Make Your Event a Stress-less Success!

Every event needs organization. Without it, we are stuck with a stressful mess of ideas, plans and an abundance of information. The best way to keep everything in order, is to incorporate technology into the event planning, and event itself. ABCey has adapted an article from Collaborate Meetings Magazine, who featured PlannerTech by Liz King of Liz King Events and Josh Gooch, elaborating on a list of some event planning tools to help you keep your cool.

1. EventFarm is an all in one ticketing service. They provide a variety of options for your attendees and for you as well! Their distribution process is comprehensive and even allows for ticket block distribution and progress tracking. Payment is simple and convenient, and registration/check-in can be modified by you- with the ability to ask registration questions, show seating arrangement options, as well as request entree selection. Along with ticketing features, also come promo codes, waiting lists, arrival alerts, and even the ability to create name tags/badges.

 

2. Social Tables is a sophisticated option for important details like venue mapping, making  general processes more efficient, streamlining the check-in process and communication. This service also allows for real-time collaboration among team members, as well as in depth seat mapping. They have received funding from 500 Startups and even gained the business of the 1,300 attendee Latin Grammy’s- a shocker to CEO Dan Berger. Congrats!

 

3. Hubb is a cloud based CMS which gives attendees, speakers and planners the ability to create personalized schedules, interact with one another and provides one location to view all social information associated with the event on a “community wall”. The mobile integration allows for real-time updates- making sure no one is left sitting in the wrong room.

 

4. Bizzabo helps planners make (and attendees get) the most out of an event. This service also allows everyone to receieve up to date info and help networking opportunities. It’s easy to use and allows for the much needed interaction before, during and after the event. As of now, its free to event planners and attendees, but in the future Bizzabo will provide some outlets for event organizers to gain extra revenue. 

5. Splash is a great tool to use to create an awesome and original event page, which lets you select a location, time and also serves as an invitation. You can take care of aspects like generating a budget, creating one-sheets and overall brainstorming, as well as tracking RSVPs and VIPs in real time. Pictures can be posted to the event page afterwards using a #hashtag!

Which of these services or apps have your tried to help techify your event and streamline those somewhat complicated tasks ? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook & Twitter.


Startup Monday: drinkwel

At ABCey, we’ve seen parties and celebrations lead to the downfall of many — a hangover downfall that is. Recently, we discovered drinkwel, “the multivitamin for people who drink.” Formulated by two doctors, drinkwel is made primarily from milk thistle, amino acids, superfruits, vitamin B-complex and vitamin C.  Its unique combination of ingredients promises to replenish nutrients and help your body process alcohol induced toxins.


drinkwel is designed to be a daily multivitamin, but its website says it is not necessary  to take it everyday. You can take one serving of drinkwel before you drink and one before you go to bed and you should feel the benefits. Taking a glance at its product reviews on Amazon, it looks as though when people take drinkwel they do feel significantly better than they normally do after a night of drinking.

As event planners, we would love to recommend this product to our clients! Have you tried drinkwel yet? Let us know about your drinkwel experience in the comments below or on Facebook & Twitter.


2012 Crunchies Coverage: Best New Startup

ABCey Events is pretty excited for The Crunchies to be held in San Francisco on January 31. Do you know who the nominees are? Every week, we’ll introduce you to the nominees for a few of the big categories. You might already be a big fan of some of these startups, but if not, we’re here to share the wealth of knowledge. Here are the nominees for Best New Startup of 2012:

Coursera – Coursera is a social entrepreneurship company that partners with the top universities in the world to offer free online courses for anyone to take. Their technology enables the best professors to teach tens or hundreds of thousands of students. Through this, they hope to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few. The site offers a large array of classes and any person looking to revisit some academic topics will not be disappointed!
Crowdtilt – Crowdtilt is a place where you can pool money with your friends or your community for an objective/event/fundraiser you care about. It could be for anything from a vacation home rental in Hawaii to raising money for a charitable event in your neighborhood. Doing things with a group shouldn’t suck so much – and Crowdtilt helps with that. If you are the de facto group organizer for most activities, Crowdtilt is your dream come true.
Lyft – Lyft is an on-demand ridesharing app for cheaper, safer rides. Payment is donation-based. You can spot their cars by the pink mustaches at the front of the vehicle. Lyft and other ridesharing car services have definitely made getting around San Francisco a more reliable, cheaper, and in many cases, more pleasant experience. 
Snapchat – Snapchat is a photo messaging application. Using the app, users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them to a set list of recipients. Users can program a time limit for how long recipients can view their photos, after which it is deleted from the recipient’s device. With limited attention spans, I’m guessing teenagers love this app. 
Waze – Waze is a free mobile navigation application for your smartphones that allows drivers to build and use live maps, real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn directions. Waze definitely contributes to more and more people relying on their smartphones for navigational services (saving money, yay!). 

