When organizing an event, one of the most important factors a conferencing department must keep track of is available space. So how can you make sure that your department is managing rooms and space availability in the best possible way?
In any industry, it is important to periodically take time to network with industry colleagues, share insights and ideas and gain new perspectives to keep your business moving forward. In October 2018, Kinetic organized an experience for our customers to accomplish these very goals by way of a Study Tour in the United Kingdom, connecting conference and events professionals from the United States with three UK universities.
On 7th November we attended the Event Technology Live 2018 Conference hosted at The Old Truman Brewery, once home to London's largest brewery which now holds numerous events from conferences and trade shows, dinners and exhibitions to fashion shows and much more. With over 2,000 attendees and more than 50 educational sessions about the latest event technology, Event Tech Live was a great place to meet like-minded suppliers whilst meeting event managers looking for the latest cutting-edge tech.
In October we opened the doors to the Kinetic User Forum 2018. The 3-day event welcomed over 250 university and event professionals to Warwick Conferences. This year’s event explored a variety of thought provoking sessions from industry leaders covering topics on student accommodation, health, well-being and mindset, and the impact of the commercial sector.
In 2018, our focus was to 'give customers control'. We wanted you to have the ability and independence to tailor your Kx experience by offering more access and enable you to take full ownership of reporting and templates. With the latest version of Kx, this is exactly what we’ve done!
Kinetic were recently selected to represent ‘Technology in Higher Education’ at the Parliamentary Review. Our Managing Director, Rob Turner, had the opportunity to describe the impact and opportunities from three key developments within the higher education industry to senior MPs, namely the increasing focus on the entire student experience, the demand for strategic revenue generation tactics for commercial operations within higher education institutions (HEIs) and the continued influence of private property providers.
Only two weeks left till C3X conference hosted by National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS) in Orlando. The C3X is hosted annually with the aim to bring together over 700 higher education institutions and nearly 200 NACAS business partners to share their experience on how the modern auxiliary services enrich the campus lives. This event promises to be especially extraordinary as NACAS are celebrating their 50th anniversary!
Based on our own research, repeat business bookings for summer conferences typically range between 70-80% from year to year. With many conference departments operating as self-sustaining, that figure represents a significant amount of annual revenue on which the department is dependent. Therefore, it is paramount to monitor rebooking activity year on year.
Find out more about the financial integrations with Kx systems in our free ebook.
The finance department is a huge part of every university (and every business for that matter). Rarely do they just report numbers but often are a key stakeholder in any decision-making process. However, we know that the finance team can often get bogged down with the time-consuming admin work which impacts their ability to really add value to the business and help drive overall growth.
To find out more about the software integrations with Kx sytems download our free ebook.
Universities are constantly facing decisions over whether to invest into new technologies. On average, companies use 7 to 10 applications for various business purposes. The usual path would be buying several cheaper licences from various software companies as it seems like you are spending less of that precious budget. And there is nothing wrong with this strategy, short term. However, long term, your company will get to the point where you have various pieces of software that are not even necessarily talking to each other.
We all know that conference operations play a large role in both helping to fund the academic programme of a university and, importantly, introducing potential new students to the institution. We also know that they are all looking at ways to increase revenue. Raising rates and offering new services are the most common means of increasing the bottom line, but perhaps not the most effective.
Increasing Conferencing Revenue
Most conference operations are looking for ways to increase their revenue. Offering new services, or raising rates tend to be the most common means of growing the bottom line. However, there is one activity everyone should be doing that can positively affect revenue streams: inquiry tracking. There are a surprising number of conference operations who do not track incoming inquiries or sales leads.
The clock is ticking and May 25th is now less than a month away…are you GDPR ready? If you read my blog post last year about GDPR, then you should already be familiar with this new legislation. But have you prepared? The two-year grace period is almost over, and with steep penalties for compliance, if you haven’t prepared yet, you still have time.
A recent study revealed that the average person spends 90 mins per day on their phone. Now initially this figure may not sound like a lot, but that adds up to around 23 days a year. Take this one step further and it is estimated that 3.9 years of the average person’s life is spent staring at their phone screen. I would suspect that most of that time is not exactly what you would call…productive.
In our last post, we looked at what should be happening before you attend your next trade show. Now, let’s look at what you should focus on during and after the show.
It’s that time of year. Time to gear up for trade shows. Some of the best time to showcase who you are and what you can offer.
Let's face it. Many times, those of us in conference services find ourselves fighting for any number of items: additional staff, software, access to buildings, the right to exist on campus.
There is a way to make your case in an effective way, but what are some tools you can use to justify your purchases?
A software purchase is a big decision. And when it comes to finding one to handle all the pieces of event management, it can become even more complicated.
Looking beyond the priorities and features specific to the system, here are 11 questions to consider when making a new software purchase.
Okay, yes we are a software company. It is our job to convince you to buy our products.
Now that we got that out of the way, we can focus on the fact that we still hear bad software advice. And we have heard some big ones. As you brew your cup of coffee, let's take a look at what made the top of our list.
