10 Things Not to Miss at the Northwest Event Show

Northwest Event Show Team Member- Victoria Blasich

We are counting down the days until the Northwest Event Show’s first ever 2-day show! There will be so much amazing content to take in, vendors to meet with, and new event trends to discover, we don’t want you to miss out on anything. We are pulling out all the stops to make sure you have all the opportunities to grow your business and find your next inspiration. From education seminars and panels, wellness focused sessions in the Mindfulness Lounge to hands on tech training. And of course, some great areas to relax and chat with your fellow event enthusiasts!

So now, in no particular order, are the top 10 things we are most excited about and therefore, things you do not want to miss out on at this year’s NWES!

1)   Keynote Breakfast

 All attendees who have a VIP All Access Pass are invited to an exclusive breakfast the first morning of the Northwest Event Show. Not only will you get to kick off your day with a meal and chat with enthusiastic professionals, you’ll get to hear about upcoming event trends from our Keynote Speaker, Julius Solaris.

Julius is the editor of the popular Event Manger Blog website and one of the event industries most innovative and creative minds. He will be presenting his top event trends for 2020 in this interactive session with research-backed insights on the trends in event technology, event marketing and social media, venues and destination selection, and installation experiences designs. This is the perfect way to start your day at NWES!

Need to upgrade your General Admission or Advanced Education Pass? Click here to upgrade online. Or upgrade on site at registration. But hurry, seats are limited!


2)   Welcome Reception

Right on the heels of day one, it’s our party! We want to celebrate with you! Come celebrate our 25th anniversary with us at the NWES Welcome Reception! We invite you to join us on Wednesday, November 13 at 5:00 pm as we party after the show with amazing food, drinks and the tunes from TWO incredible live bands!

Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to engage one-on-one with event and tradeshow experts, rub elbows with some of the best industry vendors in the business, connect with esteemed speakers, and interact with fellow attendees. Complimentary shuttles provided by Butler Seattle will be on standby at the Convention Center, ready to whisk you away to Block 41, a unique Seattle venue that is contemporary cool and industrial chic. 



3)   NWES Tech Bar: Powered by Exhibits NW

Get your hands on the newest tech and ask all your questions at the Tech Bar. No matter your level of technical experience or prowess, you’ll learn something new and walk away with actionable information. Not only will you get to hold and work with new devices and see the new software systems designed to help your business, you’ll be able to get advice and help on current systems you are familiar with.

All attendees have access to the NWES Tech Bar this year! There will be short sessions focused on interactive education with the newest technology and hands on learning that are great to drop in on! Use the Tech Bar as a pit stop to charge your items, get quick social media tips and more!


4)   Mindfulness Lounge

The hustle is real, and so is the need to disconnect and center ourselves. All attendees with an Advanced Education Pass and an All Access VIP Pass have access to Lee Papa’s Mindfulness Lounge at NWES this year. Lee will be hosting multiple meditation sessions a day, all focused on different needs and processes. And if you’ve never meditated before, or are skeptical, we highly recommend her first session on each day, her “Introduction to Mindfulness and Guided Meditation”.

Read all about the different guided meditation sessions and find the perfect one for your schedule and needs by checking out the Mindfulness Lounge Schedule.


5)   See our 300+ Exhibitors

There are so many fabulous exhibitors, but no need to rush! NWES is two full days this year. The show floor will have vendors that will help you plan, host, decorate, market your event and more. Chat with event pros, sample some sweet and savory treats, marvel at the creative genius of event designers, and discover your inspiration for your next event.

Find the perfect list of vendors for all your big event and business ideas. From caterers that can build the buffet of your dreams, to the planning team that just *gets* you and your incredible vision for a corporate event. If you are looking for the classics, of course! What about something a little different or modern? Just you wait and see! (but we get it, we can’t wait either! Check them out on social media here)


6)   Our Expo Floor Panel Discussions

While you’re on the show floor, take a moment to sit in on one of our Panel Discussions. Open to all attendees, there will be multiple panels on both days of the show. Come, take a seat, and listen to event professionals from across the spectrum of the industry share their insights and experiences.

You’ll want to get there early for “Event Planning: 2020 Insights”, moderated by Megan Clark from Clutch Events with panelists Chaitra Vedullapalli of Meylah and Julius Solaris from Event Manger Blog.

And get tangible takeaways focused on sustainability from the panel “Sustainability in Today’s Events”, moderated by Christopher Davies of Pondhr with panelists Aaron Shook from Ocean5, Seattle NACE, Nikki Davidson from Big Table and Pamela Potts from Dynamic Events.


7)   Apply for the Event Innovation Lab™

We are so excited to announce that now ALL attendees are eligible to apply for the Event Innovation Lab hosted by Julius Solaris!

No Lab is ever the same, because the event world and the professionals in it are constantly changing. The Lab is custom designed for the attendees, so it is a truly interactive, and focused to exactly what you are looking to learn. You won’t hear the same advice you’ve heard before; this is about innovation! Spots are limited, so be sure to apply today for your seat.


8)   AFR Show floor Lounges:  Powered by AFR Furniture Rentals

Need to take a break, rest your feet, charge your phone or chat more with a fellow attendee or exhibitor? We’ll have two large lounges on the show floor, designed and outfitted by AFR for your relaxation and networking needs.


9)   Connection Hub: Powered by Fern

We take networking and inspiration so seriously, that we made it a priority this year. Make the most out if your time at the NWES by using the Connection Hub to meet up with co-workers, set up side meetings and mingle with others.

Need to get some work done during the day? Answer some emails or take a meeting with a exhibitor to get more information or finalize a plan.

10)  Our featured Workshop Sessions

For our Advanced Education and VIP All Access Pass attendees, we are offering exclusive access to the workshop sessions at this years NWES. Covering topics from tech developments to personal branding. Light-hearted talks that will motivate you and deep dive sessions that will make you think critically.

A few sessions we on the NWES team have saved to our schedule are Melissa Major’s “Disruption Discovered: The Fusion of Design Thinking & Inclusion - You can't take bias out of people, but you can take it out of process” and “Converting Casual Conversations Into Sales” from Nikki Rausch.

It was difficult to narrow down all the amazing things happening at this years NWES, but the top 10 is a great place to start! Have you gotten your tickets yet? Be sure to register now to make sure you have all the access to make the most out of your two days at the NWES! 

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. A boutique marketing and event management agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways.

It’s Almost Show Time! What to Know Before You Go

Written by Northwest Event Show Team Member- Victoria Blasich

Are You Ready?

The Northwest Event Show is happening soon! If you are an event professional or have attended trade shows before…you’ll know what is coming next. That’s right! A Know Before You Go! Read through all the info and get ready to make the most out of your experience at NWES2019! P.S. There are many exciting changes this year!

The Basics

Show Location

Washington State Convention Center

705 Pike Street

Seattle, WA 98101 

The main entrance of the building located at the corner of 7th Ave & Pike Street. Show registration located in the North Lobby on the 4th floor.

Show Dates & Hours

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

·       Registration opens at 7:00 am

·       Keynote Breakfast with Julius Solaris at 7:30 am (VIP All Access passes only)

·       Tech Bar opens at 9:00 am

·       Expo floor opens at 10:00 am

·       Panel Discussions begin at 10:30 am

·       Workshop Sessions begin at 11:00 am (VIP & Advanced EDU passes only)

·       Expo floor closes at 4:00 pm

·       Welcome Reception at 5:00 pm

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

·       Registration opens at 7:00 am

·       Event Innovation Lab 9:00 am (additional application required)

·       Expo floor opens at 10:00 am

·       Panel Discussions begin at 10:30 am

·       Workshop Sessions begin at 11:00 am (VIP & Advanced EDU passes only)

·       Expo floor closes at 4:00 pm


Driving & Parking

The Washington State Convention Center is well-marked from I-5.

If you are arriving by taxi or other car service, the best drop-off locations are on Convention Place, between Union and Pike Streets, or on Pike Street, between 7th and 8th.

We recommend parking in one of the two garages operated by the Washington State Convention Center. The WSCC Main Garage or Freeway Park Garage.




1100 Fifth Avenue | Seattle, WA 98101

Phone: 1-800-853-3914

Special Group Rate: $219 USD per night

Rate Available Until October 29, 2019

Check Availability: Click Here!


11808 Howell Street | Seattle, WA 98101

Phone: 1-206-973-1234

Special Group Rate: 5% discount off of our current standard rate online



Pre-Show Prep & Packing


The average temperature for Seattle in November is 51 degrees Fahrenheit / 11 degrees Celsius. Expect some rain and wind. Coat check is available at show registration located in the North Lobby on the 4th floor.

What should I wear?

Dress for success! The Northwest Event Show is the best networking and education event for event professionals in the Pacific Northwest. We suggest business casual, with comfortable shoes – since you’ll have lots of walking to do to see all the incredible vendors.

The AC will be on, so a light jacket or sweater may be advisable. A jacket with a hood is recommended if you will be adventuring outdoors. Rain will most likely be in the daily forecast. There will be a free coat check by registration on the 4th floor, next to the top of the escalators for any outerwear or large bags/purses you don’t want to carry with you on the show floor.

Dress code for the Welcome Reception is still business casual, but feel free to dress up a little!

What should I bring with me to the showfloor?

  • Reusable water bottles

  • Personal ID

  • Business cards (if you are here for networking!)

  • Laptop/Tablet/Notebook for taking notes

  • No need to bring a bag! All attendees will get a bag to carry swag and networking material, a 2020 Event Guide and lanyard with their badge.

At the Show

Download the Show App

Download the NWES app, ConnecxMe, an easy to use way to stay connected throughout the show and view our full schedule! Download the ConnexMe native app on the Apple Store / Google Play, with the event code: NWES

Registration & Badge Pickup

Registration is located in the North Lobby on the 4th floor of the Convention Center at the top of the escalators. When you check-in, please have your ID ready.

If you haven’t purchased your pass, you can do so on-site!


Internet & WIFI

There is free WIFI for all attendees. Simply connect to “NWES2019”. No password needed

Information Desk

Located just inside the doors of the show floor, it is a perfect place to stop by and get any of your questions answered. Want to know where a specific vendor is located on the show floor? Looking for a solution to an event issue and aren’t sure where to start?

Find the signs that say “Have a Question” and our staff will be happy to help!

Shuttle Service

Butler Seattle is powering our daily shuttle from various locations around Seattle to the Convention Center. We are offering shuttle services from these locations to the Washington State Convention Center.

  • Amazon, 300 Boren Avenue

  • Amazon, 1918 8th Avenue

  • Bellevue Hyatt Regency, NE 8th Avenue

  • Microsoft Conference Center, Building 33

  • University of WA Graduate Hotel, 4507 Brooklyn Ave NE

  • Find out Exact locations and times, full schedule.

Welcome Reception

The Welcome Reception is open to all attendees aged 21 and over and will be hosted at Block41.  We are celebrating NWES’s 25th year! With 2 live bands, food and drinks, you’ll have a blast networking and enjoying what a Seattle event is all about. Learn more all about it and the bands that will be rocking out by clicking HERE.

You will need your NWES badge and ID to gain entrance to the Welcome Reception. Only those who are 21 years and older will be admitted into the NWES Welcome Reception,

No need to pay for a ride! There is a shuttle service from the Convention Center to Block 41 that is powered by Butler Seattle. Shuttles begin leaving the Convention Center at 4:30 from the charter zone and will be running on a continuous loop.


Advanced Education Sessions & Mindfulness Lounge™

If you have an Advanced EDU Pass or an All Access VIP Pass, you’ll have access to the education workshops located off the main show floor, and the Mindfulness Lounge™. Be sure to check those daily schedules for the lounge and sessions and build out your daily plan to make the most out of your time at the NWES.


There you have it! Almost everything you need to know before you go to the Northwest Event Show! Feel free to check out our FAQ’s as well!  

If you haven’t already gotten your pass, don’t miss out! You can register here today! We can’t wait to see you!



Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. A boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways.

Sustainability, Important Values

The Northwest Event Show is more than just the region’s largest trade show for event and business professionals. It’s 125,000 square feet packed with endless ideas and innovative solutions, along with thousands of inspired event professionals.

World environment day concept with tree care planting and CSR green earth on volunteer's hands for sustainable environmental development. Element of this image furnished by NASA

As we have been reinventing the framework of this show over the last couple of years, we here at the Northwest Event Show (NWES) recognized the importance of developing a value system expected of leaders in our industry. The NWES understands the importance of being responsible Global Citizens and have maintained focus on incorporating a strong value system into the show.

One important focus for the show this year is centered around the topic of sustainability and stewardship. At the NWES, we wanted to lead by example, showcase solutions, and have meaningful discussions. This is an ongoing effort and this year will establish an important baseline, a point from which we can grow in the coming years. To help us achieve our goal of higher sustainable focus, we cobbled together a sustainability team that was able to advise and implement some terrific solutions.

Our 2019 NWES Sustainability Committee:

Stock photo of paper recyclable containers in stacks on the table over patterned green and white tablecloth. Box of napkins and utensils. Outdoor food festival.

This team helped developed the framework and advised the NWES team in implementing solutions. They established some primary opportunities for this year and set some modest goals. Areas of focus were outlined as; waste management & reduction, education, measurements.