Which of these do you think is the best startup? Let us know your vote in the comments below or on Facebook & Twitter.


TV Tuesday: Postmates

The holidays are usually a busy time for most people. Have you heard of Postmates? Well, after today, you’re sure going to wish you had heard about it sooner. Postmates sells itself as a “revolutionary same day urban logistics & delivery platform.” Well, that is a sophisticated way of saying Postmates has couriers who will ship things for you and bring things to you. In San Francisco. Under an hour. Watch a testimonial:

Pretty cool, right? It’s no wonder that Postmates is in the running for “Best Collaborative Consumption Service” at this year’s Crunchies. As an event planner, I can see many instances in where Postmates would come in handy for a last minute pick-up or drop-off. Can you see yourself using Postmates for any reason? Let us know if you have a Postmates experience and tell us about it in the comments below or on Facebook & Twitter


Startup Monday: Tadaa

Tadaa is ABCey’s new favorite iOS photo-sharing and editing app. The Hamburg, Germany-based startup differentiates itself from the abundance of mobile photo-sharing apps and services with an emphasis on ‘high end’ editing features, targeted towards the more serious “iPhoneographers”.

Unlike Instagram, Tadaa has a sense of “gamification” whcih comes in the form of ‘tadaa Dollars’, a virtual currency rewarded for every like, comment, reply or re-share a user receives. The editing features are what really makes Tadaa really stand out. Firstly, the editing features are built-in and users don’t even need to join the service to use the app as a photo editor.  Additionally, lighting, contrast, and saturation can be adjusted, while upload image resolution remains high (1600 PX max), which the company claims is around three times higher than Instagram.

Incredibly, after adding Instagram import just over two weeks ago, the startup says that over 3 million photos have been imported from Facebook-owned Instagram. In that same period of time, the app garnered nearly 500,000 new users, bringing the total registered user base to just shy of 2 million.

Even though I love using Instagram, I decided to download Tadaa to try it out. It definitely takes some getting used to, but the quality of editing is significantly superior and I am keeping it! (sorry Insta!) What do you think of this app? Do you plan on downloading it and experimenting? Let us know below in a comment or on Facebook & Twitter!


Gift Card Swap

It’s been several days since Christmas and I’m sure you’ve done all your returns and exchanges that come along with the holiday season. I am also sure you received a few gift cards to places where you will never shop at and aren’t sure what to do with. Don’t worry! There are plenty of sites that will help you sell or exchange your gift cards to places that you will actually shop at. Check out these five sites that ABCey recommends and see which one works out the best for you!


1. GiftCardRescue – This site allows you to sell gift cards you don’t want and get up to 90% cash. You are mailed check within 48 hours of receiving your gift card. Also with GiftCardRescue, you can swap gift cards for an Amazon.com Gift Card and get an additional 5%. Your exchange gift card code will be emailed to you within 48 hours of receiving your gift card. You can purchase discount gift cards from 4% up to 30% off and get free shipping. All discount gift card transactions are backed by a 100% money back guarantee. They offer gift cards to over 250 major brands.  They, however, will only buy plastic cards and not electronic codes. 

2. Plastic Jungle – When you sell gift cards to Plastic Jungle you decide how you want to exchange your cards. You can select an instant payment option and get up to 92% of the face value of the gift card paid out via PayPal or Amazon.com. You can also swap gift cards for cash. When you choose Plastic Jungle for your gift card exchange, the postage to mail your gift cards to Plastic Jungle is covered. You also have the option to sell gift cards to Plastic Jungle and turn them into a donation to a nonprofit or another charitable organization of your choice. When you make a donation of cash for gift cards that would normally be unused, you are able to make a difference in your community and around the globe. Plastic Jungle offers over 400 retailers and brands of gift cards to buy or sell.

3. Carpool – A very easy gift card site to navigate, Cardpool’s name describes them both precisely and in a fun way. With its amazing inventory, Cardpool really is a pool full of gift cards. Like other sites, Carpool’s Gift Card Exchange section lets you buy gift cards for up to 35% off or sell gift cards for up to 92% cash back. When you sell a gift card to them, you get a choice of either cash in the form of a check or an Amazon.com gift card. If you choose the Amazon.com gift card route, your offer will be 5% more. All orders and transactions include FREE SHIPPING and are covered by their extensive Purchase Guarantee Program. When issues do arise, however, you do not have the option of contacting Cardpool customer service by phone.

