I know its crazy, 2 interviews in 1 day? But hey there are a lot of techie type people out there and they all like to talk. in this installment we have Michael Ball talking to us about technology and how it relates to his work.
Q: Let’s start off with a bit of an introduction for our readers. What’s your name and what do you do?
I’m Michael Ball, co-founder of Traverse Events and Senior Marketing Executive for TTG Media Limited. For Traverse, I am one of the directors and also the head of events, meaning I run the logistical side of all of the events we do. But as it’s a small company, we all pitch in on what needs doing, be that sales, marketing, social media etc. I also do marketing for TTG Media, which is a travel industry media brand, which has a focus on events, running around 50 different ones a year, from small networking events to large awards ceremonies in the West End.
Q: How do you keep up with the latest trends when running events?
Mainly by attending other events, seeing what others do and then improving on it if we can. I think everyone in events does this, we have seen our conference format copied almost exactly in the past, and although it can be annoying, it’s flattering too. Plus anyone that copies what we do is an event behind, as we always change and innovate when we come up with the next one. For smaller events, there are also the chances to come up with completely fresh idea, we did this last year where we created a drinks ordering system for at a conference using Twitter, so nobody had to get up at all. It can also be useful to attend bigger events, to try and take inspiration, an exhibition with a budget or £2 million is not going to be something we can copy, but the ideas are there, and that’s often all you need. Lastly, we always make sure that the event sponsors and partners are part of the event, rather than just brands that are represented, so we work with them to enhance the overall event and use their expertise and equipment when we can, it works out better for all involved that way.
Q: Do you feel it’s important to be up to date with the latest technology when running travel events?
Absolutely. Our events specifically are run for travel bloggers and start-ups. These people are used to seeing some new tech and software, so we always try and have something fresh there. This is where we often come up with our own stuff though. Paul, the other founder, is incredibly good when it comes to programming, and has built our Twitter and Instagram walls, by far the best ones you’ll see, as long as a Twitter leader board, which has been fantastic for driving engagement and exposure over social media for us and our sponsors. Plus, the attendees love it, as you can run competitions, post photos etc for all to see.
Q: What platforms of technology do you find attendees to these events interacting with the most?
As mentioned before, Twitter and Instagram at the events get the most coverage, then Facebook and Vine, usually when people have left or the next day. It also depends on what’s on offer via the technology. So having a fantastic new photo sharing program is great, but you have to incentivise people to use it. We also had Google Glasses at an event we did in November last year, they got a fair bit of attention as everyone wanted to have a go and have a picture taken with them on, me included. Out next big event is going to be kind of anti-tech, as far as bloggers are concerned anyway. So there won’t be any flashy displays for social media feeds running, or super-fast WiFi, but we have some great ideas for this, such as ordering bacon sandwiches over twitter, or taking video with a drone camera.