As one conference season winds down, it is time to look toward the next one. For many, contracting your repeat customers happens right away.
Before you sign everyone on to next year’s camps and conferences with your existing contracts, take a step back and have a look at them. You may want to consider making some changes to incorporate contracting best practices that may be missing.
Imagine you have been tasked with planning a conference for an organization for which you volunteer.
The committee looks at you and naturally, with your conference management experience, want you to handle arranging all the logistics. First, you have to find a venue. You start making phone calls to various venues to find out if they have availability.
Kinetic Software and Sodexo’s Campus Conferencing entered into a preferred vendor agreement last week, making Kinetic Software the exclusive software provider for Sodexo’s Campus Conferencing.
Have you heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed by the European Union Parliament? Since most of our readers are in North America, there is a chance that if you did hear about it, you figured it didn't apply to you.
Well, that may not be accurate.
If you have conference guests or students from an EU country, this regulation could apply to you.
With clients spanning the globe, this is a topic we have watched closely because of what it means for our clients. We have worked to learn all we can to share the impact it has on you.
Last month, I wrote about three of the biggest impacts a conference department can have on its campus. I firmly believe in those three ideas, but how do you prove it? It is one thing to detail what the impact is, but it also needs to be demonstrated for others to buy in to the concepts.
As many conference professionals head into the ‘busy season’ of summer, this is a good time to remind you of just how much impact you have on your university and your community.
In the day to day chaos of summer conference season, it is easy to forget the big picture when the focus is on the little details. Below are my top three choices detailing the powerful influence of conference services that go beyond the revenue you generate for the university.
Money, revenue, the bottom line. It is the primary reason why many conference departments exist. Get your university more money.
At this year’s annual ACCED-I conference, we led a session taking the revenue discussion outside of the box. We looked at activities and programs from others campuses that utilize campus space for additional revenue in an innovative direction.
How do we make our conference staff live up to that level of service? How do we "go above and beyond"?
This month, we welcome Laura Lafferty as our guest blogger.
While working in conference services, she used an academic scheduling system to manage her conferences and events. After all, she was just scheduling events; it's the same thing.
Read on as you take a coffee break to learn more about her experience in how effective the system was for her needs.
Intern housing is becoming a big buzz word these days. And it is easy to understand why: it can be an easier way to increase sales and occupancy in an area that is consistent. One campus that has seen a huge return through an intern housing program is the University Center Chicago. In the last 5 years, intern housing has grown and now represents the majority of their housing revenue.
Jake Holtz, the Assistant Director of Summer Housing and Conference Operations, shares tips and insights University Center has experienced as their summer intern housing program grew.
Managing conferences and events is no small feat. There are many moving pieces for any conference and we all learn as we go along. Now imagine what you would learn about your team and events in general from an event on steroids... like a Presidential Debate.
Such was the case at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
The Student Union and Event Services at UNLV hosted an event to top most events. While some of their experiences may not be repeated again, the lessons learned can be carried on to help serve other groups.
We are excited to share their thoughts about about what they learned from hosting a Presidential Debate on campus.
Thank you to the UNLV Photo Services for the photos of the UNLV campus.
The term “Cloud” is everywhere these days. Does it mean a web-based product, hosting, or a storage system?
Yes, it does.
The word “Cloud” refers to the Internet. It can mean anything from server hosting, browser-based applications, cloud storage, or file sharing. Which isn’t very helpful when trying to figure out what will work best for your operations.
As a layman, it is sometimes difficult to determine which service a vendor is talking about. And even when they do explain it, does it mean what you think?
Well, here is a quick guide to help start the conversation. So kick back while you brew your coffee and take a quick break.
Think you know Linked Rooms? Well, for Kx2014 our development team did a rework of how this features works and relates to events.
Grab a cup of coffee while we take a quick look at the top changes and what they mean.
Trainer Tips: Drag and Drop
With the release in Kx2014, Drag and Drop was added to the Conference Room Plan as a quick way to move bookings from one conference room to another.
Below are some common points to remember when using Drag and Drop.
We seem to have a love/hate relationship with quotes, or requests for proposals (RFPs); their value has often been debated. Best practices and new trends, such as how do you showcase your venue while meeting the planner’s need for concise reporting, are always a hot topic.
The ability to reserve overnight accommodations, down to the specific room, is a feature that makes Kx great while importing rooming lists is a quick and easy task.
Both save time and help you understand your available resources... until they don't work for you.
Nine times out of 10 the calls that come in about a problem in one of these areas is usually a quick fix, if you know what to check.
Below we have listed the most common answers to the two most common calls we receive about bedroom allocation and rooming lists.
At this year's ACCED-I conference, several conference center directors spoke about their journey with evaluating and setting rates for their conference departments.
Following along from a recent post of ours on complete meeting packages, we asked one of the directors to share her story and tips as her department went through the process.