Working with the Washington State Convention Center (WSCC), the NWES will have three compartment waste receptacles throughout the show and will be working with all exhibitors to use compostable or recyclable materials wherever possible. Our efforts here will directly impact the amount of waste from the show that will head to the landfill. Additionally, Fern Expo Services is committing to creating all signage and show collateral using recyclable materials. Our goal this year will be to limit landfill waste with these easy solutions and work with WSCC to measure the waste created by the show. Using this baseline data, we will be able to implement other solutions to further reduce or redirect our waste stream for future shows.

We will have solutions, tips, and education on the topic of sustainability throughout the show. Be sure to stop by the Tech Hub to check out some fabulous innovations.

The Tech Bar will feature energy efficient LED Lighting, Recycled Aluminum, Water-based adhesives, Recycled and Recyclable hard surface finishes, and Recycled packaging materials. All components are also in our rental program, with the exception of graphics, and will be used again and again.

- Michael McCord, Exhibits NW

We will also give attendees an opportunity to share their voice on this topic. Attendees will be able to highlight their stories, successes, challenges, and interests via an interactive “white board” near the Tech Hub.

To bring it all together, encourage the conversation, and continue moving forward, we will start day 2 of the show with a thoughtful panel discussion about sustainability and stewardship in our industry. We will have experts from the hospitality and events industry, social care organizations, and technology fields discussing tips, tools, thoughts and ideas for creating sustainable events and running sustainable businesses.

We are excited to be taking the show in new and exciting directions, elevating our industry, supporting our professionals, and raising awareness. We hope you will join us November 13 – 14 and learn more about these exciting innovations and solutions. See you there!!

2020 Event Trends To Look Out For

Written By Guest Blogger: Olivia Sundstrom of National Event Pros

The Year 2020

As the leaves begin to turn colors and cover the streets, children prepare to go back to school and calendars are dotted with holiday plans, the year 2019 is beginning its final transitions into the new year. 2020 holds new and exciting prospects in the personal lives of many and for the global community with upcoming elections, launches, and innovations. As the seasons and years change so do celebrations.

Incorporating Mindfulness 

Excited african-american man talking to diverse friends sitting

With the rise of technology and the interconnected world of social media, events have managed to strike a balance between utilizing this technology as well as creating a place of refuge from the online world for attendees to fully embrace the present moment.

The demand for real connection in the iGeneration has only been growing louder and the ways people choose to celebrate have been emphasizing mindfulness. Mindfulness inspired events can be anything from hosting yoga flow and meditation workshops, featuring live artists and speakers that inspire, a phone-free zone at an event, to hands-on creative activities like terrarium buildingpainting, and candle making.

Allowing guests to escape their day to day routines, work with their hands, or engage their minds are all great ways to incorporate mindfulness in small ways no matter the occasion.


Personalized Touches 

In today’s world where ideas are so interconnected and people are taking in more information than ever before the ability to stick out and hold space in any circumstance is increasingly valuable. This couldn’t be more true for brands looking to make an impact in a marketplace or for organizations to attract the best talent.

Bringing the right message to attendees without the feel of a gimmick is critical in a time where authenticity is the biggest draw and priority for consumers, employees, and the masses.

Delivering that message can be done in a multitude of ways but a trend of personalized rentals and experiences for events has been gaining traction and will be a central strategy for engaging audiences well into 2020 and beyond.

A Focus on Sustainability 


With the worldwide focus on making shifts towards sustainability in everyday life, so has the focus shifted towards creating sustainable and eco-conscious events.

The idea of a fully sustainable event sounds like a lofty goal but a focus on sustainability can be achieved in the details of the event. One of the keys to achieving sustainability in any setting is focusing on reducing overall waste.

Events have long been notorious for generating large amounts of single-use plastics, single-use dining utensil waste, excess paper waste and everything in between. Changing the essentials over to compostables is a cost-efficient and easy swap that will make a noticeable difference in making strides to a more sustainable event.

There are many ways to interpret a focus on sustainability in events including featuring speakers, sponsors, and opportunities to donate to eco-conscious causes throughout an event. Offering various menus that focus on sustainability by offering locally sourced options, seasonal options, vegan or vegetarian options are also great ways to cater to guest’s tastes mindfully.


Augmented and Virtual Reality

The virtual and augmented reality boom has been at the forefront of current event trends and will continue to dominate as a central event trend in 2020 and beyond.

Whether it be in marketing campaigns, used to transform expo & tradeshow presences, or as innovative entertainment at events, the mixed reality mediums will continue to expand into all facets of the event industry as well as everyday life.

Event Photography with a Twist

Event photo. NEP.png

The importance of capturing moments will never fade but the methods for how events are documented is everchanging. Creating interactive photo ops and photo booths are event trends that will surface throughout 2020. With smartphones and platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, the ability to capture events and share has become second nature.

Creating ways to make capturing moments special again and engaging for attendees has been the latest challenge in the increasingly connected world.


Futuristic Takes On The Classics 

A trend that has been seen throughout media and fashion recently is the focus on nostalgia. Nostalgia in the form of bringing back fashion from the ’80s and ’90s, retro-inspired shows and movies or remakes. Of course, the trend of bringing back all the best of the decades prior will continue to be reflected in the celebrations of the future.

This goes beyond throwback themed events, but now guests can enjoy re-vamped futuristic editions of well-loved arcade and video games.

With new releases in the gaming and entertainment spheres like the Atari Pong Table, a larger life version of Tomohiro Nishikado’s Space Invaders Arcade Game, and many more re-makes there is plenty to entertain attendees and gaming enthusiasts with for years to come.


Larger Than Life Giant Games

In addition to the futuristic remakes of well-loved video games making a pop-up in 2020 event trends, larger than life versions of games as a whole are making a come back as well. Expect to see make larger than life versions of favorites like giant twisterhuman billardslife-sized beer ponggiant battleship, and more.


Light Up The Night with LEDs

The use of LED’s are not only effective when it comes to scaling back an electricity bill but they have become a simple way to elevate any piece of decor, venue, rental item, or trade show booth. More flexible than traditional lighting fixtures, and more versatile than neon, LEDs have taken over.

Team Building


Throughout the years’ organizations have been evaluating the idea of company culture and ways to organically increase employee retention, and attract the most valuable candidates on the market. Teambuilding events have taken the corporate events of the past and given them a makeover.

Team building events in themselves are an event trend that will only become more a part of organization’s strategies and due to the ability to customize any event to fulfill the needs and desires of each organization, teambuilding events are a solution that works across all industries.


National Event Pros is a full-service event planning, production, and rental company headquartered in Seattle with accomplished partners worldwide.

For over 30 years, our network of event professionals and extensive equipment inventory have provided our clients with services for more than 50,000 private parties, public gatherings, school picnics, and corporate special events.

NWES Tech Bar: Q & A with Tara Thomas

Northwest Event Show Team Member- Victoria Blasich


The NWES is shaking things up this year. Not only is the show two full days, but there will be even more chances for education and networking-that you won’t want to miss out on! Event tech is a huge focus for modern day event planners, with new programs and products designed to make your life easier and grow your business being premiered every day. The NWES is here to help you sort through all the options in tech with Tara Thomas, the host of this year’s NWES TECH Bar!

But before you can get on site and get your hands on all the tech and products Tara and her team will have with them at NWES, we wanted to get to know Tara and her tech journey first…

Northwest Event Show (NWES): How did you find yourself in the tech area of the event world? What attracted you to this?

Tara Thomas (T.T.): I’ve lived and worked in Silicon Valley for well over 20 years, working with tech companies of all sizes.  After leading a large marketing team at an automotive tech company in Seattle where we spent millions on a number of corporate events, I began to look for tech that would help us register participants and run the events more efficiently.  After leaving that company I went to work for Certain, an EMS company and thus began my deep foray into event tech.

NWES: How important is tech in the event world?

T.T. : Events, in many cases, mean business.  Technology has revolutionized so many components of networking, marketing and promoting via apps, devices, social media and enterprise software.  Events are no different; tech innovation will continue to push the envelope of the impact and effectiveness of face to face.

NWES: What is the most amazing thing you’ve seen technology achieve at an event?

T.T.: Connecting – by far.  When apps for pre-scheduled meetings, on-the-fly networking, and even activity feeds and gamification are leveraged at events, we are able to connect with more people on trends, topics and like-mindedness.  Even the shy and introverted can get the most out of an event by using tech to connect with people they should be meeting.  It really can revolutionize an event for those of us who are not gregarious types or organic networkers but want to make events meaningful to our lives and business.

NWES: What is your favorite part of an event with technology?

T.T.: I love seeing a startup competition, pavilion, or new tech event and meeting the passionate people who build it – no matter the industry.  Innovation is almost always exciting, from healthcare, to food science, to big construction equipment!

NWES: How has tech changed the event world? Or even the business of events?

T.T.: Tech has improved travel, registration, planning and many other processes around events, and I mentioned before, greatly improved connecting and networking.  In the end though, it’s still about face to face.

NWES: What do you see as the biggest opportunities in the event world in regards to tech?

T.T.: Right now – replacing Excel!  Event professionals are far too dependent on it.  There are literally hundreds – even thousands – of tools that would work better for their processes.

NWES: OH! That hits close to home, we do love our Excel! We will be coming to talk to you more about that this year at the Tech Bar…but until then, how do you see technology helping business achieve their specific goals?

T.T.: Technology and business are not truly separate.  Some of our biggest business brands have been tech companies for decades now.  It makes sense that we would use tech to evolve everything from supply chain to customer service.  There is literally a tech tool for every area of business, and a litany of companies who can help tie solutions together.

NWES: When looking at the options businesses have for tech, from the office to the event floor, what do you recommend teams focus on?

T.T.: I’m a believer at looking at your processes and workflow.  There are so many new ways to create an ecosystem of tech tools that significantly improve organization, communication, collaboration, data management, BI and more.  Building an event tech enterprise and a MarTech stack can be transformative in terms of impact, for even a very small business or event.

NWES: What is the one question that every business should ask themselves before investing in tech?

T.T.: “What do we expect the results to be.”  You can’t succeed with the right implementation and significant adoption unless you’ve outlined your success factors.

NWES: Each business’s tech needs can vary greatly- but what are the must haves no matter what the industry?

T.T.: CRM is a must-have for every business of any size.  If you can’t track your customers’ journey, you can’t be very effective.

NWES: I’m sure you’ve noticed some resistance to tech adoption over the years. What is your response when someone says “I’m not good with tech” or “I’m too old to use social media”?

T.T.: First I tell them age is no excuse – I’m 53 and running TECHbars.  One of the things I’ve learned from doing so many professional events is how many people have committed to being lifelong learners.  Doctors, nurses, scientists, educators, technologists, attorneys and even finance and business people keep coming to events – even into their 80s – because they want to keep exercising that most-important muscle – the brain.  It’s inspiring.  In terms of social media, I tell people to give themselves a break.  It’s fine to be a “lurker” and never post or comment.  Worry about your real-world relationships!

NWES: How do you suggest introducing new tech to a team of tech holdouts?

T.T.: Technology is useless unless we get a benefit from it.  Drive home the benefits and stay results focused.  Get them excited about what they could do, see or be, and you have an invested user.

NWES: Just a few more questions, that are not quite tech focused but still quite essential…What is your favorite Social Media platform? Personally, and for Businesses?

T.T.: Personally, Instagram all the way.  For business, like most people, LinkedIn.

NWES: How do you keep up with the changing world of tech and events?

T.T.: Research and reading almost every day – a labor of love really!

very old computer

NWES: What is something that you never get asked, but would love to answer?

T.T.: What my first computer was – a Commodore 64 with a cassette tape backup and 13-inch black and white TV as a monitor.  I taught myself to code in Basic like lots of ‘70s kids.

NWES: If you weren’t working with tech and events, what would your dream job be?

T.T.: A writer for TV shows in the Arrowverse.

NWES: Good answer! Let us know if that happens, because we have some storyline suggestions… Thank you so much for your time! We can’t wait to get our hands on some of the products you’ll have with you at the TECHBar this year at NWES! Any final tips for tech lovers out there?

T.T.: Don’t forget to learn to connect IRL!

You heard it from Tara! No matter how you feel about tech, or how you use it in your daily life, don’t forget to learn and connect IN REAL LIFE this year at the Northwest Event Show.

We could have talked to Tara forever about her tech experience and insights, but we’ll just have to wait until November and the two full days at NWES! All ticket levels have access to the show floor and the NWES Tech Bar.

If you haven’t registered yet, click here to get your ticket!

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. A boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways.

How to Convince Your Boss & Get the Most Out of NWES

Written By NWES Team Member: Victoria Blasich

The Northwest Event Show is the largest and most prominent tradeshow for event and business professionals in the Pacific Northwest. This year we are expanding to two full days and are including advanced education workshops and a VIP keynote breakfast in addition to the amazing companies you can network with on the Showfloor. That said, we know that purchasing a pass and taking time off work to attend can be a concern. You’re convinced it’s worth it, but what about your boss?

That is why we are here to help you justify your attendance at this year’s Northwest Event Show to your manager or higher-ups. Here are some tips and talking points for how to convince your boss and to make the most out of your trip to the Northwest Event Show!

Looking to network and discover new partnerships?

gesture, partnership and cooperation concept - handshake of people at international business conference

Building a great baseline of like-minded business associates is instrumental as you share best practices within your community of peers facing similar event-related opportunities and challenges. At NWES, you’ll have endless opportunities to connect with local subject matter experts, including corporate marketers, event technology professionals, social media gurus, and event vendors of all kinds – all under one roof. With two full days, there are more experts to talk with and more time to truly connect.


