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While hybrid events provide much-needed flexibility in an uncertain world, they’ve also created a new challenge for event planners and organizers. Now that attendees have the option of enjoying events from the comfort of their homes, planners must work even harder to make in-person events attractive.

The cost of travel, changing COVID restrictions, and the potential risk that comes with exposure to large crowds have all combined to make large events in exotic locations far less appealing to both organizers and attendees. While large events are still possible currently, they come with a lot of complications. This has led forward-thinking planners to embrace smaller, more exclusive events and unique “micro-experiences.” The shift has been well-received, making it likely that micro-experiences are here to stay.

What is a Micro-Experience?

Before diving into the details of how to make this strategy work for you, it’s helpful to explain exactly what we mean by “micro-experience.” In simple terms, this is a small, intimate, and hyper-personalized event that is either a stand-alone affair or an offshoot of a larger event. Micro-experiences often have a luxury feel, taking the “boutique” events of the past to a whole new level.

The Benefits of Micro-Experiences

The general consensus is that holding smaller outdoor events is a key to reducing airborne transmission risks. This makes them more appealing to attendees who are hesitant to go out into larger crowds right now. However, it’s important to remember that managing fear is not the same as creating value.

While fewer attendees may mean fewer risks, many may worry that it also means fewer opportunities to network and create new business opportunities. To overcome this concern, planners must make lower attendance numbers a selling point rather than a drawback. Luckily, this is easy to do. Aside from the potential health and logistical benefits of restricting crowd size during a pandemic, there are many other advantages of incorporating micro-experiences into your events.

While lower attendance numbers may mean attendees make fewer connections, they also focus on quality rather than quantity. A more intimate environment fosters a greater engagement with both the brand and with each other. It also allows attendees to feel like an integral part of the event, rather than just a number.

Working on a much smaller scale allows you to create unique experiences that audiences otherwise could not access. In addition, customizing every possible aspect of your event gives you the ability to appeal to a particular niche audience, fostering deeper engagement and increasing brand loyalty.

3 Successful Types of Micro-Experiences

What type of micro-experiences are the most effective? Event organizers are currently finding incredible success with exclusive luxury experiences, personal development and team-building activities, and wellness excursions. Let’s take a closer look at each.  

1. Exclusive Luxury Events

Offering exclusive, one-of-a-kind luxury experiences is one of the most effective ways to attract event attendees. From an open-air adventure on a private yacht to an event held “backstage” in an otherwise restricted area, the key to success lies in offering a truly unique and fully immersive experience. 

Limiting an event to 100 or fewer participants and including perks like live musical performances and private catering increases the appeal, particularly for attendees who have been cooped up at home for the majority of the past two years. It’s also relatively simple to incorporate a virtual audience into this type of micro-experience, allowing you to keep the in-person event intimate while also selling more tickets and attracting potential sponsorships.

2. Personal Development and Teambuilding

With smaller crowds comes the ability to offer hands-on workshops, intimate team-building activities, and other opportunities to focus on personal development. When planning these types of micro-experiences, it’s important to give attendees the VIP treatment. For example, you can turn a series of outdoor team-building games into a truly memorable experience by following it with a catered dinner on the beach and a bonfire.

3. Wellness Getaways

Many corporate events are information-heavy, making it essential to provide opportunities to briefly step away without completely checking out. Incorporating micro-experiences designed to help attendees relax and unwind will help make the overall more enjoyable and memorable. 

Incorporating activities like yoga and meditation sessions will give attendees the break they need so they can come back refreshed and ready to re-engage. Most venues can also easily set up the necessary equipment to record these sessions and broadcast them to your virtual audience as well.

Personalization is Key

Limiting the size of an event does not automatically turn it into a micro-experience. If you want to create something truly memorable, you must take personalization to a whole new level. Offering highly customized experiences will help you connect with your audience faster and more deeply by showing that you understand and care about their individual needs. 

Throughout every element of the event, ask yourself how you can create more choices for attendees. This could be anything from using movable furniture to allow guests to make their own seating arrangements to giving attendees a wealth of session options to choose from throughout the day. 