Suzanne Shaw with Yale Conference and Events (YC&E) is our guest blogger. She has shared the process YC&E recently went through to organize and re-evaluate their pricing structure for conferences and events.
Grab your cup of Joe and read on for her tips.
What does your software landscape look like? Are there paths going all over the place? Or a tree with many entwined branches?
The question becomes how to simplify and unravel the knotted mess. With multiple systems being used for one department, a homegrown system might seem like the way to go. And it is easy to understand why.
During the annual ACCED-I conference in Portland, OR, we had a survey in our booth. We asked folks which took them longer: creating a rooming list, generating a final invoice, creating a complete BEO, or brewing a cup of coffee?
The winner? Generating a final invoice, by a large margin.
Why is this?
While you drink that cup of coffee, let’s talk about invoicing and highlighting areas you are probably seeing lost revenue and a lack of accountability. Or download our worksheet to start your self assessment now.
Does this sound familiar?
What is the price for X? Does that price include Y and Z? Well... it depends on if you do A, B, or C.
Do you not have a package rate? Oh sure! We take the total cost of all items you reserve and divide it by the number of people you expect.
Say what? So what if my final count is lower? Or higher? How is that a package rate?
Here at Kinetic Software, we are always on the look out for a feature that makes life easier. With support calls, seeing the steps a client takes helps determine the exact nature of the issue.
Did you know the purchasing power of Millennials is estimated to be $200 billion per year?
Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Yet, many of us in the event planning and conference management industry do this very thing. We find ourselves working harder, entering information twice, and missing out on opportunities.
Don't believe me? Let’s break it down into 5 areas where you are probably losing productivity.
There is a lot out there about the relationship between a business and its clients. No surprise as it is an important topic; a business is not a business without its clients.
“Generally speaking, investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you. They can run up huge deficits and the dollar can become worth far less. You can have all kinds of things happen. But if … you’ve maximized your talent, you’ve got a tremendous asset that can return ten-fold. ‘Invest in yourself’ might mean taking a continuing education class or simply spending your time improving your skills. Become a lifelong learner and your life will be wealthier, perhaps in more ways than one.” Warren Buffet
The Boy Scout motto is to always be prepared.
The Meeting and Events Industry is ever-changing and you need systems, standards, and practices in place to meet increasing demands and changes. Up-to-date information is imperative and customer service and price value are demanded.
We are putting the final touches on our planning for our 6th Annual User’s Conference. Registration is open, the schedule has been finalized, and invitations have been sent out!
A Unique Webinar Series Presenting Real-World Perspectives to Empower Conference Professionals
The mantra of "doing more with less" is repeated daily across venues. Whether being asked to create additional revenue from renting facilities or increase cost, resource and communications transparency related to internal events, the insights of the industry-at-large are instrumental in creating the competitive advantage your venues needs.
This FREE series explores the best principles of the half-a-trillion dollar North American meetings and events industry, and how these principles can be applied in the conference and events sector.
Each session delivers insightful information and provides timely takeaways to help venues streamline working practices, increase efficiencies, improve the quality of service, increase revenues, and create a strategy for long-term success.
Each webinar will feature guest presenters from diverse backgrounds in the hospitality industry who have had extensive experience managing the kinds of challenges conference professionals face every day.
Click on the webinar date to learn more about each session and speaker. You can also register online for any or all of these free webinar opportunities.
Does your RFP Response Tool Belt contain a personal flotation device? Or is it every man for himself?
Soon conferences will end at colleges and universities to make way for a new school year. Conference and event venues are gearing up for a busy fall as people travel to enjoy cool mountain air and changing leaves, all while wanting to be renewed in an unique setting.
As of September 1st, 2013, Kinetic Software is an accepted member of the Ellucian community partner program. As a partner, Kinetic shares the common goal of a commitment to deliver quality solutions to higher education institutions. The community relationship also opens up other avenues of cooperation. For Kinetic, it is the ability to integrate Ellucian's Banner Finance with our Kx software solutions.
We've covered the topic of support before, but is never a bad idea to review how it works. Kinetic prides itself on providing excellent support to its customers. There are no tiers at Kinetic, we provide the same high level of support to each and every customer regardless of size of operation or number of products used in the venue. What follows is an overview of how to get the most from your support contract.
Each new season often carries with it an expectation of change. When you make the time to adapt a different strategy, or review the steps you normally take, the results are usually positive. Here are three steps to help your operation enhance its revenue stream for next year - starting today.
In addition to our fall workshops, Kinetic is hosting a series of roundtable discussions online for our users. Kinetic will provide a conference call link and phone number for everyone to call into. Each session will have a Kinetic host to facilitate the talks. The roundtables are a great opportunity to connect with other Kx users, share ideas and maybe come away with a fresh perspective on how to manage your operation. Each session is free for any Kx user or venue.
