One of the key takeaways from hospitality leaders at Tripleseat’s annual EventCamp conference in September was an emphasis on memorable event experiences.
While in the past, events have been centered on food and beverage, expectations have shifted, and people are looking for more meaningful and memorable moments. Whether social or corporate, in-person, remote, or hybrid, it’s all about providing an experience worth talking about, said Michael Cirino of New York City-based House of Attention, a leader in the hospitality industry that is leveraging technology to create standout events.
2023 will be a time to rethink ways to trigger an emotional response in event attendees and reap the rewards of happy event planners and attendees. We’ve covered some ideas to get the event experience wheels turning.
Why are memorable event experiences important?
There are many benefits to creating a more engaging event experience, including the following:
- Provides your venue a competitive advantage
- Causes attendees to be more likely to remember your event
- Creates share-worthy photos and marketable content
- Generates buzz, new leads, and bookings
- Increases loyalty and repeat customers
- Provides potential opportunities for press mentions, sponsorships, and partnerships
Must-have elements for event experiences
What can you add to your events to energize the attendee experience? When brainstorming, consider how your experience ideas directly meet the event goals.
Here is a checklist of attributes your event experiences should have:
- Coordinates with the theme and goals of the event
- Is unique or innovative
- Connects people through shared experiences
- Conveys message or brand
- Prompts meaningful conversations
- Is engaging, memorable, and shareable
- Results in good ROI
The icing on the cake
Adding engaging activities to your events should not take away from your foundation. You should consider adding experimental layers to your events, whether they are small-budget details or large-budget options. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to recognize opportunities, and brainstorm creatively for your events. Most importantly, as you innovate your events, make sure to have transparent conversations so that no matter what experiences you integrate, you are still meeting goals and expectations.
Ways to add memorable event experiences
1. Satisfy the senses
When developing your plan to incorporate more impactful components in your events, try to provide a more immersive experience that triggers the five senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. While your food and beverages will be a central component, there are other opportunities, including decor, art, lighting, LED video displays, music, sounds, props, hands-on activities, fabrics, furnishings, floral arrangements, and fine dinnerware.
Have you considered incorporating a wine or beer pairing event option where guests can taste wines or beer that pair well with your menu items? This is a simple and inexpensive way to add more of an engaging piece to your events. If budgets are larger, introduce innovative options that are highly immersive and invigorate several senses. Consider large-scale video walls that make a large visual and audio impact. No matter what you add, this will elevate your events and make them stand out.
2. Add personal elements
Adding either little touches of personal elements or significant customizations for social and corporate events will help make your events stand apart. Speak to the planners and determine personal interests and preferences, corporate branding, and industry ideas to create customized event experiences.
A simple, inexpensive way to personalize your events is to add a monogram or logo on napkins or food items. Or develop a custom cocktail for the event with a catchy or personal name. If your budget is more extensive, you can opt to help with large-scope customized event elements
like grand floral or light installations or elaborate backdrops.
3. Utilize available space
Be sure to consider your venue space and event floor plan and create spaces that draw an emotional connection to anyone who enters them. Sometimes you can rethink the space or capitalize on the square footage you haven’t used before. Consider outdoor space, or consolidate
storage and leverage the room you have there. Make sure you precisely map how all your rooms can and will be used for events.
Use these spaces to offer guests hands-on features. Alternatively, you can offer a quiet respite spot to enjoy a cocktail. You may want to consider the use of inexpensive items to set the overall feeling, like stand-out furniture, plants, and lighting, but if you have a larger budget, you can add multimedia canvases, lighting, and audio elements, and interactive components to your space.
4. Consider partnerships
We encourage you to seek potential partners to help make your events unique. Seek local companies to help make your venues stand apart by incorporating amazing event experiences.
Look for partnerships for impactful floral, design, scenic, entertainment, tech, and social elements. Vendors that could embellish your events may offer rentals like karaoke equipment, inflatables, arcade games, 360 photo booths, and even high-tech immersive elements.
5. Use technology to create a memorable event
Consider using innovative technology to enhance the attendee journey at the different touchpoints. Technology has come a long way to increase the wow factor for your events.
Event tech can include 3D imaging or video tours of event space, all the way to immersive experiences at the event itself for attendees. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are emerging as ways to have your attendees be even more engaged.
As shared at EventCamp this year, Cirino uses various technologies to customize and create event memories, including lasered monograms on food and drone bartenders. Talk about a wow factor!
6. Connect experiences to your venue’s brand
Ensure your event venue’s brand is recognizable in your events so that guests can connect your brand and the experience itself. Have your staff wear branded attire. Use branded labels and your logo in your space. When marketing these experience-based events, leverage your brand so you become the venue of choice. Use your creativity to make sure that your event venue is remembered.
Use experiences to make your venue stand out
For the new year, make it your resolution to use your passion, creativity, and attention to detail to create impressive and immersive events at your venue. Implement either little or large features into your events and see the benefits of creating more memorable experiences. Your clients and attendees will be more likely to spread the word about your experiences, and you’ll become the venue of choice for future events.