For hybrid events, it’s essential to customize the digital side as well. From choosing the way the text scrolls on the screen to offering a choice of uniquely branded cursors, there are many ways for virtual attendees to enjoy a highly personal experience. For both in-person and virtual attendees, look for ways to offer curated suggestions. Show them how they can customize the way they interact in the moment and provide personalized ideas for things they may enjoy doing between sessions.  

Prepare for the Events of the Future

All signs point to it being the perfect time to take a step back from huge events and focus on creating highly personalized micro-experiences. While planning hybrid events, it’s also important to create an incredible in-person experience while providing an equally unique virtual experience. Doing so isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it. 

eShow can show you how to create incredibly memorable micro-experiences that skyrocket your event engagement. From a full-featured virtual event management platform to gamification and travel management, we offer a comprehensive solution for all of your event planning needs. Contact us today to schedule a free demo!

While many attendees are thrilled to be heading out to in-person events again, before you know it, they’ll also be sick to death of the same-old stuff. Conventional venues are still appropriate for certain types of events, but if you don’t want to bore your guests, thinking outside the box is the name of the game.

When choosing the venue for your next event, remember that it’s not just a place where people gather to hear speakers or enjoy a cocktail hour. The event venue is a major part of the overall experience. Choose a predictable and boring venue, and there’s a very good chance your event will be… predictable and boring.

Imagine what could happen if you broke the mold and tried something new! Choosing an unconventional and unexpected venue will allow you to influence how your audience feels, encourage creative thinking, create a buzz, and spark exciting new conversations.

Are you ready to make a splash? Here’s a look at how to make non-traditional event venues work for you.

3 Rules for Choosing Unusual Event Venues

Sadly, you can’t just plop your next event out on a rural piece of farmland and expect it to be an instant success. However, if you follow these three simple rules, you’ll be well on your way to creating an event that’s both exciting and totally buzz-worthy.

1. Choose the Right Vibe for Your Brand

Unconventional event spaces are all around us – but choosing your venue is not just about finding a cool space. You also need to make sure the character of the space matches the brand’s voice and signature style.

For example, a brand breaking into the luxury market is far more suited to an event held in a mansion than one that’s out in the woods. When choosing venues, always consider what the space says about the event itself and the overall brand message.

2. Maximize the “Wow” Factor

Nobody goes home from an event and brags about the meeting room or convention center. If you want to create a buzz, make sure the venue makes an amazing first impression. Start setting the mood before attendees even walk in the front door. Look for spaces with impressive exteriors or extend an indoor venue outside. Use this space to create an experience and build anticipation. Live actors, outdoor welcome drinks, and grand entrances can all help get attendees pumped for the amazing event they’re about to experience.

It’s often even easier to make a bold first impression with outdoor spaces. They provide more opportunities to create a “Wow” factor and greater options for customization. Just remember that if you choose an outdoor venue, you’ll have to keep a sharp eye on the weather and have a “Plan B” in place.

3. Never Sacrifice Quality

You may think you’ve found your dream venue – but if the space can’t handle the logistics of your event, the dream can quickly turn into a nightmare. Many non-conventional spaces are sparse on amenities. Make sure you never sacrifice the quality of your event for the “coolness” of the space.

At a bare minimum, make sure you have sufficient power sources, good reception, and Wi-Fi capabilities. Not only will you need this for your speakers and entertainment, but you’ll also want to make sure guests can freely share photos and videos of your Instagram-worthy venue. 

It’s also critical to make sure the venue is large enough to comfortably hold all your attendees and that the bathroom situation is on-point. Check the seating capabilities, make sure all your technology will work in the space, and be sure the location is easily accessible to your guests.

If you’re thinking of using a venue where an event like yours has never been held before, give yourself enough time to assess the space, work out the logistics, and create backup plans.

Exciting Venues to Consider

Attendees are craving something different and want to attend events in places they haven’t seen before. One important key to choosing an unconventional event venue is to make sure it’s not designed specifically for events. 

Not quite sure where to start? These ideas are sure to spark your imagination.

Rural/Agricultural Locations

Farmland offers plenty of space to get creative, and a clean barn can be the perfect venue for a “shabby-chic” event. This is also a great option for brands that want to promote an eco-friendly image.  