It is fall workshop time again KxUsers! The fall 2013 workshop schedule is out, this year with an online brochure you can flip through to read about the offerings. The line-up is a good one, featuring sessions on managing user access, using student searches your end of year cleanup and the oft requested KxMarketing application - a 3 part series. Take a look at the online brochure and then follow the link at the end of the post to register for any of the workshops listed below.
Some of us are more organized than others so keeping our work email boxes neat and clutter free comes easily. For everyone else (lump me in that category), keeping the inbox clear is a real challenge. Notes from colleagues come in, offers that sound interesting or that monthly newsletter you subscribed to but have yet to ever read shows up again. Reading, responding and deleting email can be a real time consuming task during your already busy workday. Here are a few tips to make your email management easier.
Are you allowed to schedule classrooms for events? How do you request use of those classrooms? Whether you have to wait until the academic schedule is completed, or are booking simultaneously with the Registrar, Kinetic has a classroom scheduling interface that automatically updates the information you need on availability of space. The interface can be a one-way stream from the Registrar to Kx, or a two-way capture of data from the other system and Kx. Either way, you get the information necessary to make the right booking decision.
You visit your website on a regular basis, but did you ever stop and think about how a first time visitor views the experience? A website is an important part of any business these days, and like anything having to do with a customer, first impressions are important. So what are some of the things to consider when you are evaluating your online presence?
OK, so we're a day early for National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, but is it ever too early to talk sundaes? This week we are taking a break from business and indulging in some summer fun. Let's start with a little history.
The ePoS – Electronic Point of Sale – interface dynamically transfers charges to a client’s account during their stay. When a guest uses your POS system to take advantage of the amenities you offer; bars, restaurants, non-inclusive activities, shopping, the EPoS interface funnels the charges back through the Kx system onto your guest's account. The charges can be sent to the master bill, or broken out as add on charges to an individual group member. Kx keeps track of each transaction, and settles the bill accurately at the end of the stay. Kinetic provides the interface and works with the POS provider to integrate the information transfer to Kx.
July usually marks the unofficial kick-off to summer, starting with the family holidays that begin the month, Canada Day on July 1st in Canada and the 4th of July in the US. Both days honor historical events that eventually led to each country's independence as a nation, and each holiday is celebrated by sharing food, festivities and fireworks with family.
One of the optional Kx interfaces that does not get enough attention is the Key Card interface. This simple option matches a room allocation in KxResidential to the associated guest and initiates the cards for the door locks at check-in. By providing real-time management of key allocation, check-in during peak arrival times is faster and your staff is able to add another layer of customer service to its accommodation management.
All good organizations continuously search for new methods to streamline operations. Kinetic Software has designed a number of application resources that work in conjunction with our products to do just that. One of those products, KxFinancial, was conceived to make the financial reporting process in a Kx environment as efficient as possible while improving the accuracy of the figures reported.
Kinetic Software is proud to welcome Michael Harold to the Kx team. His role as a dedicated account manager will be to provide our clients with one-on-one attention for any and all issues related to Kx. Michael's first goal is to get acquainted with our Kx clients and deliver personalized customer service for the individual accounts he is responsible for. He will largely act as a consultant and liaison for updates, services and new product opportunities to help our Kx users manage their growth and change.
A huge part of the conference and event planning industry involves getting and staying organized. Smart phones and tablets are great tools for carrying large chunks of your office from place to place, but like an office space, they can get just as cluttered. Today we are going to look at some basic tips for keeping your iPad and Smartphone apps organized.
With Convocation and Graduation nearly complete, it is time to look at the condition of the rooms left behind. As careful as some students are, and not careful as others can be, by the end of the year the furniture in the dorms may need to be replaced over the summer. We've talked about adding green practices to residence and campus management in the form of energy conservation, environmentally conscious promotion and other forms of sustainablility initiatives in previous blogs. The same ideas can be applied to dorm furniture when it come time to replace it.
We visited the subject of customer service in a blog post a few months back. The discussion on customer service included the story of the bag boy who went out of his way to make each person that moved through his line feel a little more special by giving them a positive thought for the day. Soon there was a noticable difference between the customers who frequented this particular bag boy's line, and the rest of the cashiers. It wasn't necessarily that the other bag people were not serving their customers, it was that one person took a simple idea and it turned into something remarkable.
Our 2013 spring workshops feature some great ways to enhance your Kx Knowledge and learn more about the tools you use every day. Our first session titled – The Fiscal Year Workshopwe will review a checklist of Kx items that should be part of every venue's transition from one fiscal year to the next. For those who work with overnight, residential groups. The Residential Group Management workshop provides a refresher of managing overnight groups in Kx. Design your own Custom Workshop with a trainer and refine your skills on a topic of choice.
Done is best paraphrases a facebook company motto for completing tasks and crossing them off the list. The real quote, Done is better than perfect, sums up the need to sometimes mark a project as complete knowing that everything is not quite perfect. Event coordinators laying out the banquet hall for a wedding reception face a similar challenge as do student residence managers planning for move-in day. Often it is a time deadline that drives the need to judge a project done.
