Sunday, August 23, 2015

Look to Leasing as a Flexible Alternative for Your Computing Needs


When expanding technology needs, often times an organization will consider one of two options: 1) Rent a laptop or computer or 2) Purchase it.  

However, there is another alternative: leasing.

With computing power doubling every 12-24 months, leasing has many advantages over purchasing and can be less expensive than renting, especially if you fall into that 1-2 year timeline on equipment needs.

Let’s take a deeper look into leasing and five of its advantages.

Leasing Frees Up Organizational Cash Flow


Let’s face it; if you are not in the computer business, you have a finite amount of capital monies set aside to improve and allow your business to remain competitive.

If you purchase computers, that cash is gone and the equipment that is key to your business’ future has now been pushed out another year.

In addition, since leasing is a set amount of money each month, there is no big down payment required. You can anticipate your budgetary needs over the time of the lease.

No Worries about Maintenance and Repairs


When your computer goes down, you can count on your vendor to provide you with computer maintenance services along with 24/7 technical support to troubleshoot any problems you may encounter.

Unless you have a large IT service staff, allocating the time and effort to fix and swap out computers at your company can be a real headache and time burner.

Upgrade Options Abound


You might be in the middle of your lease and a better product comes along to replace or enhance the equipment you have. With a purchase, you are stuck unless you decide to sell the equipment yourself. With a lease you can have an “upgrade” clause instituted into your contract that states for x dollars more per month you can swap out your existing option and move to the latest equipment available.

Tax Benefits are Available


While it is true that purchasing equipment gives you a deduction on your taxes for depreciation, leasing also has tax benefits because the lease payments can be treated as a business expense.

Sensitive Data is secured


When you swap out old equipment for new or decide to return the leased equipment, you can be certain of two things: 1) The transfer to the new equipment will be secure and all your data will transfer easily and 2) Once your old equipment is retired, your hard drive is wiped clean of any sensitive or secure data from your organization.

How Hartford Technology Rental can help


We can offer you flexible options for upgrades and improved service levels with pre-configurations and 24/7 support! We will work within your needs and budget to find the best computing solution for you. Give us a call at 888.520.5667 to speak with an experienced representative today! 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

7 Simple Steps to Planning a Successful Convention


Whether you are planning your first convention or your 15th, there are sequential steps that must be taken in order to be successful. The most important thing is to give yourself enough time to complete the tasks at hand. 1-2 years of planning is pretty standard fare for event planners because sponsors, exhibitors and even attendees are taking more time to commit to your event. 
Below are seven steps to make your convention planning journey less stressful.

7 Steps to Success


1.       Focus first on the why and the what.

Most planners spend their energy initially on securing sponsorships and getting attendees to register. Move these actions to the back burner and spend time developing why this conference is important to your attendees and what content you are going to deliver to them.

If you are unsure, ask attendees to help you out. Past convention goers will tell you what you need to know. There are many online crowdsourcing apps, but a simple online survey can also do the trick.

2.       Once you have step 1 formulated, answer the following questions:

Who should you invite?
When should the convention be held?
Where should it be?
How many days will the convention be?

Take time to noodle your responses and hopefully you have a committee to help you with this part. Come up with several options for when and where. This will help you narrow down where to send your RFP.

3.       Establish a general budget.

It doesn’t have to be perfect, but have buckets of money set aside for the following categories:

Meeting Rooms
Audio Visual
Food & Beverage
Presenters
Marketing and PR
Transportation
Accommodations and
Marketing Materials

4.       Recruit your speakers.

Now that you have your content identified, find the right speakers to fit the bill. You can ask for submissions on your website, social channels and email blasts but make certain these presenters can meet your content guidelines.

5.       Send out the RFPs.

Let me caution you on this one; sending out eRFPs is easy, however the time to evaluate 50 responses is time-consuming. In addition, there are ethical considerations when sending out RFPs to destinations you do not plan to consider. Send out at least three, but make certain these suppliers can fit the bill for your convention.

6.       Invite Attendees.

Now that you have the content, speakers, venue and date in place, this is the perfect time to start inviting your attendees to come to your convention and build up excitement about the event.

Consider running presentation videos on your social channels, ask your speakers to guest blog for you and share your social postings with their network. Do the same with the venue and CVB. The more virality you have with a post, the higher your social signal appears and the potential to garner new attendees.

