Did you catch a glimpse of the Crossware booth last week? We were the team with red shirts, and Superheros splashed across all our merchandise. Chances are even if you didn’t notice our team, you did admire our Death Star Levitating Speaker prize. We just wanted to say thank you for dropping by our booth. It was a pleasure to meet each and every one of you. It’s always especially interesting to hear how you’re tackling the challenge of email signatures in your organisations. We’d also love to share our experience as Exhibitors at Ignite NZ 2016 for anyone curious about how this kind of conference goes down.

Superhero stickers and cloth freebies at crossware ignite booth

This year, Ignite NZ fell on the final week of October, the 25th to the 28th. Starting the day after Labour Day – it didn’t leave any room for last minute forgetfulness! We were all prepared with our boxes of promo material on Thursday – our best tip? Double check that you’ve got your slideshow on a USB stick, promo material, candy to hand out, prize and uniforms before you arrive.

Ignite NZ Venue

The Ignite NZ 2016 venue was an oldie but a goodie. Just like last year, it was based in the SKYCITY Convention Centre. We accessed the centre via the glass bridge across Federal Street from the main reception. Security guards had no idea whether to let us through or not, which became a bit of a theme over the four days.

The Hub provided a great space for us as exhibitors. Our Turnkey booth was placed on the corridor skirting the main Hub room (which held Microsoft, and other larger booths). Despite being on the outskirts, we were in a great space to engage with people wandering by between Sessions, maybe even less intimidating than the huge booths! Whatever size of booth your end up choosing, it’s always advisable to pick a spot near the food / free coffee stands Also aim to be directly in the path of Delegates, although this can be a little overwhelming. Most exhibitors seemed to be placed on Level 4 (like us), with a couple on Level 5.

Crossware team setting up microsoft ignite booth

Despite many access points, security was a bit of an issue, with only the inner door via the Grand Hotel on Federal Street allowing us entry most days (if we wanted to enter before the Delegates). Lot’s of people from out of town seemed to be staying here, too. Just keep trying every entrance until someone lets you in if you need / want to be there before official Hub opening hours. That’s not an official tip, but it works.

Microsoft Ignite NZ Hub with exhibitor booths

Parking at SKYCITY was easy and free for us as exhibitors on levels P1- P6 (only discounted for Delegates). This meant that we had six free passes that we could feed into the machine each day, giving everyone on the team a parking space. It was a pretty decent set-up since Auckland tends to have pretty limited public transport routes.

Ignite NZ Freebies

One major freebie that you couldn’t help noticing was the plentiful food – served throughout the Convention Centre multiple times a day. This was free for everyone in attendance. We were given the chance to eat before the Delegates finished their sessions which was great to get a head start. That being said, we still conducted plenty of conversations and product explanations whilst holding our plates. Meals of the day included: morning tea (one sweet, one savoury item), lunch (a buffet feast!), afternoon snack (ice cream or little cake) and an early dinner-ish snack during Hub Happy Hour.

In case you’re wondering, yes we all probably did gain weight during those four days. We didn’t actually want to find out for sure.

Microsoft Ignite nz buffet lunch

There was also the much coveted Microsoft freebie for every full-pass holder (none for exhibitors)! This year, a stylish, black satchel bag which made a refreshing change from the usual black and brightly coloured backpacks of Microsoft conferences past.

Microsoft Ignite NZ freebie satchel

Ignite NZ booth team professional photo
Winner Ignite NZ Nigel Bates Victoria Uni

Ignite NZ 2016 Party, at Shed 10 with Shapeshifter!

Microsoft invited some very special guests this year to their annual party: Shapeshifter! They performed their latest, unreleased album downstairs in the concert space. As Shapeshifter spun some tunes, games happened upstairs. We played multiple games of ping pong (briefly, undefeated champions of Table 1 alongside the Spark team), jumped on velcro walls wearing velcro suits and took stupid photo-booth photos. There was also a bucking bronco style surfboard that you could ride (including a disclaimer about you injuring yourself) which I didn’t test out. Food stalls and drinks stands were dotted around the venue keeping us well-fed (as we had grown accustomed).

Overall a great night, and good chance to relax after long days on your feet, talking business.

Shed 10 Crossware ignite 2016 party

Ignite NZ 2016 Exhibitor Experience – Final Words

Overall, what a great few days. More food than we could ever eat, and people than we could ever converse with. The Microsoft Team did a great job, kudos to them for pulling the whole thing off.

Crossware team picture photobooth

Professional photographers covered the whole event much better than we did – check out their collection here. To sign up for info on next year’s conference, sign up for updates from Microsoft, here.

Thanks again to everyone who attended. We appreciated your open minds and the passion to improve your tech know-how. If you want to get in touch further from any conversations we had, feel free to drop us a line over on the contact form. If you’d like to check out our product, you can start your Free Trial, here.

Let us know in the comments below how Microsoft Ignite NZ 2016 went for you- we look forward to seeing you again next year!

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