Oliver Kinross, organisers of construction event London Build, recently announced that the November event would feature a LinkedIn-powered networking lounge for attendees. EN caught up with managing director Neil Mckenzie to learn more.
Where did the idea come from?
In recent years LinkedIn’s platform has grown rapidly and become an essential business tool for our clients.
It’s really interesting to think that even as a tech giant, LinkedIn shares striking similarities to the events industry – we both facilitate business networking. LinkedIn facilitates it through its online platform, whereas the exhibition industry facilitates it face-to-face.
LinkedIn’s latest solutions now tailor for user networking that extends beyond online communications. LinkedIn have recently launched various new features aimed at assisting event organisers and facilitating face-to-face networking among its members. For instance, LinkedIn have announced the launch of a new LinkedIn Events feature which enables members to create and join professional events (this feature is currently in beta phase). Plus, they are promoting to event organisers a feature where attendees can stay in contact after an event by scanning QR codes on their mobile app to connect on LinkedIn.
At Oliver Kinross we take the view that if a formidable organisation like LinkedIn wants to support our industry, then we should reach out to them with open arms. We therefore approached LinkedIn to get the green light to run LinkedIn networking lounges at our events.
How will it work?
The LinkedIn networking lounge is the first ever initiative of its kind and enables attendees to network and to make new contacts offline at a live event, whilst simultaneously building their online network through LinkedIn.
In the LinkedIn networking lounge attendees will network whilst using the LinkedIn app on their mobile to scan each others LinkedIn QR codes to connect. There will be a timetable of Speed Networking events as well as various other networking activities and entertainment.
Oliver Kinross organise construction exhibitions and on the walls of the LinkedIn networking lounge will be a ‘Humans of Construction’ art gallery. This will feature photos of all the exhibitors and speakers at the event. Plus, photos of up to 1,000 of the most influential professionals working in the construction industry. Beneath each photo will be interesting snippets from their life-story (written by them) and their LinkedIn QR code for attendees to scan.
LinkedIn QR code helps people turn their offline conversations into online connections. We’re excited to have thousands of attendees visit the LinkedIn Networking Lounge at London Build. We hope this is going to help people stay connected after the show and continue having conversations on LinkedIn – Alice Xiong, product lead for search & discovery at LinkedIn
What are the benefits compared to other networking tools?
All too often attendees network at events but don’t stay in touch afterwards. Conversely, it can be easier than ever for business professionals to make connections online with people they’ve never met, but they then keep the conversation online and they miss out on the benefits of face-to-face relationship building.
We believe our events offer the very best face-to-face networking opportunities in the world (well we would say that wouldn’t we!) and LinkedIn is undoubtedly the market leader in online networking. Therefore by embedding LinkedIn into our events we’re looking to provide our attendees with the very best 365 day a year networking experience that bridges the divide between offline and online networking.
What has been the feedback since you announced it?
We’ve announced the launch of LinkedIn networking lounges for two of our events so far. The feedback in our research campaign and the number of people requesting information through our websites has been very promising. The type of feedback we are getting from people is that they will definitely attend and that they think this could be the way forward for business networking.
We aren’t giving any guarantees on how well we can make this work as it’s just a trial at this stage. All we can promise is we will do our best to make it fruitful for both exhibitors and attendees of our events. Wish us luck!