4. CardCash – CardCash lets you buy discount gift cards for up to 35% off and sell them for up to 92% of the face value. If you don’t want to sell your gift card to CardCash, you are also able to trade it straight across for an Amazon.com gift card of the same exact balance. However, you will pay a transaction fee to trade. CardCash is slightly different than other gift card merchants in that they will purchase any remaining balance on a gift card. You can sell gift cards to CardCash with no minimum or maximum limit.  CardCash doesn’t offer as many categories as other gift card exchange services do but they are also one of the few gift card exchange services to offer sports leagues gift cards, such as cards to the NBA Store.

5. SwapaGift – SwapaGift offers the most unique way to get cash for your gift card out of all these sites. If you’re looking for cash immediately you can stop into one of their Certified Partner locations throughout the U.S. You can locate a store near you that will buy your gift card today for cash by simply selecting the state you are in from the map on their website. Gift card merchants and redemption rates may vary per store, and may be less than the mail-in rates but you can call ahead to obtain the redemption rate. Note that you can’t actual swap any gift cards online through this site!

These sites are great! Gift cards, in the past, have been go-to gifts for event gift packages so now, as the gift card giver, one never has to stress out too much about where to purchase your gift cards from.  Now you can rest assure that the people you’re giving a gift card to, have options on what they can do with your gift! Have you used any of these sites to get cash or a more suitable gift card? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook & Twitter.


ABCey’s Weekend Line-up 1.4.13 – 1.6.13

Happy New Year from ABCey Events! We’ve compiled our top event picks for your first San Francisco weekend in 2013! Enjoy!

1. Yelp Helps! 2013 | All January | Bay Area | With New Year’s resolutions on everyone’s mind, there’s no better time to sign up for Yelp Helps. Yelp is challenging Yelpers across the Bay Area to make a difference in the local community by donating 3-5 hours of time in January to a worthy non-profit. Whether you choose to feed the hungry, rally for planet Earth or establish a connection with the next generation, there are plenty of opportunities abound with our with Yelp Helps partner GoVoluntr. Logging a minimum of 3 hours this month with Yelp and GoVoluntr not only gives you good vibes and warm fuzzies, but will also get your name on the guest list for Yelp’s Good Karma Ball in February!

2. ALCATRAZ 6th ANNUAL WINTER SWIM | January 5 | Fisherman’s Wharf | Do you have what it takes to swim to Alcatraz?  For the past six years, Water World Swim has hosted this challenge in San Francisco. The route involves a 1.25 mile (2K) swim from Alcatraz to Aquatic Park in the Bay of San Francisco. Temperatures are expected to vary between 50 to 53 degrees.  This is a challenging swim and they recommend that all participants train properly! Swimmers from all over the world with all levels of ability are welcomed. If you are training for an upcoming competition, want to accomplish a swim from Alcatraz, or just want to experience swimming in the beautiful waters of the San Francisco Bay, then you are encouraged to participate!

3. Bay Area Brew Festival | January 5 | Fort Mason | With so many wine tastings and pairings, it’s about time for SF to have another beer festival. The 3nd Annual Bay Area Brew Festival follows last year’s sold out event and this year’s promises to be even bigger and better. The event will feature dozens of international and domestic beers, SF’s best food trucks (food sold separately) and will take place at Fort Mason. Admission is $40 for general admission 3pm to 6pm and $50 for VIP and includes unlimited beer.

4. GO BANG! Atomic Dancefloor Disco Action! | January 5 | STUD at 399 9th Street, SF | San Francisco has a diverse disco scene that often crosses over but not often enough! The goal of Go BANG! is to bring the crews and their devoted dancers together in a mixed, diverse, exciting environment, with a nod to the diversity and freedom of the 70’s/80’s San Francisco/New York/Chicago disco nightlife! Bring your flashiest, trashiest, classiest, sexiest, craziest style…and shoes that will allow you to dance from opening to last call!

5. Vintage Paper Fair | January 5 & 6 | Golden Gate Park | The Golden Gate Park Vintage Paper Fair gathers together in one location and offers one of the West Coast’s biggest selection of postcards, trade cards, stereoviews, photography, labels, brochures, Victorian transportation & sports memorabilia, and all manners of curious, beautiful and interesting old paper. There are over a million items for sale. Free admission & prices as low as 25 cents for a real, vintage postcard.

Any of these SF events strike your fancy? Let us know which events you plan to attend in the comments below or on Facebook & Twitter!