If you’ve never been to one of Plan Your Meetings’ PYM LIVE Events, definitely consider going to their next one. I was introduced to this company, (whose mission it is to keep event and logistics planners up to date with the latest in the field), a few months ago at an Event Logistics Training Workshop conducted by Vanessa Whitehead of Global Organization & Planning Services. I was completely sold on PYM’s platform and offerings. So, when I received word of an event they were hosting on Jan. 27 in Atlanta, I readily signed up and was not disappointed.

Thanks to various corporate and private business sponsors, the reasonable expo fee admitted one to view exhibits, have lunch and attend a 1.5-hour workshop. The host facility, Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway in College Park, did an excellent job of hosting the event in their beautiful facility. A highlight was an open “tapas”-style bar set up on the trade show floor. One could choose from mini BLT’s, mini hamburgers, chicken teriyaki on a bed of lettuce, a hot shrimp/crab bisque soup, and three delectable desserts — apple cherry cobbler, apple pecan cobbler and chocolate covered cherries, along with all the hot tea and coffee you could drink, eliminating a set lunch plating and fostering a relaxed networking environment.

The exhibits mainly featured restaurant, hotel and resort/conference facilities, but did include a couple of vendors who offered exhibit trade show backdrops (EZ Backdrops) and gift baskets (Sensational Baskets). PYM’s sister company, Promote Your Message, offered many new ideas for promoting your brand or event, one of which was a plastic expandable/deflatable flower vase that provides a cheery, innovative branded (and packable) floral display, eliminating the need for hunting down and storing glass vases.

The shining star of the expo was the breakout session entitled “Next Stop: Innovation”. Session Leaders Erica Prewett (@checklistqueen), and Kristi Casey Sanders (@PYM Live) are experts on the latest in technology aids, innovative ideas and products for event planners. Their presentation was followed by Q&A, and the presenters stayed afterwards to talk with attendees. Rounding out the event was a series of giveaways, including a $200 AMEX gift certificate for the person who registered earliest. This was followed by an optional tour of the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway facilities.

PYM Live Atlanta is one of the biggest bangs for the buck you can possibly get in the expo arena. If you have never attended, plan to do so on April 28 when PYM Live Atlanta is hosted by the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North Hotel. The expo also travels to various states throughout the year. The next events will be Feb. 16 in Austin and March 30 in San Antonio. Check out the full schedule at planyourmeetings.com/events.

 

And here’s an archive of the Twitter conversation during the event:

ChecklistQueen RT @LisaKraus: VYou is a free way to have your own video channel. People can submit questions to you on it as well. #pym2011 -10:03 AM Jan 28th, 2011

ChecklistQueen #FF – instead of a person, follow these hashtags: #PYM2011 and #eventprofs for meeting planning industry education and camaraderie -9:57 AM Jan 28th, 2011

SusanMKainz RT @LisaKraus: Want to engage attendees post-meeting? How about asking for post-event stories on your event’s Facebook page? #pym2011 -9:41 AM Jan 28th, 2011

SoMeTourism @dqtweets We luv it when ppl use our case study to spread the word! Thanks for the mention! BTW-What event is #pym2011? -8:36 AM Jan 28th, 2011

shannonburke @PlannerWire: Want to engage attendees post-meeting? How about asking for post-event stories on your event’s Facebook page? #pym2011 I<3idea -7:41 AM Jan 28th, 2011

PlannerWire RT @LisaKraus: Want to engage attendees post-meeting? How about asking for post-event stories on your event’s Facebook page? #pym2011 -12:23 AM Jan 28th, 2011

PlannerWire RT @LisaKraus: srt a BLOG. So many sites R free: WordPress, Tumblr..It’s a perfect way 2 cont the conversation after the event. #pym2011 -12:23 AM Jan 28th, 2011

PYMLive @DQtweets and they’re pet-friendly right? #pym2011 -6:09 PM Jan 27th, 2011

twebevent @siteselectexprt #pym2011 Fantastic. Let me know if I can help with the sharing. -3:15 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus Start a BLOG. So many sites are free: WordPress, Tumblr, etc. It’s a perfect way to continue the conversation after the event. #pym2011 -2:50 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus Want to engage attendees post-meeting? How about asking for post-event stories on your event’s Facebook page? #pym2011 -2:49 PM Jan 27th, 2011

DQtweets Ahh, new idea: use QR codes on your traceable floor to create a scavenger hunt! #pym2011 #eventprofs -2:47 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus Twitter is so useful for note taking while you’re listening to a speaker. per @KristiCasey {I agree!} #pym2011 -2:43 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus Create value-add “learning lounges” at your events. It’s a great way to engage attendees. #pym2011 -2:39 PM Jan 27th, 2011

siteselectexprt It keeps getting better–I can’t wait to share this info with my clients-twitterfountain.com, twebevent.com, evernote, pollanywhere-#pym2011 -2:34 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus Tweeting at events is perfectly acceptable. In fact, it’s appreciated, recommended, & broadens ur credibility. Per @ChecklistQueen #pym2011 -2:32 PM Jan 27th, 2011

ShePlanEvents Have you seen an increase in the use of Tags at meetings in order to engage members so that they network with one another? #pym2011 -2:30 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus Looking to decrease no-shows at your events? Don’t forget the personal touch… invitations, phone calls, etc. create a buy-in. #pym2011 -2:26 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus If you have any technology questions of any kind, check out elance.com. Meeting Planners love it. #pym2011 -2:25 PM Jan 27th, 2011

