I have written about other events Scott Schenker has helped design and manage in the past including SapphireNow for SAP. After a stint at Microsoft, he is now VP Strategic Events at ServiceNow. I liked several of the touches at their recent user conference at the Venetian Sands conference center in Las Vegas and I asked him to elaborate on them.
The presentation wall
It was 360 feet from edge to edge….needed dozens of overlapping projectors. That kind of stage allows not only for a broader audience but it also allows an incredible backdrop for telling the story and whether that was the "we make the world work for people" story, or whether it was making the stage feel like it was a café in London, or the dawn of time….we had just shy of 10,000 people so it was a great opportunity for us
The open floor plan
There was a study done years ago that said people forget things when they go through a door. Happens to every one of us. We'll leave a room and we'll say okay I'm going do this and you walk through the door and you forget and you walk back into the room and you suddenly remember, "oh, I was going to get a cup of tea", or "I was going go talk to Tony about this, that, or the other thing". So, I try really hard to not have people go through a door if I can avoid it. Spent a lot of time and energy to make the keynote work and I hate the idea of people going through a door and forgetting it, even if it is subconscious. The keynote hall led into the show floor, into the media center, so we did not have many walls.
We tried vinyl coated badges. We stuck a NFC Communications sticker inside. Probably 30 to 40% cheaper than going with plastic. If you think about it, they're lighter so they're easier to ship, easier to use, easier to reprint. There's just a whole bunch of advantages to having paper, or paper-like. The color part was pre-printed and then the black and white parts and some of that detail was printed on site. So that's what made it easier for us to manage them and move them around and a printer can handle many, many more paper badges than it could plastic badges
“Play your way”
We tried a sort of party your way thing for Thursday night, rather than a single big concert or party where everyone was together. We had a nightclub you could go to, we had Top Golf which was a golfing range you could sign up for, we had two shows of “Love”, The Beatles musical by Cirque du Soleil, we had Tao restaurant which is a kind of restaurant/nightclub. People liked all of them. People got to do what they wanted to do which was great. Both shows of “Love” sold out. Top Golf sold out. Drai's Beachclub was hopping till 10:30 when our party ended and people were allowed to stay if they wanted to on their own. So it was a real interesting experiment for us in a city where there aren't that many options for 18,000 people in one location.
Limited edition packages
This is something I started at SAP and really sort of established at Microsoft. We add these limited edition packages, or plus packages, that allow you to get personalized experiences. It's really no different than what we airlines and stadiums do nowadays, ... you want front row seats great, if you want the club section, if you want the early access to see the final dress rehearsal that costs you, if you want the swag package with autographed concerts tickets etc. In our case we packaged training, access to the spa at the Venetian, and the ultimate lounge near the meeting center, things of that sort.
Metrics show the success
I know that we had a little over 200 exhibitors, it's the largest show we've had. .. Before the show over 140,000 session had already been added to peoples' agendas…. All of the Customer success clinics and all of the Genius lounge appointments. There were over 1,300 were fully booked before the show. The NFC badges generated 50,000 leads from our partners on the show floor.