Happy 2016, Meeting & Event Planners!
If you’ve been keeping up with industry trends, you know there are two big factors driving meeting attendance and engagement (which both translate to stronger ROI):
New experiences and opportunities to network/build relationships.
Think about your next meeting or event and ask yourself these 10 questions:
- Are your attendees buzzing about the meeting?
- Is your sales staff motivated to go the extra mile to qualify?
- Is your venue/destination exciting, or more of the “same old, same old”?
- Does your meeting agenda include plenty of “white space” so attendees can connect, exchange ideas, and absorb the content being presented?
- Is your venue conducive to casual meetings, relationship-building and creative sessions?
- Are you providing memorable experiences before, during and after business sessions?
- Does your meeting content encourage participation and “out of the box” thinking?
- Are you including nutritious meals and wellness breaks?
- Are you including any fun activities or evening entertainment?
- Will attendees return from the event refreshed, invigorated, with a renewed loyalty to your organization?
Did you answer “No” to any of the questions above? Uh oh, you might be in danger of planning another ho-hum meeting!
Here’s how to turn your ho-hum meeting into a humdinger of an event:
Ho-Hum: Put them in meeting rooms with plain old walls, boring design, no windows (yawn).
Humdinger: Meeting space with inspiring views of the ocean and horizon; creative, contemporary design with flexible setup and clusters of comfy chairs and small tables.
Ho-Hum: Meeting at a conference center or hotel and waking up to the same view every day (too bad for those stuck with a parking lot view).
Humdinger: Waking each day to new vistas that invite discovery (and only having to unpack once).
Ho-Hum: Taking over a ballroom for a gala event
Humdinger: Taking over an entire “floating neighborhood” for a gala event
Ho-Hum: Overpriced, lethargy-inducing dinners served in a bland banquet room.
Humdinger: Dining together in a gorgeous, multi-level dining room with ocean views; choosing from menus created by celebrated chefs. Bonus: meals included and no menus to plan.
Ho-Hum: Leaving attendees on their own to find taxis or wander around a strange city looking for a decent restaurant that won’t eat up their expense accounts.
Humdinger: Letting them meet up with friends and colleagues to enjoy scrumptious cuisine from a choice of restaurants (many complimentary) – just a short stroll from everyone’s room.
Ho-Hum: Attendees have entertainment choice of lame lounge singers or high-priced, off-site shows.
Humdinger: Attendees have many choices, including Broadway shows, aerial acrobatic performers, Las Vegas acts, comedy troupes and AquaTheater high-diving. No tickets, no lines, no transfers necessary.
Ho-Hum: Attendees scatter after meetings, no serendipitous opportunities to connect.
Humdinger: They have built-in networking opportunities in a self-contained, sea-going environment – with plenty of inviting, casual spaces to meet.
Ho-Hum: Wellness takes a hike – give them unhealthy breaks and meals, long meetings with no opportunity to stretch, no fitness facilities.
Humdinger: Healthy options in choice of dining venues, fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment, heart-pumping sports with inspiring views (rock climbing, bungee jumping, basketball, mini-golf or ropes course overlooking the ocean anyone?).
Ho-Hum: After meetings: attendees go to the pool, take a city bus tour or walk on the same beach every day.
Humdinger: Attendees can share active, cultural, or culinary adventures in different ports every day, or sign up for enrichment classes and learn a new skill while at sea.