Monday's tragedy at the Boston Marathon took the world by surprise. One of the nicest things to see was the amount of support that immediately flowed to Boston, particularly from cities like New York and Chicago, rivals any other day. It was also great to hear about the support on an international level as well; Canada, the UK and even France. The event rocked the world's sense of safety during public events and forced everyone to reevaluate security in a venue that cannot be locked down.
Kinetic is planning two free demos for the new, internal calendar products introduced this year, KxEvent Calendar and KxBedroom Calendar. We will be hosting the demos on April 24th and April 25th. You can jump to the demo links or read the brief descriptions below and follow the link to the demo sign up page.
It is never too early to begin preparation for your busiest time of year. Whether you are managing conferences and events, student residence housing or the summer retreat and camp season, activities include bringing on new staff, getting the facilities ready and gathering new ideas to help your organization run more smoothly. With that in mind, here are 5 Kx related items to consider.
Kinetic decided to have a little fun this year at The Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors-International (ACCED-I) Annual Conference. We asked our Kx users to show off their new Kinetic tumbler around the conference and to capture the moment with a photo and post to our Twitter feed. Here are the results.
Kinetic Software is back from The Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors-International (ACCED-I) Annual Conference. The trip was great. Toronto is a beautiful city with lots of sights to see. Many of the attendees took the short walk to the CN Tower, also known as the Space Needle, and ventured to the top for the marvelous view. Some made the longer trek to Niagara Falls for its breathtaking beauty. The food was cosmopolitan and chic, the people were friendly and Kinetic's Emily Griffin and KxUsers from Nebraska Lincoln, BC and UNE found themselves on a unique tour of the high security beer safe at the Beer Bistro. For anyone staying a few extra days the bistro is a definite recommendation.
Kinetic Software flies off to Toronto this weekend for The Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors-International
(ACCED-I) Annual Conference. The theme of this year's conference is Discover/Découvrir. There should be lots to learn, beginning with Keynote Speaker Jeff Taylor, founder of Monster.com.
In an earlier post on conference events we talked about taking the time to visit your host city. In a few weeks some of the Kinetic staff will be heading to Toronto for The Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors-International (ACCED-I) Annual Conference, March 17th to the 20th. With that in mind, and knowing it will be a great opportunity to see some of our Canadian clients along with our US customers, we put together a list of some things to consider doing while visiting Toronto.
Last week we looked at sustainability on campus and student housing. As with student housing facilities, how conference and event services incorporates green practices into its daily activities can have a strong impact on campus resources. The same attention to cleaning supplies, building maintenance and energy usage applies to conference and event services. Creating a culture that supports sustainability can be challenging when students arrive on campus from all over the country and the world. Many campuses have introduced a sustainability department or student organization to oversee and encourage the environmental initiatives.
Climate initiatives or 'Green' policies are more common than ever on campuses. With so many students consuming resources in your student housing facilities what are some of the ways to both save energy and encourage environmental consciousness on campus? There are the basics, which many organizations have already undertaken, and other less common ways to practice being green.
The release of the new look, web-based Kx Calendar is just around the corner. This year's Kx User Conference also unveiled two internal calendar options that will be available in the coming months as well, the KxEvent Calendar and the KxBedroom Calendar. Both bring enhanced functionality to Kx.
There are a number of great industry conferences throughout the year such as The Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors-International (ACCED-I) Annual Conference coming up in March. Attending an industry event can go a long way towards revitalizing your outlook, especially as you get closer to the busy season. Here are five suggestions for maximizing the benefits once you arrive.
The KxCalendar option is designed to give an at-a-glance picture of the monthly, daily or weekly scheduled events campuswide. By providing a simple to use, web-based interface, KxUsers and other visitors can get a detailed picture of an events running time, the rooms that are associated with the event and other useful information they might need. Available rooms can also be requested via the application. The enhancements in the next version of the KxCalendar introduce some great, time-saving new features.
Good customer service is not always easy to recognize, but everyone knows bad customer service when they experience it. I recently heard Chuck Salem, Unique Venues speak on the subject at a conference in Colorado. As part of the talk, Chuck asked the audience to share their experiences with great customer service and though the stories were varied, a common theme emerged. When there is a problem, deal with it quickly and don’t let it go away without some kind of resolution for your customer. Sometimes that will be as simple as an apology, in other cases a gesture is required; comp a meal, add a specialty item, promise a future redo. Airlines will often do the latter when they bump a passenger, comping tickets or giving a discount on a future flight.
St. Francis Xavier University (StFX) completed a Health Check prior to the summer season last year. We asked Mary Fisher-MacDonnell - Financial Analyst, Charles V. Keating Centre, StFX University what impact the Kx Health Check had on her organization. Mary shares her experience below:
The new year is not only a good time for reflection, but also the perfect time to plan for the year ahead. The new year also means a new version of Kinetic Software - Kx 2013 is on the horizon. As with previous years Kinetic will introduce more innovative features to help increase the efficiency of your event and conference management for next season. We will also offer the free introductory workshop once the new version is ready for release. Last year's workshop was helpful for users to understand the new features in the release and how to use them before the upgrade was installed. We are looking forward to the same positive experience this go round. Stay tuned for information on Kx 2013!