When planning an event in a rural space, be sure to stay consistent with the theme. This is a good time to skip the upscale caterer and choose a local establishment instead.

Rooftops

The incredible view makes rooftop spaces an excellent option for many different types of events, including corporate events and pop-up dinners. During the day, guests can enjoy the picturesque view of the skyline and the streets below. Schedule an evening event to give guests the opportunity to experience an incredible sunset followed by the picture-perfect view of the city lights.

Experiential Event Venues

Planning an event at a location people already want to see creates a built-in sense of anticipation.  Some options to consider include botanical gardens, zoos, art galleries, museums, racetracks, or amusement parks. Not only are these spaces really cool on their own, but the event gives guests the chance to experience the space in a new and different way.

Architectural Spaces

Holding events in architectural spaces gives you a major opportunity to capitalize on the “Wow” factor. Some options include a train station, airplane hangar, or a warehouse. The sheer amount of space also gives you a ton of flexibility for decoration and design.

Parking Lots & Garages

When looking for a large outdoor space to hold your event, a parking lot gives you almost unlimited options. You can add tents for cover, place a band or stage in the middle, and use a circle of food trucks to define the space.

Of course, this won’t be appropriate for all types of events. To create an experience that feels a bit more upscale while still having an urban vibe, use all the same ideas but put them on the top floor of a parking garage.

Cutting-Edge Tools for Your Next Event

Moving events out of ballrooms and into fun and exciting locations requires planners and organizers to perform at their very best. No matter what venue you choose, eShow’s comprehensive suite of solutions will help you pull it off without a hitch.

Our experts are happy to help you explore your options and build a custom package for your needs. Contact us today to schedule a live personalized demo.

As a tike, did you own a book that had (in addition to brightly colored images) little patches of wool-like fabric incorporated into the animal images, images that you could scratch and sniff, and buttons that made squeak or chime sounds when pressed?  If so, the author/publisher of that book was on to something.  They knew that if you used your senses of touch, smell, and sound in addition to your sense of sight, you would enjoy reading that book more than a book with only words and pictures. They offered you a multi-sensory experience. 

Children aren’t the only ones who find multi-sensory experiences more enjoyable. Adults (consumers) also appreciate them, and brands would be wise to keep this in mind when planning marketing campaigns and trade shows. As your clients, these brands will rely on you, the event manager, to ensure attendees have the most pleasurable experience possible. Therefore, the more senses your attendees can engage during your events; the more positive and memorable their experience will be.  Your objective should be to design your events in emotion- and thought-provoking way.  

1.  Benefits of Multi-Sensory Events

Not only do our senses affect mood and influence activity, but it’s a scientific fact that the senses of smell, sight, and sound tend to store memories in the brain when engaged. This means that the likelihood of attendees thinking about your event in the future increases if you incorporate elements that tap into one or more of these senses.  And, of course, you want them to remember your event and your brand message, and that’s the reason you’re holding the event in the first place.

Here’s how you can create a multi-sensory experience and increase engagement at your events:

 2.  How to Host a Multi-Sensory Event

Depending on your budget, there are two ways to create a multi-sensory experience for your event attendees. If you’re working with a limited budget (or don’t want to overstimulate attendees), you can create focal points by adding small elements of sensory interest to your event. If done right, these small moments of delight can make a significant impact. Think stimulating fragrances, stunning table décor, and upbeat music between speakers.

If your budget is less constrained, you may want to immerse your attendees in a multi-sensory experience fully. Attendees will use multiple senses throughout the event, not just at focal points. This approach provides a more significant impact on memory and will engage attendees on a much larger scale. They’re more likely to remember and share details of the event for years to come. If you’re considering this approach, take a page from Essence and Toyota’s playbook.

3.  Essence & Toyota Show How It’s Done

In December 2017, ESSENCE magazine partnered with Toyota to create #SensoryWonderlanda multi-sensory event that celebrated Afrofuturism while simultaneously generating buzz for the new 2018 Toyota Camry. The event brought attention to Toyota’s Sensations campaign, which focused on drivers’ emotions and sensations when driving.

