NextME Waitlist App - Top CRM Consultants in Chicago by Clutch

NextME Featured on Clutch’s 2019 Top CRM Consultant Report

Clutch Top CRM Consultants 2019 NextME Waitlist App

NextME Appointment Waitlist App Wins Top Honors from Clutch

NextME is the ultimate solution for helping various businesses, event organizers, exhibitors, and restaurants effectively manage their appointments and waitlists while improving efficiency and customer satisfaction. As technology develops, virtual solutions are being used more frequently as a method to manage customer relations, which includes managing a queue if you’re an appointment-based business. Due to our success in improving appointment and waitlist management across industries, we have earned a Clutch award for being one of the top CRM consultants in Chicago.

Located in Washington, DC, Clutch is a ratings and reviews startup dedicated to B2B service firms. Since 2013, Clutch’s platform has connected thousands of prospective buyers with service providers for their business needs. By carefully analyzing industry data and conducting their signature client interviews, the Clutch analysts are able to rank and rate the top companies in a variety of industries. We are very grateful to NextME’s clients for taking the time to participate in the interview process. 

Along with our rating on the main Clutch page, we have been featured on The Manifest and Visual Objects, sister-sites of Clutch. The Manifest is a business news platform featuring how-to guides, state of tech news and industry rankings. We can be found listed among the top CRM consultants on The Manifest. Visual Objects is designed to highlight the work of a wide variety of creative agencies ranging from advertisers to software developers. Each Clutch listing offers buyers a unique look into what we can offer to clients. 

We are thrilled to have been selected for these awards. Going forward, we hope to grow our client base and expand our brand. If your business could use help optimizing your appointment and waitlist operations, let’s get in touch today! 

 


Why All Event Organizers Should Use An Appointment Waitlist App - NextME

Why All Event Organizers Should Be Using An Appointment Waitlist Platform

Nobody likes to wait. This is even more true in today’s fast-paced, on-demand society. But waiting is made so much less annoying when you’re given accurate information and kept informed. This is just one of the benefits a waitlist platform can provide for attendees at your next big event. 

Waitlist platforms like NextME are an increasingly popular way for businesses to handle a queue of customers. From restaurants to healthcare clinics to conferences and industry events, this simple to use technology is taking the sting out of waiting. 

And waitlist technology is making things easier on the exhibitor’s end too. It’s taking care of back end tasks like collecting customer data and keeping track of appointments. 

Read on to find out why an appointment waitlist platform is a win/win solution that every event organizer should be using.

Why Appointment Management is Important for Events and Conferences

Greater Exhibitor Retention – Waitlist solutions like NextME allow your exhibitors to properly manage appointments and visitors during events. This leads to greater retention of exhibitors from one event to the next. 

Let’s face it. Your exhibitors are investing a lot of capital to be a part of your event. And they want to ensure they’ll get a good ROI for this investment. The most valuable commodity they’re after? Qualified leads. If you can provide them with the ability to easily capture and qualify potential leads, you’ll see exhibitors come back year after year. 

Providing NextME to your exhibitors is a great way to do this. In fact, this appointment and waitlist platform has been proven to improve lead retention rates by up to 35%. And it’s been tried and tested by the big boys like GE Appliances, who were able to capture more leads and close more sales than in prior events.  

Greater Attendee Retention – Just like exhibitors, you want to entice your attendees to return for future events. A solution like NextME presents a seamless and user-friendly face to visitors at each booth of your event. If they can spend their time networking, browsing, and learning rather than standing in line, they’ll feel like it was time well spent. 

At BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience, NextME was deployed to great effect. As attendees waited to test drive the car of their choice, the chaos of this packed event was effectively managed with this waitlist platform. It allowed for quicker turnarounds so that visitors could participate more fully and test more cars. At all 16 of these events across the country, this lead to enhanced attendee experiences and positive responses. 

"This appointment and waitlist platform has been proven to improve lead retention rates by up to 35%"

The Benefit of Using a Platform that Offers Waitlist and Appointment Management

So why NextME? Why not just combine a basic appointment software with a simple waitlist? Or even just use an old school appointment book? 

Many event exhibitors have found that setting appointments at an event can actually hurt their bottom line when visitors don’t show up. They may have booked a full day of appointments and brought the appropriate staff only to find that half of the visitors have changed their minds or found other things to do. Staff is left twiddling their thumbs waiting for people who are not coming. And booths are less busy, and consequently less profitable, than they expected. 

It’s similar to the no show problem restaurants have faced for years using reservation systems like OpenTable. Since NextME was originally designed for the restaurant industry, our platform was created with this difficulty in mind. 

NextME offers a combined “appointment waitlist” where people can get a priority spot for a specific appointment time but the expectations are that they still may have to wait. 

With a simple text message, just before their appointment attendees can let booth operators know if they’re still planning to keep their appointment. If so, they are prompted to return to the booth as they’re soon to be next in line. If not, the waitlist is moved forward accordingly and the day progresses smoothly. Staff stays busy, booths stay active, and exhibitors and attendees alike don’t have to waste their time waiting. 

So before your next big event, why not give NextME a call? We’d love to show you how our platform can fit into your plans seamlessly.


8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

8 Great Examples of Experiential Marketing

How Top Brands Use Experiential Marketing

It seems that everywhere we go today, we’re bombarded by advertising. For many, this means traditional means of marketing a product are less effective. They fade into the background as just so much white noise. So how can a company get their message noticed in this increasingly competitive space?