Interested in what’s next, new and amazing in event trends?

Staying ahead of the trends is paramount. The NWES is positioned to help you navigate through leading edge event solutions, technologies and interactive experiences in the expo. Go even deeper and advance your education of the event industry through immersive workshops, inspiring keynotes, engaging panels and more.

Any event professional would benefit from an Advanced EDU pass and the opportunity to speak and learn from some of the top creative and technology minds. From what technology can do for your business to how to design a booth to attract attendees, you’ll walk away with actionable items to bring back to your own office.

 Northwest Events Show 2018. Photo by Alabastro Photography.

If you’re ready to dive in and get hands-on training with fact-based insights from one of the industry’s most driven minds, then the VIP All Access Pass is your ticket! All VIP tickets come with admission into the keynote breakfast with Julius Solaris from EventMB.com and the exclusive opportunity to apply for his Event Innovation Lab. The lab is custom designed around its attendees, nothing generic here, Julius makes sure to cover what exactly what you need.


Make it a team outing!

 Northwest Events Show 2018. Photo by Alabastro Photography.

Attending a tradeshow can be a time-consuming task, unless you have your team by your side! The NWES is now two full days, with more educational sessions than ever before. Make it a team building event! By letting your team experience what’s most important to them as individuals, we’ll gain our best solutions through idea sharing and collaboration of what’s next. NWES is the perfect setting to divide and conquer. Having the opportunity to mix and match the various NWES experiences amongst your team is the perfect way to ensure you’ve heard from the valuable speakers that matter to your business, chatted with all the vendors in the expo that can provide the right solutions, and built relationships through targeted networking that can expand your services and knowledge of the industry.

Set yourself and your business up for success in 2020 by taking full advantage of what the NWES has to offer. Two full days of event and business focused education workshops, networking opportunities with potential partners and future clients and more. Get the most out of your time at the show with an Advanced EDU or VIP All Access Pass!

Still not exactly sure how to ask your boss? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Click HERE to download your custom email template to ask your boss today!


Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. A boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways.

Sustainable events, redefined.

Written by Aaron Shook, CPCE, 1st VP Seattle NACE


I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking, “oh sweet, freaking butter sauce, not another article on sustainability”. Sustainability fatigue is real and beginning to wear us a tad thin on the topic. We care, we really do, but we are busy, overwhelmed, and unsure of what we should be doing. The reality is weddings and events are a filthy business when we look at it through the lens of sustainability, but with a little focus and effort, we can make an impact. I am going to talk about how to apply sustainable principles to weddings and events and leave you with a few ideas for ways you can incorporate them into your event.

First, I want to clarify the term. Sustainability is such a challenging topic to tackle. The term has been misused, misunderstood, confounded, misappropriated, and even vilified at times. Now-a-days, we hear the word SUSTAINABILITY and many of us instantly conjure the vision of an activist chanting about the rain forest, or a group with signs damning GMOs and the companies that participate in their propagation. We think of climate change, plastic pollution, and honeybees. Rarely do we think about profitability, pricing, accessibility, inclusion, homelessness, or workforce, but here is the thing; the term sustainability includes all these things and more. To start let’s define and re-understand the term. We need to un-learn sustainability a bit, so we can relearn how to apply the term to real life.


  1. the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

    1. “the sustainability of economic growth”

  2. avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.

    1. “the pursuit of global environmental sustainability


So what in tarnation does that have to do with the event world? Well, it takes a crap ton of resources to pull off a wedding or event – financial resources (money), social resources (workforce, attendees & community), environmental resources (materials and collateral used in the event). In many businesses it is easy to look for ways to reuse, recycle, or manage our resources in ways that are more sustainable in nature, however; in the event business, we consume at alarming rates, often with no consideration for the life or these resources post event.

The Green Bride Guide states that the average wedding produces 400 lbs of garbage and 63 tons of CO2. With an estimated 2.5 million weddings per year, that is about 1 billion lbs of trash and as many emissions as approximately 4 people would produce in a year, in just one single day.

According to meetgreen, a typical conference attendee will produce 1.89KG (4.16 lbs) of waste per day with 1.16KG (2.55 lbs) going directly to landfill. To put that in perspective, a single day event with 500 attendees produces around 2200 lbs of garbage with 1300 lbs going right to the landfill. This doesn’t even account for the waste produce by the event itself.

This is a fantastic amount of environmental resource consumption, and we haven’t event talked about the other two types of resources required to pull off an event.

So what in the sweet Sam Hill do we do about it?!? Well, first off, you have to care. If you don’t care about it, then I don’t have a whole lot for you. But if you do care, and I guarantee that your guests do, then I have some ideas to help you on your way.

Let’s break it down by type of resource.


Honestly, there is not a lot to say here, except know your budget and stick to it. Often when we see this resource being misused or over consumed, it is because the budget didn’t align with the scope of the event from the beginning. Go into it, just like with a construction project, knowing that you will usually exceed your budget by about 20% for a one-off event. Set your budget with this in mind. Hire a planner to help you build a vision within your budget, do your research, and build up your wedding or event with the important components first, adding in the additional elements as finances allow. This will be easier than trying to trim elements to meet budget later. Work with pros that quote fixed costs and try to avoid variable costs wherever possible. If it is a for profit event, ensure what you are charging is ample enough to cover the cost.

Money is a precious resource and there is never enough of it when planning a wedding or event. It can get away from you quickly if you are not paying close attention to it.


Social resources are a tricky one to talk about, because often, the use of these resources is less obvious. The reality though, is that how manage our social resources has a massive impact on our community and our world. Here are a few areas where your approach can have a tremendous impact:

  • Your event team – It takes a team of people to execute pretty much any wedding or event. Work with the best your budget will allow and ensure the companies you work with have great employee relations. Do they engage in fair labor practices and care for their teams? Event service teams are often low wage earners and this won’t change any time soon, but by ensuring you work with companies that have a great track record of care for their teams and a good team culture, you will make a positive impact of the community and town where you are hosting your event.

  • Pay your vendors/partners what they are worth. Discounts hurt everyone. When you ask your event partners for a discount, I guarantee you that the discount comes out from somewhere else. Margins in the event world are too thin for a discount not to be offset somewhere else. This means that when your caterer gives you that 20% discount to win your business, they are reducing the staffing levels or buying cheaper product to offset that discount. Paying fair market value for quality ensures your partners can remain focused on what is important to you and your event.

  • Source locally. Sourcing locally applies to both environmental and social resources. Working with local companies and products ensures the long-term viability of communities to thrive and grow.


We hear about this one a lot. Regardless of your political, religious, or environmental viewpoint, I think we can all agree that there is a lot of work we can do to protect our environmental resources. Here are a handful of things that can easily be managed in the wedding and event world:

  • Work with vendors that align with your values. If one of your values is protecting the oceans, work with a vendor that has similar values. Look for a caterer that uses paper straws or a rental company that has reusable packing material for their rental equipment. Know what is important to you and look for the same in your partners.

  • Manage your waste stream. This is a huge one with massive impact. The main idea here is the old adage – reduce, reuse, recycle (and compost). Easier said than done for weddings and events, but with a little focus in a few areas, you can be successful. Main goal, keep everything you can out of the landfill.

    • Use compostable alternatives for all disposable products (cups, plates, favors, etc)

    • Talk to your caterer and venue about how they manage their waste streams. It will really bum you out if you spend time and energy to source compostable barware only to find out that the venue has no means of composting, of if the town you are having your event in has no infrastructure for composting.

    • Ensure you have a plan for your caterer and services teams to sort the waste. Contaminated recycling or compost just goes straight to the landfill

    • Use compostable or recyclable materials for all of your printing and collateral.

    • Get your guest counts nailed down and don’t over order. Something like 10% – 20% of the food at weddings and events end up in the garbage at the end of the night.

  • Work with vendors that source locally as a priority.

  • Work with rental companies to use washable serviceware instead of using disposable.

  • Restore any damage. I see it often where a group will have an outdoor wedding or event in a beautiful greenspace, but post event, the place looks like a horde of angry zombies tore through it. Ensure there is a plan to leave spaces better than you found them.

  • Avoid the gifts. Little take home gifts are super cute and show you care… for about 3.5 seconds until your guest sets it down and forgets about it, or throws it away when they get home. Show you care in a different way. Give them a little note letting them know that you made a small donation in their name to a local organization at the same value as the cost of a gift. It is meaningful, helpful, and won’t go to waste.

There is so much more we can do to ensure we create sustainable events, but we thought these were some great places to start for those of you feeling a bit overwhelmed of overburdened in thinking about it. The most important thing is to be a good Steward to your environment, your communities, and your finances. Ask yourself questions along the way as to the choices you are making. Set litmus tests to determine if the choices align with your value system and then weigh the options. It is all about making thoughtful, responsible choices.

Here are some great resources for you if you are wanting to dig a little deeper:

Events Industry Council

The Green Wedding Professional



The Knot

Aaron Shook (CPCE), is General Manager of Ocean5, the unique new, 60,000sqft events and entertainment center in the South Sound, and Table 47, the new farm-fresh, locally and responsibly sourced restaurant and caterer located in Gig Harbor. Aaron is also Co-Owner of Perfect Storm Moments an elite wedding and events planning company in the Seattle area.

Education Announcement

Written by NWES Team Member: Victoria Blasich

The Northwest Event Show has been the largest tradeshow in Seattle for local event & business professionals to network, discover new vendors for their projects and explore what the event industry has to offer. The event world is ever changing, and we understand that professionals are constantly learning. We are excited to announce that not only will the Northwest Event Show be two full days this year, but also new to the experience in this, our 25th year, is higher level education seminars.

As an attendee last year, you may have seen a few small rooms on the show floor with speakers presenting on various topics throughout the day. This year, we are doing even more and offering education tracks for the topics event and business professionals are interested in. These higher-level education sessions will be off the show floor in dedicated rooms where you can truly focus and learn from our incredible speakers.

So, what exactly will you have the chance to learn about? We focused in on five key topics for this year’s education tracks. Meeting Design, Event Technology, Personal Development & Leadership, Business Development, and Event Trends. Here is just a brief look into what you can expect from each of our key topics, and stay tuned for more sessions to be announced soon!

Teamwork of the staff, creative and friendly atmosphere

Meeting Design

Follow sessions within this track to learn how to hone your skills at keeping interest and engagement high while also ensuring that you take care of all your attendees basic needs.

How can you structure your event to delight your attendees and clients?  Expectations are changing, people want and need more out of events. Meeting design is more than just the shaping of the layout and content of an event. Learn how to design an event or corporate meeting that attracts attendees and create amazing experiences through in person and digital activations, relevant speakers and more. Learn new tricks and best practices for your next meeting, whether it be big or small!  

In fact, we have an amazing panel lined up to discuss why event and meeting design isn’t just themes and trends! Learn from our panel of top creative experts about how to design a great experience for your event. Hosted by Allison Lazar from RockLove with Emily Anderson from Lola Creative and Michael McCord from Exhibits NW, the Event Design panel is a can’t miss.

Event Technology

Sessions in this track will focus on new innovations in the tech world that will help make your life while planning and executing an event easier. With sessions on best practices with popular technical staples to demonstrations of new apps, software and digital services that will bring your event into the modern era.

No matter if you are a seasoned professional or a newbie in the event and corporate meeting world, we all use technology to plan meetings and events, communicate with our team and clients daily, promote events and more. Events are run on manpower and technology. Stop by our Tech Bar to get hands-on training on all the latest tech and gear. No matter your level of tech experience, you’ll learn how to use these technical tools to your advantage to delight your clients. With sessions lasting only 15-20, you’ll have the answers you need to start utilizing tech in your business or next event.  

Personal Development & Leadership

This track will guide you through personal development and discovery. With spotlights on team development, motivation and personal growth.  

While your business may be focused on your client’s needs and wants, don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. In this track, you will learn how to stay mindful during stressful times, how to cultivate your leadership ability and how to build a team that is outstanding.

Melissa Majors will be running a workshop focused on leadership strategies for women’s success. With her unique approach of ‘servant leadership’, Melissa will dive into tactics and best practices for how you can better serve your team, and yourself.

Business Development

More than networking, the Business Development track will give you face-to-face time with experts on incorporating sales and operations planning, contracts, security, marketing and risk management. This may not be the fun and exciting side of events and buisness professional’s lives, but it’s all essential. Whether you are well established, or new to the industry, you’ll learn plenty on how to keep your buisness going strong.

Nikki Raush, your very own Sales Maven, will be hosting a workshop dedicated to helping you understand how to turn your casual conversations into sales. Worried about being too pushy or how to have meaningful conversations with a stranger? Nikki will talk you through likeability and social cues and have you ready to close your next deal.

Event Trends

Attend sessions in the Event Trends education track to learn what is the hottest new thing that will have clients and attendees talking about your event. Stay ahead of the curve with insight on what attendees will love and how to implement those trends in your next project.

Remember the last time a meeting or event surprised you with something you’ve never seen before? When something in the content lineup was exactly what you were looking for, or how they managed the registration or ticket process was completely effortless? How did they use social media to accomplish that? Learn more about the power of social media with our Social Media Trends panel, hosted by Janet Granger from Two Beagles and with Michael Seifert from Q13 Fox, Josh Dirks from Project Bionic, Zachary Rozga from The Consumer Engagement Company, and Makenzie Davies from davies + dixon. You’ll love what you walk away with.

