A San Francisco Treat at FastTrak
As MC² continues to sponsor the FastTrak education program for Exhibitor Magazine, I continue to share my experiences hosting FastTrak and planning our Tuesday night special event. I hope you find this information useful for your events. Please post any questions and I will try to answer them.
The 2010 San Francisco FastTrak was held from September 28 – September 30. As the FastTrak sponsor, MC² arranges for the seminar location and hotel accommodations. We also organize a Tuesday night special event to bring everyone together to network in an informal setting. Here are the highlights of my experiences planning the San Francisco event.
We’ve traditionally held the San Francisco FastTrak at the Marriott Fisherman’s Wharf, which has always been a pleasant experience – from location to service. But earlier this year, we were approached by the Hyatt Regency to host the conference. To moderate our costs, we decided to move the event from the Marriott at Fisherman’s Wharf to the Hyatt in Burlingame, near the San Francisco airport.
The change resulted in significant savings. As the event sponsor, MC² saw a 25% decrease in costs to run the event. But better yet, the attendees saw a 50% decrease in their room rate. On top of that, we were able to offer additional perks such as free WiFi in hotel rooms and free airport shuttle transfer (there was about a $50 taxi fee to the Wharf).
Making a change in venue and working with a new hotel staff for an annual event can certainly create challenges. Anthony, our contact at the Hyatt, and his team were exceptional to work with. They helped us decrease costs, but still delivered a high-quality experience.
Open Mic Forum
Recently MC² and Exhibitor Magazine has started hosting an Open Mic forum or Town Hall session to give attendees an opportunity to discuss issues affecting their work and careers. This time, we decided to tackle what digital media means for our industry. We had a great discussion on how exhibit professionals are approaching virtual trade shows and social media. The group gave us great feedback on our FastTrak Twitter account including the kind of tweets they’d like to see. (More on this in a future post.)
Hosted Evening Event
As I mentioned earlier, we like to plan a special event for Tuesday night that has a local flair. I also like to give attendees an opportunity to get to know MC² better. San Francisco’s Tuesday night event was dinner at the Broadway Grill, which is a local favorite for great American food and exceptional live music. One of our friends – and a FastTrak speaker – Glenda Brungardt, Tradeshow/Event Manager from HP gave us the recommendation for the Broadway Grill. Thanks from everyone, Glenda!
Our contact from Broadway Grill was Gary Gueits. He went above and beyond the ordinary by suggesting we have an exclusive wine tasting from the Trinchero winery in Napa.
Chris Siconolfi from Trinchero Family Estates came with a great selection of excellent Trinchero Family brand wines. While we tasted, he gave an engaging presentation about wine basics and easy-to-remember tips for pairing food and wine. One tip in particular has really stuck with me: When wine pairing, you do not need to always follow the rule of white goes with white meat and red with red meat. Think about the other ingredients in your meal and choose a wine flavor that compliments all those tastes. I realize that this can also holds true for event planning – don’t be afraid to try mix and match new things and change up your events. While we tried a new approach to this year’s San Francisco FastTrak by moving outside of the city proper to a new hotel, the core elements were never compromised – a high-quality educational platform and a fun, local experience!
We had a great time. The food and service were impeccable at the Broadway Grill. Chris’s presentation was not only informative, but entertaining as well. And he made wine pairing less intimidating. The event was a great success and a true San Francisco experience!
I hope you found all of this helpful. Below please find the contact information for the Hyatt, Broadway Grill and Trinchero Family Estates. They were all excellent to work with and we hope to work with them again soon!
Anthony Woodley – Catering Convention Services Manager (Planning contact)
Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
1333 Bayshore Highway
Burlingame, CA 94010
1400 Broadway Ave.
Burlingame, CA 94010
Senior Regional Sales Manager, California
1168 Cervantes Way
Pacifica, CA 94044
Thoughts, suggestions, comments? Drop me a line at email@example.com or comment below!