As you begin to plan your next event, rather than focusing on the products and promotions you can give to your attendees, consider how you can treat their senses instead. According to Forbes, “65% of Millennials are saving for experiences, more than the average of any other generations.” What does that mean for you?
Your event ought to be an experience to delight all of their senses. At the end of the day, it won’t matter what money you spent, but rather the number of memorable moments your attendees can recall. Here are 3 simple tips to create just such an experience.
1. Take an “Audit of the Senses”
It may go without saying, but consider it necessary to conduct a walk-through of your space. It’s an opportunity to take into account any positive or negative aspects of the meeting and gathering spaces that you may like to enhance or conceal. Additionally, have someone who is familiar with the space available to answer all of the questions you will undoubtedly have. A few questions that may come to mind include:
Is there piped music or conflicting sounds (i.e. air vents, back of house noises)?
Are there any unique color patterns in the venue that may conflict with colors or theming?
Are there any cooking scents from an adjacent kitchen that may be distracting?
What are the food service procedures and how might they affect the flow of the event?
Are there long hallways that might be a trek for attendees?
Is there unwanted light coming from the exterior such as sunlight or interior lighting that cannot be controlled?
2. Plan Your Production
Once you’ve taken an audit of all of those positive and negative aspects of your spaces, you now have the opportunity to generate moments and exposures to create a memorable event.
Think of what emotions you want for your attendees to experience and what sights and sounds could help to further enhance that. Perhaps in a lounge area you might incorporate soft lighting and ambient sound to encourage conversation, or maybe there are subtle lighting changes that occur throughout your general session that can enhance discussion topics.
If you are struggling to move attendees down a long corridor, break it up with interactive photo ops, motion graphic screens or videos, boardgames and props that tie into your overall theme. If your able to partner with an event production company, they can help you to further enhance your event and create a truly unique, and immersive experience that touches all of the senses.
3. Add a Personal Touch
While high technology can raise the bar of any event, don’t disregard low-tech opportunities that could set your event apart from the rest. People are seeking authenticity and connection to your event. Consider having staff members greet attendees by name, have people present during arrivals to simply give high-fives and handshakes. Not only can physical touch help with “breaking the ice”, but studies from EMI have shown that attendees that receive that sort of enhanced welcome not only feel appreciated and more open to participating in activities and discussions but have also described the people sponsoring the event as caring, intelligent and even good-looking!
And when it comes to adding a personal touch, beyond hugs and handshakes, consider adding snacks and beverages and foods that lend to the overall theme of the event. Play on the sense of taste. Where is your event being held? You could incorporate foods popular to that region or partner with local vendors. What season are you in? The menu might include fresh summer fruits for a tropical feel, or savory pumpkin soups to embrace the flavors of fall. Where are your attendees visiting from? Embrace the concept of food fusion and add your own unique twist to a hummus appetizer, popular among Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Countries. Food is more than fuel. Food evokes memories and emotions and can turn a lunch break into a treat for the senses.
When it comes to creating your next meeting, immerse attendees throughout the entire experience and design creative ways to expose all of their senses to ensure for a memorable event!
Your event is a reflection of your brand and company culture, so take this opportunity to design the best experience and leave a lasting impression. For questions or assistance with your next big event, feel free to reach out to our AVmedia family.