Meetings may look like a chance to travel to exotic places at the company's expense but for those doing the work and travelling so often, it can be a chore after say, three trips in two weeks, while catching up on reports and paperwork in between.
If there’s one thing that all the experts agree on, it’s that meetings today aren’t just face-to-face gatherings for the sole purpose of exchanging business information. Rather, they’re enriching, one-of-a-kind experiences that attendees are bound to remember.
Attendees usually have a set mindset before entering a business meeting place. They expect the emcee to make brief introductions, a serious presentation to be shown on stage or on screens, a quick networking lunch before heading back to more number crunching, brain bending sessions.
It doesn't have to be that way, though. It's not often that you meet your foreign counterparts or partners or associates. Meetings should be built around human interaction (or otherwise you could just have a Webinar or group online tele-conference while saving on flights and accommodation). With human interaction, comes sparks for more ideas and this can take place at longer networking sessions.
You could start by choosing an unconventional venue which still provides the necessary facilities (this helps as an ice-breaker, as well). This is easier for small group gatherings, of course, rather than the mega conferences which definitely need more professional event venues. Rather than having all sessions indoors, include some outdoor sessions where attendees are encouraged to interact with other people other than just those with whom he sat earlier.
Attendees are bound to remember events that trigger their five senses so keep this in mind when planning meetings.
This helps to plan for door gifts as well. Instead of the usual notebook, pen and sticky note pad, you could provide local delicacies for taste, colourful luggage tags for sight, a business related audio CD book for sound, candles for scent and a mini craft project for touch.
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2. Attendees and the Local Culture
After spending hours brainstorming and absorbing as much information as possible, it won't hurt to offer attendees a guided half day tour to discover the local culture.
It's also a trend now for vounteerism (doing volunteer work while travelling). There may be some attendees who have opted to lengthen their stay. This is a great way to "do good and give back"
3. Hotels are not the only Places to Stay Overnight
While it may be convenient to stay at a hotel where the meeting is being held, it can be pretty pricey especially when booked late. There are plenty of furnished apartments available for rent. Airbnb.com and couchsurfing.org might give you more options.
4. Mobile Technology is A Must-Have
There is no excuse for attendees to not have the latest event updates with Event Apps and mobile websites available.
Mobile technology allows event organizers not only to send updates to attendees, but also to listen to attendees to help them craft their programs on the front end, as well as make adjustments during the event to provide more value.
Attendees can use the technology as a sort of virtual guide through the event. It highlights booths and information that the attendee might find interesting, based on previous behavior, while locating other nearby attendees for networking opportunities, and way-finding throughout the venue.
Another development is that social media has officially arrived as an events component. According to IMEX, in 2014, “social media starts to receive its own budget, and begins to play a meaningful and measurable part in marketing and communications strategies across the meetings and events industry.”
Also, Wi-Fi is no longer an option, but a business necessity.
About the Author
Author & Editor
Based in Malaysia, Best Events specializes in Conferences, Seminars, Murder Mystery Dinners, Gala Dinners and Team Building events.
We believe in continuous learning for both individuals and as business owners. We strive to deliver the highest standards in our production value ensuring that our customers leave our events with the best memories and overall growth.