With your Advanced EDU Pass, the Northwest Event Show is not just two days of swag gathering and networking. You’ll walk away with hours of actionable teachings you can apply in your daily life, both personal and professional. The most successful buisness professionals are constantly learning, both from their peers and from professionals they admire. Take your business to the next level by actively seeking out new information, acquiring new techniques and honing your skills this year at Northwest Event Show.

What will you learn at the Northwest Event Show this year? What will you discover as your inspiration in the Pacific Northwest?

Register now for an Advanced EDU or VIP All Access pass and get access to all the higher-level education sessions and the chance to learn from the industries top minds and local superstars.

Top 10 NEW Trade Show Booth Ideas

Written by Northwest Event Show Team Member- Victoria Blasich

exhibition 3d

So, you’ve decided to exhibit at a tradeshow, congratulations! Tradeshows are one of the best ways to get valuable face to face with potential customers and clients. Now that you’ve got a booth space…. what are you going to do with it?  Tradeshow booth design has become a huge part of any exhibitor’s plan for attracting attendees to your space, because if your booth is boring, it won’t attract attendees! You may be thinking that creating a captivating booth space may be too much work and too much money, but our friends at Event Manager Blog (EventMB.com) have put together an incredible list of 100+ amazing tradeshow booth ideas that range from DIY to the extravagant. Here is just a taste of 10 of our favorites!


Give your attendees a taste of the outside-

Because most tradeshows take place inside stuffy buildings under florescent lighting, giving attendees who come by your booth some greenery can be a literal breath of fresh air! Even if your company has nothing to do with plants or nature, a green space is very inviting and welcoming to any guest.

Keep costs down by investing in fake plants that you can use over and over again at future tradeshows. If you are at a multi-day show, create different arrangements for each day, don’t be afraid to rearrange to freshen up the space. Trust us, attendees will notice!


Say Cheese!-

Photo wall, Photobooth, Step and Repeat- whatever you want to call it, attendees love having a photo op! Make sure it’s branded with your company and have a branded hashtag ready to tell attendees to use when they share on social media. In fact, offering a giveaway or raffle for those who post is a great way to entice people to your booth, learn about your offerings, and to gather content from all those who post!


Everyone has a camera phone nowadays, so you save on costs by skipping hiring a professional photographer at your booth.




Smoothie Bikes (you read that right)-

If you’ve been to a few tradeshows, you’ll know that the food offerings are not usually the healthiest or the easiest to navigate when you have dietary restrictions. Offering attendees, a healthy treat that they get to make themselves is both nutritious and a great marketing idea. Especially if healthy living and wellness is something your company focuses on.


Smoothie bikes have popped up on a few tradeshow floors and allow attendees to pick their ingredients and then jump on a bike to blend them all together! You’ll have a line, so be sure to plan for that in your logistics!            


Sustainability is top of mind for a lot of companies lately, and there is a huge opportunity to showcase your companies’ offerings while also demonstrating your attention to the environment and it’s limited resources.


Cardboard is cheap, highly customizable, packs flat and is lightweight. Which means your shipping and storage costs can be significantly less that with any other traditional booth material. Not only that, but cardboard is surprisingly sturdy, so you can even use it as chairs & tables.


Gamification Activities-

Take your SWAG giveaways up a notch! Instead of offering all your SWAG to whomever comes to your booth, try adding a game that attendees have to complete in order to get a prize. Anything from a simple putt-putt green, or a “guess how many candies are in the jar” can be a great conversation starter and gets attendees excited to stop by your booth!


If you can somehow link what your company does with the game, even better! That will reinforce with the attendees about what you do and how you can help them. Multi day show? Have a different game each day so attendees keep coming back!


Interactive Walls-

The usual goal at tradeshows is for companies to show attendees all about what they do and how they can help the attendees with whatever their goals are. But how often do we get to learn about the attendees on the show floor?


Take a step back from selling and get to know the people at the show with an interactive wall! Have them answer a fun question and leave a note on the wall. Or have them take a poll by placing a token in a jar for their opinion. It’s a fun and free way to gather some great information for your own as well!



Modular Designs-

This idea may be a little more costly to invest in initially but could be very beneficial if you exhibit at many shows during a year. Modular designs are great because they work like building blocks, you can rearrange them as needed to make whatever you need! Higher backdrop needed? Easy. More seating? Done! Create low walls for a more privacy? Of course!


Every show floor is different, even if you always get the same amount of floor space for your booth. Use the modular design’s ability to be flexible and switch things up each time. Your staff will be excited and any attendees that see you more than once a year will be too!


Enclosed Booths-

Big footprints and large, airy openings are typically what you see on a showfloor. So large tents, canopies, or even full enclosed, ‘secret’ booths instantly attract curiosity.


From affordable pop-up tents that fit within your booth space and can be spotted from anywhere on the floor to a custom build that keeps attendees guessing at what is behind the screen, you’ll have lots of eyes on your booth.


Custom Carpet & Flooring-

All tradeshows are different, not all come with all the same amenities. Flooring being one of the items that sometimes is included, and sometimes isn’t. So if you know you’ll be in a booth with no carpet, why not bring your own (if the tradeshow will allow of course)?


Besides giving your feet a cushy place to stand and for attendees to relax, you can brand the carpeting or flooring in your company’s colors and with your logo. A pop of color, texture or a fun print will really catch attendee’s eyes!



Meeting Areas-

The best way to close a deal, is to sit down face to face with people. That is why tradeshows are so amazing for networking and lead generation. However, tradeshow booths are mostly focused on standing room only…


Create some soft seating, away from the aisle, for you to sit and chat with attendees. Invite people in to sit and talk, ask about what they need, how their day is going, keep it relaxed and make your booth the place to go for a great sit down meeting.


Are you ready to make the most out of your next tradeshow as an exhibitor? Register now for the Northwest Event Show and get your Advanced EDU or VIP All Access pass if you haven’t yet, and if you would like to upgrade your General Admission pass, click here!   

 Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager atFreemind Seattle. A boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways.

How To Produce An Amazing Live Event That Makes Everybody Talk

Written by NWES guest blogger: David Doxtater of The Workshop

Live events exist in a unique bubble in the marketing space. You’re not producing digital-only creative. Live events are a blend of creativity that touches both the physical and digital world (often referred to as “experiential marketing.”) So, we often get customers who want to know exactly what live event planning is — and why it’s valuable. After all, most customers see two things — the plan and the end product.

But, behind every delectable bite of finger food and every stunning electrical display, there is thought, creativity, and ingenuity happening on the back end to pull it all together. 

At The Workshop, we create “live events.” But what is a live event? And what goes into making a great one that makes everybody talk?

It Started With A Whisper (The Start)

Here’s a secret — live events are stories. They’re a way to deliver a brand experience to customers that’s personal, exciting, fun, and ultimately brand-friendly. What does this mean? No two live events are alike!

There are millions of variables that go into a successful live event. The location, brand, customers, message, story, and activities all come together to create what will ultimately be the “live event.”

So, every brand will have a one-of-a-kind event that’s hyper-targeted and incredibly on-brand. This means combining two layers — creative and production. The creative layer is all about developing the brand story, and the production side is about the technical aspects of making that happen.

And Then She Made My Lips Hurt (The Creatives)

The beginning of the creative side starts with a client meeting. At The Workshop, we use this meeting to carefully listen to the client’s needs, goals, and story. What do they want out of the event? What kind of event is on-brand for them? And, how do they want to use this live event as a lever to accomplish internal goals?

These goals differ for every business. Often times, the networking and connections of a live event are the primary goal. 75% of businesses think that live events should form real-life connections — which can be difficult to do outside of events, especially in our current digital-first ecosystem. So, each brand has a unique blend of goals they need to capture to be able to confirm, internally, that the event created these relationships.

After the meeting, we get busy. I always lean on my team to capture the creativity of a brand. You can’t do this alone! Brands are complex, intricate organisms that are comprised of many working parts. You need your entire team to come together for this part.

We love to get theatrical. An OK live event will share the story of a brand. An AMAZING live event will invigorate attendees, create an atmosphere of fun, AND tell a brand’s story in a way that’s imaginative and thoughtful. There’s power in a brand’s story. Not only does Walker predict that branding will outpace both price and product as THE key differentiator between brands, but 70% of attendees will become customers if you create a compelling live event.

I like to start with an interesting story arc. This is what makes the brand tick. It’s the part of the live event that invites people to change and experience the brand for themselves. And, of course, you need a little theatrical twist to make it exciting and interesting. A great brand story presented through live events is only compelling if the audience is interested.

After we’ve burned our brains out creating this story, we present it to the client. If they think “It could be better,” we jump right back into that boardroom and spin up the idea generator again. We also try to ensure that they can clearly present each draft to the decision-makers in their company in a way that makes sense. After all, everybody has to check yes, or the event doesn’t happen.

I Can Hear The Chit Chat (The Production)

Once the client says, “That’s the one!“, we start the production side. The easiest way to think about the production side is that it’s all of the things that your guests can feel, hear, taste, smell, and see. It’s the enactment of that incredible creative. This is when we start thinking about the workflow, plan, and budget.

It’s time to put your scientist hat on. We want to create this compelling event in the most productive, cost-effective way imaginable. This means ensuring that each cog in the event machine is well oiled.

Questions like, “Does this work?” or “How can we make this better” start to come into play.

You also have to think about risk. This isn’t an ad popping up on social media. These are events that will have tons of people, lots of dynamic elements, and some inevitable risk factors. That’s the beauty of live events. There’s a reason that 75% of marketers think that events are the single best marketing tool; they create in-person relationships in an increasingly digital world.

But, with any real-time, in-person event, You NEED contingency plans. If plan A fails, you need to be able to fall back on plan B. And, if plan B fails, you should have plan C up your sleeve and ready-to-go.

Production is all about ensuring that the creative happens. And, that they happen without a hitch.

This includes thinking about:

  • Signage

  • Scripts

  • Technical Plans

  • Safety Plans

  • Contingency Plans

  • Vendors

  • Materials

  • Training Staff

  • etc.

I won’t go into all of the complexities baked into forming vendor deals, dynamic budgeting, etc. But, I will say that this entire business relies on forging in-person relationships — both for the client and for the live event marketers.

Everybody Talks (The Event)

Now it’s time for the fun. You want to build the production, write some scripts, hire amazing talent, and rehearse the show. Our goal is to let the client live the event before it happens. This way, they’re prepped for the show, and ready to nail any of the goals they have during the event.

Then, it’s time to run it live! Wooo! For brands, this is where you get to see the value of your event live and in-person. People will be meeting, your brand will shine, and you’ll see the power of event marketing with your own eyes.

In the end, everybody will be talking about your brand and the spectacular event they just attended. Pat yourself on the back. — you just created a live event.

Specializing in the production and design of brand enhancing events for local businesses and nonprofits, The Workshop provide clients with the ability to achieve their goals through strategic live experiences. We design and develop event concepts, and oversee show, production, and technical management. Our goal is to design event experiences that create impact and help clients achieve their objectives through the most powerful communication tool available: events.

An Eventful Chat with Julius Solaris

Northwest Event Show Team Member- Victoria Blasich

1- Julius-2017.jpg

This year at the Northwest Event Show we have the honor of hosting the founder and editor of the Event Manager Blog (EventMB.com) and the creator of the Event Innovation Lab™; Julius Solaris! EventMB.com has become a fantastic online resource for event professionals for industry insight, analysis reports and creative inspiration. While the Event Innovation Lab™ has taken Julius across the country and allowed for amazing event innovation break throughs.

For our VIP All Access ticket holders, you’ll have the chance to hear Julius at our Keynote Breakfast and apply for a coveted spot in the Event Innovation Lab™ at NWES this year. But before we can learn about how to take our events to the next level, we wanted to get to know Julius and how he sees the event world a little more first.

Northwest Event Show (NWES):  How would you introduce yourself to someone who has no experience or knowledge of the event world?

Julius Solaris (JS): I am someone passionate about events. I’ve dedicated most of my adult life understanding what makes events so special. I am a geek when it gets to events.

NWES:  As an event professional, what gets you excited about an event?

JS: I love to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I like bold event professionals that take confident steps in challenging the status quo. This is incredibly difficult in an increasingly social world. Where opinions are shouted, and you can be under scrutiny in a matter of seconds. Yet the events that really changed me are those that made me feel uncomfortable in my way of thinking, in what I was doing, in the connections I was forced to make.

As an introvert, a planner that takes care of me is one that invites me to do things I wouldn’t normally do.

NWES:  Of all the things a business could do to grow their buisness, why events?

JS: No marketing tool can match the power of face to face. We all know it. Yet events have fought a pretty difficult battle against their own nature. They are intangible experiences by definition. Therefore, hard to measure.

What has changed dramatically over the past few years is the ability to measure them. As a result, we have witnessed an incredible amount of marketing budgets to experiences. The challenges for event professionals are to step up their measurement and ROI game.


NWES: What is the best thing you’ve seen an event accomplish?

JS: Transformation. That should be the true outcome of every event. Have attendees walk out of the event deeply changed, because they co-created something new, worth talking about with friends, family and colleagues. We discussed that in the Power of Events.

Change means higher purpose but also entertainment, learning, connection. Basic elements we sometimes forgotten because we are too busy filling an agenda or picking canapes.

NWES: Businesses are always looking for better ways to marketing themselves and grow. How do you see events as the way to do that?

JS: Whether it’s B2B or B2C an in-person event will give a human face to any brand. Younger generations crave purpose, meaning and experiences. A more modern marketing is one that embraces face to face as the most powerful weapon to engage in a personal manner. What business have today is the ability to scale events something only 10 years ago was not entirely possible.

NWES: Do different industries have different needs for events? Is there anything specific that you’ve noticed?

JS: Absolutely. In our State of Event Sponsorship report we looked at how four different verticals conceive sponsorship and what matters more for them. You will find that connection is more important for luxury, security is more important for financial. Fascinating.

NWES: What factors influence event trends the most?

JS: Younger generations are having an impact over the last couple of years. Lactation, praying, meditation rooms but also diversity and sustainability. Nobody really thought about these issues as business defining problems. As in, if we don’t get it right, we are out of business. Younger generations are pushing this change.

NWES: What are some of the biggest mistakes companies make when they host their own events?

JS: Being too focused on logistics. Which are absolutely important of course! Yet if you want to become a strategist, if you want to step up your career, you should move out of the list executioner stereotype associated with planning.

Thinking strategically fixes a lot of logistic issues. It can save money; it can engage attendees. I have no problem with making mistakes, we all do. But thinking about the venue or the food before we have considered how the event will change attendees’ trajectories is a thing of the past.


NWES: I’m sure you’ve heard almost all the questions that people can think of when it comes to events. But what is something that you love being asked? What is something that people don’t necessarily think of when thinking of planning an event?

JS: How can I get attendees to connect better? I always get asked how to save money!

NWES: *ahem* speaking of which… since budgets are a huge pain point, what do you suggest people spend money on, and what isn’t worth the price?

JS: See I told you people always ask me that! Budget is never enough. Interestingly we asked 1100 event professionals if budget was a limitation to having great experiences most of them said yes, of course. Interestingly enough those with very high budgets for their events said that budget is absolutely not a factor in creating memorable experiences.

I believe the budget obsession is the brainchild of the being rich equals being happy mentality. Of course, you will be more comfortable, but will you achieve your objectives better?

NWES: So why do you think events are so expensive to put on?

JS: Why are events expensive? Is that so? I think there is no expensive events, there is achieving objectives or not. If events help to achieve objectives that in turn bring in revenue, they are not “expensive.”

I guess there is bad measurement and good measurement. A Facebook campaign can be a terrible waste of money if the objective and measurement are not clear.

NWES: So, it’s not just about how much money you have to throw at an event? That is great to hear! How can a small business compete with larger ones regarding events?

JS: Events are very levelling. Spending millions for phantasmagoric special effects is great but if you have a kick ass presenter who understands your audience, THAT is what attendees will remember, not the 360-degree LED screen behind them.

NWES: Just a few more questions-What is one thing that will make you want to attend an event?

JS: Sometimes a speaker, sometimes convenience, sometimes a colleague attending. In all cases how capable the event is to make me savor the transformation I will get out of it.

NWES: What is one thing that will turn you off of an event?

JS: Rigidity. Following a certain scheme because ‘this is how we do things’.

NWES: Thank you so much for spending a few days with us in Seattle this year for the Northwest Event Show! Just one last question…. If you didn’t work in the event world, what would you do?

JS: I would be an espresso barista. I am still on time to actually become one. Watch this space!

Julius Solaris will be speaking at our Keynote Breakfast on Wednesday, November 13th. Open to all attendees with a VIP All Access pass, you’ll get to kick start your day with Julius and his research-backed insights on the event world and new trends. Plus, with your VIP pass you are eligible to apply for the Event Innovation LabTM run by Julius on Thursday, November 14th.

If you already have your VIP pass- you can apply now for the Event Innovation LabTM here

To gain access to all the education sessions and the Keynote Breakfast with Julius Solaris- Register for your VIP pass Here!

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. A boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways.


5 Key Elements for Successful Event Production

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Troy Whalen of 206 Events

Whether planning a business meeting for 40 or a celebration for 4000, a solid production game-plan can make or break your event.  Hiring a knowledgeable team of professionals who can guide you through the planning process will add incredible value to your guest experience.  At 206 Events, you can expect the following elements to be front and center as we help you create the perfect event.

1.     Know your Audience

“Tell us about your group”, is always the first question I ask when meeting new clients.  Learning about past event’s successes or challenges can be a valuable tool in discovering what will work for the future.  Is it an energetic group who loves to dance?  Maybe your group is more laid back and wants to be entertained.  Perhaps engagement and group activities are a better solution to get people involved and excited about what is happening in front of them.  Whatever your group is looking for, there is a solution if you are willing to spend some time exploring options.  Instead of just doing “what worked” last year, find a way to expand successes to continually create more excitement each year by incorporating innovative and new elements to the show.

2.      Engage your Guests

Create an Immersive Experience that people can’t wait to tell their friends about!  From the moment your guests arrive, capture their attention by making your theme “pop”.  Character actors are always a hit and can really help to jump start the party.  Costumed greeters at the front door, directing guests through their experience, Paparazzi Red Carpet Photographers interacting with your “Star Guests” as they arrive, Small Group Entertainment with Magicians or Mentalists working the room during cocktail hour, Dance Instructors leading a group through the most popular dance of that particular era, there are so many options to help build excitement and create energy.

3.      Set Reasonable Budget Expectations

You’ve got the perfect idea and now you need to pay for it.  Make sure your production team is aware of budget goals to keep the boss happy.  Creating realistic expectations is an important conversation that should happen early during the planning process.  Ballpark numbers can help your vendors as they begin to plan and paint the vision for your event.  Educate yourself on costs and ask questions of your trusted professionals. Key elements need to be funded properly, so highlighting those is incredibly important.  If you’re planning a fundraiser and short the AV budget so the room isn’t properly equipped with sound and visuals, you can lose your guest’s attention and in turn miss out on capturing funds you were expecting to raise.  Balancing all elements and elevating the most important ones will create more successes in the end.

4.     Set an Intention for your Event


Make sure your purpose is clear and obvious to your attendees.  Are you raising awareness or funds for a cause?  Celebrating accomplishments of the staff?  Networking and teambuilding for your group?  There are many ways to embed your messaging or brand through the experience.  Let’s start by creating a take away for your attendees, a clear message about the purpose of the event.  Maybe it’s as simple as a fun celebration to acknowledge your people.  Perhaps it’s a fundraiser to make sure your organization can continue it’s important work into the future.  Whatever the case, find a common thread and weave it throughout the elements of the event.  By asking key questions, and offering creative solutions, an experienced Production Team can help you keep your message focused and at the forefront of your theme.

5.     Planning your Guest Experience

Don’t ever forget who you are planning for…your guests.  Timeline and flow are critical to the success of your event.  Visualize the experience, make sure you plan for areas of congestion and wait times.  Give people a reason to move to other areas of the venue, provide an extra bar in the back, create an eye-catching element that will draw people into another space.  By giving the event some room to breathe, you will create a welcoming environment for people to navigate, allowing them the ability to fully enjoy the party.

At the end of the day, a successful event is hundreds of little details executed flawlessly.  Make sure your Production Team is experienced and prepared to address each and every element of your event.  Planning for the unexpected by creating contingency plans, organizing the show timeline, creating synergy with the vendor team and supporting you throughout the process.  By planning ahead and hiring the right company, your event experience will be a successful one! 

Troy Whalen is the owner of 206 Events, with over 25 years of experience in the private event industry.  206 Events is a Production and Entertainment Company providing Services around the Greater Puget Sound Area. Offering award-winning Event Management, DJ and Emcee Talent, Performance Entertainment, Custom Lighting Design, and Professional Audio Installations to create spectacular Corporate Galas, Holiday Celebrations, Weddings and Parties for all Occasions.

Outdoor Team-Building Activities Perfect for Summer

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: SHW

Whether you’re traveling or want to get out in your home city, team-building activities are a great way to get your staff out and about—and summer is prime season. Fast-paced race around the city? Relaxing day in the sun? There’s something for every organization! Here are some of our favorite outdoor team building exercises.

City Chase


Not only do guests have to work as a team to complete different challenges, but this team-building activity is also a great sightseeing opportunity! Teams are given smart phones loaded with an app with special locations/clues that they need to find. Most Vendors can offer this activity either turnkey (at least in major cities) or built custom with landmarks chosen to enhance your company message. Planning for an architecture firm? Customize with locations of the most architecturally significant landmarks in the city.

This activity can also incorporate a give back! One of many companies that offers a scavenger hunt app, American Outback offers a program called “Play it Forward” where the tasks given to teams consist of random acts of kindness all over the city.

Electric Boat Scavenger Hunt


The perfect team-building activity for a sunny Seattle day, is to head out onto Lake Union aboard a fleet of electric boats. Each team of up to 8 people board one of the 21’ long electric Duffy boats. The water’s-eye view is one of the best around! Oh—and you get to captain your own ship!

Teams are given clues to find specific points of interest, like the houseboat from the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” or Gas Works Park, that encourage them to explore the lake — and the city from a new perspective. In the process, teams learn communication skills, collaborative strategy, and have lots of fun on the water. End the day with an on-board picnic and some local wine & craft beer. Pretty sweet, right?



Similar the City Chase activities, Geo-Caching gives each team coordinates of different objects hidden all over, and teams have to work together to find and collect as many as possible. For this one, you can set a theme, and hide “trackables” in the search areas and teach teams the history and significance of each item/location as you go.  

Here in Seattle, one of our favorite geocaching activities is inspired by the New York Times best-selling book “Boys in the Boat.” In 1936, a ragtag group of young men overcame countless obstacles and naysayers to win gold at the Berlin Olympic Games. The University of Washington crew team stunned the world with an astonishing showing at “Hitler’s Olympics,” and inspired generations. Teams follow their GPS to find key points around the UW campus related to the team’s story, while learning some local history!

Ropes Course


A classic team-building activity, ropes courses come in all shapes and sizes so you can easily tailor this to your team’s needs. If you’re not familiar with them, a ropes course is a series of challenges where each person navigates obstacles and physical challenges and must work as a team to successfully complete each one.

For a more adventurous group, try a high ropes course. As the name suggests, these take players up in the air, usually around 15 feet or more off the ground (securely harnessed!). Expect some climbing walls, rope bridges, and sometimes even short ziplines!


Boat Building


In this challenge, each team has to work together to determine whether they’ll sink… or swim. Teams are given materials and must make their own (usually cardboard) boat in a certain amount of time. They’ll encounter obstacles as they go, like supply shortages or team member switches.

At the end, they’ll be evaluated on how well they worked together to complete the task, and of course whether the boat floated or sank.


Sand Sculpting


Get some sun and head to the beach! Led by a professional sand sculptor, this team-building experience pits teams against each other to create the best masterpiece.

The facilitator starts with a demonstration, teaching some basic techniques. Here the moderator can show how to incorporate your logo in each sculpture!

SHW is committed to being the best-in-class provider of creative, high-impact meeting and event experiences for the world’s leading organizations. We hire the top talent in the industry and leverage our deep industry connections, bold creativity and world-class project management expertise to delight attendees and deliver winning business results for our clients.

Interview with Lee Papa, Mindfulness & Meditation Speaker

Written by NWES Team Member- Victoria Blasich

This year at the Northwest Event Show, you’ll not only have the chance to wander the aisles, networking and discovering how events can help grow your business, you’ll get the chance to learn how to grow personally as well.

Lee Papa, internationally recognized and leading Mindfulness & Meditation Speaker, Trainer and Coach will be with us this year hosting her signature “Mindfulness LoungeTM” . Any attendee with an EDU or VIP pass will have the chance to experience Lee and her vision in person. We couldn’t wait until November, so we asked a few questions that have been weighing on us for a while and Lee was more than happy to help!

Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 10.03.01 AM.png

Northwest Event Show (NWES): Mindfulness is a tricky subject to define for a lot of people. When you’re teaching “mindfulness” what is that exactly?

Lee Papa (LP): Simply put, Mindfulness is Awareness. Awareness of your thoughts, words, actions and the world around you in non-judgement.  That’s the tricky part.  The non-judgement. And since we tend to judge ourselves the most, we typically – especially beginners, bring that to meditation practice. 

NWES: Non-Judgement, what is that concept?

LP: Instead of observing your surroundings and actions and placing them into mental categories and planning actions of good, bad or neutral based on your previous life experiences and cognitive processes, you are simply open to them. Non-Judgement is letting go of the automatic judgments that arise in your mind with every experience you have.

NWES: What do you think the biggest hurdle is for people to embrace mindfulness? For an individual and a corporation?

LP:  That is easy; [the biggest hurdle is] making their mindfulness practice a priority. It takes the individual to give it the necessary commitment it is due. It does not happen by osmosis. The individual or corporation must take responsibility to make it a priority.

NWES:  Sometimes, mindfulness conversations are answered with mocking tones, how can someone new to the process bring up the topic?

LP:  Practice mindfulness yourself and the fear of ridicule will melt away. Lead by example. There are many powerful and successful business-people who practice meditation and mindfulness and swear by it.

Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 10.03.14 AM.png

NWES: We’ve all heard the concern or worry that ‘mindfulness’ may be seen as laziness, since so much of the corporate world celebrates stressful days and working non-stop. Working hard, staying late, pushing yourself to the limit seems to the be norm in the business community. How can someone still be productive, but stay mindful? And not make co-workers and employers feel like they are slacking off?

LP: I would say…”Who cares?!”  HAHA!  It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.  Own your health and wellbeing.  Make you a priority. One of my mantras that I provide my students that taps into this question is… “Nourish Yourself Mindfully, Give From The Overflow.”

Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 10.03.27 AM.png

The simple answer is that you actually become more productive with more ease and grace when you practice mindfulness in your daily life. More success with less effort.  It is just an old antiquated program that most are running in their subconscious that “Stress is a Badge of Honor”. And “Stress is a requirement to get the job done.” Nope! It is not! I would suggest working with a Coach to help guide you through the early stages of the emerging and awakened being that you will become during the process of self-observation through mindfulness practice to shift that old program.

And quite honestly things are shifting in a big way.  Over the last few years, I have experienced an enormous shift in the industry and more and more people are embracing the practice. And offering it in their meetings and training their employees.

NWES: The idea of ‘Meditation’ comes with a lot of baggage and pre-conceived notions. How do you introduce people to this and keep their minds open about it?

LP:  Meditation and mindfulness are practices that often elude the very ones who need it most.  I keep things simple, accessible, fun and experiential.  Because once the individual, who has not been able to successfully quiet the mind or meditate previously, has an experience in one of my Mindfulness Lounges™, they are instantly converts and huge supporters.  It changes their life! I have been teaching meditation and mindfulness to professionals for many years.  I have heard, and experienced myself in the beginning, all the resistance you can imagine.  I understand how to break through it and provide meeting attendees with a tool and takeaway that is mind shifting. 

Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 10.03.49 AM.png

NWES: What do you suggest for people who are not interested in Meditation breaks, how else can they work on being mindful and recharging during the day?

LP: There are many forms of meditation that can kick start an individual into awareness.  Simply taking a walk with no electronics.  Breathing rhythmically.  Journaling.  These are good places to start.  However, the key is consistency.  Mindfulness Training, as I teach it goes far beyond the mind.  Meditation is a part of it but not one in the same.   Mindfulness equals awareness.  So, begin to be aware in non-judgement of the words that you speak and the thoughts that you carry.  Are they nourishing and optimal or are they poisoning your productive path to wellbeing?

NWES:  What is a question that you never get asked, but would love to answer?

LP:  What is the meaning of life? I’m kidding, and while I may not know the answer; I do know where the answer resides.  Within.

NWES: Thank you so much for being a part of the Northwest Event Show family this year! One last question. If you had a week to spend in Seattle, what would you do?

LP: I would take a food and culture tour each day that specializes in a specific area of town. North, East, South, West Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia etc. Explore the museums in the city and of course nature walks!

mindfulness lounge.png

Lee Papa will be speaking and leading meditation sessions at this years Northwest Event Show. Open to all attendees with an EDU or VIP pass, you’ll learn more than you thought possible at a tradeshow! Register now for your EDU or VIP pass if you haven’t yet, and if you would like to upgrade your General Admission pass, click here!  

 Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. A boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways.

Design Trends: Can I get a Hygge?

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Robin Denny of CORT Party Rental

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish concept encompassing all things comfort and snug, with a focus on the simple pleasures of life. It reflects a feeling or a moment, whether alone or with friends, that is cozy, charming and special.

Fashion and home trends have often foreshadowed event trends, and the events industry has trended towards elements that transform a blank slate into an area of comfort and relaxation. Color and pattern trends include blue hues in seating, complemented by warm brown tones and vibrant metallics. Nature- and tropical-inspired motifs are also prominent.


Comfort and relaxation don’t have to sacrifice luxury and glamour. Art deco-inspired furnishings boast channel stitching, curved edges, lush fabrics and soft colorful hues. Textured fabrics and velvets lend balance to the metallic bronzes and marble surfaces. Danish modern silhouettes take center stage on soft seating, updated with rounded edges and unexpected details, such as black metal frames.

These modern industrial frames paired with faux wood or marble laminates bring the mixed materials trends to life. And while gray has been a consistent neutral in seating, blues are also catching on. Luckily, these hues play well together, as well as with emerging browns.

CORT Party Rental’s Heritage Coffee and End Table, and CORT Event’s luxurious Wentworth chair, represent this trend toward rich browns mixed with hard black finishes for a balanced design aesthetic. Infuse elements of marble, velvet and bronze metallic furnishings for an eclectic design that incorporates the on-trend art deco, Danish modern and rustic themes.

For an elevated look that won’t overwhelm an aesthetic, CORT experts recommend faux fur. Natural fur looks are on the move for this winter season, and also reflect the hygge movement. Both CORT Events and CORT Party Rental have a new selection of pillows and rugs designed to bring another layer of coziness to your lounge area.

As we move into the second half of the year, event planners can embrace two different color stories: the warm earth tones, reminiscent of the 1970s, and more vibrant colors like rich cranberry reds, pinks and salmon. These are colors that bring life and vitality to a space, while still maintaining a sophisticated sense of calm.

Have you designed an event using hygge aesthetics? We would love to see your photos and hear more about your experience. Share in the comments below!  


About CORT Party Rental

CORT Party Rental is the leading special event rental company in the Pacific Northwest, featuring the largest selection of party rental inventory in the region and an experienced team of experts skilled at bringing event visions to life. With more than 50 years of experience, CORT Party Rental specializes in tenting, seating, tableware, décor and more. It has locations in Everett and Fife, Washington, serving the Pacific Northwest. To learn more, visit www.CORTpartyrental.com.

About CORT Events

CORT Events is the leading provider of rental furnishings for the meeting, exhibition, and events industries with an extensive selection of high-quality furnishings available nationwide. Having a partner like CORT Events can make almost anything possible. CORT’s team of skilled professionals understands the vision and helps transform any event into an engaging and memorable experience. To learn more about CORT’s exhibit and event rental collections and its free online 2D and 3D planning tool, visit www.CORTevents.com.

All About Swag: The Good, The Bad & The Useless


SWAG, it’s the Stuff We All Get…the best part of any event in some opinions! Free gifts for attendees are a huge draw and is something that is bound to get attention. But not all SWAG is created equal…we’ve all been at an event and received some tchotchkes that we instantly toss in the trash. The item is either poor quality, not interesting or not relevant. And what may have been a hit at one event, could be a terrible choice for another event or client. Choosing the right items for each event is a crucial part of any event planning process. 

We like to think of SWAG as belonging in three separate categories. Good, Bad & Useless.

The Three Types of SWAG


Items that your attendees see value in. It doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy or over the top. It simply must be interesting and desirable to the audience!  

For example, at the 2019 Seattle Wedding Show, Freemind Seattle’s sister company, Element 79 Seattle, handed out bottle openers in the shape of the word “Love” and boxes with a heart shaped soap. Each bottle opener and box of soap also had a tag that was good for a special discount at the venue. These was quite the hit! Both were items of value that attendees could use in their daily lives, but also reinforced the services and what Element 79 Seattle offers.


Items that don’t fit the event or the attendees. Your items may be wonderful, well designed and thought out. But if you’re giving away something that has no value in the eyes of your attendees, you might as well have not done anything.  

This could even be things that are played out, or overdone in an industry. Like giving out empty tote bags at a trade show that is already supplying attendees with a (better, and full of goodies) bag. 

Useless SWAG

No one wants this. It’s a glorified business card that is going straight in the trash (or as Melissa calls it: ‘round filing’), sometimes before the attendee even gets home. All this will do is waste your money, create more trash in our landfills and it could even harm your reputation. You don’t want to be useless, you want to be useful!

How to pick the best SWAG

Picking swag can sometimes be a daunting process and scary, especially if you are a small business and you are spending your hard earned money on giveaways in hopes of a return in business. 

We have a very simple 2-step method we use when going about picking items to give away:

  1. First we decide on a budget. How much can we spend? How many items will we need to have? Remember, you should have enough for everyone who comes.

  2. Next, we define the goal of giving away items. Is it to generate leads and have the potential client call you? To encourage others to market your business organically by wearing or using something with your branding? To showcase your creativity and attract people who want to work with you?

Once you have answered those two questions, (budget and outcome goals) you can start shopping!

Honesty time….while these are rules that Freemind Seattle always follows and starts with, even we sometimes have surprises. It’s ok! You can use that experience to learn more about the audience and what things to ask yourself (or your client) for next time. 

Case in Point: We were managing a business group during a technology conference and we had so many great choices of swag; Traceable luggage tags, travel blankets, universal travel outlets, Eco friendly water bottles, etc.  After looking over all the options and providing the options to our client, We decided to go with a smart bulb because they are a fun technology item that isn’t a typical giveaway item.

Little did we know is that there are different watts of light bulbs used around the world! These were only useful in the U.S. so attendees were less than thrilled. A good portion of them, close to half, were from outside of the U.S. Thankfully our client did not seem to mind and wasn’t phased in the slightest. It was more embarrassing that we didn’t even think to ask the question to the light bulb supplier.

SWAG We Love

Now that we’ve gone over what we consider the 3 types of SWAG and how to pick the good stuff…Here are some of our favorite SWAG items from the last year. From shows we ran, shows we attended, and just some options we’ve found in general:


Lets breakdown WHY these were some of our favorites:

Matchboxes– You may think, “who even uses matches anymore?” But they are in fact perfectly on brand for Vintage Ambiance and Hummingbird & Holly One being a vintage furniture renter and the other being a custom gift box creator. Plus, between people’s obsession with candles (or is that just us?) and the fact that it is a consumable product that will be hanging around for a while, they are a great way to put your brand front and center to a customer for significantly longer than the average attempt. These are great for vendors, clients, event attendees.

Mini Hot Sauce Bottles– Specifically Melissa & Victoria LOVED these. Tradeshow food can sometimes be a bit bland, so these were a hit. We kept these in our bags all week and look for them at every event now. Event attendees may not love them as much as your clients and vendors, but still worth it!

Key Chain Bottle OpenerParty On The Rocks is a bartending and event staffing company, so a bottle opener is the perfect reminder of their services. It’s small, it’s branded, it’s super useful, clean & simple. Perfect!

Emergency Kit– Our friends at Cort Party Rentals dropped this off for us at the Seattle Wedding Show. AMAZING! The concept of an Emergency Kit isn’t new, but you can do so much with it. We’ve seen “hangover kits” , “spring break kits”, “back to school”, “wedding day”, “flu season” and more. So get creative!

Plush Toys & Branded Cups: The cups you can see are Freemind, and are filled with chocolate mint candy. Another empty water bottle may not be exciting…but with a snack? We will always take that! And putting your logo on something that people will use daily is an easy way to market yourself. As for the Chunk plush toy, Victoria displays this proudly in the office. Given out at a “Visit Astoria Oregon” booth, it is a (very) cute reminder that much of The Goonies was filmed there. Next vacation idea?

Light Box– move over felt boards….we’ve been seeing light boxes everywhere! Fun, bright, simple to brand, fairly compact (key for events where attendees will be flying in and out) and easy for people to customize in order to be used time and time again.

Final Thoughts from Freemind

Look at your demographic and what kind of reaction past SWAG as gotten (bonus points if you have data via a post event survey on how well the SWAG preformed). If you would appreciate the item, that is a good indicator. If you yourself aren’t thrilled, then your attendees may not be either. The rules are always changing, and what may have been Bad SWAG last year could be Good SWAG this time around. Remember, it’s not about how much you spend, it’s about how much value there is in the item to the attendee.  

Need help picking out SWAG for your next event or show? Let us know! Email Hello@FreemindSeattle.com to set up a meeting.


Freemind Seattle is a boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways. We’ve managed events from small corporate seminars from 100 people to vast industry tradeshows with over 30,000 attendees. We craft our approach in-house and can work with any team of vendors to build a cohesive and effective event.

Melissa Bathum & Kori Monson – Partners at Freemind Seattle

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager

7 Work-Life Balance Tips for Experiential Marketing Pros


Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Group Delphi

Experiential marketing is a hard-working, hard-traveling industry. Here are seven tips to help keep you balanced.

1. Ditch the Device

Working is for work hours — so, when you’re supposedly not working, turn off your device so you’re not tempted to continue being on the clock. As one midwestern VP says, “Do not go home and work from the couch or in your easy chair, pretending to be present with a loved one, when you’re secretly sending emails on your smartphone or tablet.”

2. Exercise Your Right to Exercise

It’s easy to forgo the gym when under time constraints. Think of ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine. If you’re an urban dweller, think about biking or walking to work. On the road? As one VP suggests, “take ten minutes in your hotel room to do three to four sets of ten: stretches, sit-ups, push-ups (or if you’re really feeling it, burpees).” When you aren’t traveling, set up an exercise class that is scheduled into your calendar.

3. Pencil Yourself In

Many of us live and die by the alerts of our digital calendar, so schedule meet-ups with friends, families, or the gym. Most importantly, make them non-negotiable. You wouldn’t move a meeting with an important client, so why not give yourself the same amount of respect?

4. Libations vs. Hydration

Alcohol readily flows in the experiential marketing business. If you drink, it’s easy to get dehydrated. As one of our senior officers suggests, “Down two large tumblers of water before hitting the hay to soften the blare of tomorrow morning’s alarm clock. It’s easier said than done when all you want to do is turn out the lights and turn in. In my extensive scientific research, I have found that the tastiness quotient of water is inversely correlated to the number of alcoholic beverages one has imbibed … but do it anyway. It works.”

