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.

Bicycles on the Danube during AmaWaterways River Cruise

Bicycles on the Danube during AmaWaterways River Cruise

Think about your next meeting or event and ask yourself these 10 questions:

  1. Are your attendees buzzing about the meeting?
  2. Is your sales staff motivated to go the extra mile to qualify?
  3. Is your venue/destination exciting, or more of the “same old, same old”?
  4. Does your meeting agenda include plenty of “white space” so attendees can connect, exchange ideas, and absorb the content being presented?
  5. Is your venue conducive to casual meetings, relationship-building and creative sessions?
  6. Are you providing memorable experiences before, during and after business sessions?
  7. Does your meeting content encourage participation and “out of the box” thinking?
  8. Are you including nutritious meals and wellness breaks?
  9. Are you including any fun activities or evening entertainment?
  10. 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.

Solstice Theater on Celebrity Solstice used for group events and meetings

Celebrity Solstice Theater – a stunning venue for awards or general sessions

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).

SeaDream Yacht in Kotor

SeaDream Yacht in Kotor

Ho-Hum: Taking over a ballroom for a gala event

Humdinger: Taking over an entire “floating neighborhood” for a gala event

Central Park Neighborhood on Oasis of the Seas

Central Park Neighborhood on Oasis of the Seas

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.

Celebrity Solstice Grand Restaurant - always complimentary

Celebrity Solstice Grand Restaurant – always complimentary

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.

Cruise ship dining on deck

Cruise ship dining on deck

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.

Allure of the Seas AquaTheater

Allure of the Seas AquaTheater

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.

Norwegian Getaway Sugarcane Mojito Bar on The Waterfront

Norwegian Getaway Waterfront has plenty of entertainment & dining venues

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?).

Windstar Star Breeze Marina with complimentary water sports equipment

Windstar Star Breeze Marina with complimentary watersports equipment

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.

Shopping with the Chef during a cruise culinary tour

Shopping with the Chef during a cruise culinary tour

Get the picture? A cruise ship is the perfect venue for your next humdinger of an event!