The event offered six spaces that represented buzzwords from the campaign and was designed to stimulate multiple senses: Lust, Hunger, Throb, Boom, Pulse, and Drool. Afrofuturistic imagery from the magazine was placed throughout the event, as well as performers that fit the concept.

In the Lust space, attendees were instructed to feel around the velvet-draped environment with their hands.  The Drool room offered a virtual reality experience from inside the new Camry, and the Pulse room contained a representation of the inside of a car engine that revved at full speed. In each room, there was a placard that described the experience that attendees could expect to have.

Toyota aimed to show that they valued multicultural consumers and, along with Essence (a publication with a predominantly African American readership), created a multi-sensory experience that did just that.

4.  Know Your Audience

In addition to your working budget, your decision to either implement the focal point approach or fully immerse attendees in a multi-sensory experience should depend on their needs and interests. Will they respond to an immersive, multi-sensory approach, or would they prefer something more sedate.  Are you catering to a younger demographic who are used to lively, trendy events?  If yes, they would likely appreciate the fully immersed approach. If your demographic is older and prefers more calm experiences, engage their senses on a smaller scale. Here’s where doing your research and knowing your audience pays off.

Final Thoughts

In the world of corporate events, there’s a growing trend toward full-scale immersive experiences, and audiences have come to expect that.  If you’re not meeting those expectations, you’re likely to receive less than favorable feedback and see a decrease in registrations for future events.

But, creating an event with high production quality can be challenging. Among the most common reasons for event managers to forgo making immersive, multi-sensory events are the lack of budget and time. Although an immersive experience may require a heftier budget, budget constraints shouldn’t stop you from giving your attendees what they’re looking for. 

If you’re working with a smaller budget, take the focal point approach and pepper small points of interest throughout the event. If (after doing your research) you find that your audience would prefer an experience that tantalizes the senses but your budget can’t keep up, consider sponsorship. Companies with interests and a target market similar to yours may welcome the opportunity to help cover the costs of your multi-sensory production in exchange for promotion.

However you decide to engage your audience’s senses, you’ll need a partner to help you deliver a memorable experience.  Make your role as an event manager easier by partnering with eShowWe keep our finger on the pulse of the event industry and offer clients creative and innovative ways to bring their ideas to fruition – all within budget. With our fully comprehensive event platform, we can help you not only delight your audience through multi-sensory events but also manage all aspects of your event, from vendor management to data collection and analysis.

Contact us today for a no-obligation demo.

As an event planner, you’ve got to wear many hats. You need to be practical but creative, assertive but also compassionate. In fact, you need to be both left-brained and right-brained, even though conventional thinking says that you should be either/or. Certainly, this can make for a challenging but also satisfying career, but it will also require some careful planning along the way to ensure that you are always ready for whatever comes in front of you. In particular, you need to focus on your EQ (emotional quotient) and especially in these unusual times. What do you need to think about here?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Most people are familiar with the concept of IQ, or the standard measure of mental capability. The term is often used in business, and there are tests to measure where you stand according to a scale. Not many people know about EQ, but it is definitely worth looking into it as an event planner.

Your emotional quotient or intelligence can undoubtedly help you to deal with the everyday stresses of event planning. It can help you ground yourself and work out why you are planning the event in question, and it can help you keep your sanity when things get awry.

If you focus on building your emotional intelligence through mindfulness, then you’ll be able to use those emotions in positive ways. You will plan more effective and more meaningful events, become more empathetic, and help to keep stress levels low all around you. In short, you could stop a problem from developing into a crisis while you help others deal with their stressors as well.

Positive Thinking

Don’t dismiss this idea as “woo-woo.” EQ is valuable, and it can help you be much more successful as an event planner. It can help you to interact with colleagues and customers more effectively and generate positive energy wherever you go. If you are seen as more successful and as pleasant to be around, success, both in personal and professional terms, will follow.

What are some of the ways to foster emotional intelligence?

