On the road again is the norm for countless meeting attendees as well as exhibitors. Nice hotel and good eats are expected. Meeting and event strategists are now given the challenge to “wow” attendees and make sure they have an experiential experience. Sound daunting? Well it is not!
Planners can work with CVB’s, DMC’s and host hotels to make sure attendees have a memorable experience by allowing time to explore the destination, which includes learning about its history, people and culture.
Kevin Hinton, CIS, Chief Excellence Officer for the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) said, “People go to a meeting and think, ‘Yeah, I want to learn something, but it’s got to be something more than that.” In a recent Meetings and Convention article, Hinton mentioned meeting attendees “want to have a more meaningful experience that they can emotionally connect with.”
Opening receptions, evening networking time and off-site meals offer a variety of options to integrate what there is to see and do in an area. Consider incorporating local produce, wineries, craft breweries and even signature regional dishes. All while utilizing unique, historical venues, museums, parks or area attractions. By doing so, meeting professionals can create a remarkable event.
Planners are breaking out the norm and hosting educational sessions outdoors. When meeting outside, it is always good to secure a pavilion type venue or a place that protects attendees from the ever-changing weather elements. (This is not ideal for content-heavy programs or those that require lots of audio visual.)
Getting your attendees outside offers a change of scenery, keeps them in motion and their minds active. Pending the destination, a casual dress code might be more appropriate for outdoor functions.
Lastly, shareworthy experiences can be used to market an event, (before or after) and can even increase attendance and participation. The experiential experience can boost attendee engagement and have them ready to get on the road again!