• A Special Thanks to our Exhibitors/Sponsors and Attendees who made this yea's expo the best yet. See you next year!

How to Expand Your Event Experience

By Susan Douglin

 

 

Event Experience

 

Event experience is the focus for most event planners. They know it’s one of the most important things you can do to improve retention numbers and increase word of mouth marketing. But coming up with innovative ideas can be taxing, especially with all the organization and marketing required.

Below we have brought together meeting design trends from the latest trends reports. Use these trends and actionable ideas to guide your event planning for an improved attendee experience.

 

Be Exclusive

Another way to drive interest is through exclusivity and we’ve seen this trend growing over the past couple of years. Not only through exclusive invitations but VIP programming and options. The latest use of exclusivity can be seen in creating roped-off communities and enveloping the attendee in complete seclusion at your event. Our experience economy is driving us towards creating event design sweet spots where participants can be passive and active at the same time. Where brands and venues are being commoditized, complete villages are now starting to collaborate to create extraordinary experiences.

Take them away:

  • Rent out an entire luxury resort so that everyone there is one of your event attendees. It creates a communal feel and improves networking time because whether they’re meeting a stranger in the elevator or by the pool, they know they’re associated with the event.
  • Got to sea with your event. Cruise ships and private boats can be chartered for special events (so can private islands). Cut down on the distractions and increase the bonding.
  • Create a venue from scratch the way they do with Burning Man each year. This idea allows you to construct something completely synchronized to your brand.

 

Create Illusion

Curiosity is a natural action driver whether in life or at events. What’s behind that curtain? Who’s on Coachella’s lineup? The unknown can drive ticket sales, increase engagement, and keep people talking about your event. In a time with constant access to information, where all the world’s knowledge is a quick Google search away, secrets are the magic ingredient that can create a memorable experience.

Harness the power of the unknown:

  • Host a secret speakeasy as part of an evening activity at your event. Tell a few people and watch it spread like wildfire. Don’t forget the secret knock or password.
  • Create a world for attendees to enter for an evening. Escape rooms and murder mystery dinners use this type of pretending to draw a crowd.
  • Leave an element of your event as a mystery until the last minute. Some secret dining events keep the venue as a last-minute reveal for extra excitement. Attendees purchase tickets without knowing where it will be. But believe us, it draws a lot of conversation before and after the reveal.

 

Extraordinary Experiences

Live labs create extraordinary experiences and fuel innovation. They provide hands-on learning opportunities and encourage experimentation, which increases retention and the fun factor.  

Transform the lives of your attendees:

  • Set the stage from the moment your attendees arrive. This is often a missed opportunity as most event planners wait for everyone to gather at the first session or opening keynote. Instead, make an impression the moment they arrive at the venue or if many are coming in from out-of-town, the first impression begins at the airport.
  • Make it visual. Never miss an opportunity for incorporating visuals because they evoke emotion and are easily shared without context. Use photo ops. Pass out sketchbooks. Hold contests for best visuals. Anything to get people sharing images. Images will help others get a view into your event and bring it to life for them regardless of where they are.
  • Map out the attendee experience by creating a mind map. Using this tool for brainstorming can help you plan your event from an attendee perspective. As you sketch it out, ask yourself where the attendee would go next. What will be the next experience? What do you want it to be and what would you like it to be? Asking these two questions can help you see where it is versus where you would like it to be. Then you can begin planning how you will close that gap.

 

Improving your attendees event experience will guarantee their return to your next event. It will also increase your following as an event planner, and the broader your audience, the higher your revenue.

 

 

 

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