7.       Work on Sponsors and Exhibitors.

These segments want to see who is coming to your conference both in terms of quality and quantity. They want to know that the attendee is within their “sweet spot” target. Conversely, don’t recruit sponsors and exhibitors who don’t fit your event demographics.

Now that these steps are completed, sit back and watch your convention run smoothly. You have the right people at the right place at the right time. Proper planning has allowed you to reap the rewards of less stress when your big event comes!

Why Kalahari is perfect for Your Next Convention


Kalahari Resorts and Conventions allow you to go beyond your typical convention to an unconventional experience that's beyond belief. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Common Contract Missteps Every Meeting Planner Should Avoid


It doesn’t matter if you are brand new to the meeting industry or a seasoned veteran, venue and supplier contracts can seem overwhelming at times. They are full of conditions and many legal terms you may or may not be familiar with.

This blog will break down common contract language so you can enter your next negotiation talks with some ease.

Remember this, too: According to The Business Journals, events represent:
·         60% of room revenue for convention oriented hotels and
·         33% of that same revenue for luxury hotels.

Bottom line: The hotel and/or conference center you working with wants your business as much as you want to give it to them.

Why have Written Contracts?


If you are like most planners, you are working on your event several months, if not years ahead of time. People come and people go, but the event carries on.


Contracts ensure consistency. Regardless of whether you, the sales manager or GM are still around, someone within your organization can run with the event because everything is spelled out – from the room block to the cancellation provisions.

If at some point you need to change the contract, have a meeting with the vendor, take notes, send an email to your supplier about the agreed to changes and ask for a written addendum to the contract.

Remember: Written contracts trump everything else; including emails, conversations and notes from a meeting.

What are Common Missteps and how can they be Avoided?


Here are five common contract problems:

Misstep #1: Room Rates are not Firmly Established.


Whether you are booking 5 or 5,000 rooms, you need to give your attendees a firm rate in the registration materials. You want to do some research and make certain your rates are competitive with aggregate hotel portals so your attendees won’t find better rates outside the block.

Misstep #2: You Aren’t Paying Attention to Your Attrition Clause.


At some point during the registration process, you are going to have to return all unused rooms back to the hotel. If you hold onto the block past the release date, in hopes for last-minute registrants that don’t come, you can be paying thousands of dollars in attrition fees.

The best bet? Communicate often to your attendees about their need to book their hotel room. Be transparent and let them know when that rate ends. Send tailored emails to individuals that have registered for your conference but not booked their room yet. If you do all these things and the attendee still doesn’t book their accommodations, don’t worry about it. Release the block on the date you agreed to with the hotel.


Misstep #3: You don’t have the Deposit and Payment Schedule Nailed Down.


Whenever you sign a contract with a supplier, a dollar or percentage deposit will be expected. The things you need to identify are: Is this deposit refundable or non-refundable? What are the conditions of a refund?

Regarding payments: Will you have a Master Account? Who is authorized to add to it? What expenses are attendees, exhibitors and sponsors responsible for and which one are you taking on? When is payment expected? What form of payment does the venue accept?

I suggest you get all this in writing in the contract including who is responsible for what and probably most important, who has the authority to add to the Master. In addition, at the end of the day, take the time to review the Master Account with your hotel point person so you can identify and resolve any problems while you are still on property.

Misstep #4: You don’t have a Force Majeure Clause in Your Contract.

What is Force Majeure?


This is a common clause in contracts that frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as a war, strike, riot, hurricane, flooding or earthquake prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.


Enough said. You must have this in your contract or you could be liable for thousands of dollars of expense at an event where no one came.


Misstep #5: You have no Indemnification Clause.


What is the Meaning of Indemnify?


Indemnification is a guarantee against any loss which another might suffer. For example, if one of your attendee’s tripped over an unsecured cord that was not taped down by the AV provider, and that attendee sues your organization and the AV Company, you want to be held harmless and not be held responsible for something the vendor did. 


Always have this clause in your contract in order to avoid opening yourself up to lawsuits. 



About Kalahari



Kalahari has state-of-the-art meeting facilities mixed in with recreational activities that include America’s largest indoor waterpark and a full-service day spa. Check us out at KalahariMeetings.com or call us at 855.411.4605 to speak to an experienced Account Executive about your meeting needs!