TOP GUIDE'S VITAL STATS * Organization: International Association for Exposition Management
* Event: 1997 Annual Meeting and Expo! Expo!
* Site: Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta
* Dates: December 2 to 5, 1997
* Top Guide Budget: About $12,000
* Quantity: 2,500
* Winning Team:
Vicki Simmons, Vice President of Conventions
Keith Vincent, Vice President of Marketing
Renee Berres, Manager, Marketing and Communications
Frustrated, lost attendees do not a successful meeting make--and we've seen plenty of them at conferences. That's why we decided to run our first Top Guides Contest, honoring the best on-site program booklet. There's nothing elegant about the winning guide, but the International Association of Exposition Management went to great lengths to design a user-friendly booklet, based on member complaints about previous guides. Their effort shows in every detail.
IAEM's wasn't the only guide to wow the judges. The Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania program guide included session locations in its schedule-at-a-glance. That's crucial information most guides leave out of that section, forcing attendees to wade through the more detailed seminar descriptions just to figure out where they are going. The Northeast Spa & Pool Association used cheerful yellow and blue icons to highlight different services--a pot of gold, for instance, illustrated a door-prize drawing. The National School Supply & Equipment Association placed all ads on the right-hand pages, making for easy reading of pertinent information. And the United Methodist Association included presenters' contact information in its guide--a valuable plus.
Our thanks to Jane Krause, CMP, director of meetings and conventions with the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators, who gave us the idea for Top Guides. Thanks also to each organization that submitted a guide for consideration.
DAY BY DAY From a Couch Potato Event to a Board of Directors Meeting--all events are listed together in the General Information section. They are organized by day and time, with the day clearly marked at the top of each page. Event locations are also included. Delegates can use this schedule to map out their educational and social calendars. The pull-out program grid and day-by-day sections provide alternative methods for schedule planning.
MR. WOW The name of IAEM's 1997 convention was Making Headlines: The Power of Wow, and this funny, excited little character was originally designed as the logo, to express the Wow theme, says Vicki Simmons, vice president of conventions. Plastered across promotional materials, he became more of a mascot than just a logo, says Simmons, earning the affectionate moniker "Mr. Wow." "We thought of bringing out Bow Wow, the dog, the following year," says Simmons, "but we backed off."
POCKET POWER Convenience and flexibility are the hallmarks of this program guide. The 164-page booklet is designed to fit into a delegate's pocket or purse with ease. And with the spiral binding, attendees can keep the guide open to a certain page, without worrying about it flopping shut.
WHERE AM I? A two-sided pull-out map of the convention center features the layout of every level, including room numbers and names.
EXHIBITORS ANY WHICH WAY Find exhibitors by booth number, company name, or product/service category. "While some may find this to be overkill," says Simmons, "our members appreciate the numerous options for finding the information they seek."
TERRIFIC TABS No more shuffling pages, searching for the table of contents. These tabs, visible when the book is closed, clearly demarcate each day's events. Here's where delegates find seminar descriptions, as well as times and locations. Meals and social events are also included. The date is highlighted in red at the top of each page.
AT A GLANCE This pull-out program schedule provides a fast overview of seminars, by day and time. Each session's track, level, and target audience is included, giving delegates enough information to select the best workshops for their needs. Adding the room numbers would have made this feature even better.