This post is mainly going to be about the problems we faced while hosting this conference, and the things we learned. As this was our very first time hosting an event such as this, there are a lot of things we can improve on.
The first day was for panel talks and exhibition. All the attending companies setup their booths and their tech to show some demo to the attendees. We came at 6 in the morning to setup our motion capture cameras, server, and calibrate them all, which took about 2 hours. The conference officially started at 9am.
I manned our exhibition booth, showing attendees our game demo. However, around 9.30am, a couple of our volunteers who manned the registration booth had to go. So me and Patrick went to man the registration booth since there are still a lot of attendees coming in late. This was when I realized a HUGE problem.
Problem #1: The Attendee list is not synced at all
Essentially what we had was an excel spreadsheet filled with attendees information like name, email, company, confirmation number, etc. An attendee came and gave me her confirmation number, I tried looking up her confirmation number on the sheet and found nothing. I tried searching by name as well and still no luck.
When I asked Jeremy about it his answer surprised me. "Oh, the spreadsheet was from 2 days ago, I stopped updating it since we were so busy". What do you mean you stop updating it? It should have been automated! This was a VERY BIG issue, and I'm glad we hit it. Clearly we need a system to automatically update the spreadsheet/database when someone registered online.
Problem #2: What is when?
After attendees are verified, we hand them out a map of the exhibition. The first thing they said after that was "Thanks! do you know what time is <insert company name> panel will be?" and unfortunately our answer would always be "you could view the event itinerary on the website".
This makes me think that maybe we should hand out the day's itinerary on top of the map of the event. The venue was not that huge, so people should be able to figure out where things are. But people would most definitely like to know what is happening when.
Problem #3: Do you guys have coffee?
I think only Patrick is a coffee drinker in the team, so does 90% of the attendees. In the early morning when we were setting up our booths, one of the exhibitor asked if there's any coffee provided. Unfortunately the museum cafe was closed, so we directed them to the starbucks across the street, and we went back to whatever we were doing.
A few minutes later, a different exhibitor asked the same question. And we started to think "maybe we should get coffee after all". long story short, I went to starbucks to get coffee for 50 people.
- Have an attendee list database that is synced automatically when someone registers
- Print the event itineraries on paper to hand out to attendees
- Provide Coffee
Day 1 video: