February / 5 / 2018

City Planning Tenets Amp Up Trade Show Layouts

At PCMA Convening Leaders in Nashville, The Expo Group's Dana Freker Doody presented a session on using city planning ideas to create engaging events.  She was interviewed later that day in the media hub live from the event by Amanda Marijanovic.  Check out the 7 minute interview above as Dana reviews some of those principles involved in creating a better space for everyone. 

City planning tenets can guide experience architects as they develop compelling events for all stakeholders. At PCMA Convening Leaders, our Dana Freker Doody translated seven principles shared by a City of Nashville planner into the event world. 

Create a Sense of Place – 

Central hub, organizer space like this sponsored garden area. 

Mixed Use Amenities –

Recognize the attendee as a person

Activate the Streets to Engage –

Education, games and more like writing down improvement ideas. 

Set Environment Standards –

Work with Exhibitors

Refuges for People –

Lounge spaces, brain relaxers with comfortable seating and inviting areas. 

Scale of Streets –

Change up the layout

Communicate to Stakeholders –

Be Strategic!

If you would like to learn more, contact us at rethink@theexpogroup.com. 

February / 2 / 2018

The Exposure Podcast February 2018

Randy Pekowski                  Toby Purdy     

Welcome to the February 2018 edition of the Exposure Podcast from The Expo Group produced and hosted by Dana Freker Doody and Todd Carruth. 

This month, Dana and Todd take a look at the industry-first ShowOptimizer™ online tool that helps bridge the budget gap for show organizers trying to innovate. Our interview features The Expo Group's COO and President Randy Pekowski and The Expo Group's CSO Toby Purdy as they discuss the idea behind this exciting new tool. Dana shares more info about her recent sessions at PCMA Convening Leaders and Corey Kelley continues his look at top tech trends for 2018 with his take on AI foundation.

If you want to listen to this episode (or any previous episodes) right from your computer, click here. 

To subscribe on iTunes, please click here


Good News! The Exposure podcast is now available on STITCHER Radio

You can also subscribe using your android device, just copy and paste this link here

Please share this podcast on your social media networks by clicking on any of the social media icons below.  And we would be pleased if you could take a moment and review our podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. 

Questions about the podcast? Contact us at rethink (at) theexpogroup.com.  

February / 2 / 2018

Webinar Replay - Designing For Different Generations

Designing the learning experiences and the locations in which we bring people together must now start with studying the habits of Gen Z and Millennials. For these younger professionals, community spaces are extensions of their homes. Think Starbucks, the condo pool, the fun break room with the beer fridge depicted at tech startup companies. Alternative creative spaces is where this group prefers to work – they are working in extreme comfort, on their own timelines and increasingly remotely.

Nicole O’Leary, The Expo Group’s Creative Director, recently led an insightful and useful webinar looking into how to design experiences that attract, engage, immerse and reward as many as 4 generations of attendees.

In case you missed it, you can click here to quickly register and watch the video. 

February / 1 / 2018

Four Tips For Making Your Own Podcast

This article originially appeared on PCMA's website here and is reproduced with permission. 

by Casey Gale

You only need a voice, a microphone, a computer, and simple audio editing software to create a podcast, according to Dana Freker Doody, vice president of communications and communities for The Expo Group.

As co-host of the company’s Exposure Podcast, a monthly events industry program that currently features 35 episodes, she has learned a thing or two about what can make or break a podcast. “When you’re in someone’s ears, you have their attention in a very different way than if you’re working with them visually,” she said in her Convening Leaders Media Studio session, Podcast 101. “It really is a portable way to communicate with people.” Here are our top four takeaways from her session:

1. Be true to your brand. 

What is your organization’s voice? “Is it formal? Is it fun? Is it playful?” Freker Doody asks. “This is something your communications team probably has [outlined] for your organization overall.” Your organization’s voice should carry over into your podcast, according to Freker Doody. This includes the types of segments you feature — bantering co-hosts versus straight news pieces, for example.

2. Music matters. 

Any music featured in your podcast should also match your organization’s tone. It can be as lively as a guitar solo or as mellow as elevator music, but it must be obtained legally. “Just like with photos, there is music now that you can get royalty-free,” Freker Doody says. Royalty-free music websites include Digital Juice, Magnatune, and Shutterstock.

3. Get personal when possible. 

When interviewing podcasts guests, it is important to add a human element to your questions, Freker Doody suggests. “Get that content out of them, get those good bits of learning, but also get to know them as people and make them more accessible.” If the podcast features a host, listeners should also have a sense of the host’s personality. “People know where I am, they know what I’m interested in,” Freker Doody says. “Personal interactions are important.”

4. Subject matters. 

Podcasts aren’t just interviews or informative news stories. They can also feature product reviews related to your association or event, important membership updates, and more. Podcast hosts can use certain subjects as a way to interact with the industry community. “Depending on what space you’re in, you may have people sending you things because they want to be featured on your podcast,” Freker Doody says. “You may have people sending you press releases.”

January / 30 / 2018

New Tool From The Expo Group Spurs Show and Event Growth

Irving, Texas – Jan. 30, 2018 – The Expo Group, an exhibitions and events partner that invests in growth, has debuted a new tool to guide event and trade show planners to grow. ShowOptimizer™ is the first application of its kind to determine risk thresholds and inspire actual investment in growth.

“Corporate brands and associations want help growing their attendance, exhibitor and sponsorship revenue while minimizing their financial risk,” says The Expo Group President and Chief Operating Officer Randy Pekowski. “ShowOptimizer recognizes this struggle and transparently positions The Expo Group as a partner in investment.”

ShowOptimizer is a quick experience, in three minutes answering three questions planners can learn how much The Expo Group would be willing to invest in their growth. That leads to a conversation about strategic objectives that emphasizes real results. ShowOptimizer is available to any planner, marketer, experience architect or business event strategist who is committed to growth.

“We want our clients to have healthy shows and events, to realize a strong return on their investment in exhibitions and to try new things,” says Chief Sales Officer of The Expo Group Toby Purdy. “We invest, you grow. Together we can find better ways to make events and exhibitions stronger.”

The Expo Group has a framework for strategically mapping needs and bringing in proven technology partners. Already in sharing the risk with clients, The Expo Group has seen technology and marketing deployments have big impacts on growing attendance and exhibits.

This offer is open to all, and those interested should go to http://www.showoptimizer.com to grow.

About The Expo Group
The Expo Group is a trusted exhibition and events partner that helps organizations grow their attendance, exhibitor and sponsorship revenue through the design and execution of unique, compelling and memorable experiences. The company has headquarters near Dallas with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Orlando, Las Vegas, Chicago, Austin/San Antonio and Washington D.C. Learn more at www.theexpogroup.com or contact Dana Freker Doody directly at 972.751.9644 or ddoody@theexpogroup.com.

January / 4 / 2018

The Exposure Podcast January 2018

Travis Hendricks

Welcome to the January 2018 edition of the Exposure Podcast from The Expo Group produced and hosted by Dana Freker Doody and Todd Carruth. 

In this month's podcast, Dana and Todd review several of the educational sessions at PCMA Convening Leaders in Nashville this month.  We also talk with Travis Hendricks, Sr. Brand Manager for La Quinta Inns and Suites and get his thoughts on the future of face to face events, new ideas they are trying out at their shows and how he inspires his team. 

Hopefully Dana will get over her cold in time for PCMA next week! 

If you want to listen to this episode (or any previous episodes) right from your computer, click here. 

To subscribe on iTunes, please click here


Good News! The Exposure podcast is now available on STITCHER Radio

You can also subscribe using your android device, just copy and paste this link here

Please share this podcast on your social media networks by clicking on any of the social media icons below.  And we would be pleased if you could take a moment and review our podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. 

Questions about the podcast? Contact us at rethink (at) theexpogroup.com.  

January / 4 / 2018

The Expo Group at PCMA Convening Leaders

Join The Expo Group at these educational sessions happening at PCMA Convening Leaders in Nashville this month! 


  • Media Studio: Podcast 101

    • 10:45am Monday
    • Convene Media Session
    • Media Studio, Level 3
      • Podcasts are exploding in number and popularity. Explore whether this media channel is right for your event and year-round engagement strategy, and how to pull it off.
  • Amplify Your Event Design by Taking Cues from City Planning

    • 8:30am Tuesday
    • Conference Session
    • Room 209ABC
      • If you’re looking for event design inspiration it’s time to broaden your scope to outside the industry. We’ll challenge you to build your next event through the lens of a city planner. Learn how strategies behind city planning can be applied throughout all aspects of your program, from engagement to networking.
  • Rock City Planning Tenets to Amp Up Trade Show Layouts

    • 2pm Tuesday
    • Future of F2F Session
    • Davidson Ballroom, Changing Strategies Theater
      • We are all experiential architects at a time when demands for experiences are rapidly evolving. Use your trade show layout to drive brand equity, incentivize specific behaviors and create a trade show environment that brings buyers and sellers together in compelling ways. Discover forward-thinking solutions learned from city planners that can be directly applied to your experience design.


  • New Expectations - Designing for Your Evolving Audiences

    • 1:30pm Monday
    • Davidson Ballroom, Changing Mindset Theater
      • Do you know how your event audience is changing and what their expectations will be? Four generations of participants create the need for a new mindset in designing meetings, events and trade shows. Join Nicole O’Leary, Creative Director with The Expo Group as she leads a fascinating and practical discussion on your future audience’s needs and how it will impact your strategy and planning.

January / 4 / 2018

Bots For a Better Event Experience

by Ken Dec, EVP Marketing & Client Strategies with The Expo Group

What are bots? 

If you aren’t familiar with bots, bots are programs designed to engage with users in a sociable way while providing timely, accurate answers to questions or responding to specific user requests. Think of them as a kind of virtual assistant designed to answer frequently asked questions and provide easy access to searchable event information.

Bots can be programmed to answer many of the most common and frequent questions asked by exhibitors and attendees alike, for example:

  • “How late is registration open today?”
  • “Can I bring some of my booth materials through the front of the venue or do I have to bring everything in through the loading dock?”
  • “Where can I get another wastebasket?”
  • “When is the General Session on Wednesday?”
  • “Where is lead retrieval?”

Early use of bots in event management indicates that somewhere between 60-90 of the same questions are asked (in various forms, which exponentially increases the response types) at every show by exhibitors and attendees.

Focus staff on higher value activities

By automating the responses to the most common, frequent questions, show managers, and the firms that service them, can keep staff available to focus on less common, more complex and/or higher value customer service tasks – both improving the attendee and exhibitor experience while lowering the cost of doing so.

Consistency of answers

Another benefit to using bots is the ability to answer common, frequent questions consistently. The answers aren’t dependent upon what staff member the inquirer may run into on the floor, whose ability to answer their specific question can vary.

Continuous experience improvement

Perhaps most importantly is the analytics employing a bot(s) can provide show managers. Bot programs provide dashboards and reporting on the most common questions asked and the number of IDKs (‘I don’t knows’) allowing you to a) optimize the performance of the bot on-the-fly during the show, and b) ensure that you program future bots based on previous event experience to optimize the next.

Bots for events is here

Text-based bots, enhanced with voice activation (think Alexa for the event experience) could quickly become the main event interface for both exhibitors and attendees- serving as a kind of personal event concierge that can answer questions quickly and correctly.

Using bots to effectively, efficiently and consistently provide timely, accurate responses to many of the most common and frequent questions delivers a superior event experience for exhibitors and attendees. Time to jump on board.