5. Laughing Matters

“I laugh every day as often as I am able, especially when things aren’t very funny,” says one West Coast marketer. “It’s a great way to clear your head, refocus, and change the energy of a day that may or may not be in your control, and our days normally are not.” The Mayo Clinic also supports laughter as the “best medicine.”

6. Decide to Minimize Decision Fatigue

Research suggests that the act of constantly making small decisions can erode your ability to make big decisions. As one West Coast executive explains, “I keep three full business outfits on hangers, with accessories. Monochromatic with pops of color so everything mixes and matches with the same pair of shoes. That way I don’t have to think about packing too hard, and it’s fast.”

7. Listen to the Sound of Silence

Schedule in 15 minutes of quiet time a day. Close your office door, head to your car, or just escape the building for some time to yourself (without your phone, of course). Likewise, 15 minutes a day in nature will do wonders for the mind but a short walk around the block of your office will suffice.


The Group Delphi story begins in the theater, and while the spirit of the stage infuses everything we do, we focus our creativity on experiential programs and face to face environments for brands across the world. As leaders in our industry, we are known for originality and results. We’ve enjoyed 30 years of engineering awe and shaping moments into memories for companies like Medtronic, Nike, Google, and T-Mobile. Our creative and fabrication teams are inspired to bring your experiential marketing to life.

See Original Post Here

Pro Tips for Exhibitors at NWES

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Janet McNaughton - President, Lasting Impressions

Trade shows represent 39.2% of all B2B marketing dollars; often the largest line item in the budget. Here are 10 key strategies for innovating your presence and optimizing your ROI.



How can the Northwest Event Show become a game changer for your business? What are your trade show objectives and how do they connect to your annual business plan? Do you want to gain new prospects? Influence the marketplace? Enforce your brand message? Are you launching something new?

To optimize your trade show experience, consider not only your goals, but also the objectives of your attendees.

Most of your prospective customers are attending the Northwest Event Show to see new products and technology, participate in hands-on demonstrations, get an idea of trends, improve their skills and expand their professional networks.


Think through how to serve attendees in achieving their goals while fulfilling your own. How do you need to design your exhibit to meet both parties goals? Do you need to add an exclusive event tied to the show? An interactive display? Something else?


Butler Events has massive ambitions for this show and is taking bold steps to make it the most prestigious event in the area and beyond. Be sure to add some dazzle to your pre-show marketing message and invite key clients and prospects to your exhibit. Offer an incentive to meet with you for a 1-1 meeting for a scheduled time slot or to visit in general. If scheduling meetings with customer at the show is not realistic, how about letting attendees know they can receive a special gift for scheduling an appointment with you after the trade show? Tie the incentive to your mutual goals. (Download a Digital Asset to Share on Social!)


31% of registered attendees will be coming to the show for the first time. What an opportunity to meet new customers and increase sales over the next 12-18 months! There are at least three areas you want to deliver on better than anyone else exhibiting, especially your competition:


First, person-to-person: Dress the part, look the part, and stay focused on greeting everyone who approaches. This objective starts by wearing your brand with logoed apparel.


Second, hand-to-hand: At the end of your conversation give a gift branded with your logo. There are lots of great ways to use a presumptive close. Say “Thanks for visiting the (your company’s name) booth!” while you hand them a promotional product that is tied to your exhibit theme. Two levels of gifts are best: one for all the people you meet and the other a VIP gift for top customers and prospects.


Third, friend to friend: Always ask what your guests do for a living. Chances are they are eager to tell you, and to make friends. If its appropriate (not forced) ask for their contact information and complete a lead sheet. If they have a business card, staple that to their sheet for follow up after the show. Use set up time and your breaks to meet other exhibitors. Swap cards and war stories if you can; but avoid visiting with them when they are swamped with guests.



Every exhibitor is best prepared when clear talking points are created and the entire exhibit team is trained. Role playing is a best practice for polishing your presentation.



Create a lead sheet to capture data, and firm up your plan for post- show follow up. You can execute this concept on paper or digitally. Creating a savvy lead sheet begins by getting leadership, sales and marketing to agree on your ideal customer. The show is anticipating 2500 attendees: 2.5 times more than last year! To optimize your time and qualify the most guests, plan for concise conversations. There will be a lot of people to meet, sort and qualify!

Identify 4-5 open ended questions that will assist in a thoughtful conversation with attendees and inform them of your services. Try it out on at least three people who understand your business to ensure your talking points inform, educate, and convey the message you want attendees to learn about your business.


Here's how the qualifying questions lead to the right decision for your gifts:


Level 1: gifts are given to your hottest prospects and VIP customers. These are the people who meet your sales lead sheet criteria. These items represent a higher perceived value than a typical trade show promotion. You want people who receive level 1 gifts to know you think they are special and appreciated.

Level 2: gifts are for all the other people who visit your booth.

The appropriate time to extend a gift is AFTER you have completed a sales lead sheet for the attendee.



Asking the right qualifying questions, educating customers on your product or service, collecting attendee responses and attaching their contact information is job 1 for every person working in your booth. The most successful exhibitor teams craft talking points, train and role play with their colleagues to ensure success. Identify one team member to gather all the lead sheets at the end of the show and ensure they are entered into your CRM system for long term follow up.



Remember, you want to stand out. Many exhibitors do a great job. You want to be even better; and you can up your game by showing up as a polished team in uniform, with strong branding and expertise.

Consider the short and long-term impacts of the gifts you will provide and be sure they are exactly on-brand. Audiences love this type of coordination. It’s like telling a great story; your audience can follow it easily and understand how everything fits.



When the show is over, the real work starts. The most effective follow up campaigns are designed and coordinated with your exhibit theme in advance of the show. Your sales cycle dictates frequency. For products and services that produce rapid sales, execute on a follow up program once a week for the next 3 weeks. If your sales cycle is longer, consider monthly for the next 3 months. If your sales cycle is 12+ months, consider a quarterly follow up campaign for the next 3 quarters.



Start with the end in mind! As part of your trade show planning identify what you want for an ROI. How much in sales do you need to generate for the trade show to benefit the investment?

For Return on Opportunity (ROO) list out the ways you want to grow exposure and business relationships that don’t necessarily have a sales number attached. Examples are media exposure, speaking opportunities and more. Plan for what you want and work to achieve it. At the end of the trade show, measure results against plan to calculate whether your efforts were successful. With every evaluation a smart final step is to have an honesty check up and ask yourself if the results achieved were the best possible outcome. Identify and document what was learned – both good and bad for the next exhibit.


How can we serve you? we’re glad to answer questions about your trade show plan, walk you through a strategic follow-up campaign or meet with you to assist with your post-event analysis. Visit our website Lasting impressions, email at Janet@LastingImpressionsGifts.net or call 425.822.6651.


A Look at Authentically Incorporating Virtual Reality at Events

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Olivia Sundstrom of National Event Pros

Why Virtual Reality

The question of whether or not to incorporate virtual reality into an event is a question that also asks a lot about the event itself. What is the purpose behind the event in question? Is it an event aimed at bringing people together? Is it a marketing or brand activation? Is this event a chance or an opportunity to make a first impression like a conference or expo appearance? Virtual reality has quickly become not just a new phenomenon in the entertainment sphere, but a medium with limitless applications.

virtual reality glasses woman home

Virtual Reality has the ability when used strategically, to be a highly engaging medium for storytelling, marketing, entertainment, and more.

Assessing the rise of virtual reality technology across various industries throughout time, and within the last year alone, it is clear that big brands and industry leaders are quickly adopting virtual reality as a highly versatile tool to draw engagement within an organization, within a consumer base, or even with a potential consumer base.

Knowing that virtual reality can be an incredibly efficient tool, this article will break down the many ways one can utilize virtual reality at their next event in a way that is engaging, impactful, and authentic.

Know the Audience 

With any endeavor, it is always crucial to understand the audience. A successful event is one that is tailored to its audience authentically and is centered around building organic connections. Whether it be a launch where the audience is made up of potential investors and consumers, a company event, a school fundraiser, or a networking event, there is always an opportunity to create organic connections between the attendees and the event host.

There are many routes one can take with events. When using an event as a means to make a first impression, draw in an audience for a particular product, or to engage with a brand like a trade show or exposition appearance, the strategy behind the event should focus elements like storytelling.


Many brands across all industries have used virtual reality in this way, and for some of the biggest examples of this check out our break down of 18 Inspiring Uses of Virtual Reality Marketing as well as our bread down on How to Improve Trade Show Engagement with VR for an in-depth look on how virtual reality can be used at marketing centered events.

If the event is aimed at sparking engagement internally at an organization such as a corporate holiday party, team outing, networking event, or fundraiser, then the focus will be on building immersive experiences that all attendees can relate to and engage with, adding storytelling elements is also a powerful addition in these cases as well but the primary focus is on creating an environment that welcomes connections between attendees.


Building the Event 

There are unlimited routes to take when building an event with virtual reality elements. If the event has a particular theme in mind find virtual reality elements that compliment the theme or take the theme to a new engaging and immersive level for attendees.

If the event theme is one that resonates with the attendees because of its relevancy or proximity such as a winter-themed event for a winter sporting event, then the ability to include guests through virtual reality entertainment like hosting a VR station where guests can enter immersive skiing or snowboarding simulation is one solution.

Finding VR games to match themes like outer space, a murder mystery dinner party, or even zombie apocalypse-themed, are all great and specific ways to use VR games to play on the theme of any particular event.

When it comes to hosting events that are not pertaining to one specific theme, utilize VR experiences that are just as versatile as they are engaging.

The Google Tilt Brush is one of the only pieces of virtual reality entertainment that can be used in such a diverse range of ways from allowing guests to create room scale drawings and animations to using the Tilt Brush to play traditional and familiar party games such as Pictionary, by using the device in scenarios where a traditional pen and paper would be used.

Taking virtual reality and applying it to enhance familiar party games, or using a VR version of a traditional party game or board game, is an easy way to give attendees or team members a more approachable introduction to virtual reality as well as a more universal experience compared to a specific gaming experience.

Create the Environment

When creating the environment at an event with virtual reality there is a multitude of ways to do so. It can be done by creating a dedicated gaming section or gaming lounge at an event where guests can explore and enjoy the juxtaposition of classic arcade games and new virtual reality experiences. Or by creating various stations throughout the event where a different element of virtual reality is used.


One of the best ways of utilizing virtual reality gaming at an event is the use of multiplayer gaming experiences. For a look at a diverse range of multiplayer VR experiences for group outings, team building activities, and events check out a break down of the Top 19 Virtual Reality Games for Events.

Have one section of the event dedicated to showcasing a storytelling element through virtual reality. Let this be a way for members of an organization to interact with a story or timeline by showcasing the history of the organization, a recap, a timeline, or engage with a new campaign through virtual reality.

Have various sections of the event dedicated to being inclusive of family-friendly and younger attendees, as well as allowing a beer garden, gaming lounge, or sports bar experience with VR games meant for adults.

Screen Shot 2019-06-06 at 11.45.14 AM.png

National Event Pros is a full-service event planning, production, and rental company headquartered in Seattle with accomplished partners worldwide.

For over 30 years, our network of event professionals and extensive equipment inventory have provided our clients with services for more than 50,000 private parties, public gatherings, school picnics, and corporate special events.


Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Christian Golden - Bizzabo.com

Spread the word and drive registrations with these 23 powerful marketing tools for your event marketing campaigns. Featuring examples, tips, and resources for maximizing your event reach.

You’ve put in the legwork, made the phone calls, sent out a tidal wave of emails. You’ve worked the logistics and planned it all down to the last minute. You’ve done a bang-up job of organizing your latest event and it seems nothing has been left to chance.

Getting folks to register, buy tickets, and fill seats is crucial, but it’s only half the job. Once they come, you’ve got to keep your attendees engaged. Then, ideally, they’ll spread the good word and come back around. A good event marketing software helps, but it’s only one piece of a larger pie.

Read on for 23 tools for boosting attendance, engagement, and return visits with your next event. 

Integration Tools

Let's start with a couple integration tools. The following two apps will allow you to connect just about every other tool we mention in this guide, making your entire event marketing experience much easier and more efficient.

1. Zapier

Source: Geek Estate

Zapier allows users to "integrate, automate, and innovate" in ways they never could before. First, users need to link their various web apps together so that data can be shared between them. This is simple and can be done in just a few clicks. Then workflows can be built to automate certain processes.

For example, let's say your business uses G Suite, Dropbox, and Slack to communicate and store information. A workflow can be built that will automatically copy and save any attachments received in Gmail to a Dropbox folder, then alert all interested parties via Slack.

Zapier connects over 1,000 different apps together so that automations (like the one detailed above) can be made and your time can be used more productively.

2. Webhooks

A Webhook is used to transfer data between web applications once a specific action has been has been completed. The process is similar to what we just described for Zapier.

In regards to event management, Webhooks can be created to send real-time updates. This is done by first specifying the URL that will receive the information, then assigning a specific trigger event, which will send the data you've stored in your event app to any other application that you choose.

Communication Tools

Communication between team members is essential. And while email is an amazing tool, it's not always the best way for colleagues to converse. Instead, we recommend the following communication tool.