  • Try to be self-reliant. Of course, you cannot run an event by yourself, and it is definitely a team game. But you must know that you have the answers within you, leading to more self-confidence.
  • Be assertive in everything that you do. Assertiveness is different to dominance or aggression and means that you need to be polite, fair, but firm. People will respect you for this, and you will generate energy at the same time.
  • Be optimistic. This is the glass-half-full approach, and while it can sometimes be challenging to think this way, get into the habit of catching yourself when you may be prone to negative thinking. There are many resources available to help you practice positivity through mindfulness. Listen to podcasts, read books, and try to interact with people who are known for their general positivity. Likewise, try to avoid those who fall on the other side of that spectrum, as negativity can certainly rub off if you’re not careful.
  • Be empathetic. This is increasingly important in today’s challenging world. Many people are going through emotional turmoil and finding it hard to cope, and you should be looking for signs of this throughout your relationships. As an empathetic event planner, you will look at each event through a different prism. You will make sure that your motives are clear, your objectives are fair and that you take the needs and wants of everyone else into account at each planning stage.

Embrace Wellness

The global pandemic has brought health and fitness into sharp perspective for almost everybody. While this has been a particularly difficult time for the event industry, it’s been an even more difficult time for millions of ordinary people who have seen heartbreak all around them or may have had to come to terms with their own mortality. This is a serious situation that needs to be addressed by every event planner as they go forward. Planners need to understand that wellness is now a top priority, and it must be incorporated, in one way or another, into each event that they run.

Soft Skills

Of course, as you develop your EQ, you will become more empathetic and want to ensure that those around you (both customers and colleagues) are doing well. You’ll want to develop your soft skills and help others around you to do the same. Consequently, each element of the event should be viewed through this lens so that you can create an event that can help others grow.

When you look at every element of your event, ask yourself whether you can improve its delivery from a wellness point of view. If you do that, you’ll make all your attendees feel more comfortable and be far more likely to attend one of your events in the future.

Eat Well

If your event features catering, look carefully at the menu. Of course, you will need to provide options, but add as many “brain-friendly” foods to the menu as possible. Work with a nutritionist, if need be, to help you strike that balance.

Mental Well-Being

If you’re organizing a conference, consider adding a breakout related to mental health and well-being issues. Don’t be afraid to raise these subjects and provide an inclusive environment where people can discuss as needed.

To Your Health

Think about general health in addition to mental well-being. Incorporate some measures to help your attendees and understand that some elements of your event could be stressful from a physical perspective.

  • Perhaps you can employ a masseur in a breakout area that can help anyone who feels particularly stiff and sore after a lengthy keynote.
  • Make sure you build breaks into every session and encourage people to wander outside in the fresh air or even engage in some quick physical activities.
  • Where you can, add some background music. You may want to read up about a theory called neuromusicology, which discusses the therapeutic effect of music on the mind and body.
  • Think carefully about your event’s color scheme. If necessary, avoid some of the darker colors and incorporate blues or yellows to aid in creativity and calm.
  • You might even consider aromatherapy. Experiment with your approach, but see if you can change the different aromas throughout the day to take into account the type of session you are planning or counter any mental fatigue after lunch. Various scents may help to calm your attendees and promote overall wellness.

Champion Your Corporate Social Responsibility

No event exists in a vacuum, and planners need to be aware of the environment all around. They need to be able to schedule some activities that recognize corporate social responsibility, to help communities in the general area during difficult times.

These activities can be powerful tools when it comes to building relationships with clients. They can provide added benefits such as increased brand recognition and an all-important “feel good” factor for participants.

Leading by Example

According to the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), these activities are a perfect example of the positive impact of events and exhibitions on local communities. IAEE leads the way with an annual event called Humanity Rocks – a Celebration with a Cause, which has raised funds for a children’s home and shelter.

When event planners come up with a way to include meaningful activities as part of a CSR plan, everybody wins. Participants feel engaged and more loyal to the company, while you, as the event planner, are seen as somebody who goes the extra mile. Don’t forget that both you and your colleagues can enjoy that feel-good factor as well and add to your EQ at the same time.

Working with Like-Minded People

Of course, event planners need to use tools and services to help them plan and produce their events, as there is a tremendous amount of work involved. So, in this era of more accountability, corporate social responsibility, and closer engagement, it makes sense to work with a company that is wholly aligned to these principles and goals.