The holiday season is another busy time for event and conference centers, as well as for religious retreat centers. We don't need to delve too deep into the politics or religion of the holiday season to acknowledge the changing landscape of most campuses. People from all over the world come to the United States or Canada to study abroad and they bring their customs and traditions with them. It is also true that the holiday season in North America is still December centric, and even though some holiday seasons run from October through January, the December focus is not likely to change in the near future. So how does conference services create a holiday event or party where everyone feels welcome?
Managing each year's influx of new students is a challenge whether the students are returning or arriving for the first time. A number of factors can affect the student's experience; their maturity level, the college or universities process for induction and even the surrounding area that borders the residences. Take a country mouse to the city or vice-versa and strange things are likely to take place. We're going to look at 5 common issues most colleges and universities deal with year after year.
The KxCalendar option is designed to give an at-a-glance picture of the monthly, daily or weekly scheduled events campuswide. By providing a simple to use, web-based interface, KxUsers and other visitors can get a detailed picture of an events running time, the rooms that are associated with the event and other useful information they might need. Available rooms can also be requested via the application. The enhancements in the next version of the KxCalendar introduce some great, time-saving new features.
One of the presentations given during the user conference this year was What is a Health Check and how can it work for you? We've talked about Health Checks in a blog post back in May, Kinetic's Healthcheck Checklist. A Health Check is designed to help you identify areas of your system that you are using well, areas you could be using but are not and areas that may need a little improvement. If you have been using Kx for 2 or more years, it is something to consider for your operation.
Thank you once again to all of our users who were able to come together for the 4th annual Kx User Conference in Chicago. Though the weather was a bit New England-ish; sunny one day, snowy the next, the Windy City turned out to be an excellent choice. The venues were great and took good care of our users, and the venue tours very interesting. A few of our guests even came in early or stayed a little late to enjoy some shopping and sightseeing while they were in town.
Each year Kinetic Software compiles a list of requests and suggestions put forth by you, our users for potential inclusion in our next release. The list is comprised of the requests and enhancement suggestions to Kx that have been logged over the past months for potential inclusion within our next main release, Kx2014. Kinetic Software is inviting all of our clients to vote on which of the following support call enhancements they would most like to see included in the development of Kx2014.
What is Movember?
Kinetic software has been a long-time supporter of the ACCED-I organization. Each year we try to support the Regional members of the organization as well, either through sponsorship or other means. For example, to make the fall summit registration process easier for their participants, we offered the free use of our KxRegistration product to all of the regions. Kinetic built the summit sites and helped manage the process for the regions that chose to participate in the free service, Regions 12, 9, 6 and 2. We also try to participate in at least one summit each year. This year we were fortunate enought to be able to attend three of the summits in the country. Mark Williams visited the Region 8 group in Ohio, Emily Griffin joined Region 12 for a day in Boston and Steve Nicholson traveled to the Region 4 summit in Colorado.
The Kx Inquiry Screen can be a useful tool for tracking the kind of business you are attracting. Every inquiry entered into Kx, regardless of whether it is converted to a booking or not, is recorded in your application. The inquiry screen can be used to track everyday business, repeat business and business lost. There are also a number of filters and search criteria to enter to follow the inquiry patterns.
Cruises do it, so do resorts. The all-inclusive model has definite advantages when it comes to managing an event or conference, but also carries some inherent risk. As a marketing tool it can be a way to make your venue more attractive to outside planners and bring in business you may have lost out on by making the pricing structure easy to understand.
Following the recap of support procedures, we thought it would be nice to get to know the support staff too. This week we'd like to introduce Greg Morton. Greg came to Kinetic's software support team straight out of college, Indiana University of Pennsyvania (IUP), from where he graduated with a degree in computer science. His biggest challenge since joining the company? Learning the system from the user's perspective. Working the front line of support in Kinetic's North American office has helped him understand the event and conference world much better.
For those KxUsers who were not able to attend the free workshop on getting the most out of support, here is a summary of the items covered. Amanda Brown and Greg Morton, US support, led the presentation. They started with what happens on the Kinetic support side when a call comes in and what the expectation might be once the issue is reported.
Kinetic software spent the latter part of last week at the Unique Venues gathering held at UNLV. For those unfamiliar with Unique Venues, their goal, in their words is, "We bring together one-of-a-kind venues with planners who are ready for something new." Through connections and promotions, Unique Venues connects event and conference centers with event planners, booking agents and anyone else looking for a place to hold an event. There are a number of Kx sites that are also members of the Unique Venues group, including host site UNLV.