Enter experiential marketing.

What is Experiential Marketing?

8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Parker Design Consultants

While you may only be encountering this term recently, it’s likely that you’ve seen experiential marketing many times. Marketing booths at fairgrounds and conferences, car shows, and sample booths are all common examples that have been around for decades.

Experiential marketing is marketing in the real world, in ways that grab the attention more than your typical ad ever could. The methods and specifics are as varied as the products and companies using this technique, but they all have one thing in common. It means interacting directly with your target market and creating memorable experiences, no matter how small or how large.

Why is Experiential Marketing Important?

In today’s increasingly crowded marketplace, smart brands are stepping up their game. Those who pay attention are learning that the best way to capture attention is to stand out from the commonplace. It’s not enough to just hand out a sample or a sales pitch. Instead, marketers must create experiences that people will both remember and talk about.

The best examples of this are those events and experiences that go viral. In addition to reaching people in real time, you also get your message in front of their social networks when they share their experience. In effect, each person reached directly becomes a brand ambassador, spreading your message for you. It’s the kind of reach many brands couldn’t afford to buy, but with a little creativity, it can be created.

How Your Brand Can Use Experiential Marketing

So how do you incorporate this into your brand strategy? The most important thing to remember is that the experience should be unique, and should be intimately tied with your product or message. Here are a few memorable examples to help get your creative juices flowing.

BMW’s Ultimate Driving Experience

BMWs Ultimate Driving Experience - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of BMW

What’s the best way to market cars? The test drive. It’s a tried and true method that dealerships have been using for as long as we can remember. But many times, people don’t go test drive a car until they’re pretty sure they want to purchase it. So how does a manufacturer use test driving to get new customers who are not already considering their vehicles? BMW has found a way.

The Ultimate Driving Experience is open to the public at race tracks across the country. But this is not your typical test drive. Rather than cruising comfortably through city streets or suburban neighborhoods, this experience lets you drive in ways you never have before. Spend two hours with professional driving instructors and get behind the wheel of a BMW 3 Series in their Autocross. M Car Control gets you access to a full day with driving coaches, slalom courses, and high-speed skids. The xDrive Experience is a cross between a driving course and a roller coaster, as you take the X5 and X7 through a specially designed course. And for those looking for a tamer experience, there are street drives and even a teen driving school program.

Doc McStuffin Check-up Campaign

When Disney Jr. was looking for a way to market the Doc McStuffin program to their young audience, they knew they wanted an out-of-the-box idea. The show is about a six-year-old girl who has created a health clinic for broken and ailing toys. What better way to promote this than by allowing kids to take on the role of toy doctor themselves?

At retail stores across the UK, a Doc McStuffin’s check up clinic allowed for just that. Big Ted, a larger than life teddy bear, was sick. And little ones could help diagnose and treat him. First, in the waiting room, kids got to watch clips from the show, and get creative with coloring pages and puzzles. Then came doctor training, where kids learned how to give a teddy bear check-up. Once they passed their exams, they got to take home a certificate and a “Doc Is In The House” door hanger to help them set up their own backyard clinics!

Inc. Founders House at SXSW

Inc. is a magazine and website catering to entrepreneurs and small business owners. When they wanted to spread brand awareness at SXSW, they came up with a useful and fun idea. The Inc Founders House is a “one-of-a-kind founders-only space for the extraordinary people starting, running, and growing businesses.”

Inc Founders House SXSW - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Inc. Media

During the festival, the Founders House hosts invite-only happy hours and speakers who can help the next wave of entrepreneurs get their projects off the ground. They’ve chosen some of the most influential founders to bring their own personal brands of inspiration to those who can benefit from them most. And the movement continues throughout the year with the Founders Project, which pairs top-notch founder mentors with up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Harry’s Bartershop

Online subscription clubs are huge right now. They’re a great way for brands to cut out the middle man and send their products directly to consumers. And the subscription concept virtually assures repeat business. What’s not to love? For Harry’s, a shaving subscription service, the difficult thing can be to get consumers to give up their tried and tested brand and make the switch.

Their solution? Harry’s Bartershop. (Yes, you read that right.) This pop-up shop in NYC allowed consumers to barter one overpriced brand name blade for two (or more) of Harry’s. The pop-up store was designed to look like a typical home bathroom, complete with bathtub, toilet, and vanity. But inside that vanity mirror awaits the staff, ready to help consumers trade in their old razors for new ones, and experience the quality and comfort of Harry’s products.

Did You Mean MailChimp?

Sometimes it can be hard for people to find your brand once they’ve seen your marketing. No matter how many times you repeat your business name, there will still be some folks who mishear it. And still others will be thwarted by typos and autocorrect fails. MailChimp has decided to take this problem and turn it into fun marketing for their brand.

They’ve created several brand sites: FailChips, MaleCrimp, NailChamp, WhaleSynth, VeilHymn, and SnailPrimp. Then there were the attention-grabbing short films, like MailShrimp, KaleLimp, and JailBlimp. It’s all part of their “Did You Mean” campaign. And it’s an incredibly memorable way to get their real name in front of new eyes. So whether you want to go behind the scenes on a music video shoot or vote for the best new trends in nail art, you’ll be directed back to the MailChimp site to learn more about their marketing platform.

Nivea Bubble Billboards

A fresh sheet of bubble wrap is hard to resist. The feeling of popping those little plastic pillows is unlike almost any other. Likewise, blowing soap bubbles is the sort of innocent fun that most people associate with happy childhood memories. What brand wouldn’t want their name associated with these sorts of activities?

Nivea found a way to make this association a reality with a new billboard campaign that has plenty of people talking. First is the giant “Reduce the bumps” billboard that’s covered with bubble wrap. It invites passers-by to pop to their heart’s content. Next they created a billboard with the tagline “Oxygen is a wonderful thing” that actually blows bubbles from a giant Nivea bottle.

Nutanix’s .NEXT Conference Tech Lab

Want the ultimate experiential marketing option? Instead of presenting your product at some industry conference, why not create your own? One tech brand has opted to do just that.

Nutanix Next Conference - 8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

Photo Courtesy of Nutanix Inc.

The .NEXT Conference is an annual event sponsored by tech company Nutanix. More than just a brand spotlight, this full-fledged event is designed to help global IT leaders learn about the latest and greatest developments in data center and cloud tech. A key feature of the conference is the ability for attendees to get a first-hand look at the latest Nutanix products. There are also plenty of speakers, training and certifications, and hands-on labs too.

SYFY Karaoke Bus at Comic-Con

Comic-Con is probably the biggest pop-culture and geek gathering in the country. Every year fans and creators alike descend on San Diego for four days of fun and revelry. And if you’re in the comics, video game, fantasy, or sci-fi entertainment business, you definitely want to be there to reach your target audience.

The SYFY channel has found a fun and fantastic way to be a part of the festivities. They’ve created karaoke bus tours featuring the actors from their show “The Magicians”. On this slow-rolling double-decker bus, you can sing along with your favorite tunes and serenade onlookers. As if that wasn’t enough fun for one convention, they also employed a NOLA style marching band. And finally, they created a geek wedding chapel where couples were united in legally binding bliss by none other than Orlando Jones. It was all designed to celebrate the network’s 25th anniversary in true Comic-Con style.

Why Proper Waitlist Management is Crucial to Experiential Marketing

8 Great Examples Experiential Marketing NextME Waitlist App

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how amazing your concept is if it’s not well executed and well managed. And a good experiential marketing concept is bound to draw crowds, so you’ll need to be prepared for them. Long lines and unclear wait times are likely to chase potential customers away before they have the chance to interact with your brand. Instead, utilize a waitlist management solution, like NextME, to keep things moving efficiently and keep visitors happy and engaged as they wait.

NextME has played a big part in the success of several of the examples above. When BMW needed to manage the crowds at 16 different events in 16 cities across the country, NextME stepped up with a standardized tool to ensure quicker turnarounds at each location. When the .Next conference needed to manage the lines waiting to engage with their Hands-On Lab, NextME’s mobile guest engagement platform helped them increase brand awareness. And when the Karaoke busses at Comic-Con wanted a quick and easy way for attendees to digitally reserve their spot on the singalong tour, NextME allowed them to do just that.

As you’re planning your experiential marketing strategies, don’t forget that you’ll need a way to keep waiting guests happy. Contact NextME to discuss how this fully customizable solution can work for your brand strategy.


Do Restaurants Win or Lose when Review Sites Manage their Waitlists?

Diner Review Sites and Waitlist Management - The Inherent Conflict of Interest

Diner Review Sites Waitlist Management NextME Yelp

Photo Courtesy of Twilio

With the introduction of ‘Jump Into Line’ and other features, Yelp is making waves in the restaurant waitlist market. Since it’s a big name that most everyone knows, many diners are jumping on board but restaurant operators have been feeling wary of implementing Yelp’s new features. Yelp’s acquisition of NoWait in March of 2017 brought them a large number of restaurant clients who may not necessarily approve of Yelp’s service or practices. Although using one platform for everything - from waitlist management and operations to diner reviews - seems like a good idea, we began to wonder… Who really wins and loses when a diner review site starts managing a restaurant’s waitlist?

Having easy access to a review platform and the ability to book a reservation is a win for consumers - we aren’t here to debate this fact. But what about the conflict of interest this creates for businesses? Based on our research and the opinions of some industry experts, it’s clear that there must be a compromise solution that provides a great experience for customers without being detrimental to restaurant operations and brand perception. It seems a number of restaurants aren’t happy with the platform and are looking for alternatives. Here’s why...

Sending diners to a review site while waiting in line can increase negative reviews

We all know that there are certain times we can expect a crowd at our favorite restaurants. But that doesn’t mean we don’t hate waiting. If you’re using a review app to manage your restaurant’s waitlist, you’re sending people to a review site at the exact moment they’re most likely to be annoyed by having to wait.  

According to The Street, two of the top restaurant complaints are an unexplained wait and slow service. Review sites like Yelp are trying to sell restaurateurs on a system that would recommend customers post a review while they’re waiting for a seat. Common sense says this is a bad idea. And yet, many restaurants are turning to this review site to manage their wait lists.

Wouldn’t you rather have a simple and effective waitlist solution that allows you to control the content your waiting customers are given? NextME allows you to do just that. With this easy-to-use app, you can send your guests to a page that gives them information and entertainment, rather than asking them for reviews. Your guests can explore the menu, learn about current specials, and interact with social media. So their wait time will seem shorter and they’ll be ready to order by the time they’re seated. The best part about NextME is that diners DO NOT have to download a mobile app.

Review sites build features that benefit diners, not necessarily restaurants

At first, Yelp’s ‘Jump Into Line’ feature may seem like a good idea. Customers can get their names on your list remotely, so they’ll have less wait time when they arrive. Great, right?