This is why you should engage with eShow, an organization founded in 1996 that’s helped event managers like yourself run thousands of events worldwide. eShow is an agency with a difference, however. They want to help you build meaningful and long-lasting relationships by providing a raft of services – and to help build synergy across the board.

Honesty and Transparency through Engagement

The team at eShow fully understand how an event should be produced from start to finish and can apply this expertise across all three event models – in person, virtual or hybrid. Most importantly, the team truly cares about not just you as the event planner but your team, the attendees, and the end result. After all, they are all about honesty and transparency through engagement and will never stray away from their core values. 

So, give eShow a call and see how they can help you to build that all-important event EQ.

Everyone wants to make a good first impression. The same is true for events: An event’s overall success hinges on creating a memorable experience—and it all starts with registration. 

The registration and check-in process set the tone for the event, so it needs to run as seamlessly as possible, which means pre-planning and segmenting your audience are a must to save money and space on-site. Plus, since COVID-19 protocols have added another level of complexity to the check-in process at live and hybrid events, it’s more important than ever to work with a holistic event management platform that checks all the boxes and understands how critical optimizing on-site registration is for an enjoyable and efficient in-person attendee journey. 

For instance, eShow—which launched in 1996 as the original event management platform and was established as a synchronized and persistent system well before the onset of pandemic—offers a host of integrated and customizable options that make it a leader in holistic platforms with a strong registration presence. Not to mention, eShow’s team understands the financial burden of staffing and the importance of planning for unforeseeable issues. 

Aside from partnering with the right platform, though, follow these effective check-in guidelines to help you save space and money while capitalizing on registrations and the attendee journey:

1. Use technology that can scan QR codes and seamlessly print badges for pre-registered guests. Alphabetized bins or using staff to hand out pre-printed badges can tie up the entire registration process, which doesn’t leave a good impression. Alternatively, print the badges on-demand. This will save significant time and space, as well as cut down on waste. 


2. Ensure your vendors are using current technology. Unlike laptops, using tablets offers mobility, makes scanning QR codes simple, and is generally easier and faster to clean. This makes for a more efficient, cleaner experience that also frees up space. Utilizing portable options such as tablets allows you to be creative with the registration area footprint and traffic flow. 

3. Drive your audience results by segmenting lists. Sending invites to guests you know will attend in person while segmenting those who will more likely attend virtually streamlines the registration process. This not only helps you prepare for space and staff requirements, but it also eliminates the inevitable uncertainty you face when sending mass invites. Extra tip: Send out a “last call for registration” messaging to potential virtual attendees who may have procrastinated signing up. This will amplify your total reach and potentially maximize your overall registration count. 

4. Choose an event platform that’s flexible. Weather, personal situations, finances, the pandemic—these are all reasons your attendees might change their mind at the last minute and switch their attending status from in person to virtual, or virtual to in person. To avoid putting out a fire on event day, utilize a flexible system that is highly adaptable to provide a more efficient experience for the event organizer and attendee.

5. Be mindful of COVID-19 protocols. Set up a separate check-in station on-site when verifying proof of vaccination, administering tests or running a health screen to keep the line moving. Choosing a vendor that offers the needed technology and staff—and also understands the importance of line fluidity—is key here.

Bottom line? When you partner with an all-in-one event management solution and vendor team that understands effective event flow, your registration process will leave a lasting impression sure to carry through the entirety of the event and even after. 
To get a customized quote and optimize your registration system, book a meeting with eShow‘s event guru’s today!

You put a lot of effort into organizing and subsequently staging your event and ensuring it’s a hit with all concerned. But are your participants really looking forward to attending, or does the very thought of it fill some of them with dread? Now, more than ever, it’s time to take a very good look at your package and decide if it makes the grade. Perhaps you need some significant changes to take into account life in this new era, but what do you need to consider?

Not the Same Old, Same Old

You may go out of your way to understand your participants already. You may ask them for their feedback so you can improve your next event, and you may have created a notional “avatar” whose characteristics, demographics and personality match your target attendee. This approach is tried and tested in the event industry and is nothing new. But it doesn’t reflect the latest thinking and may not consider today’s challenging, emotional, and even anxious world.