A Reminder that all Kinetic users are invited to two free sessions next week. The first is a roundtable discussion, a chance to mingle with other KxUsers for an open forum. We host the meeting and provide a call in number, you do the chatting. The second free session gives you insight directly from the support staff on the how to of issue resolution. They'll provide some great tips on what to include to help minimize your downtime, and also how the support process works to resolve your issues. A must see. Bring along IT if you would like too, but sign up today because space is limited.
Our two day conference is a great way to meet with colleagues, share ideas and discover new ways to work with Kx in your everyday operations. This year we have a great line-up of Kx topics, Networking opportunities, and two special guest speakers – Mandy Volpe from Georgia Tech and Lindsay Bullis, from California University of Pennsylvania.
Our fall workshop schedule features some great ways to enhance your Kx Knowledge and learn more about the tools you use every day. Starting in September with a free session titled - Getting the most out of Support, we’ll then take you through fall and into the winter with workshops on Defaut Catering, Actions and Custom Fields. December will wrap up the schedule with another free session - Financial Refresher workshop for best practices.
Last year's conference was a big hit, and we expect this year's event to be even bigger. We've chosen two great Kx Venues to hold each day's events; University Center of Chicago and Loyola University - Chicago.
We’re kicking off the fall season with something new, online Roundtable Discussions. Kinetic will host the discussions, provide the online meeting space and give you a phone number to call to participate in the discussion. Emily Griffin will facilitate the first session and Amanda Brown the second. The discussions will be all yours. This will be an opportunity to network with your peers and share your Kx experience on the meeting topic. Join in, you never know where an open discussion will lead. These one hour sessions are free to all Kx clients and open to all KxUsers.
This week 's blog takes a look at KxFinancial, the Kx interface used to pass charges along to accounts and finance systems in a seamless accurate way. KxFinancial removes the burden of entry duplication, the potential for error and the associated overhead of managing event transactions manually. The exported information can be tailored to what you want when you want it, and can be sent in a variety of formats such as CSV/TSV, flat text, XML, Oracle Link Server, SQL data links etc.
This week and in future blogs we'll highlight some of the lesser know Kx products, starting with KxCatering. KxCatering is Kinetic's web-based product to provide your internal and external customers a way to order catering online that integrates directly with your catering setup in your Kx products. Some of the ways Kx Catering can enhance your current services.
One of the difficult aspects of setting up an event and conference contract is the attrition clause. The attrition clause protects the venue from lost revenue by requiring a certain amount of reserved space to be guaranteed by the planner or the group making the booking. Because it is impossible to predict an exact number of attendees, the guarantee is usually a percentage of the total block of reserved space. On average, the common percentage falls between 80% - 95%, so if the group blocks out 100 spaces and only 75 attendees show the venue still gets paid for the minimum. This percentage can be on an overall basis, which is based on the average attendance and is more beneficial to the group, or on a per-night basis, which protects the venue from the mass exodus that sometimes occurs on the last day of an event.
Each Friday starting in August our training and implementation manager, Jeanette Kletzli, will share a Kx tip or trick on our Facebook page and Twitter account. She'll cover a host of topics, sometimes highlighting a new feature in the last version of Kx and other times offering a review of some of the basic features you may be familiar with, but have forgotten since the training, the beautiful basics.
Just for today, let’s pretend that all of your summer event and conference management duties aren't keeping you too busy to even consider doing something fun for yourself, and you are free for a day or three. We have many KxUsers in Canada, so we thought it would be entertaining to spotlight the neighborhoods to the north, and highlight some of the interesting things to do in the different provinces during the summer months.
After training and implementation most Kx users settle into a method for using Kx to manage their conference and event schedules in a way that suits their facilities and is comfortable. A lot of information has to be absorbed during the training, and some of the finer detail is forgotten after using the system in a certain way over time. In an earlier post we talked about a Health-Check checklist as a way to re-evaluate your methods and look for ways to improve your process. In this week's post we are going to revisit some Kx features you may have forgotten you had.
We're hopeful everyone can find some time away from the busy event and conference summer schedule to celebrate with family and friends on Independence Day. Enjoy the fireworks, BBQ and any other traditions that mark this day.
When formatting merge tags for your event and conference correspondence it is good practice to use the same tags in all of your templates to maintain a uniform feel. Below are some choices for how to set up some of those tags, along with examples of how the inserted tag will appear on the final piece.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to event & conference booking. Some organizations forego the inquiry stage, choosing to wait until the booking has reached the tentative stage before entering any information into Kx. The reasons are varied, from not wanting to clutter up the database to having enough business that inquiries are not worth the time to log. For those who do log inquiries as they come in or shortly thereafter, Kx has a number of tools to help maximize their value.
There are a number of ways revenue is lost or routed to the wrong department for an event or conference. In some cases, a college or university will not charge for any internal usage of their facilities, or the president of the university gets special dispensation for his or her family, friends or business associates. High ranking faculty often receive the same courtesy. Last minute cancellations are another bottomline killer. It is important to track these differences in revenue collected vs. potential revenue, especially when it comes to budget time and a review of the cost of doing business.
