AMPED location logo

We are people people.

We’re excited about what we do
and have passion for our profession

CSIA Reception-small

For every one of our client meetings, staff pre-plan, re-plan, adjust, pack, ship and prepare for the unexpected —and the expected.

In preparing for the “big show,” however large or small, I reiterate to both our client and property staff the important aspects of the meeting, my expectations — and some of my pet peeves.

  • Remember why we’re here. It is a privilege to be working with our members. Treat them like royalty.
  • Best foot forward. For sure!
  • First impressions count. Hotel, meeting space room sets should be in tip-top shape. The meeting room is the living room for your attendees. Are you proud to have them over?
  • No garbage. No boxes, scraps of paper, used coffee cups or plates anywhere that attendees can see them.
  • No eating at registration. It’s important for staff to keep up their energy in order to be on the top of their game, but eating should be done in the staff office or with attendees. One of my pet peeves when attending meetings as a registrant is “interrupting” staff from their breakfasts at the registration counter. Drinks are OK.
  • Communication is essential. I schedule daily, or twice daily debriefs with client and venue staff. It’s just a few minutes to plan for the day’s events, make adjustments, set expectations, etc.

Case in point

We just finished another record-breaker, world-class event for AMPED client, Upon arrival at the CSIA conference and following the pre-con, my meeting planner and I were not pleased with the physical condition of the property and expected the hotel to be more proactive with us in communicating some deficiencies we discovered on our own. This is where communication comes in. We swiftly requested a meeting with the general manager and heads of key departments to express our concerns and expectations. I was extremely impressed with their ability to respond, make changes and quickly adjust – a true sign of professionalism and value.

The real-time, back-stage adjustments that take place at an annual meeting are a very tangible example of those that association managers make each day as we respond to members’ needs, requests from leaders and new opportunities – all while focusing on the proactive work of retaining members, growing the associations, advancing the strategic plan and improving governance. It is a pleasure to have industry partners who share the same values and can turn things around quickly!

Communication is typically the key. And starts at the top!

Continue reading
in Event Management 1804 0
Rate this blog entry:

huemmer biz cards

When I was brought onto the AMPED team in January, one of the first things we did was book my flight for the annual conference of one of our clients. It was several months away, and I didn’t think much of it, as I was trying to learn and retain everything about my new position as quickly as possible. It really wasn’t until the week before that it occurred to me that I had never been to a conference of any kind, and I had no idea what to anticipate. So if you plan on attending a conference for the first time, here are some tips on how to prepare, what to pack, and what to expect.

How to prepare:
Determine what you hope to accomplish there. Making a small itinerary or schedule gives you an idea of just how much time you have available. Plan to meet with colleagues whom you’ve only ever talked with over the phone, as it will put a face to the voice and help you connect better. Put aside time for programs and presentations that you would not normally have access to outside of a conference venue. And if you are giving a presentation yourself, have duplicates of your visuals handy, whether it be on a thumb drive or in the cloud.

What to pack:
It’s hard to anticipate everything you will need once you’re there. Pack your essentials, of course. Plus, I suggest packing an extra day’s worth of clothing. It’s always good to remember that with your clients, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, so having several nicer outfits is important. Also make sure that you have everything that you will need to accomplish your goals at the conference: business cards, notepads, phone charger, etc. And comfortable shoes. I don’t think I can stress that enough.

What to expect:
There will be a copious number of people to meet and names to remember. Business cards will help, but following up with connections afterwards, and sometimes writing notes on the card itself will help you remember who they were. The days will be early and long, but fun and informative. Make sure you meet new people, as everyone will be a part of the conference and will have several things in common with you right off the bat. Who knows – the person you sit next to at lunch could be a potential business partner down the road.

The most important thing to remember is to enjoy yourself. Though it’s a whirlwind of activity, the days are long and the work is hard, remember to step back and appreciate the experience. People are there to enjoy themselves and to connect, so you should do the same. I thoroughly enjoyed my first conference and look forward to more down the road!

Continue reading
in Event Management 4070 0
Rate this blog entry:

Green acres


Hardly a week goes by, it seems, without an awards show. The Oscars, Emmys, Screen Actors Guild, All Star, Top 10, Hall of Fame, Best of Everything, People’s Choice, Reader’s Choice, Taster’s Choice. Come to think of it, when isn’t it awards season?

I love to celebrate success, but even I am growing weary of what seems to be an increasing number of invented awards. By that I mean awards programs conceived by enterprise to recognize deserving people, products and ideas, but also to create “news” that fills magazine editorial pages, sells advertising space, and fills seats at conferences and dinner tables. Look past the acrylic and veneer, and you will see that not only are awards good publicity for the recipients, they are good for the businesses that sponsor them.