ShePlanEvents Do you think using sites such as Engage365 is a great idea? #pym2011 -2:23 PM Jan 27th, 2011
ShePlanEvents #pym2011 What is your opinion on asking event speakers to blog for you in order to engage attendees or potential attendees? -2:22 PM Jan 27th, 2011

DQtweets Learning about how @SoMeTourism strategically used Facebook to promote their event. #pym2011 -2:19 PM Jan 27th, 2011

DQtweets @PYMLive great point on asking questions vs assuming w/hotels. Just found out ATL Hotel Palomar has special rooms just 4 planners #pym2011 -2:08 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus 33% of our audience today is using social network for professional use, and 20% to promote events. #pym2011 -2:07 PM Jan 27th, 2011

ShePlanEvents #pym2011 I use Evernote and it works great. I have it loaded on my Blackberry along w/ other meeting planner programs. -2:02 PM Jan 27th, 2011

MsProgrammable #pym2011 I use Evernote and it works great. I have it loaded on my Blackberry along w/ other meeting planner programs. -2:02 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus VYou is a free way to have your own video channel. People can submit questions to you on it as well. #pym2011 -2:01 PM Jan 27th, 2011

siteselectexprt Getting extremely helpful info at #pym2011. Can’t wait to try things out -2:01 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus EverNote is a great tool for storing photos (good to take pics at site visits, per @ChecklistQueen) #pym2011 -1:59 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus Survey Monkey is a great tool for capturing info pre-event for your event delegates. per @ChecklistQueen #pym2011 -1:56 PM Jan 27th, 2011

ShePlanEvents #pym2011 PYM staff has done another great job with the expo hotels & the host hotel, Marriott Gateway. I have five potentials for my event. -1:56 PM Jan 27th, 2011

MsProgrammable #pym2011 PYM staff has done another great job with the expo hotels & the host hotel, Marriott Gateway. I have five potentials for my event. -1:56 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus Polleverywhere.com is a free mobile polling system for your meetings and events. #pym2011 -1:55 PM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus @KristiCasey polling audience @PYMLive #pym2011 using mobile text tech. Findings: Planners mostly booking within 30-day or less windows. -1:54 PM Jan 27th, 2011

DQtweets @ShePlanEvents hey! You’re here? #pym2011 -1:52 PM Jan 27th, 2011

DQtweets Yay, @ChecklistQueen @PYMLive are taking the stage. #pym2011 -1:50 PM Jan 27th, 2011

ShePlanEvents #pym2011 Attending the Plan Your Meetings Atlanta Live event right now. I am making arrangements to visit many of the hotels in attendance. -1:49 PM Jan 27th, 2011

MsProgrammable #pym2011 Attending the Plan Your Meetings Atlanta Live event right now. I am making arrangements to visit many of the hotels in attendance. -1:49 PM Jan 27th, 2011

PYMLive @DQtweets Can’t wait to see you! Love, @PYMLive & @lisakraus #pym2011 -1:25 PM Jan 27th, 2011

PYMLive Before or after the session, be sure to grab me to film a quick word of advice to planners. #pym2011 -1:24 PM Jan 27th, 2011

PYMLive Moi! I’m live on TwitCasting from my iPhone.tradeshow #pym2011 http://moi.st/f2330 -12:16 PM Jan 27th, 2011

PYMLive #pym2011 in full swing. education in an hour&15. http://twitcasting.tv/PYMLive -12:16 PM Jan 27th, 2011

PYMLive Got a question @ #meeting and #event planning? Ask me anything and I’ll video reply! http://ow.ly/3LkVH #eventprofs #pym2011 #pcma #mpi -11:32 AM Jan 27th, 2011

DQtweets Looking forward to catching up with the PYM crew @PYMLive and @lisakraus #pym2011 -11:30 AM Jan 27th, 2011

DQtweets Getting ready to head to #pym2011 – who’s coming? -11:00 AM Jan 27th, 2011

PYMLive Moi! I’m live on TwitCasting from my iPhone. #pym2011 join us http://moi.st/f2217 -10:47 AM Jan 27th, 2011

LisaKraus #pym2011 (so excited!!) (@ PYM LIVE @ Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway w/ @southernessyank) http://4sq.com/eIL5WQ -7:01 AM Jan 27th, 2011

Southernessyank Ready for the first #pym2011 (@ PYM LIVE @ Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway) http://4sq.com/gjsFSL -6:51 AM Jan 27th, 2011

KristiCasey @checklistqueen Can’t wait to see you tomorrow. I’ve got all sorts of cool sites we can show the planning peeps! #pym2011 -10:48 PM Jan 26th, 2011

ChecklistQueen RT @PYMLive: So excited about presenting with @checklistqueen tomorrow at PYM LIVE Atlanta 2morrow. Let me know if you’ll b there! #pym2011 #eventprofs -1:46 PM Jan 26th, 2011

PYMLive So excited about presenting with @checklistqueen tomorrow at PYM LIVE Atlanta 2morrow. Let me know if you’ll b there! #pym2011 #eventprofs -11:56 AM Jan 26th, 2011

KristiCasey So excited about presenting with @checklistqueen tomorrow at PYM LIVE Atlanta 2morrow. Let me know if you’ll b there! #pym2011 #eventprofs -11:56 AM Jan 26th, 2011