trapped on paperWould it surprise you to learn that the typical convention attendee generates about 20 pounds of trash per day, compared with 4.6 pounds at home? Even more surprising, a majority of that waste is some derivative of paper.

Green or sustainable meetings are not just for extreme environmentalists. They can actually save you time and money while magnifying your profits (through creative use of sponsorship opportunities that are not available in traditional methods).

Today’s blog post will focus on the ways technology can soften the impact on global resources versus the traditional methods of event execution.

Traditional: Paper programs that include speaker bios, agendas, sponsorship information and a space for notes.

If an attendee is at a three- or four-day conference, this information is usually stored in a three-ring binder that can weigh up to 4 pounds. In addition to being bulky and hard to carry, finding something on the fly is nearly impossible.

Technology: All paper is replaced with mobile apps and devices. This opens the door to sponsorship opportunities that are infinite.

Instead of carrying around an awkward binder, how about developing an app that has all program information on it, including social channels for easy posting, speaker videos, a camera, sponsorship information and note taking? You’ll save on hard printing costs, and you can increase revenue by selling ad space on the app.

Traditional: Printed attendee lists.

Exhibitors and sponsors usually want a list of all attendees and will take it in any format available. Several hundred copies are made for large conventions and given out to each exhibitor, speaker and sponsor.

Technology: Attendee lists are maintained on a secure, password-protected cloud-based system.

Not only are paper-based attendee lists resource-intensive but they may also require a lot of printing to ensure all attendees get a copy (and many times, a backup copy!). Managing your meeting from the cloud allows you to have all that data on a secure, backed-up system that is password-protected and permits those with proper credentials to access the information from any point whenever they need it.

Traditional: Printed trade show exhibitor guides and maps on large poster boards.

Have you ever been on a large trade show floor and not known exactly where you are? Or you want to see a particular exhibitor but can’t find the booth? Many attendees have become used to studying the exhibitor guide during breaks, circling desired booths and constantly going back to the poster board to see where each exhibitor is located.

Technology: Digital exhibitor guides and indoor positioning systems.

Apps are available to give attendees up-to-date exhibitor guides on mobile devices. In addition, just like GPS, indoor positioning systems track where attendees are, which exhibitors they should visit based on their profiles and when those booths are in range.

Traditional: Paper surveys that only measure the overall conference experience.

After a three-day conference, the last thing attendees want to fill out is a paper survey about the speakers, hotel and convention amenities. Research states that event organizers are lucky to receive 10 percent of the surveys back. In addition, after all the survey data is compiled, the paper is usually thrown away.

Technology: Audience Response Systems or mobile polling apps.

The beauty of this option is attendees can give conference feedback on the fly. Audience Response Systems are easy to use and anonymous, and they can give you instantaneous feedback about the conference. In addition, speakers and sponsors can use this information to tweak content and respond on a real-time basis.

The same can be true for mobile polling apps. In addition to all the items listed above, some apps offer question templates and the ability to store responses on the cloud.

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Encourages Green Meetings

Whether it’s the practice of reduce, reuse, recycle or the ability to support your technology choices with free Wi-Fi at our locations, Kalahari Resorts & Conventions is a green facility that does our part in supporting state-of-the-art technology offerings and reducing the use of paper. Give one of our experienced group sales reps a call at 855.411.4605 or send us an email at for more information.