3. Slack

Source: Slack

Slack is a collaboration hub for business of all kinds and makes conversing with other team members fast and efficient. All conversations happen inside channels, which can be organized and segmented by project, department, topic, etc. Each user can be a part of as many channels as needed.

All conversation in Slack are searchable by everyone. Can't remember what Jim said? Just re-find the conversation. Training a new team member? Direct them to previous Slack chats outlining company processes.

But Slack is more than just a handy messaging service. Files and videos can also be shared and stored inside the app. And Slack integrates with G Suite, Dropbox, Asana, Trello, and more so it's easy to share the documents you need to.

Task Management Tools

Event management is a tough task. There are so many little details to keep track of at any given time, it's easy for a few of them to fall through the cracks. That's where task management tools come in handy. Here are a few of our favorites.

4. Airtable

Source: Airtable

Airtable is one part spreadsheet, one part database, and 100% capable of organizing your work in any way you see fit. It's an extremely versatile and flexible app and the task management tool of choice at Bizzabo.

If the words "spreadsheet" and "database" have you feeling nervous, don't worry. Airtable is incredible easy to use. Start by choosing the kind of thing you wish to organize. This could be a specific project, your customer base, or a set of ideas. Then add any and all information that applies including project names, due dates, notes, and priority levels. You're also able to add attachments such as notes and links.

But what really makes Airtable the task management tool of choice for over 30,000 of the world's leading companies is its collaboration features. As the creator of a database in Airtable, you can invite others to view and edit your creations. Different permissions can be given to each person. And the internal chat feature lets you easily communicate with your entire team.

5. Trello

Source: Jeff Bullas

Trello is a project management tool that's built on the Kanban methodology. Basically, users create different boards. Each board is organized into customizable columns that contain cards, which can then be outfitted with specific task information, due dates, and attachments such as photos or links.

A typical workflow inside Trello might look something like this:

Jessica manages her companies blog and wants to use Trello to help her. She first creates a new board named "Blog". Inside she creates four columns and names them "Ideas," "Writing," "Editing," and "Posted."

In the "Ideas" column, she creates cards for every blog post idea she has. When she decides it's time to write about one of her ideas, she moves that specific card into the "Writing" column, and tags the writer she wants to write it. The writer then completes the assignment based on the notes Jessica left on the card. When he finishes, he moves the card to the "Editing" column, Jessica reviews it, and then posts the blog to the company site and moves the card to the "Posted" column.

With Trello, you can tell at a glance exactly what's being worked on and how close it is to completion.

6. Asana

Source: Asana

Asana is another popular project management app that has one main objective: to help keep you focused on the goals, projects, and tasks that will help you grow your business.

Users first input the project they want to work on inside of Asana like launching a new event website, for example. Then the project is broken down into all necessary tasks such as purchasing a domain name, finalizing the design, writing the code, and preparing the launch.

Once each task is created, it can be assigned to the proper team member and given a due date. Asana's internal chat features make it easy to communicate and share ideas during the whole process. Progress can then be tracked to make sure your goals are being hit.

Update Your Social Profiles

It's nearly impossible to run any kind of business these days without some kind of social media presence. But for busy event planners, finding the time to update Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be a challenge. Fortunately, the following two apps make social media management a breeze.

7. Hootsuite

Source: BrightLocal

When it comes to social media management apps, Hootsuite is the name that comes to most people's minds. It's been around for a while now and comes with a lot of handy features for small to mid-sized businesses.

It all starts with the post scheduling feature, which allows you to save time by creating multiple social posts at once and scheduling them to go live on each social network at the hour of your choosing. As a Hootsuite user, you'll also get access to detailed analytics so you can easily see how effective your social marketing efforts are.


Source: TINT

TINT is all about curation and allows users to increase click-through rates, lower acquisition costs, and grow sales numbers. How? By scouring social media sites for images that relate to the specific hashtags and/or phrases you enter. You can then view the resulting pictures, choose which ones you'd like to use, and obtain legal rights from the content creator — all from within TINT.

The app also allows users to add CTAs to their images, publish them across the internet, and analyze the content's performance. TINT is a great tool that will definitely help your social media channels stand out from the competition.

Data and Analytics Tools

In the modern business world, analytics are key. Without a firm understanding of the data, it's nearly impossible for your company to make informed decisions and grow. Fortunately, there are a number of useful analytics tools that you can use.

9. Google Analytics

Source: Eclipse Media Solutions

Google Analytics is the analytics tool of choice for many businesses. It's also free which is a huge plus, though there is a rather steep learning curve to really use the app to it's full potential.

Once the tracking code has been pasted onto the website or mobile app pages you wish to track, Google Analytics will begin tracking performance. Insights that can be gleaned include the number of website visitors to a specific web page, where those visitors are coming from, the average amount of time a visitor stays on a webpage, what percentage of visitors purchase a product, and much, much more.

10. Google Optimize

Source: Adept

Optimize is another free app from Google and is meant to be used in conjunction with an analytics apps like Google Analytics. In a nutshell, Optimize lets users run experiments and test various aspects of their webpages.

For example, if your company wants to improve the conversion rate of its event registration landing page, you can use Optimize to create multiple CTAs and A/B test them against each other. The insights gleaned will allow you to make the necessary changes to receive more signups.

11. Looker

Source: GetApp

Looker is a paid-for business intelligence app that's used by Yahoo, Twilio, HubSpot and many more. The app prides itself on producing useable data that just about anyone within an organization can use and benefit from — not just the data analyst team.

Looker gives its user a complete picture of what's happening in their businesses so that they can grow efficiently. Events teams can use it to discover where attendees are most likely to hear about events, see how effective their event signup CTAs are, and more.

12. Tableau

Source: Tableau

Finally, we have Tableau, which aims to "change the way you think about data." How do they do this? By helping its user both see and understand the enormous amount of data it collects. They can then easily share the data with whomever they need to.

Like Looker, Tableau is a paid-for service and gives users the ability to see what their customers are really doing on their websites. Tableau integrates with many other tools as well including Google Analytics, Salesforce, Amazon Redshift, and more.

Marketing Automation Tools

Promoting your event is no longer an analog affair. You can recruit an army of automated tools to do or streamline phone, email, and social media marketing, manage your campaign, and even perform data analysis to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Here are five of 2018’s most powerful Marketing Automation Software products:

13. HubSpot

Source: HubSpot

This marketing engine is one of 2018’s top rated platforms for promoting events and campaigns. It's features include tools for email and social media marketing, creating landing pages, search engine optimization (SEO), and more.

HubSpot’s Lead Management feature lets you cultivate, score, and track leads, and the software also allows you to use data analytics to track and optimize your event marketing plan to measure your success and fine tune your approach.

This platform’s ‘inbound’ approach puts more tools for driving business growth into your hands, from attracting potential attendees, converting them, and closing with them as new and returning customers.

14. Marketo

Source: Marketo

Marketo is another marketing automation platform that makes developing and refining campaigns a user-friendly experience that need not involve any coding by users — which is particularly important for the mid-size companies that Marketo is designed for.  

Like HubSpot, Marketo offers a range of digital marketing tools that can be used to promote your event around the clock, including SEO, analytics, landing pages, and automated email functions. The email marketing feature triggers email outreach when potential attendees do things like share on social channels or check-in online at related events.

15. Hatchbuck


Source: Hatchbuck

Hatchbuck is particularly well-suited for small businesses who want to cultivate and follow up with their audience.

Its automated email campaign tool generates alerts when prospective customers or attendees take action, allowing a small marketing team to nurture leads and drive conversions.

16. Adobe Campaign

Google Anaylitics.png

Source: Adobe

If you want a marketing automation and resource management tool with powerful analytics features, this aspect of the Adobe Marketing Cloud might be the product for you. It’s designed to integrate well with Analytics, Target, and other Adobe systems, and provides detailed reporting by virtue of being intended for use by large-scale enterprises.

Though scale is one of its strengths, Adobe Campaign can handle detailed work. With the email feature, the option of tracking recipients’ previous behaviors and interests gives you the ability to personalize emails to the desired extent.

17. SharpSpring


Source: SharpSpring

Another affordable solution for small businesses, SharpSpring offers many of the features provided by some of the bigger platforms we’ve discussed, including social media management, landing page and blog building features, and behavior-based automated email marketing that allows you to track a visitor’s IP address in order to identify their organization.

Users have singled out SharpSpring’s usability and customer support for praise, as well as its ability to integrate with hundreds of third-party programs.

Event Management Tools

How about tools to manage your actual event? We've got a couple recommendations for you in this category as well.

18. Bizzabo


Bizzabo is the world's most love event software, and for good reason. This tool gives event planners everything they could ever need to promote, manage, and host an amazing event including an event website builder, email marketing service, event community platform, and event management tool — all in one convenient package.

From start to finish, Bizzabo gives you the event tools you need. But it also integrates with many of your favorite apps (over 750 other tools) to provide you with a completely customizable experience.


19. Boomset


Source: Boomset

Boomset is an event software solution that helps event planners improve on-site event experiences. It comes with useful features such as on-site check-in and on-demand badge printing, multi-session tracking, and signature collection.

Boomset also makes it easy to create guests lists by importing contacts from other platforms like Bizzabo or an Excel spreadsheet.

Design Tools

Last, but certainly not least, let's discuss the top design apps on the market. You need to make your event — from the promotional posters and web banners, to the event schedule handouts — visually appealing. These tools will help you.

20. Venngage


Source: Venngage

Venngage is all about infographics. If you've ever planned to use this type of marketing collateral to help promote your event, Venngage is definitely worth looking into. Plans range from $0 to $49 a month depending on the features needed.

Speaking of features, what can Venngage do? A whole lot, actually. Start by choosing from over 100 professional looking infographic templates. Then quickly add the charts, diagrams, and other visuals that will help visualize your data. The software comes with many icons and images to make this process simple. Then customize the text, colors, fonts, and other details to create a truly unique project.

21. Canva

Source: Canva

Canva is an online tool that will allow you to "design anything," and "post it anywhere." First sign up for a free account. Once inside the tool, choose a template to work from. They have ones for every kind of social media post, website banners, infographics, and more. Additionally, you can input your own dimensions and create completely custom projects.

When your template has been chosen, you can begin making it your own. Change colors and add pictures, graphs, and text. You also have the ability to search the Canva data base for images and icons to add to your project.

When your image is exactly as you want it, it can be downloaded and then used in your event marketing efforts.

22. BeFunky


Source: BeFunky

BeFunky is a free photo editor and design app. Users get access to both simple editing features like crop, resize, and exposure; and unique effects like Cartoonizer, which turns photos into cartoons, and Digital Art, which makes pictures look like digital paintings.

The designer aspect of BeFunky is similar to Canva. Use this tool to add text to photos, or create event posters or invitations from scratch.

23. Pixlr


Source: CNET

Pixlr is another photo editing app. But this tool has both web and mobile versions so it can be used on just about any WiFi enabled device. Edit your pictures quickly with professional features like layers, color replacement, and object transformation.

And of course, Pixlr users also have access to standard editing features such as crop, text, and a multitude of filters. 

BONUS: Social Media Tips

The reign of automated systems like those we’ve been discussing is a marketing windfall, but it hasn’t spelled the end of elbow grease. Event planners can go beyond automation to build hype by creating an event hashtag that can circulate well — getting the word out and drumming up interest and excitement across social channels.

Pick a phrase that’s catchy and easy to remember and share it widely in advance of your event. Lay it on thick via event newsletters, social media posts, and event apps attendees are encouraged to download. Your organization’s social media managers can get more mileage out of the hashtag by making information about event speakers and highlights available to folks who follow it. Remember that followers become sharers, too.

Running a successful campaign that brings folks to your event is only half the battle. The event itself needs to be successful, too. This means having attendees who enjoy themselves and become more likely to give you a high rating and a return visit. Here are some tips for turning attendees into enthusiastic participants:



  1. Incorporate a little friendly competition into the affair. Games that riff on creative event ideas can keep folks focused on what it’s all about. Re-tweetable content like event messages and updates; opportunities to create social posts containing the hashtag; scavenger hunts; live video activities; quizzes and surveys. These are all ways to make the proceedings more fun and memorable for those present, while keeping the publicity-ball rolling online. Boomset's QR lead retrieval feature allows attendees and exhibitors to generate leads, which can in turn help organizers incorporate challenges into event participation — turning attendance itself into a friendly competitive activity.

  2. We’ve seen that there are many ways to gather a range of data about attendees prior to an event. This can be used not only to drive attendance, but to drive engagement on site — event planners can create networking events or group activities for folks have similar interests. These sub-events can then be broadcast to those for whom they seem a good fit, which should be backed by data. This serves the double purpose of creating more opportunities for attendee satisfaction while sending a clear message that doing so is a priority for organizers.

  3. Another way to create positive associations with your event for registrants is to let them share the spotlight. Social media walls that display user-generated content on social channels in real-time or on a loop is a neat way to pass them the mic, while increasing attendee engagement. 

Summing Up: Your Event Marketing Tools

Investing in digital outreach and onsite engagement is a powerful, two-pronged strategy for accomplishing this. Adopt this approach and watch your crowd and impact grow.

Want to better understand how to achieve event success and discover other tools to help you guarantee it time and time again? Take the Event Technology Assessment


Bizzabo is the world’s fastest growing event technology company. Our Events Cloud empowers event marketers to manage, measure and grow professional events across the globe. We are pioneers of event technology and champions of our customer's success.