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Saving Conference Dollars With Sustainability

Diana, our CEO, renewed her commitment to the Green Meeting Industry Council (GMIC) the other day which prompted some thought and discussion about whether we (EDI) are doing enough to support sustainability in the event industry.  The answer was NO!  So we had a green meeting brainstorming session and wow!  We actually discussed a lot of great ideas.  Most of the ideas are recycled (no pun intended), meaning we have observed, read or heard about these tips from other meeting professionals, but they were new ideas for many of us.  Some of the tips we have heard before, such as offering pitchers of water instead of bottled water.  While these tips have been around for a while, they are still effective in reducing the negative environmental impact, and believe it or not, they are still not being implemented at some conferences and meetings.  So we thought we would share all of our green meeting tips we discussed with you.  You can become more greener with us, not only from a sustainability standpoint but from the conference dollars you will save from adopting these tips.  The is one problem; we can not do it in one blog posting.  We could, but that would be breaking a bunch of blogging rules and heaven only knows we have broken plenty already!  So we decided to cover one or two tips each week in a new blog called “Being Meeting Green”, hopefully it will be sustaining! LOL!

Being Meeting Green Tip #1 – QR Codes                                                                                                                                       

The meeting industry has made great strides over the past few years in reducing the amount of paperused at conferences, meetings and events.  By utilizing online conference registration thousands of dollars of cost savings in paper, printing,mailings and postage have been realized.  Another electronic solution for eliminating other printed materials such as on-site handouts is QR codes.

If you are not familiar with QR Codes, they are similar to bar codes, which are used to track inventory and capture pricing information at the point of sale.  You scan a QR code with the camera in your Smartphone.  You can link to digital content on the web, activate a number of phone functions including email, IM and SMS, and/or connect to a web browser. There’s really no limit to how, or even how much, you can share with QR codes.  For those attendees that do not have a smart phone, utilization of text codes that can be punched into your mobile phone will also facilitate the availability of information for attendee review.

The QR codes are displayed in highly visible areas like convention hall entrances, information counters and on vendor booths in exhibition halls.  There is no cost to create the QR codes, which can created by a third party online vendor.  Of course the digital content that the QR code links to has to be created, no different than the effort required for printed content.  However, with digital content you have more flexibility in the content you present.  Your digital content may be a landing page, video and even an entire eBook.

The benefits of using QR codes to disseminate information are significant to minimizing the environmental impact of conferences, meetings and events and can represent a significant cost savings in paper and printing.

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