Note: This post is a review from a graduate student’s prospective and is intended for instructional and academic purposes only.
Channels gaining most response: Catersource & Facebook
Below is a good example on how Catersource’s Facebook page was used to incite registration prior to the event. As of March 13, the last post was made March 11 so there wasn’t any post-event content added. However, the event coordinators did well in adding photos during the event and the Facebook page was also used effectively with daily announcements (see below)
Here are a couple more samples of effective diverse postings on Facebook including announcing guest presentations, local chapter greeting and ticket sales:
- March 9 – Rise and shine! Welcome to the second day of #CSES2015 We hope that everyone had a wonderful day networking, learning and enjoying the events yesterday. Registration will be open starting at 7am with coffee and light breakfast items available on the level below at 7:30am. We have a large selection of education sessions today, so be sure check the show guide and the mobile app to help plan your day!
- March 7 – The NACE Las Vegas Chapter Welcomes the Catersource Event Solutions Attendees to Fabulous Las Vegas.www.lasvegasnace.net
- March 5 – Learn about Holly Safford, the 2015 Michael Roman Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and her contributions to the catering industry. Then join us at the #CSES2015 Opening Session on Sunday for the award presentation!
- Feb 27 – Evening event tix are selling fast! Purchase your tickets to the hottest parties at #CSES2015 before they’re gone! http://ow.ly/JJ2x5
Other Social media channels used before, during, and after
Besides the main Catersource.com and Facebook page, a sampling of other websites that just announced information on the Las Vegas conference include: Clocate.com, 10times.com, compusystems.com, vegasmeansbusiness.com, event-solutions.com, rosehillenter.com, paperlesspropoal.com, onenewspage.com, and broadwayworld.com.
Best Content posted
Besides catersource.com and Facebook, another robust content site was Blog.socialtables.com, a cloud based event planning software platform helping event professionals with everything from guest lists to check-in. Some of the typical content on this site included what to expect at the show, who’s attending, presentations, sponsors, trends in catering, and guest speakers.
One of the most fascinating posts was an interview with the event organizers and communication methods they are using to reach target sponsors and attendees
“We implement an integrated communication campaign across multiple mediums. Although online marketing is one of our primary vehicles, we still find value in offline publications to stay engaged with our audience throughout the year. Catersource Magazine is an outreach tool with staying power. It is a go-to resource that covers trends, products, technology, menu creation, and industry influencers, as well as speaker profiles and event recaps. It has proven to be an invaluable asset to our sponsors, and has resonated well with our readership. We have also been leveraging press releases to help share important information about our speakers, event highlights and more.
Among the new technologies they are using this year is a mobile application that allow attendees:
- Save schedules
- Enhanced gaming
- Real-time notifications
- New ways to engage during the event
- Opportunity to win cool prizes
- Additionally, exploring new designs for a social media contest to enhance
Using hashtags, retweeting, highlighting certain booths, events, etc?
Here is a sampling of the different types of tweets that were used before and during the show. Many tweets were accompanied by photos. (Not many tweets after the show)
- We are so happy to announce that Empty Vase is named floral designer of the year at the at #Catersource #cses2015
- Cater source education sessions will start at 9:45 a.m.! Learn how to organize photos on your mobile device at the coolinary innovation stage hashtag #cses2015
- Stock up on all your #cses2015 necessities and make your final purchases indicator source store at the LVCC! (2RT’s)
- Be sure to use your trade show map to locate all of the hot spots sampling the coolest new products on the show floor #Catersource #cses2015 (3RT’s)
- Are you at Catersource? So are we! Stop by booth 1944 and get a taste of what we offer literally! #Catersource #cses2015
- Day 2, and away we go! Stop by our booth so we can inspire you #2419 at Catersource
- Congratulations to all the nominees, winners of the 2015 Katie and spotlight awards! #eventprofs @Event Solutions
- Did you know you can buy the audio from the sessions at #cses2015? Check them out at Catersource_LLC store #Catersource
- Getting ready to present cooking up a better website at 2:15 in the Pompeian room #Catersource #cses20155 (5RT’s, 8 stars)
- March 8- inspiring presentation by at Sodexo USA coolinary directors! #Catersource #cses2015 (15RT’s)
- So excited for my first Catersource conference! So many familiar faces at Caribou Club! #Catersource #cses2015
- All the greats are here at Catersource 2015. Let the learning experiences begin! (8RT’s)
- March 3 – Going to #Catersource #cses2015? Don’t forget to download the official mobile app here!
- Attending at Event Solutions 2015 conference? ISEs members use code 15 to save $100 check us out Las Vegas free passes
Sponsors are promoted primarily by various levels on the event floor with different signage featuring their logos and booth numbers, but mainly through the mobile app and Catersource websites via banner ads and posting mentions. Platinum sponsors include IEP, American Mmetalcraft, Caterease software, Cort (furnishings), South Bay Ford, WNA (plasticware), Sterno Candlelamp and Cambro (see below).
One of the best sponsor content was by Cambro, including featuring a couple of contests before and during the event to make their content more exciting and interactive. “Tell us what products would greatly improve your operation and be entered to win a shelving and storage package!”
Here is one of their posts prior to the event: “There’s just something about a gathering of thousands of caterers that makes Catersource a must-attend event every year. We’re happy to say we’ve been at Catersource for quite a while. And once again we’re getting ready to showcase Cambro products and solutions to the hard-working catering world gathered at Catersource 2015 in Las Vegas. Visit booth 1600!”
Here is innovative post using a live web cam in their booth during the show:
They also made a point of posting a recap pf the event a couple of days after the show closed with many photos. Their post also included the results of their “Diced” and “Rapid Recipe Challenge” competitions.
The 2015 Catersource Show was a great opportunity to connect with new and existing catering customers. The event drew several thousand people to Las Vegas and between the educational sessions, evening events, and exhibit floor, it packed a lot to see and do in just a few days.
Cooking competitions are all the rage and in 2015, not only was the DICED Competition back but it had company in the form of the Rapid Recipe Challenge. Cambro products were there to help all the Chefs in both competitions.
Prior to the event on the Cambro blog they also encouraged social media followers as wll as their own mobile app: You can always keep up with updates by following us on Twitter and Instagram. Better yet, download the new Cambro App!
Other examples of IMC?
One of the main IMC is the Catersource magazine which is available electronically and in print. The event coordinators also sent out press releases and offered press passes to news media. There were also some videos posted. I was the first to view this very well put together video that was posted on the last day of the conference that captures the essence of the show. A little long but a great effort. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57dKMaXwG2E
Favorite communication highlights
- Catersource mobile app
Suggestions for next event
- The Catersource Magazine March/April issue made no mention that they will be featuring some of the highlights of the show. I would really use the magazine to showcase as much about the event as possible.
- On the last day of the show I downloaded the Catersource mobile app and discovered something very disturbing—according to Google Play, there had only been 100 downloads. Needless to say, the app is extremely helpful and one of the best I’ve seen as far as organization, easy navigation featuring an interactive map, AFR voting, messaging, gallery, sponsors, info booth, your favorite exhibits, notes and venues, surveys, social media, settings and documents. All the sponsors were noted and the thing I loved is that each sponsor not only linked to their website, but featured a contact name that you could call or email at the tap of a button. Great app but not enough downloads!