CHS Birmingham chose RefTech to provide online registration and onsite services at the ICC, Birmingham. They used our entire event registration and badging system to create a seamless and smooth end to end experience for all attendees, whilst helping to simplify the lives of the show team.

Technology solutions for event management

CHS Birmingham is an annual event taking place in November at the ICC Birmingham. It is an exhibition and conference bringing together regional event organisers and PAs to learn, network and source the venues and suppliers they need to create business events. It is attended by more than 1000 buyers and exhibitors. The CHS team has been working in partnership with RefTech for 6 years to provide registration and badging for the event.

The Challenges

The CHS team wanted to look at ways our systems could ramp up attendee engagement (visitor and exhibitor) before and during the show, and in so doing achieve an enhanced event experience for exhibitors and visitors alike. The CHS team also wanted to streamline their processes and automate tasks and actions to make their own lives as organisers a bit easier.

CHS Birmingham has multiple attendee types visitors, hosted buyers, VIP buyers, exhibitors, speakers and group recruiters and each type has different needs and requirements in the run up to the event and whilst onsite. This meant that the system had to be adaptable and flexible enough to cater for the exact needs of each of these attendee types.

Reliability on the day was also very important. The registration system had to work if the venue Wi Fi went down, and it also needed to offer flexibility to deploy scanning points around the building to capture data as visitors moved around the event.

"Another challenge was we have many fringe events taking place around our event. Strategic partners held lunches, brunches and meetings, so we needed to find a simple and personalised way to ensure buyers knew exactly which events they were attending and where each one was located."
said Julie Phillips, COO of CHS Birmingham.

Our task was to use our technology to:

  1. Increase engagement before and during the event.
  2. Deliver an enhanced and personalised event experience for attendees and exhibitors.
  3. Streamline processes.
  4. Automate tasks and actions.
  5. Manage exact needs of multiple attendee types. before and during the event.
  6. Seamlessly capture visitor data around the event.

CHS Birmingham adopted the complete RefTech registration, badging and scanning system, designed to provide a seamless and simple end to end show experience for visitors and exhibitors with minimum work from the show organisers.

For CHS, the features and functions of the RefTech registration system that specifically delivered their objectives included:

  1. Staffed onsite registration
  2. An exhibitor portal
  3. A recruiter portal
  4. A hosted buyer diary system
  5. LeadReference lead retrieval
  6. The EventReference event app
  7. Fast Track entry
  8. The Smart visitor invite
  9. ScanPods

How did these solutions benefit EXHIBITORS?

Exhibitor Portal
LeadReference Lead Retrievel Tool
Colour Coded Badges and Lanyards

Exhibitor Benefits

The Exhibitor Portal is a tailored platform that holds all the essential information exhibitors need in one easy to use place, giving them complete control over the exhibitor process. The system enabled exhibitors to order staff badges, invite customers, request access to the badge scanner app, and download graphics for emails and social media. It also included a schedule and tick lists to ensure every action was completed.

"I organise our exhibition stands for a number of events and I found the CHS exhibitor portal very simple and easy to navigate They’d included all the relevant details about timings, the venue and suppliers in one place, and I found it really useful to be able to work through the checklist to ensure we'd done everything we needed before the big day."
said Jemma Senior, Marketing Executive for The Venues Collection.

Results and Impact:

Exhibitors also benefited from using the LeadReference lead retrieval tool. This tool enabled them to order a licence and then to download the software onto their own phone. Exhibitors set up predefined questions to collect relevant visitor data that was then collated with the information gleaned from the scanned badge. The system works whether or not the phone is connected to the Wi Fi; the data is collected and stored on the phone until it is back on the Wi Fi and can synchronise with the central registration database.

"The lead scanner was very simple to use and worked really well. It was easy to use on the day and very quick and easy to retrieve the data after the event so we could swiftly follow up."
comments Senior

Each type of attendee had a different colour coded badge enabling exhibitors to easily identify visitor types from a distance.

How did these solutions benefit VISITORS?

Fast Track Entry
EventReference Event App
Hosted Buyer Diary System
Recruiter Portal
Personalised Lunch Programme
Sustainable Badge Production

Visitor Benefits

Once registered, the visitor received a pass with a barcode they stored in their phone's wallet that was automatically activated when they came within a mile of the venue. Once at the show, the pass was used to gain entry via the 'Fast Track' scanning entry points that automatically printed their badge.

The EventReference event app provided visitors, speakers and exhibitors with the latest show information in a simple, easy to read and quick to download format. It also contained an interactive floor plan and searchable exhibitor list, speaker details and conference sessions.

Hosted and VIP buyers were supplied with a simple to use hosted buyer diary system in order to make appointments with the exhibitors of their choice, at a time to suit them. Over 950 appointments were made between buyers and exhibitors over the day enabling everyone to be organised and maximise their time at the event.

CHS has a number of buyer recruiters who invite and manage their own group of buyers. Each recruiter was granted access to the 'Recruiter Portal' and had their own URL to send to their invitees in order to track the acceptance of their invitation and then manage the relationship.

Certain buyers were invited to a choice of two lunch events so the details, time and location for the particular lunch for each buyer were printed on their badge. Each badge was a single print butterfly badge thus negating the need for plastic wallets and assisting with the show's sustainability credentials.

"The bespoke badge printing gave us the perfect way of ensuring each of the buyers attending our 'Destination Connection' events knew exactly where they were supposed to be and when it eliminated confusion and another layer of communication on the day,"
said Phillips.

How did these solutions benefit the SHOW ORGANISER?

The CHS show team really appreciated the fully integrated and seamless end to end solution; it streamlined their workload by managing and automating many of the touchpoints between the team and their multiple attendee types. It was flexible and adaptable and truly enhanced the pre event and onsite exhibitor and visitor experience.

Show Organiser Benefits

One of the key benefits to the organising team was the 'Smart' invite. This invite was sent to past visitors and was customisable so all the visitor had to do was update or accept their personal details and then register.

The other key benefit was the RefTech ScanPods a self contained unit that enables visitors to self scan their badges on entry to an event, and at key check points such as entry to seminars. These were placed in six key places around the show in order to collect visitor data or restrict access to invite only events. Three of the pods were positioned by the seminar sessions to collect attendee data for each session, one was used to confirm or deny access to the Destination Connection brunch and lunch events, and two were used to control access to the buyer lunch on the balcony overlooking the show.

"We are a small organising team, so having the ScanPods at key points freed up our team to focus on other aspects of the event, whilst the pods collected the visitor and exhibitor data we needed."
comments Phillips.

"Each ScanPod was individually programmed according to the events each buyer could attend and ensured they accessed the events they had been verified to attend."


"We adore working with the RefTech team. They are a true partner who really work with us to understand our needs and help us to achieve our goals. They have provided us with a seamless end to end system that encompasses both the onsite and offsite processes. The systems they provide are really powerful but incredibly user friendly. Their customer service is impeccable and the team can't help enough. We have a fantastic relationship with them and we are already working with them for our 2023 series of events."
Julie Phillips, COO of CHS Birmingham