Georgia Tech's Mandy Volpe joins us once again to blog on the benefits of social media. In her last post she touched briefly on newcomer Pinintest. In this week's post, Mandy goes into much more detail on how to take advantage of Pinterest's gaining popularity as a way to promote your events and conferences through the use of this visually driven media.
One thing that is stressed on a regular basis in this industry is well, stress. Event and conference planning is a stressful job, as is evident by this recent article http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/10-most-stressful-jobs-2012, event management ranks just below such high stress careers as soldier, police officer and firefighter. There is also a plethora of advice on managing stress in the midst of an event or conference. Still, a reminder of some tried and true methods for coping with the everyday ups and downs never hurts. Here is a quick list:
In the midst of the busiest time of year, the last thing anyone is thinking about is their processes. The goal is to manage the work in the easiest way possible. Our Kx Health Check is designed to help you get the most out of your Kx system. We can give you a detailed analysis of the key elements in your daily management of conferences, events and accommodations. The complete Kx Health Check involves a database review and analysis, a business process review with staff, shadowing a department or staff member on-site, and a full summary of findings with recommendations report at the end.
We're going to continue with the theme of social media and piggyback on Mandy Volpe's great guest blog by talking about using social media tools internally. The most obvious use, and one that relates directly to the subject of promotion covered in Mandy's blog, is the use of social media to promote internal events. Whether it is sporting events, concerts, lectures or any happening on campus that is open to the student population, using social media to attract attendance is a great use of the tool.
Part two of the social media blog from guest blogger Mandy Volpe, Marketing Manager for Georgia Tech’s department of Housing and Conference services.
Kinetic Software would like to welcome Mandy Volpe, Marketing Manager for Georgia Tech's department of Housing and Conference services as a guest blogger today. Mandy is dropping by for a two-part series on social media, but before she gets started, a little background on her role at GA Tech.
From Inquiry to Invoice - How Kinetic Software Manages Events, Conferences and Student Accommodations
Kinetic’s integrated product suite seamlessly connects all event management activities to help you cut costs, improve customer service and manage your business more efficiently. We also offer a variety of online products including online registration, bedroom reservation and calendar tools to enhance your capability. Unlimited seats empower your entire team, and all Kx products are backed by our commitment to our customer's success. From inquiry to invoice, Kinetic Software has the complete solution for conference professionals.
Kinetic Software attending and exhibiting at the Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors-International (ACCED-I)Annual Conference 2012. In an interview on the floor of the ACCED-I Expo, Kinetic's Mark Williams is joined by Tony Rathgeber of the University of Nebraska - Lincoln and John Nussear from Georgia Tech to talk about why Kinetic Software is much more than just a software application for conference and event scheduling.
The conference has been a lot of fun so far. Denver was a great choice for the ACCED-I event. The hotel is nice, and everything around it is easily accessed, either by walking or hopping onto the free bus that roams up and down the 16th street mall. For the people watchers, lots of interesting personalities along the sidewalks of 16th, including Robot Mike and the hula-hoop girl.
The Kx Staff flies off to Colorado this weekend for the 32nd Annual ACCED-I conference. Climber Jim Davidson, the keynote speaker, gives a lesson on resilience in life by sharing his experience of survival after being trapped 80 feet deep in a crevasse. Not for the faint of heart, but should be an interesting session. Other talks we'll be taking a peek at are working with a small staff or budget, time management during an event, essential strategies of conference and accommodation planning, and the challenges the conference community sometimes face.
This week’s post gives you a new way to consider your bedroom stock when it is not in use. Create a welcoming environment that people will pay to stay at, and use KxB&B to make booking a room at your residence an easy, online experience.
Now that the new release sessions have ended and everyone has seen the stylish new Ribbon look, we thought we'd also highlight a few of the features suggested by our users and implemented in the newest version of Kx. Customer feedback is always welcome, and as you can see, your suggestions may have a direct affect on what ends up in a Kx release. Some of the favorites that were requested by our North American Kx users:
This week’s post gives a brief overview of the KxCalendar, another online product to help streamline your operations through a web based interface with integrated reporting.
This week’s options overview covers two similar Kx Options that when used in conjunction with KxResidential add another layer of customer service to your accommodation management.
What does the Classroom Interface do?
What does KxFinancial do?
In a nutshell, the financial interface passes the revenue information from your Kx system to your financial system in a language the accounting software is designed to understand. Some of the standard interfaces available are, Banner, SAP, and Oracle. For non-standard interfaces, we would compile a script to deliver the financial information for your particular accounting system.
The New Year often carries with it an expectation of change. When you make the time to adapt a different strategy, or review the steps you normally take, the results are usually positive. Here are three steps to help your operation enhance its revenue stream starting today.
The new year is not only a good time for reflection, but also the perfect time to plan for the year ahead. Kinetic Software is ringing in the new year with a new version of our scheduling software featuring a progressive new look and enhanced functionality. We've also added this blog to provide information on the conference planning industry and insight into our other Kx products.