Not all awards are invented. However, if the entry fees are steep, if the “judges” stand to benefit financially from your participation, or if there is an evident quid pro quo, e.g., your mailing list so they can invite 200 of your closest colleagues to celebrate with you, then you might want to take a moment to ask yourself if your prize is someone else’s profit center.

Associations also bestow awards. The difference is that these awards traditionally are a means for members to recognize and celebrate their peers. The awards serve as a reminder of why the association exists, to recognize service and dedication to the organization, or to raise the bar for professional achievement. In short, these awards are earned.

Association awards rarely make the covers of glossy magazines and often get lost in the competition for eyeballs that all organizations now find themselves in. The never-ending awards season diminishes the value of all awards, both invented and earned.

Wondering why Green Acres was capitalized in the title of this blog? I will own up that, in 1980, I received a National Arbor Day Foundation Award on behalf of the University of Wisconsin. To this day, I don’t know who nominated the campaign I helped create or why I was chosen to represent the UW. I can say I was hugely honored and literally shaking in my high heels when I accepted the award. Regrettably, the foundation’s spokesperson, Green Acres star Eddie Albert, was detained in Hollywood. I have photos.

But, that’ll cost you.

Continue reading
Tagged in: awards
in Event Management 1757 0
Rate this blog entry:

food money

Looking for ways to stretch your meeting food and beverage budget while exceeding your attendee expectations? Give these ideas a try!

The simpler, the better.
Often, hotel and convention center break packages are very “heavy,” not to mention pricey. Consider lighter options from the a la carte menu. For example, we’ve had great success with offering a variety of protein bars and fresh fruit for morning breaks. Simple, yet filling, and it won’t put your attendees to sleep!

Less is more.
If fancy break packages are your thing, consider guaranteeing less than your actual headcount. Often, extravagant breaks have a variety of options with large servings and attendees rarely sample everything. Don’t waste the food or your money.

Hold the dessert.
For smaller gatherings, request the dessert included in your lunch menu be brought out during your traditional afternoon break time.

All-day packages equal big savings.
A number of venues offer half or all day break packages, meaning one flat fee per person for all meal and break function(s). Meeting planners know how quickly the cost of bottled soda or water adds up, so if the package includes beverages for your program you’ll really save the green!

Schedule extended lunch hours.
This allows time for attendees to explore the host city and try the native cuisine while buying their own meal at a local restaurant. Or work with your destination’s CVB to arrange meal vouchers at area eateries. Say your budget allows you to spend $10 per person. You’d be hard pressed to find a venue that can accommodate such a budget, especially after taxes and service charges. However, a $10 coupon for guests to use at the restaurant of their choice means you stay within your budget your guests save money.

Drink responsibly.
Offering a cash bar rather than hosted bar is an easy way to save your dollars. If that doesn’t work for your event or client, consider drink tickets. Give each attendee a limited number of drink tickets and switch to a cash bar once the tickets are gone. Of course, give your VIPs a few extra tickets!

Continue reading
in Event Management 1804 0
Rate this blog entry:

With each New Year at AMPED comes the thick of meeting planning – budget management, exhibit sales, BEOs and, of course, sponsorship recruitment! While each client meeting is different, sponsorship support is vital to the success of any event.

Here’s a unique sponsorship idea
Attendee needs are constantly evolving, so it is important to remain open to new opportunities to enhance the overall meeting experience. These are busy people who are likely feeling the pressures of keeping up with business back at the office while they are away. What better way to put sponsorship dollars to use than helping attendees maximize their time out of the office?

Many registrants heavily rely on their phones or tablets to keep up on office activity. Don’t make participants go back to their hotel rooms to charge up. Recruit a sponsor for a charging station! Not just any charging station – get creative. Design a kiosk that will be similar to a coat check system. Let attendees walk away from their phones and hire an associate to manage the station so they feel secure in leaving their “lifeline” in trusted hands for a few minutes. How will I pay for a station attendant, you ask? Build the cost into the fee of the charging station sponsorship!

Attendees will be wowed at the convenience; meanwhile, sponsors will be thrilled with the opportunity to support a true registrant service. Make your meeting a wise investment for your sponsors! Feature the supporting company’s logo at the charging kiosk, display branded signage to guide registrants to the charging station, allow the sponsor the opportunity to run a video in the station throughout the duration of the event, or consider giving them an area for product literature.

This is just one example of the numerous things meeting planners can do to create a win-win situation for attendees, sponsors and clients. Increased sponsorship dollars means more flexibility to offer a high quality program. Quality programs equal higher attendance and continued growth makes the meeting an easier sponsorship “sell” the next time around.

Building sponsor relationships is not a simple task, but is definitely time and energy well spent. Ready, set, go!

Continue reading
in Event Management 2102 0
Rate this blog entry: