1. Use online registration systems to promote your meeting, sell tickets and manage attendee information. Tools to use: RegOnline.com and Acteva.com.
2. Build a web portal for the event that provides content for attendees to prepare for specific discussions and topics. Example: The Administrative Professionals Conference (www.apcevent.com) and the IAAP Convention (www.iaap-hq.org/Convention_08) post detailed descriptions of seminars as the event dates grow closer.
3. Discontinue pre-show mailers. Ask sponsors/suppliers to create web-based e-mail blasts or advertisements for your registration site.
4. Carve out restricted space on the portal for you and your planning committee. Think of it as your “virtual binder,” a place in which to keep updated agendas, inventories, menus, etc.
5. Swap out hard copies of handouts for soft versions online. Suggest that presenters do the same. For example, presenters could say to attendees, “If you’re interested in seeing a ‘cheat sheet’ of the tips I’ve talked about today, give me your e-mail address. I’ll send it to you after the conference.” Benefits: It saves paper and gives the presenter a useful list of contacts.
6. Do post-event surveys online instead of handing out paper in every breakout and general session. Tool to use: SurveyMonkey.com.