We’ve all been there and done that: the cookie-cutter conferences or the tried-and-tired trade shows with the classroom brain-dump and please-please-please-stop-by booths. Thankfully, we’ve also learned a few things over time and the conventional convention is less the norm today. Shows are continuing to evolve, event planners are reevaluating what works and what doesn’t, and attendees are benefiting from the fresh approach. And (hopefully) that means the hosting organizations reap the financial rewards, the exhibitors gain leads and partnerships, and the event cycle continues.
So what’s the magic formula for event success? While there’s no single answer to that question, we can share our venue perspective from the events we’ve welcomed and those we’ve attended.
Meetings vary — casual classrooms require less heavy lifting than exhibitor, buffets demand less than banquets, etc.; but the one factor that puts all events on the same plain is keeping attendees fully engaged throughout the day. To that end, planners must consider the entertainment factors that keep attendees happy and coming back for more: real-time demonstrations, live music, interactive presentations, and dynamic keynote speakers help to draw-in audiences and add value to the experience.
Taking a fresh, modern approach, today’s conventions, conferences, and trade shows will have attendees excited about the content, ravenous for more, and primed to share their experience. It starts with the registration process and carries through the seminars, workshops, meals, and show navigation.
“We’ve always done it this way.”
Don’t fall for that old line. Savvy event planners ask and utilize the feedback from registered guests and exhibitors to pivot toward greater relevance and responsiveness. Attendees and exhibitors need to know their opinions matter and their positive experience is the focus. Every event’s primary goal is to connect people with each other and with new information. As the ringmaster, it’s the event planner’s job to set the stage for an engaging, enriching conference.
Here are a few subtle suggestions to packing more punch:
- Consider traffic flow — think how attendees will navigate the event and what their needs might be.
- Keep conversations flowing — add bar-height tables or designated conversation pods for more relaxed discussions.
- Comfort is king — consider the venue’s flooring, lighting, electrical hook-up, AV options, restroom locations, and on-site helpers that will make a difference. Focus on making attendees and vendors feel more at-home.
- Be visual — provide attention-grabbing signage, maps, and personal guidance; Use creative, effective AV technology to engage action and add “Wow” factors.
- Be visible and tune-in throughout the event — a face-to-face conversation can provide a lot of insight, even if it’s a soundbite or quick question.
Meaningful experiences pack a meeting-full punch!
Attendance is the critical element and will be forever, inevitably tied to guest experience. To that end, full meetings are the result of meaningful engagement from the attendees’ first hello to their last good-bye.
Our event planners and guest experience managers have a full array of engagement expertise and creative ideas to share with clients. Our mantra at the core for every event hosted at Grand Wayne Convention Center is to “Make Good Memories.” It’s what we do, and we’re award-winning good at helping event planners keep their attendees engaged and enjoying their stay in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Let’s talk about how we can help you create an amazing event. Contact one of our Sales Managers and tell us about your event!