

Depending on the complexity of the event, different types of producers, from show callers, stage managers or event producers may be needed. “For more complex events, we recommend a show producer or an event producer,” she explained. “But we can make that recommendation for you. You don’t have to be an expert — we’re here to guide and advise.”

Choosing an event tech provider with in-depth knowledge of industry best practices can significantly enhance the quality of complex events.

Walsh highlighted, “My role involves building a production discipline at Encore, aligning producer and production capabilities with industry best practices. With experience from leading high-profile events and a focus on sustainability, we are committed to enhancing service delivery.”

By leveraging the expertise of production teams, you can ensure your event meets industry best practices and exceeds audience expectations.

“The evolving nature of event production requires specialized skills and sustainability considerations to deliver wow-worthy event experiences,” she said.

Pro Tip: Get clear on timelines because adhering to deadlines across your event production will save you time and money. It will also keep all team members, yours and your partners, fresh and ready for the challenge of each day.

5. Maximizing Digital Engagement Tools

Insight: There is a digital tool for many goals — “The timeline really depends on the event’s objectives and complexity,” Rob Wilcox, Director, Sales Engineering, noted.

Key tools include attendee management platforms, participant engagement tools, and content management systems. Event apps like Chime Live℠, Polling+ and Encore RSVP help manage registration, logistics and attendee engagement.

Using AI for live transcripts and summaries enhances post-event engagement. “We’re recording the session and using AI help summarize key takeaways for participants,” he shared.

Pro Tip: Let your event production partner know your goals, whether you are interested in streamlining event invites and check-ins, boosting in-room engagement or continuing valuable conversations with attendees with post-event resources and communications. They’ll recommend which digital tools can achieve each.

6. Cost-Saving Measures for Associations

Insight: Be upfront with your budget to allow providers to tailor solutions effectively.

“The sooner you involve us, the better we can plan equipment and labor which saves on having to subrent equipment or use outside labor,” Mategrano suggested. “Those are both more costly additions. The more honest you are with your price range, the better we can serve you.”

Pro Tip: Engage event tech providers early in the planning process to optimize resources.

By understanding the intricacies of event tech costs, service consistency, managing internet needs effectively, and enhancing production capabilities, planners can elevate their events to extraordinary experiences.

Ready to take your event to the next level? Contact our experts today for a free event production consultation.

We’d love to partner on crafting an inspiring experience. Reach out now and transform your next event with seamless technology solutions tailored to your needs.


Emily Loftis


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