How Hospitality Fest 2018 Got GameBuzzed
“People need stimuli. They can’t even stop at a stoplight without checking their phones,” says Howard Wallach, founder and owner of A-Z Entertainment, Ltd. “Everyone’s watching TV with another device, so there’s no such thing as one captivating stimulus anymore.”
Wallach is one of the prime movers behind Hospitality Fest Chicago—the city’s biggest event for hospitality, meeting and event professionals who are always looking for a big idea to make their events more exciting and more memorable.
We had the opportunity to showcase GameBuzz—our digital, interactive, customizable event gaming and educational platform—at Hospitality Fest last month. How’d we do?
An ego-boosting reward
Wallach says, “GameBuzz is ahead of most platforms out there. The magic of trivia games is they capture that instinctive, competitive trait. People like to feel smart and quick. When you reward them with recognition, it’s ego boosting, and who doesn’t want their ego boosted? That’s why people are hungry for likes and shares, right?”
To connect with a Chicago-based Hospitality Fest audience, we packed every GameBuzz game with trivia about the city’s history, geography, sports and music scene. This focus demonstrated that, by customizing its look and content, anyone can make GameBuzz about anything they want.
Judging by the non-stop action at our table—cheering, laughter and high-fives— Hospitality Fest attendees immediately grasped the appeal of GameBuzz for their own events.
“Corporate planners are looking for an angle, something different,” says Wallach, who (full disclosure) is also a top GameBuzz host. “That’s why we decided to bring GameBuzz into Hospitality Fest.”
A life in hospitality
Wallach has a sharp eye for what makes events effective, honed over a decades-long career of keeping crowds entertained.
“I’ve spent most of my adult life in hospitality, as an emcee and a deejay,” he says. “I started producing game shows for corporate events in 1989, building my own props and modeling the games after TV game show challenges. The idea all along was consistent—to personalize content about the company’s products and services.”
He cites a favorite example with an early pioneer of music streaming. “I developed a music trivia game to lure people to their booth, supporting their salespeople to make their pitches more effectively. We didn’t have a famous spokesperson, but I knew how to tailor the music to any particular crowd, to attract them to the booth.
“I’ve always prided myself on staying hip with pop culture and being able to relate to shorter attention spans. I’m succinct, and I pepper in humor to bond authentically with audiences of all sizes.
“What I did not do was take it to the nth degree with interactive technology. I wish I had met the GameBuzz team years ago. The team is astute, alert and hip, and that’s a mighty powerful cocktail.”
As Event Director for StudioNorth, Debbie puts her heart and soul into every event she works on—from planning, to training, to ensuring everything onsite is working together and running smoothly. When she’s not in “event mode” she enjoys shopping, going to plays and taking road trips with her husband on their Harley.