What about when large parties jump in? And how can your host or hostess quote accurate times when they don’t know who may be jumping in? There are a number of reasons this feature may not be a good fit for every restaurant.

But review sites like Yelp has now made it mandatory for restaurants to use their 'Jump Into Line Remotely' feature. Don’t like it? Tough. You’re stuck with it.

NextME, by contrast, allows you to opt-in for only the features you actually want. Our system has launched a similar feature to allow guests to put their names on the list remotely, but you won’t be stuck with it if it doesn’t work for you. Instead, you’ll get to try it out, see if you like it, and if not, simply turn this optional feature off. With NextME, you maintain control over what features are offered to guests, to help you create the most efficient and useful system for your needs.

Review sites are overpriced compared to apps that specialize only in waitlist management

We all know margins in the restaurant industry are notoriously thin. Managing the money to keep your head above water can be a challenge during slow periods. So why would you want to pay big money for a system that doesn’t even work well for you?

Review apps like Yelp, are highly overpriced compared to other apps that specialize only in waitlist management. Yelp just increased its price from $100 per month to $300 per month. That’s $300 out of your budget each and every month. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money elsewhere?

By contrast, NextME's paid plans start at $29.99 per month, and we even have a free option for those who are just starting out or who don’t need our more in-depth features.

So you can spend your money on a big name, hoping you can make your restaurant fit into their system. Or you can spend way less for a top-notch system that is customizable to fit your needs. The choice is yours.

All review sites require diners to download a separate app to check their places in line

Some guests are more than happy to download and store dozens of apps on their phone, no matter how frequently they may use them in the future. But more often, convincing a guest to use precious space on their phone is a challenge. And for others, they just don’t want to be forced into downloading something that they’re not sure will be of benefit.

All review sites require diners to download a separate app to use the waitlist feature. So your restaurant winds up having to sell diners on someone else’s business. And if they don’t buy in you’re forced to manage their wait on your own, separate from others who have the app installed. This is inefficient and inhospitable to new guests.

One of the major benefits of NextME is that our system doesn't require, or even request, a download. Instead, we’ll simply text a link to waiting diners, and they can then view content on a web page you’ve designed. Your host stand will have the app, guests will have a seamless experience directed through the web browser of their choice. What could be simpler?

The bottom line...

You want to entertain and inform, not beg for reviews from annoyed guests. You want to maintain control over your business and use only the features that actually work for you. You want to keep costs low and features high. And you want a solution that doesn’t require guests to download yet another app they don’t actually want.

NextME offers all this and more. Why not schedule a demo today to see how our waitlist solution can work for you?


How to Plan Great Gaming Events by NextME Waitlist App

How to Plan Great Gaming Events

How to Plan Great Gaming Events by NextME Waitlist App

Tips for Planning Amazing Gaming Events and Conferences

PAX. Playthrough. London Games Festival. E3. Gamescom. Tokyo Game Show. BlizzCon. MineCon. HaloFest.

What do all of these gaming events have in common? Crowds. More specifically, a need to manage the masses of people seamlessly.

If you've ever been to a gaming event, you probably understand the frustration. You don't want to lose your place in line, but you don't want to have to stand around all day waiting either. There are a million things to do and see, and you have to divide your time well if you plan to get to all the essential ones.

If you're running one of these mega cons, or even a smaller, local gaming event, it's a big problem. You want the whole experience to run smoothly, and you want to keep your gamers happy. Fortunately, we have a few tips to help you manage your next gaming event seamlessly.

Build a Community Before the Event Starts

How to Plan Great Gaming Events by NextME Waitlist App

It’s easy to think that a gaming event is all about the game. But here’s an inside secret: it’s all about the community.

Gamers can play their favorite games in the comfort of their own homes. They don’t even have to put on pants to do so. So what’s the point of getting dressed, going out, and attending a live gaming event?

The biggest draw is the opportunity to bump elbows with fellow gamers.

So how do you build a community during your event? You can’t. The community has to start before you ever open the doors to your event.

In the days, weeks, and months leading up to your event, it’s time to step up your social game. Use social media, gaming sites, twitch.tv, and other online options to engage with the players who will be attending. But more importantly, give them the opportunity to engage with one another.

Rivalries, alliances, and networking can only happen if you lay the groundwork. And they’re essential for a noteworthy gaming event.

Allow Attendees to Plan Their Time

How to Plan Great Gaming Events by NextME Waitlist App

The devil’s in the details, right? Well, better get busy nailing him down.

Sure, you could wait until the last minute to plan out the schedule, map out your space, and get on top of those nagging details. But you’d be missing a huge opportunity.

Want to build buzz? Release as many concrete details as you can. Let your gaming community plan out their time at your event weeks in advance. Let them know what your tournament schedule is going to look like. Give them details on everything that’s going to be happening on the day. Tell them about sponsors, vendors, giveaways, even what foods are available onsite and nearby.

In short, give them lots to think about and lots to talk about. They’ll thank you for it by sharing their excitement with friends and fellow players.

Manage Waitlists and Times Without the Tether

At any decently-sized event, there’s going to be waiting time. It’s pretty much inevitable. There will be lines for check-in, lines for panels, lines for booths. The last thing your attendees want to do is stand in line.

Fortunately, there’s a better option. Using a service like NextME allows your gamers the freedom to wander around while they wait. They can go browse vendor booths, grab a snack, or cheer on their friends who are playing elsewhere.

Once they check in for a tournament or booth, they’ll receive a quick text message with a link. There’s no app for visitors to download. They’ll click through to a browser-based page where they can watch their place in line from anywhere inside or outside your venue. When it’s almost their turn, they’ll get another text alerting them to come back. And they can accept or decline if they’ve changed their mind.

And since you get to control what waiting gamers see when they click, you can use the space however you want. Send them to your social media pages to help spread the word about how amazing your event is. Advertise the after-hours party going on down the street tonight. Direct them to visit your site or to engage with your sponsors.

But one thing you won’t have to do? Make them stand in physical lines.

Follow-up to Build an Audience for Your Next Event

How to Plan Great Gaming Events by NextME Waitlist App

Once your event is wrapping up and you’re getting ready to close the doors, it would be easy to think you deserve a break. But if you plan to host future events, you can’t afford to lose the buzz and energy you’ve spent all this time building!

Before the end of this event, start hyping the next one. Ideally, you should already have the dates, times, and venue nailed down. Offer a pre-registration or at least let attendees sign up to receive updates as the details become available.

Then, follow up. Ask for feedback, and then actually listen. Keep your community strong with online events or giveaways. Don’t let a month go by without communicating with your audience.

It’s a whole lot easier to maintain the connections that you’ve worked so hard to make than it is to create new ones. Keep expectations high and send out buzz-worthy messages. You can expect your fans will share their experience and their enthusiasm with others too!


NextME Notches Top Honors on Clutch.co!

Clutch Ranks NextME #3 Mobile Marketer in Chicago

The future of digitization, information technology, and better business lies with us. At NextME, we specialize in leveraging data and technology to predict peak wait times for businesses. We’ve also developed a unique online storefront for each business to help them create unforgettable guest experiences during dreaded wait times, which brings about improved customer satisfaction and overall customer retention. Through our exceptional consulting, optimization, and digital skills, our team has garnered recognition as one of the IT world’s top app marketing companies, all thanks to the analyses of Clutch and its sister companies.

B2B
research and reviews agency Clutch ranked NextME the no. 3 mobile
marketer in all of Chicago, an achievement that we’re proud to have
accomplished. Since Clutch thoroughly evaluates firms for their market
presence, client satisfaction, and industry experience, among a host of other
data, taking home such a distinction reflects strongly upon the quality of
strategy and service that NextME customers can expect to find with our team.

NextME
has a great tech team.
They’re responsive and fix any glitches or issues as they come up immediately,” detailed a client in
one of several five-star reviews of collaborating with us. “Their
app is very easy for everyone to understand
—our guests and
employees respond well to it. It's also
reliable and doesn't crash.

“The NextME app really allows us to do things
that we weren’t able to do before. It’s
just an awesome partnership,
” effused a second happy client. “The app has
really taken off and it’s been so impressive to watch. The success and the journey we’ve taken with them has been really cool.
They’ve grown a lot in their business, which is helping us grow … They really want to make sure our
experience is positive
.”

The Manifest and Visual Objects Feature NextME As Top App Marketing Agency

Beyond such recognition, we’ve also racked up praise from the sister companies of Clutch. News website The Manifest applauded our talent by featuring NextME in its collection of leading app marketing agencies, while portfolio curation platform Visual Objects now showcases our creative, digital, and industry experience by displaying examples of our best work.

The support of Clutch, The Manifest, Visual
Objects, and our loyal clients means a lot to NextME and speaks volumes about
the caliber of excellence that we provide through our digital waitlist and mobile
marketing services. As businesses only continue to grow and improve, we’re
excited to play a role in their development, and we invite you to reach out to
us here
to better understand how we can launch results for you. Success is short,
sweet, and simple, waiting just around the corner for you, so let’s see what we
can do together!


5 Engaging Interactive Event Ideas Your Guests Won't Forget

Event marketing is a big way to engage with your target market in today’s world. The most impressive and memorable events involve interactive elements to really capture the attention and imagination of potential customers and clients. But how do you create an unforgettable experience that will resonate with attendees? Here are a few of our favorite interactive event ideas. 

Expert Consultations

Photo courtesy of Everystock Photo

You may be familiar with the Genius Bar at Apple Stores. It’s the brand’s version of tech support but carried out as a one-on-one consultation. The popular feature offers customers repairs, advice, and answers from knowledgeable experts.

This is an excellent technique to replicate at your industry events. Set up an area for attendees to have one-on-one time with your qualified experts. This type of interaction is extremely valuable to consumers and clients because it allows them access to professional advice. It also allows your experts to form a personal bond with attendees, and build an ongoing business relationship.

Brand Activations

The Netflix Altered Carbon booth at CES. Payless’s Palessi luxury shoe store marketing prank.  Carlsberg’s beer poster. The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. What do all of these have in common? They’re all excellent examples of brand activations. But what does that even mean?

Photo courtesy of Oscar Meyer Wiener

Simply put, a brand activation is any experiential campaign designed to increase awareness of and engagement with your brand. They can be as simple as offering samples directly to your target market. Or they can be as complex as the Bates Motel at SXSW. But the most important things are that you get attention to your brand.

But the most important thing to remember is that a prank, stunt, or booth can’t stand alone. To make the most of your newly generated buzz, you should incorporate a social media campaign and engage the press with a PR strategy.

Photo Booths

Speaking of social media, one of the most common ways to get your visitors to share your brand online is the brand photo booth. These allow your attendees to share selfies on Instagram, Snapchat, and other apps with ease. And since you can include brand elements in the picture, it means your brand will be splashed across each of these platforms.

Photo courtesy of Etsy

So you create a really fabulous photo backdrop or hire and brand a digital photo booth. How to best leverage these photo ops for your event? First, be sure to create and widely publish a hashtag. Then, be sure to include a social media display in your booth. This way all the photos shared with your hashtag will show during the event. It’s a great way to prompt attendees to take part!

Not Just Swag, Custom Swag

If you’ve attended any sort of convention or networking event, you probably saw people handing out all sorts of goods from pens and coffee mugs to t-shirts and thumb drives. But in reality, a good bit of that event swag ends up in the trash. How do you create swag that people want to keep?

Photo courtesy of Lorem

Skip the standard giveaways and look for options that are unique to each attendee. Try hiring a caricature artist to create portraits of attendees. Or create a personalized thumb drive containing information, songs, or other data chosen by the user.

Or choose options that are unique to your brand. Instead of ordering out of the same catalog that a dozen of your competitors are using, create something unique. Make sure it ties in to your brand for an impression that lasts longer than your logo stitched onto a ballcap.

VR and AR

Create a digital experience with your brand that customers won’t soon forget. The use of virtual reality (VR) means attendees can interact with your brand beyond the physical limitations of your booth. Create a virtual reality demo of your product and its uses. Let them take a VR tour of your company headquarters or production facility.

Photo courtesy of SXSW at Dell House 

Augmented reality, on the other hand, brings digital elements into the physical space of your booth. The Snapchat lenses that allow users to add puppy ears or goofy effects to their faces are an excellent example. Pfizer Faucets used this technology to great effect at a show in 2017.

No matter which of these ideas you decide to implement, be sure to make it memorable to your product or service. They coolest photo ops or VR games won’t help if they have little connection to your brand. You want to create a memorable experience that attendees will associate with your brand in a positive way.


NextME's Guide: Top 10 Brunch Spots in Atlanta

Top 10 Brunch Spots in Atlanta

The city of Atlanta takes brunch seriously. So seriously, in fact, they’ve even rewritten local laws around this delightful weekend gastro feast. It’s no wonder then that there are so many amazing options for fun and fantastic brunching throughout the metro Atlanta area! But what if you’re looking for something beyond the usual eggs and pancakes menu? We’ve got the scoop of some of the most interesting and unusual brunch spots from all across the Gate City.

Vietnamese Brunch from at Bonton

Photo Courtesy of Atlanta Magazine

Looking for a bit of funky Asian flavor with your brunch favorites? One of our favorite international brunch spots in Atlanta metro is Bonton on Myrtle Street. Known for their blend of Vietnamese street foods and Cajun seafood boils, this unassuming pink brick building has a delightfully quirky brunch menu. You can get brunch classics with a twist, like the Lafayette Breakfast Sandwich, the Vietnamese Omelet Bahn Mi, or Pancake Banh Xeo. Or pick any of the fabulous dishes from the dinner menu and add an egg for just $2. And don’t forget the mimosas, bloodys, and other boozy breakfast drinks!

Jewish Deli Brunch at The General Muir

Photo Courtesy of Eater Atlanta

The General Muir is a classic New York-style Jewish deli located in Emory Point. Their brunch offerings include several open-faced bagel selections along with plates like their pastrami and egg sandwich or the delightful smoked hash with crisped pastrami and caramelized onions. All of their bread and baked goods come from their own bakery, TGM Bread, located next door. And they have some of the most delish classic Jewish delights like matzo ball soup and latkes served with applesauce and sour cream.

Country Diner Brunch at HomeGrown

Photo Courtesy of Thrillist

If you’re in the mood for an incredibly unpretentious brunch, Home Grown Georgia is your go-to brunch spot. Inexpensive, locally grown comfort foods abound at this super low-key eatery. They grow some of their produce on-site, and source the rest as locally as possible. In fact, they invite you to take a wander through the garden, as long as you stay on the paths. You absolutely must try their signature Comfy Chicken Biscuit, and their enormous pancakes are enough to fill any appetite.

Outdoorsy Brunch at Ladybird

Photo Courtesy of Ladybird

When you’re in the mood for some delish brunch alfresco, Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall in Atlanta's historic Old Fourth Ward is your perfect brunch spot. Their menu is an imaginative offering of what they call “elevated campfire cuisine.” Standards like their biscuits with sausage gravy and shrimp-n-grits are plied alongside more unique options like grilled romaine with poached egg, or their Base Camp boards designed to share. Wash it all down with a Redneck Mimosa or Ladybird Bloody Mary, and afterward take a stroll along the beltline, it’s certainly close enough!

French Market Brunch at Le Petit Marché

Photo Courtesy of Le Petit Marché

Le Petit Marché literally translates to “the little market” and it’s absolutely the perfect name for this brunch spot in Kirkwood. Their french toast sandwich is legendary among the regulars, and the cheese grits or chicken sausage are also favorites. Best of all, everything is market fresh and they’re known for their friendly service and homey vibe. They even pass a guest book around the restaurant so you can leave your comments and read the stories of those who’ve dined before you. If the weather is good, opt for a seat on the patio, and now and then brunch is accompanied by live music.

Gourmet Brunch at One Eared Stag

Photo Courtesy of One Eared Stag

No listing of the top brunch spots in Atlanta would be complete without a mention of the fabulous offerings at the One Eared Stag. They have all of the usual delights, with a gourmet twist. They have options like chicken salad with truffles, milk-fed veal with chimichurri, and quail eggs sunny side up. Feeling a bit adventurous? Order the Chef’s Breakfast. It’s not on the menu because it’s literally whatever the chef feels like making for you. But don’t worry, it includes half a dozen options on one tray, so if you don’t like one dish, you’re sure to enjoy the others!

Dog-Friendly Brunch at Publico

Photo Courtesy of Publico

Looking for a brunch where your favorite furry companion can be welcomed? Publico is your dog-friendly Atlanta brunch spot. Their Sunday Funday Brunch features a live DJ and mimosa and cocktail specials plus a delightful array of food options for you and your pooch. Dine on the patio with your pup where they even have a full puppy menu, with all of its proceeds going to support the Howell Mill Humane Society. And the human brunch menu offers food you’re going to fall in love with. Everything is made-from-scratch and made-to-order, and as locally sourced as possible, for a fresh, unique taste you won’t find anywhere else.

Family Friendly Brunch at Ration + Dram

Photo Courtesy of Ration + Dram

It’s not often that a bar offers a kid’s menu, booster seats, and crayons, but on weekend mornings Ration + Dram is a great option for a family meal. Dubbed the “Best family-friendly brunch in metro Atlanta” by the AJC, this local bar with a fun kids’ Brunch menu is perfect for the littles as well as the adults. They even offer kid-friendly mocktails like juice blends and rootbeer floats. For the grown-up set they serve up chicken biscuits, eggs benedict, and their own creations like the Sweet Lady or The Gringo. And of course, you can pair your brunch faves with boozy faves like bloody marys or one of their communal cocktail punches.

Tex-Mex Brunch at Superica

Photo Courtesy of Superica

Looking for a little spice in your Sunday morning fare? Superica is the brunch spot that brings you a border-town feel without having to leave town. With two locations, Krog Street and Buckhead, this eatery’s fare is so popular it’s got its own cookbook. For brunch, they offer south-of-the-border options like their migas plate, tamales with eggs, or chilaquiles with avocado. Or go for the BBQ brisket sandwich served on Texas toast with guac, jalapeño pickles, and two sunny side up eggs. It’s a taste of Texas you won’t soon forget!

Weekday Brunch at Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours

Photo Courtesy of Twisted Soul

The weekends were pretty much made for brunch, but if your days off don’t fall on Saturday and Sunday, your options become more limited. Don’t worry! Twisted Soul in Westside has you covered. They offer an amazing brunch variety seven days a week. Try imaginative sandwiches like the Harissa Hot Chicken Muffuletta, or salads like the Seasonal Soul Salad with Moscato poached pairs and duck prosciutto. Entrees include crispy catfish with pimento cheese grits or the southern tofu scramble full of soul food faves like black-eyed peas and collard greens. Whatever you do, save some room for Ivy’s Heavenly Peach Cobbler. You won’t be sorry!


Restaurants Save Time and Money with a Waitlist App

Technology is everywhere, from the smartphones we carry with us to the advanced systems in our cars, to the tech in use at places of business large and small. And the restaurant industry is no exception.

From touchscreen food and beverage dispensers that offer diners more options and a serve yourself experience, to biodiesel converters that will convert your used fryer oil to fuel delivery trucks and catering vehicles, technology is improving the way we do business. And better yet, it’s improving the bottom line of an industry with infamously tight margins.

But how, exactly, is all of this progress helping restaurateurs to save? We’ll examine how just one inexpensive bit of technology can increase profits, decrease costs, and help your restaurant run more smoothly even at the busiest of times.

Stop Seating Parties Like It’s 1999

Many eateries who don’t accept reservations are still relying on those costly, germ-ridden pager systems they’ve been using for 20 years or more. Yet these systems are pretty much the opposite of technological progress.

In addition to the sizeable cost of outfitting a restaurant with these bits of last century tech, you’re also on the hook for the expense of maintaining them, and replacement costs that can reach up to $100 per unit. Then there are the man hours spent on upkeep, searching for wayward pagers when guests get tired of waiting and just ditch them in the waiting area, and the eyesore of a blinking tower of plastic that greets your guests when they approach the host’s table.

Ditch the pagers, and instead tap into the technology that most of your diners are already carrying with them anyway. With a waitlist app like NextME, you can replace all of that outdated equipment with a single sleek and sophisticated iPad or iPhone. Plus, the app is a simple solution to implement, and new host staff can be trained and up to speed quickly for a minimum of downtime. As an added bonus, guests don’t even have to download the app to take advantage of the NextME system! They simply give the host their phone numbers, then receive SMS texts notifying them of their wait times and positions in line.

Keep Guests Engaged to Prevent Walkouts

Hosts see it daily. A party comes in, puts their name on the list, and sits down to wait. But when their turn comes and their name is called, the party is nowhere to be found. The host then has to spend valuable time trying to locate them before moving on to the next party in line. It’s a frustrating experience for all involved.

With the NextME waitlist, customers can see exactly where they are in line, along with their estimated wait times - all via SMS texts without needing to download a separate app. Additionally, they can browse the menu, check out your current specials, read reviews on your social media pages, and otherwise engage with your brand while they wait. All of this leads to 25% fewer walkouts over all. But what about those who still leave? Since guests can confirm or cancel their table when they’re told it’s ready, your host won’t have to waste time tracking down wayward parties.

Double Your Table Turns

If you could double the number of tables you could serve per hour at peak times, what would that do for your bottom line? You may be wondering how such a thing is possible, and what it has to do with waitlist apps.

