From December 9-11, 2019 Intuit QuickBooks welcomed more than 2,000 delegates at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for its third-annual conference and tradeshow, QuickBooks Connect.
QuickBooks Connect was planned by Rachel Klar, senior event manager, at Intuit QuickBooks and her small team with the goal of making the interactive event one that inspires, educates, and connects accountants, small businesses, self-employed individuals, and developers and fuels their business success.
Guests were immediately immersed in the event with the high-impact branding and visual elements.
“The green colour plays a huge role as it’s part of our branding guidelines,” Klar explained. “When we look at the event, each year we try to change up design elements of what we do. The escalator was a key part because we knew we could leverage multiple floors of the MTCC. We wanted it to be a main focal point and wow-factor when they first entered the facility. Giving that bright pop of colour, it really elevated our theme and we made sure it was present throughout the entire event.”
Klar said the three-day event was full of information, insights, and thought-provoking content on numerous topics, especially in the plenary area. In fact, Klar said the speakers were part of the reason the event starting trending on Twitter.
“Our audience and our attendees are quite engaged with our platform and products,” Klar explained. “And we found with the combination of keynote speakers — and they were some of the top-rated speakers globally — and activations, that helped supported us trending. We also had a number of networking and mentorship opportunities and we found based on what people were learning, they felt they could share it online which also helped us on Twitter.”
One major thing that Klar and her team changed this year was the catering options available to delegates. Instead of having a buffet line, they offered grab and go meals. And instead of the usual spread, they made sure to be conscious of and offer many trendy dietary restrictions.
“Basically we’ve done a buffet for this event and that can take quite a bit of time for attendees to get through because they’re selecting portion sizes,” she said. “So this year, with grab and go, we pre-selected the portion sizes for attendees, so as people went through the line, they could pick and choose what they wanted and could grab something quickly as opposed to waiting at a carving station and piling mashed potatoes on their plates. It took 20 minutes to get 2,000 people through the line, so that was really efficient for us.
“We also made sure to offer a very inclusive menu. And I do like to highlight this because it separates us from other events. We looked at all of the menu items and made sure there was something for everyone on a single grab and go station. So whether someone was vegan, gluten-free, paleo, keto –any type of dietary restriction — they were able to select something on the buffet. The feedback we got from attendees about the food was overwhelmingly positive as well because they felt they could choose what they wanted and it was a seamless experience.”
A delegate favourite of the event was ConnectFest — QuickBooks Connect’s night event that mimics music festival vibes.
“Think of it as a version of Coachella, but within the walls of a convention centre. So we took the vibes of a music festival and translated it into an evening celebration event that would bring our attendees together in a relaxed format. It gave a lot of opportunity for networking, and a place to relax from all of the overwhelming content from earlier in the day. Attendees loved this event and being able to come together and have a fun evening.”
The highest-rated feature at the show according to Klar, was called the Small Business Bazaar section on the tradeshow floor.
“We leveraged eight of our small business customers and brought them on-site to sell their products on the tradeshow floor,” she explained. “We gave all our attendees tokens with a specific value that they could use to purchase products in the bazaar. What we found was that our customers were over the moon because it showed them how we supported them, and our attendees loved that the bazaar gave them the opportunity to buy something that they wanted. So instead of them walking away with yet another branded water bottle, for example, it gave them the choice to buy something they really wanted and needed at the show.”
The results were outstanding, said Klar. Each of the vendors doubled their sales beyond the tokens, as attendees continued to buy products even if they ran out of tokens.
What can delegates look forward to next year? According to Klar, bigger and better things!
“Every year we try to be bigger and better than the last,” she said. “Our attendance has grown every year as well, so growing is something we will continue to look at doing. Making sure that the experience is thoughtful so that we can take into consideration customer feedback, and understand what the goals of our customers are to enhance the event going forward is also very important to us.”
Planning by: Intuit QuickBooks
Submitted by: Rachel Klar, senior event manager at Intuit QuickBooks
Event: QuickBooks Connect
Venue: Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Activations and Decor
Décor & More
Sole Power Productions
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Mainstage and Audio/Visual
Exhibit Hall/Sponsor Booths/Small Business Bazaar/QuickBooks Booth
Registration and Mobile App Provider