As the planning process begins for your next event, it may help take a different approach than you have in the past. Rather than focusing on the products and promotions you can give away to attendees, think about how you can entice their senses and emotions. According to The Wallstreet Journal, “65% of Millennials are saving and spending on experiences, 30% more than the average of any other generation.” What does that mean for your next event?
For starters, the event needs to be an experience that makes them smile, cry, or feel another emotion they will remember. It won’t matter what you spent on the final budget, but rather, the number of memories your attendees can takeaway. Here are three easy ways to create an experience that your attendees will remember for a lifetime.
Audit Their Senses
We’re sure this doesn’t need to be said, but we will say it anyway, in case. Thou will do a walk-thru of the space before the event. It’s a chance to look at any positive or negative aspects of the event spaces you may like to enhance or hide. It can also help to have someone familiar with the area on hand to answer any of the questions you may have about specific functions and caveats. A few points to discuss include:
-Piped music or sounds that can interfere with the event’s operation(i.e., air vents, back of house noises)?
-What unique color patterns may conflict with colors or themes?
-Smells from an adjacent kitchen that may be distracting to attendees?
-What are the food service procedures?
-How will the parking affect the attendees?
-Are there long hallways that might be a challenge for attendees?
-How do we control the lights?
Plan Your Event Production
After you’ve reviewed the positive and negative aspects of your spaces, you will have the opportunity to generate, visualize and create a memorable event in your team’s minds and event promotional items that are sent to your attendees.
Think of what emotions you want you’d like your attendees to experience and take away. What sights, videos, colors, and sounds can enhance the feeling and perceptional aspects of the event? Maybe, in a networking lounge area, you might set up soft lighting and low sound to encourage conversation, or perhaps there are subtle changes in lighting that occur throughout your general session that can enhance mood, discussion topics, and change scenery.
Sometimes it can be a struggle to move attendees down a long corridor. Breaking it up with multiple interactive photo ops, large video displays with a company’s logo or videos playing, or props that tie into your overall central theme. If you can align with an event production partner that can help you further enhance your event and create a truly unique immersive experience. You will be able to ensure you’ve gone a long way to creating an event that touches all of the senses for your attendees.
Add a Personal Touch
Cutting-edge event technology will raise the bar of engagement for almost any event. But, don’t forget about the low-tech solutions that can take your event to a new level. People want and seek emotional connections to your events. It’s fantastic having staff members greet attendees by their first name, having random people present during guest arrivals for high-fives, back slaps, and handshakes. Not only will physical touch help to “break the ice barriers” built by some attendees, but studies from major publications have shown that attendees who receive an enhanced greeting and welcome not only feel appreciated and more open to participating in activities. They have also described the people sponsoring the event as caring, intelligent, and good people!
When adding your personal touch, beyond the hugs and handshakes that we love, think about adding foods and beverages that lend to the event’s theme. Play on your attendee’s sense of taste as a surprise. Where is your event being taking place? You could bring in foods that are popular to the region or partner up with local vendors that want to show their goods to potential buyers. What season will your event be taking place in? Its menu may include fresh summer fruits for tropical feeling items or savory pumpkin soups to incorporate the flavors of fall into the event. Where are your event attendees visiting from? You can embrace the concept of food fusion and add your unique twist to an appetizer. Food is more than fuel and should be fun for your guests. Eating instills memories and emotions that can turn a keynote breakfast, lunch break, or awards dinner into a treat for the senses.
When creating your next meeting, immerse attendees throughout the entire immersive experience that’s designed to expose all of their senses in creative ways, ensuring a memorable event!