From the Professional Development Trustee – Follow-up to Conference Concerns
Thank you to all conference attendees for your open and honest feedback. We can only improve our conference offerings if you provide insight into what you liked and what you didn’t, and make suggestions for the future. While the comments were overwhelmingly positive, I would like to address the following concerns:
(1) Hotel Wi-Fi
I know we were all challenged by not having good Wi-Fi. Some of the speakers could not complete their sessions the way they planned without internet access. This was frustrating for everyone and something that NAAP has no control over. We have reached out to the hotel in Charleston and told them that our attendees, speakers and exhibitors rely on having good Wi-Fi and it is an expectation of NAAP that we will have no difficulty with this at their hotel. Since the conference in 2019 is actually being held in the Charleston Area Convention Center (connected to the Embassy Suites), they host many, many large events and are well-equipped to handle them.
(2) Expo Pass
Some people had difficulty using the Expo Pass app, whether it was during the account set-up phase or during the actual conference. But we also heard from a lot of people that they enjoyed having access to the conference info/handouts via the app and appreciated NAAP’s venture towards a more paperless approach. We have had several conversations with our rep from Expo Pass and explained some of the struggles you experienced. Some of this may be user error, some from the poor hotel Wi-Fi and some problems may be real glitches in the software than need to be fixed. We will be using Expo Pass again next year and are already working on making the whole process more seamless. If you were not able to access the handouts on Expo Pass, please email me at email@example.com I can email you the handouts you need.
NAAP has no control over which vendors want to participate in our conference. Because we did not have the space for a traditional Exhibit Hall this year, vendors paid a greatly reduced price to attend. In Charleston, there will be the usual separate Exhibit Hall with traditional “pipe and drape” booths so there will be more room for increased numbers of vendors and increased space for attendees to browse and interact. If you have a vendor you would like to see in Charleston, please reach out to them and invite them to contact the NAAP office for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hold up our hands and admit our mistake – we did not advertise the times that registration would be open and this lack of information caused frustration. We also know that the banquet did not start on time as it took more time than anticipated for the hotel to flip the rooms from session space to banquet space. In Charleston the banquet will be held in a complete different space to the breakout session spaces, so this should not be an issue. And the Vendor Spotlight did run long and we are trying to decide how to structure this in the future.
Any of you who have been involved in organizing state conferences must be aware that we can never please everyone! Rooms are always too hot or too cold, someone always dislike the food and someone always has problems with the hotel’s service. This year was no different – but I hope that the majority of you had a good experience with the hotel. Please note that the hotel in Charleston has many restaurants/services within walking distance so there will be a lot more choices available. I have personally visited the hotel twice and was pleased by the options nearby: Starbucks, Panera Bread, Bonefish Grill, La Hacienda Mexican etc. A Tanger Outlet mall, many more restaurants and a Walmart can be found within about a mile of the hotel as well.