Apple's iPhone, iPad Help Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Rewrite Rules for Customer Service

November 28, 2012

Apple iPads now give the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority personnel access to real-time information previously carried around in hefty paper binders that quickly became outdated. That helps them address exhibitor and show management requests more quickly and streamlines guest services functions.

Five years ago, the MCCA laid the groundwork for its innovative mobile solution through a $9 million investment in an event management system called ShowBiz.

ShowBiz is a custom, open-source software platform developed for MCCA by strategic IT partner Optaros, after the MCCA IT team determined that existing off-the-shelf event management applications fell short of their needs.

The suite of administrative applications closely supports MCCA's business processes. This new system allowed the MCCA to consolidate 36 separate business processes for running shows down to 13.

"We made this investment because we wanted a platform that enabled the delivery of service excellence that no off-the-shelf products could provide," said Mark Michaud, the MCCA’s senior IT director.

He added, "That foundation allows us to take a 'plug and play' approach to adding functionality and capabilities."

ShowBiz's construction made it relatively simple for the MCCA to extend functions to Apple iPads and iPhones with a mobile ecosystem they call MoCCA.

MCCA studied BlackBerrys and Android for its applications prior to settling on Apple iOS because it had the simplest interface and because applications could be made available on iPhones used by the MCCA show service teams and on iPads used by salespeople and event managers. Service personnel use a pool of devices that can be checked-in and checked-out during a given shift.

Mobile devices are being rolled out to the authority's entire organization.

For example, the MCCA sales team can use MoCCA to gather and save information during discussions while walking around the MCCA’s facilities or they can be used to refer to notes or browse floors plans of exhibit space.

MCCA also built an app specifically for the Guest Services Associates who are stationed throughout the facilities greeting and helping attendees. The app is loaded with up-to-date information on area restaurants, bus schedules, what’s happening in the city and much more.

The MCCA also uses MoCCA to gather real-time feedback from attendees during shows, which has increased survey response rates by anywhere from 92 percent to 318 percent, depending on the show.

Future enhancements to ShowBiz and MoCCA include features that will allow MCCA service personnel to fulfill orders and requests directly from conference rooms or from the show floor, without requiring exhibitors to send someone to the event management office.

The ShowBiz mobile suite will also be extended with communications applications. For example, the authority's services team will be alerted about the arrival of a new order. In addition, MCCA is integrating social media channels, such as Twitter so that it can keep tabs on comments that attendees and exhibitors make during events.

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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact