Innovation That Matters

Networking and bedsharing at conferences — Update

Travel & Tourism

Following our earlier post on the Salone del Mobile’s bedsharing project, comes a non-profit venture that’s dedicated to making conferences greener and more sociable. SpaceShare develops online tools for environmental logistics and networking. The aim is to help people share and save resources while building community. The company works with event planners to orchestrate complex logistics for large events, letting participants find other participants nearby to carpool or travel together on trains and planes; share taxis or car rental from airports to conference venues; and share a hotel room or find local residents offering space for a homestay. SpaceShare sets up the databases and web forms needed to help participants find suitable matches. After filling in their details and describing their needs, attendees are emailed when a travel or accommodation match has been made. SpaceShare aims to make the journey part of the conference. By travelling together, people can connect with attendees from their neighbourhood or home city, using the trip as a regional mini-conference and taking learnings back to their community. As described by SpaceShare: “Spending a flight talking to someone about the conference can be a tremendous improvement over flying alone, essentially extending your conference for the duration of everyone’s flights.” Pricing for conferences depends on the event’s size and planning needs. SpaceShare’s tools are also available for weddings, encouraging guests to travel together and forge new connections. For weddings of normal size and logistical complexity, SpaceShare will customize a ‘green travel’ site for USD 200. Full websites are also available (including forums and/or blogs), for USD 500. We like the combination of smart use of resources and promoting relevant, location-based networking. How about something similar for high school reunions and other social gatherings? While SpaceShare offers its tools to a variety of events, focusing on a niche market could make it easier to find customers. Ideally, this type of service would be fully automated, Web 2.0 style, and free. Either offered by one of the big players (Google, Yahoo, Facebook for high-school reunions) or sponsored by a relevant green-conscious brand (Toyota?). Related: Enhanced networking for business travellers



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