It’s Experiential

To move to the next level, you need to make your events truly experiential. You should move away from anything generic and do your research to see how you can take advantage of your surroundings. Try to immerse your attendees in the atmosphere or eccentricity of your host town or city. See if you can create some niche experiences for them that help to lighten the overall mood.

Develop a Sense of Place

Some people call this creating a “sense of place,” but it does not mean that you should simply seize upon the first activity suggested by the local CVB. Look for something different and unpredictable and avoid anything that is purely stereotypical.

Orchestrating Serendipity

PCMA, the world’s largest network of business event strategists, have a memorable name for this approach. They call it “orchestrating serendipity,” or engineering some unexpected but meaningful moments. In fact, they go into detail about this idea in a study that the PCMA Foundation co-authored with Marriott International. The study talks about a clear sense of place, where organizers can leverage the immediate surroundings to create a much rounder experience for attendees.

Not Impressed

If your event caters to a younger demographic, you should know that this group tends to be far more interested in an experience than a bright, shiny object. They’re not likely to be impressed by a magnificently laid out ballroom with the latest in AV gimmickry. They’re more likely to be impressed by your cool activity, where they are taken to an authentic and perhaps off-the-beaten-path place to experience something that they may never have seen or felt before.

But this trend is not restricted to the younger demographic – and you may need to do something special to break the ice for a wider cross-section of your attendees.

The Introvert Attendee

Most people, truth be told, do not like walking into a crowded room full of strangers. This is particularly true in the wake of the pandemic, as people are still nervous and anxious and maybe even less likely to engage with strangers than before. It may take longer than average to unwind and strike up any conversations, and this may be a problem if your event is relatively short. Your people may not unwind in time to leave them with a good, lasting impression, and they may not have the time to cement new friendships. Consequently, they may feel somewhat empty when they leave.

Start As You Mean to Go on

Think about kicking off your event with several smaller groups and an experience of some kind, rather than bunching everybody into a generic meeting room. Look carefully around your community and ask the locals for their opinion. Find a place or an experience that “gels” with your attendees, based on the type of event and general demographic. Perhaps you can find a local artisan who is passionate about their work or a venue that is steeped in history relative to your group’s theme. Make the activity as low-key and informal as you possibly can, and make sure that it has a purpose or a hook of some kind to get your event off to a flying start.

Get out and About

Perhaps you can stage some of your breakout activities in the local community rather than at the hotel or conference center. Certainly, this may be more challenging to organize as you may have to arrange transportation and be creative with your schedule. But it will allow your attendees to see a lot more of the charm and character associated with the host town or city, and this can, in turn, make them more relaxed and open.

Try and weave some nature into the picture too. If the type of group allows and the weather plays ball, stage part of your event in an outdoor, rural spot.

Hit Two Targets

Event planners must always focus on the deliverable and make sure that they hit the target. If the conference is meant to teach people a new skill, or an exhibition is meant to sell people on a particular product or service, then this is the priority. However, a planner should also spend at least an equal amount of time to cultivate a sense of community in place. They should do whatever they can to bring people out of their shells at the very earliest opportunity and make them feel that they have made a good choice. These people will want to justify their attendance, and if you can include something unexpected and entirely outside the typical event deliverable, you will be making a difference.

Focus on Safety, Of Course

Safety is paramount today and more so than it ever was before. You always need to pay attention to cleanliness, social space, transportation methods and venue selection with this in mind. Yet if you can create a unique and safe sense of place for all your attendees, they’ll feel as if you care. They’ll enjoy a unique experience and something that they may not have been expecting. Before you know it, they’ll be raving about your style of presentation and eager to come back for more.

Get Help When You Need It

Event planning today is more complex than ever, and to help you do a job, you need to work with partners who truly care. This is why you should talk with eShow, an organization dedicated to support.

eShow helps to simplify your work by bringing many aspects under one umbrella. If you engage, you can take advantage of a comprehensive event management ecosystem of products. And remember, eShow will be there, wherever you need them. They can help you with your live, hybrid or virtual event – and will tell you what products could work best as you craft your new “sense of place”.

