Monday, August 30, 2010

The MeetingMatrix Room Diagram Setup Competition 2.0

room diagram
After the success of our first setup competition we decided it is time for version 2.0.

The Dover Ballroom is empty. Set it up!

Put your skills to the test and create the best setup in the Dover Ballroom to win a $100 iTunes Gift Certificate.

Don’t have MeetingMatrix? Download a free copy of MeetingMatrix Silver here to create your potential winning entry.

To begin creating your setup in MeetingMatrix, click on “New” then “Create a Setup using a Room”. In the Data Explorer, select the MeetingMatrix Demo & Training Facility. Next, “Select” the Dover Ballroom from the room list.

Once you complete your diagram follow these simple rules:

  1. Go to the MeetingMatrix Facebook page
  2. Become a fan – you need to do this to post an image
  3. Enter a brief description or name in the “share” box on our Facebook wall
  4. Attach your room diagram in JPG format ( a good size to post= 600 pixels wide x 480 pixels high)
  5. Watch the drama unfold as the competition heats up on our wall!

Multiple setups are encouraged – we also like to hear from everyone so if you have something
to say– comment away!

The competition begins today and will conclude on the 1st of October. After the dust settles, our panel of MeetingMatrix room diagram setup experts will select the winner based on overall presentation.

May the best Dover Ballroom setup win!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hospitality Software: The Right Ingredients

hospitality software
Designing good software is like baking a delicious cake. You need high quality ingredients to create a solid base otherwise the cake is dry, bland, and no one wants to eat it. With software, you need to start with high quality and plentiful data, otherwise your application will be dry, bland, and no one will want to use it.

Data is the lifeline of a valuable tool. It can mean the difference between creating a product that will stand the test of time, or creating a fad that will be useful only until the user gets bored and moves on to the ‘next thing’.

Unfortunately, data is not the only necessary component of creating a successful product. The user interface is also another major ingredient to the overall balance. Without a well designed user experience, the product won’t be all that it should be, and if bad enough, it may even limit the growth of the product line, or even drive customers to a competitor to seek out a better experience.

To understand these challenges in a little more depth, a few of us attended Visual Studio Live! hosted on the Microsoft campus a few weeks ago. It was a great opportunity to see in person some of the great new tools, a few ways that software is currently being developed, and get a glimpse into the future of our profession. With the way that tools develop and the rate at which they evolve, we never fully understood where a particular product line will be in a few years. This remains true not only for our own products but also for the technology and the tools that we utilize in order to bring these great products to our customers. Needless to say, the conference was a great experience, one that re-energizes development teams with new methodology ideas and new concepts which, if used properly, should provide a very exciting future here at MeetingMatrix.

One of the most important lessons I took away from the conference, was the idea of flexible and dynamic data presentation to the user. It is no longer a user interface, not something that the user interacts with, but rather something the user experiences. It may be a subtle difference, but the shift in paradigm is certainly striking. Rather than design a way for the user to interact with buttons, menus, or screens, the focus is instead on how the user will experience the data. Having all necessary information readily available and done in such a way that the user won’t have to think about the process will determine how successful software will be in the near future.

We have already tested and are using these new concepts in our current applications, and will be incorporating them in future products still in the planning stages. With all these new tools and ideas at our disposal, the very near future is an extremely exciting time to be involved with development. Our products should only become more stable, professional, and integrated with the hospitality industry’s needs and desires. We will bring powerful tools to the fingertips of our customers no matter where they need to do business, and in such a way where they won’t need to think about how to use it, only what they need it to do.

Jeremy Short
Software Engineer

Monday, August 9, 2010

Venue Connect – What a time!

My colleague Patty Monaghan and I had the pleasure of attending IAAM’s Venue Connect conference in Houston from July 23-27. It was the first time MeetingMatrix exhibited, and it was a fantastic experience.

First, the atmosphere that IAAM seeks to create, in my humble opinion, is one of openness and exploration. People in attendance are curious what you do. We had an incredible amount of our current customers in attendance as well, and it was great to see every one of them. The best part is when you are talking with someone who is interested in your services, and a current customer comes up and says, ‘Oh wow you guys are here?!? We use your Product every day and we LOVE it!’ That is the best feeling in the world.

