EventMobi attended this year’s 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition in Columbus, Ohio. The event is where thousands of association professionals and industry partners gather to exchange time, resources, strategies, and solutions every year. Over the course of three days, attendees are equipped with a year’s worth of support in their daily responsibilities as leaders in the association industry. This article is a summary of our experience, from arrival to departure, and a highlight of the successes at this year’s event.
Members of the EventMobi team arrived separately because they were coming from different parts of the country. None of them had ever been to the event venue before, but they were pleasantly surprised to see ASAE branding all over the airport, directing them to the baggage claim where a Live DJ was spinning tunes at 10am, complimentary coffee and snacks were provided, and so many volunteers were ready to help in any way possible. Start to finish, they were at their destination within 30 minutes of debarking the plane!
Each team member had already downloaded the event app, so they were able to directly message each other using the chat feature. Arranging a meet-up point at the venue to start setting up the exhibitor booth was really easy using the event app. They met in the lobby and since they already had their express check-in email ready to go, all that was left to do was get scanned in and receive their badges. The booth set-up took very little time so the next stage in the journey was to check out the convention center, which was giant yet elegantly decorated. There was lots of signage to help attendees navigate the venue and volunteers were present everywhere, ready to answer any question.
ASAE is about education and engagement. It’s just as important to have people come together and learn about best practices as well as play. In fact, that was the main theme of ASAE 2019. To that end, they organized several different tours to bring people from all different organizations together to network and socialize. Tours included wandering the beautiful Franklin Botanical Gardens with the Chihuly glass exhibit, as well as have a tour of a local distillery and meadery. The volunteers also kept the audience engaged by quizzing them on Columbus facts.
One of the interesting things ASAE does is offer seminars to all attendees, exhibitors included. There were even a few that were directly marketed to exhibitors and vendors, as the idea was to help them understand the unique position and power of the association sector.
ASAE ran several concurrent seminars each day, including discussions on leadership, transitions, growth and global development, education, and integrating tech into their organizations. The exchange of ideas was encouraged and it was truly enlightening to spend time building relationships within the seminar groups. It was evident how much attendees appreciated learning together and collaborating.
The Expo Hall for ASAE was HUGE! The space was divided into two sections. One side had all the destinations for your next meeting or conference, complete with displays over a story high and so much swag bags were overflowing! On the other side were the Business Solutions, where EventMobi was located. It was a very friendly atmosphere. Attendees knew what they were looking for and weren’t afraid to ask the hard questions to vendors.
This year’s theme was Pop!, which was evident from the pop music playing as people took their seats for the keynote sessions. The atmosphere was upbeat and everyone felt very excited. While the opening keynote was full of information, it was also full of entertainment with the Mayor of Columbus riding an electric scooter into the ballroom along with Experience Columbus making a grand entrance. The speakers, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, also kept the pace up. Their message was that of the positive impact of change. The power of people is leading the charge to create good change in the current system and utilizing technology and immediate communication to make things happen.