This was the fifth conference that we have run, the last one being in November 2013. Based upon feedback from previous years, we adapted the conference to be held over two days to allow people to travel either side of the conference agenda and also have time to network with other people in the industry during the evening.
The Wednesday afternoon was purely focused on the new big development of tabs 2, which was probably the most exciting part for most people. We explained how tabs in its present form is being replaced by a new version (working title is “tabs 2”) and although this has been a long time coming, the release date is now expected to be late summer/early autumn of 2016. Before that time some agencies will be invited to test some of it so you will probably get to see some of it in advance of the official launch date.
We explained that the current tabs system has been added to and added to over the years – one example used was a conservatory going on the back of your house and then a kitchen being built on the side of the conservatory that can only be accessed through that conservatory – that’s how some parts of tabs can be - and would obviously not be ideal and would not work with the flow of the rest of the house! So you can hopefully see that we are going back to the drawing board and starting now with all the knowledge and learning of the past 12 years.
The big difference straight away is that tabs 2 will be completely web based so there will be no need for it to be installed on your computer as such and it will be able to operate from a tablet and a smartphone as well as the traditional computer.
We shared several ‘boards’ to demonstrate how tabs 2 will look and the feedback on the design was very beneficial. We have created something much more visual, there will be the opportunity to create individual ‘dashboards’ and the whole system is being designed with ease of use in mind. The new version will contain all we have at the moment and more – and everyone attending had the opportunity to go through some of the things that they would like to see improved such as the housekeeping and maintenance functions, the cancellation process, overviews, etc. We believe it will be a positive step forward and, once everyone is familiar with the new layout and operation, we hope it will genuinely make our users lives much easier and will save valuable time.
What has been extremely important to us has been getting feedback from our current tabs users along the way to make sure we get this right. We are already two years into the project and have held several tabs user feedback sessions, and this conference was an extremely good opportunity to get more feedback as we are starting to be able to show some working examples. We got lots of great feedback at the conference and all of your suggestions have been taken on board, and will continue to be, as we get nearer completion. If you would like to see copies of the presentations and screen shots from this session, then please click here to take you to the tabs forum post that has a link to the zip file. Apologies for the rather convoluted method, but by posting the link on the forum we can ensure that only tabs customers can get access to the files – please don’t share externally, thank you.
On Wednesday night as usual we had a dinner for those who wanted to take part and network with other like-minded individuals and there was a great atmosphere around the dinner tables, as well as in the bar… of course!
On Thursday we talked through the new tabs analytics stats system and had a good session on how this could be used and developed in future, as well as updating all of the delegates on the latest developments in PCI compliance – an important thing for us all to keep abreast of. You can read more about tabs analytics here.
After the presentation sessions we had a more informal session for the rest of the morning where a number of relevant suppliers of products and services to the industry, as well as a number of tabs “helpdesks” were set up for people to wander around and chat at their leisure with the people in the room. The conference closed at 1pm with a buffet lunch before everyone hopped in their cars to head back to the office and check how bookings were doing!
All in all, the feedback that we have had is that this was the best conference yet – and we are already starting to think about what we can do even better next time and when that might be. Watch this space!