Displaying digital menus to patrons while they wait can significantly cut down on the time spent at the table trying to decide what to order. And since NextME’s customer facing mobile marketing page allows you to display your menu, specials, social media, and other promotional messages to each guest on the waitlist, you can expect tables to turn much faster – up to twice as fast! For those who are counting, that means double the revenue during peak dining hours.

Keep Your Front of the House Running Smoothly

Have you even calculated how much time your hosts spend answering questions about how much longer the wait will be? Or tracking down parties who have wandered off or pagers that have been ditched in the bushes outside? As you’ve already seen, waitlist apps can help eliminate each of these time sinks to allow your hosts to focus on what really matters: hospitality. And that increased staff efficiency means more productivity with fewer FTEs, and a less stressful shift for those working peak hours.

But Does It Really Save Money?

NextME’s track record has been proven, and restaurants can attest to the effect it’s had on their customer satisfaction as well as their bottom lines. Of course, your results will vary depending on the size of your restaurant and the volume of guests you seat on a given day, but it’s not unreasonable to suggest you’ll likely save thousands. In fact, Southport Grocery & Cafe, a tiny brunch destination, saved over $2,000 by switching to NextME. And a larger chain, Lou Malnati's, saved upwards of $10,000 across their 13 locations. So the real question is, can you afford not to update your waitlist?


6 Tips for a Memorable & Profitable Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is known as one of the busiest day of the year for restaurants. And it’s right around the corner! You may be wondering how to handle the extra demand. Here are our best tips for creating a special day that your guests will remember fondly for years to come!

Staff Up

No matter how amazing your staff is, they do have their limits. Don’t try to run Mother’s Day as if it’s the same as any other holiday. Be sure to staff up with some of your best hosts, servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff. If at all possible, avoid scheduling folks for Saturday night and also Sunday morning. You want energetic, fresh staff members, not ones who barely got to sleep last night.

Include Brunch

Even if you normally don’t serve breakfast, Mother’s Day Brunch is pretty much the gold standard. This also allows you to extend your lunch hours into the late morning, which means you can accommodate more table turns and really cash in on the extra traffic. Put together a special menu with all of the usual egg dishes, pancakes, and the like. But also include options from your normal lunch menu to provide variety and versatility.

If this is truly out of your norm, you might even try a prix fixe menu. This will allow you to streamline your kitchen’s efficiency while offering dishes that aren’t part of your normal routine. It also makes ordering ingredients much easier when you have a more limited menu to take into account.

Avoid No-Shows with a No-Res Policy

For important dates like Mother’s Day, it’s not uncommon for guests to choose to book two or three restaurant reservations, and then let Mom choose the one she likes most. Other guests will book for a large party, in case siblings and other family members want to join in the fun, but then show up with only a few people. And then there are those who come and want to spend extra time enjoying the celebration and reminiscing about childhood memories, while keeping your tables full for much longer than you expected. You can avoid these difficulties and more by not offering reservations.

But doesn’t that mean you’ll have a crazy long line? Probably, yes. But guests without reservations expect to wait on Mother’s Day. And you can manage the line and keep your guests informed about the wait with a waitlist app, like NextME. Our app will text your guests with a link to their place in line, then again when it’s time to head back to the host stand. There’s nothing for the customer to download, and they can even view current specials, your social media, and your menu as they wait. It’s really the best of both worlds!

Partner with Other Businesses & Up Your Mobile Marketing Game

Some of the most fun Mother’s Day specials involve partnerships with other local businesses. Imagine offering moms some fun beyond the meal with coupons for the cute little gift shop across the way or the funky jewelry boutique down the street, or a discounted mani/pedi or massage at a local salon. Anything that might be a good way to pamper the mothers in your community would work perfectly here. Even discounts for maid service packages or getaway weekends at a local spa or resort would fit well for the holiday.

How to manage such promotions? You could do something simple like “just show them your receipt,” but it lacks a bit of flair. Handing out paper coupons is also a possibility, but again, may not set the right “vibe” for your restaurant. NextME can help here too. Through our mobile marketing platform, you can customize the marketing messages your guests receive while they’re waiting for their table. Include fun local coupons here, and they can go shopping or book their salon services while they wait! In addition to being a fun way to promote other local businesses (and earn their promotions in return), this can turn wait time into a fun family experience that adds to Mom’s delight, instead of detracting from an otherwise special day. You also can send guests to your social media pages, which has been shown to increase restaurants’ social engagement by up to 17%!

Adjust the Floor Plan

Mother’s Day brings out families, and sometimes they come in large groups. It’s easy to see how a mother of three grown kids, who all have families of their own, can wind up needing seating for a dozen or more. You’ll most likely need to accommodate plenty of large parties.

And while it may be tempting to cram in as many tables as your space can possibly hold, don’t overcrowd or you’re in for a difficult shift for servers, and uncomfortably close tables for guests. Remember to leave plenty of space for booster seats as you’re likely to use more of them than normal. And make use of outdoor seating areas by investing in heaters if it’s still a bit chilly in your area.

Afternoon Tea

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box too. Consider adding in a mid-afternoon tea for Mother’s Day. With plenty of finger sandwiches and bakery selections, this makes for a shorter, less expensive meal that helps to spread out your busy day a bit by offering unique dining hours. And it’s becoming more popular for those looking for something a bit special and unique. Just be sure to promote it heavily on social media so that guests know you’re offering a special tea service and can plan accordingly.

Ready to introduce NextME to your business? Call us at (877) 639-8631 or schedule a demo from us HERE!