Connections are the lifeblood of conferences.
Planners know that in order for a sponsored event to be successful, there must be ample opportunities for attendees and vendors to meet, spend quality time together, build trust and strengthen relationships.
To illustrate this point, we’d like to share a challenge a conference planner faced, and the “elegant solution” that saved the day. The planner needed a venue for her association’s annual conference but wanted to overcome stumbling blocks from the past. Willing to try a different approach, she reached out to the cruise event specialists at Landry & Kling.
Here’s a snapshot of the previous conferences:
- One day event
- Vendors have limited time to spend with attendees
- Some attendees never make it to the exhibit hall
- Difficult to spend time with attendees’ to learn their real needs
- Attendees don’t have time to discuss vendors’ products and offers
- Difficult to build real relationships because of limited time together
Obviously, this association’s one-day event model was no longer working. The Landry & Kling sales associate listened to the planner, and heard: “Vendors and conference organizers need to spend more time with the attendees.” And so we offered a new concept – one that would solve the planner’s challenge and make her a hero in everyone’s eyes.
A New Model: The Three-Day Cruise Conference
We proposed a conference at sea during a 3-night cruise to the Bahamas. Our savvy sales team knew that thinking “outside the conference center” would bring this planner’s attendees and vendors together and help build lasting relationships while generating leads for the vendors.
Here’s how attendees and vendors came together:
- Cocktail Reception on first night of cruise includes attendees and vendors (complimentary)
- Three Dinners Included – The association could schedule vendors with attendees at the tables rotating each evening (actually, all meals are included with the cruise).
- A Cruise Ship is a Self-Contained Environment – More time to mingle and network between conference sessions.
- Days in Port – Those with shared interests can plan activities and share adventures together.
- Shore Excursions – Vendors could pay for excursions pre-selected by attendees, and include a personal note with tickets. (Examples in Nassau, Bahamas: Organized Golf Tournament, Full day at Atlantis Resort, Rainbow Reef and Snorkel Tour)
- Event Space – The ship had multiple venues available for association meetings and vendor displays (meeting space and use of A/V is complimentary)
- Meetings after meetings – Vendors have three days to build trusted relationships (spending more quality time with attendees away from the conference floor).
- More Entertainment With Less Cost – Actually, no cost! Meals and evening entertainment – including Broadway shows and Las Vegas acts – are included on the ship.
Additional Sponsorship Opportunities
- Wine with dinner
- Special activities or team building event in port or on the ship
- Special logo gift delivered to attendee cabins daily
- Special invitation literature delivered to attendee cabins daily
- Sponsor dinner in Specialty Restaurants
- Special dessert with company logo
- Professional photography service (group photo or individual)
- Onboard credit for spa treatment or beverage package
A three-day conference at sea was an “elegant solution” for all
The conference at sea created buzz, boosted attendance, and generated qualified vendor leads. Attendees had more time to enjoy the ship’s complimentary amenities and explore tropical ports of call, while vendors had ample opportunities to make solid business connections and nurture relationships. The shared experiences created lasting memories for everyone. As we love to say at Landry & Kling, “Friendships made at sea are said to last a lifetime.”
You can read more meeting at sea success stories here.
Need help with your conference or event at sea? Give us a call at 800-448-9002 or (+1) 305-661-1880.