IAAM puts on several networking events during the conference, from the First Timers breakfast, to the Chairman’s Reception, and various independent receptions for Chapters, Alumni, and other organizations. We also attended a Houston Astros game. They lost to the Cubs, but hey this girl is a Red Sox and Rockies fan, given that I spent 9 years in the great city of Boston, and have been in Colorado for 12. Minute Maid Park is a beautiful and well thought out Stadium, and the staff members were very gracious. In fact, throughout the whole city of Houston, from our stay at the Doubletree, to the staff at the local restaurants, we found every person we encountered to be friendly and really ‘get’ what the Hospitality Industry is all about.

The Chairman’s Reception, hosted at the House of Blues, was an incredible networking experience, and again we had the opportunity to talk with our current customers, we encountered some who we have talked with but maybe not done business with yet, and made new friends. House of Blues put on a great event; I was really impressed with the layout of the Venue, quality of their food, and overall presentation.

Fellow Exhibitors were also curious about what we do, and we learned a lot about them too. Making connections among Businesses you have commonality with goes a long way in our world.

IAAM’s Venue Connect will be in Phoenix in 2011, and when we selected our Booth space it seemed clear that it will be another successful event. I look forward to seeing new faces and reconnection with friends and colleagues

Lydia Montgomery
Sales & Strategic Alliance Manager

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Results are In...

room diagram
MeetingMatrix International is proud to announce that Marc Alexander is the winner of the first-ever MeetingMatrix® Room Diagram Setup Competition! For his winning entry he received a $100 iTunes giftcard. The contest was inspired by our jet setting Implementation Managers who noticed the amazing skill and creativity that event planners were putting into their Certified Room Diagrams®.

Setups rolled in at a steady pace from the end of May up until the end of July. Fan diagrams were uploaded to our Facebook page and were then judged by our panel of room diagram experts. Criteria used to help determine the winners included: the four basic elements of creating setups in MeetingMatrix (alignment, growing, boxing, & grouping), proper usage of labels, cleanliness (proper spacing), and overall product knowledge/skill-level.

Congratulations Marc, and a round of applause to all of those who entered. Check out all of the entries on our Facebook page under “Photos by Others”. If you missed the boat, don’t worry. More room diagram competitions are soon to follow!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Plannin’ Ain’t Easy!

planner tipsPlanning a meeting isn’t always easy. I’m not even an event planner and this is easy to see. So the question becomes: How can THIS meeting be made better? After all, the goal is to make the experience as successful as possible to get them coming back for more. What you don’t want, of course, is for everyone to turn into Mitch Martins who ditch the meeting for the early flight home.

Here are some tips I gathered to enhance your meeting.

When organizing your event, time is of the essence. has some interesting ideas to help free up your schedule. Try outsourcing. Simple legwork can be accomplished by Harry Hardatwork or Tina Tasker for a small fee. Incorporate technology into everything you do. Using a program like Google Reader makes it easy for documents to be shared for planning collaboration. Don’t forget the golden rules of staying organized and setting realistic daily goals for your workload.

Everywhere we look there is something in our face about saving the planet and becoming greener. This is a major trend in meetings-to no one’s surprise. We are trying to make the earth healthy. What about the individuals that are attending your event? covers your attendee’s health with some helpful tips: Scheduling walks at different times during a conference where participants are given raffle tickets is a sure way to keep everyone alert. It doesn’t hurt they are rewarded for participating as well! If the venue is a hotel that has an in-house trainer, have them come in and stretch everyone out. This keeps everyone fresh and avoids participants from pulling a hammy. Walking too much? Have acupressure foot masseuses on hand to silence those barking dogs. When it comes time to eat, spread out portions so no one is a victim of the heavy-eating food coma. Replace traditional drinks with pomegranate-flavored soda, or green / peach iced tea.

Last, but not least, do things to help make the meeting engaging. While this is done with the right preparation, material, and speaker, another method is to force participants to sit up front. Place a reserved sign on the last few rows of tables / chairs in the room. As more space is needed, have someone slide the “reserved” area further back as needed. Also try a setup that eliminates the riff raff in the back. Set up a U shape or hollow square to keep everyone close and engaged.

For more tips check out:

Scott Sanker
Graphic Designer