North America’s premiere conference and festival for creative industries looks north for tech support

Two Vancouver tech companies will be playing an integral part in the smooth running of this year’s SXSW conferences, exhibitions and festivals in Austin, Texas, further reinforcing Vancouver’s position as a tech hotspot. Meetingmax’s room block management software is being used by the SXSW Housing Department to handle hotel room bookings for SXSW’s attendees and has already processed more than 14,000 reservations totaling 60,000-plus room nights to date, while Eventbase is responsible for SXSW’s official mobile event guide app.

SXSW, an internationally acclaimed event encompassing conferences, exhibitions and festivals for the film, music, and interactive technology industries, takes place each March in Austin. The SXSW Music element of the nine-day festival, which will run from March 13 – 22, is the largest music festival of its kind in the world. Last year SXSW attracted in excess of 70,000 registrants.

“I have been impressed by the caliber of tech companies coming out of Vancouver who have been focused on solving challenges in the event space. SXSW has definitely benefited from the fresh innovative thinking that both Meetingmax and Eventbase have provided in their respective areas,” said SXSW Director of Technology Scott Wilcox.

Meetingmax is the provider of the travel industry’s most flexible online housing reservation software. Its technology has gained popularity in the United States amongst meeting planners, conference organizers, and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs). “The Meetingmax software provides so many customizable features that give us the flexibility we need when booking and managing rooms for our attendees,” Wilcox said.

Meetingmax’s online platform will handle hotel room bookings for not only SXSW’s three main festivals taking place this month but also for parent company SXSW LLC’s entire roster of events and conferences. Awarded the contract in early 2013, Meetingmax’s housing technology was initially tested on smaller SXSW events starting in fall 2013, with the full launch taking place in August 2014 when registration for the SXSW 2015 Austin conference opened.

“SXSW’s events are a hotbed of innovation and attract people on the cutting edge of technology, film, and music. The bar for the technology that supports this festival is high,” says Jeff Duncan, CEO and Founder of Meetingmax. “It is huge validation to know that our technology will be used by every SXSW attendee, some of the most creative individuals from around the world.”

Vancouver-based company Eventbase, also with headquarters in Yaletown, has created and managed the official SXSW Go mobile app for iOS and Android for the last five years of the conference. In addition to SXSW, Eventbase handles event guides for some of the largest gatherings in the world, including three Olympic games, several Comic-Cons, Cannes Lions, the Sundance Film festival, ESPN, Disney, and Lollapalooza.

“Eventbase has powered the official SXSW GO app since 2011 and the partnership has always been about delivering an unparalleled attendee experience.” says Jeff Sinclair, Eventbase co-founder. “This year we’re thrilled to advance the technology even further with the largest deployment of iBeacons for an event.”

SXSW 2015

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