About 400 people attended the Business of Software annual conference at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center in Boston from Oct. 28 to Oct. 30. Attendees consisted of entrepreneurs from all over the world that came together to meet with representatives from other startup companies and to learn about the industry. Because Boston is centrally located, it has become a popular city for the conference, which will be holding its fifth conference there in 2014. Wendi Jo Labbie, meeting and event specialist at WJL Consulting, spoke with Prevue about the details of planning the event and what it was like to work with Boston suppliers.
Why did your group choose the Seaport Hotel?
We chose the hotel because of the venue. The amphitheater at the World Trade Center is really amazing. It offers everything that we need there.
How did you incorporate the destination into this specific event?
We offer a walk-around tour of the city in the beginning. A lot of the menus I select are also based around the Boston theme in terms of seafood. One thing I love about Boston is the history and the charm of the city. We really encourage that. The CVB is amazing to work with there, and they go above and beyond as far as assisting with any kinds of maps, encouraging people to go out and walk the city. It always feels very safe there and the people—even the cab drivers—are friendly. It didn’t hurt that we were there when the Red Sox won the World Series because everyone was in a good mood, but it always feels like Boston is a warm area to go to. We also did a complete buyout at The Whiskey Priest pub next door. It is a typical Boston bar, where we can do a lot of networking, and it has great food—lots of fish and seafood.
Did the group participate in any team building activities?
We did one program this year called Lumina Spark. It’s an inspirational and practical personal development in which you fill out a profile. Then, it gives you a background of your personality traits and behavior on how to work with your coworkers. We also had a speaker who was a tech guy like the group of software people. The speaker had ADD and was bipolar; he gave an amazing speech. Of the 400 people, there was not a dry eye in the house. At one point, he asked if anyone in the auditorium knew someone that suffered from [these illnesses], and a lot of people raised their hand for personally experiencing it. It changed the entire atmosphere of the conference. Everyone gave him a standing ovation, which we’ve never gotten before.
What was it like to work with the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau and other suppliers in the area?
Personally, I’ve never had a relationship with a CVB like I’ve had with Boston. They respond quickly. They send me updates throughout the year. While I was in town for this event, I looked at another hotel for 2015, and two gals from the office met me over there, which they didn’t need to do. They have made me feel like I’m special, like I’m the only conference in the whole world. I’ve never felt like that with any other CVB.
What was the reaction of the attendees?
They love Boston. We’ve surveyed them before and Boston is always the No. 1. I think it’s because of the location because we have so many international attendees.