Every year the Lancaster Chamber holds their annual Business Expo. It is an opportunity for over 200 businesses in Lancaster County to get together under one roof, drive awareness of their offering, talk business and of course network with each other. This year (2019) set a record for attendees with over 600 people walking through the door.
It’s critical for the Chamber to capture the names and contact information of those in attendance. It helps them grow their database which enables marketing activities for future events.
In past years capturing this information was a manual process. It required Chamber employees typing in the attendees names, printing a badge, then collecting business cards with the intent of manually inputting them into the database at a later date. This process was made more challenging by the fact that the Expo is open to the public and open during lunch hours the registration desk was flooded with eager attendees.
As a result, lines at the registration desk could become long causing frustration for the attendees and Chamber employees alike. As for the business cards . . .
They would typically end up in a spot that was not helpful to anyone.
At the end of the day the Chamber wanted to be able to easily and quickly capture attendee info, print a name tag and store the contact info a format that could actually be used in the future. Our COO, Chris Tress, took the lead on finding the right solution. He asked our dev team to explore what this would take to create a custom built option. In the meantime he started to research COTS (commercial off the shelf software) options. Sure enough, a solution existed that fit the budget and provided all the necessary functionality - it was a no brainer! Through the COTS system we saved the Chamber hours of custom development work and provided the right solution for the event. We were also on site during the event to ensure everything worked smoothly.
As a result the registration process was so fast there were never more than a few people in line. Each registration took less than a minute and attendees were able to flow right into the expo! The system sent everyone a welcome email with important information as well as getting them in touch with Chamber. Through the system dashboard the Chamber was able to see peak times and know better for next year when they should expect crowds.
In the end this saved the Chamber hours of manual data entry, and in reality get the information that would otherwise have been lost. Now the Chamber has actionable data on the expo and an accurate contact list.
This is one example of a simple, creative solution that IndyRes brought to the table. As you may have read in other posts, these solutions can come in a variety of forms. In this case there was a COTS solution that fit the budget and requirements perfectly. Other projects will lead to building custom software or creating an integration to get multiple systems to work together. It’s all about finding the right tool for the job!