Many events are focused on building a brand or delivering a corporate message. These types of events have specific goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help organizers prove their effectiveness. However, if your objective is to use your event to create a movement, rather than just a moment, you need to shift your focus. 

Impactful events are designed to unify attendees and empower them to spread the word and support your mission. If you want to motivate your event attendees to mobilize in a meaningful way, you need to incorporate this into your overall event plan. The following eight tips will help you do just that. 

1. Create Real Connections 

Connecting people who are passionate about a cause is an incredible way to build momentum. Make sure you facilitate personal connections and encourage engagement before, during, and after your event by offering networking opportunities and small group discussions that foster idea-sharing and problem-solving. While creating true connections can be more challenging during virtual and hybrid events, it’s critical to make sure you do so. 

To make a true impact, you’ll want to look for ways to build networks that will last far beyond the scope of the event. Remember that events have a unique ability to create a strong sense of community and foster feelings of unity and pride. Promoting your message in the right way can help create a unified vision among attendees that might not have existed before. 

2. Promote Your Message

Your event is the ideal platform to promote, advertise, and encourage support for your mission. This makes it critical to spend some time before the event begins really sharpening your message and making sure it’s both clear and actionable. Once you’ve pinned down your message and your theme, find creative ways to integrate them into nearly every aspect of your event.

Keep in mind that impactful events don’t have to be expensive or flashy, but they must share the right message in a way that truly inspires attendees. 

3. Make the Event Inclusive

Inclusivity is always important when planning events, but even more so when you’re trying to create a movement. To ensure the impact goes well beyond the time your attendees spend at your event, make sure you accommodate as many participants as you can. This may include offering on-demand viewing for those unable to view in person, or offering scholarships or mentors for people who are unable to afford the event or can’t participate for other reasons.

4. Motivate Your Attendees

When designing your event, it’s important to let attendees know they can be a key part of the solution, not just the conversation. Make sure the content provided during your event shows attendees exactly what they can do to further the cause in both the short-term and the long term. To keep motivation high, you’ll also need to demonstrate the real impact their involvement can make. 

5. Invite Memorable Speakers

The keynote speakers you choose can make or break your event. When selecting your speakers, make sure they’ll be able to engage your attendees and motivate them to take action. Try to ensure your speaker is someone attendees will look forward to seeing and who will truly connect with them. 

 You’ll also want to break up your programming with fun and interactive sessions that will allow you to hold your attendees’ attention. In addition, it’s critical to keep the energy high throughout the event. Incorporating plenty of upbeat music, exciting light shows, and other unexpected surprises can help keep everyone engaged. 

6. Create a Spectacle 

To raise awareness on a large scale, think about inviting the Guinness Book of World Records to your event. Breaking a world record is a great way to gain attention, create a spectacle, and ensure your guests have a ton of fun. 

If you decide to incorporate this into your event, don’t forget to submit press releases both before and after the event and invite both local and national media to cover it live. The more media coverage you can get, the greater impact it will have. 

7. Provide the Necessary Tools

If you’re asking your event attendees to take action (and you should be!), make sure you’re giving them the tools they need to be successful. This may be a website with an online toolkit, a private group on social media, a public social media page, or a combination of resources. 

Whatever option you choose, make sure it offers a way to keep supporters informed and connected after the event is done. This is also a great way to make virtual attendees and those who were unable to attend the event feel like they’re still an important part of the movement. 

8. Don’t Forget Your Call-to-Action 

No matter how impactful your event is, if you don’t let attendees know what you want them to do next, you wouldn’t get the results you’re looking for. Make sure you give them a task to do after the event, even if it’s small. This could include things like sharing your message on social media, making a donation that a sponsor will match, or organizing smaller events in their hometowns. 

There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing the next step. No matter what you choose, make sure your request is specific and that you can demonstrate the impact it will make. 

Impactful Events Make a Real Difference

The demand for impact (DFI) is growing in the event space. The most successful event planners will stay at the front of the curve with innovative planning and solutions. Whether you’re hosting live, hybrid, or virtual events, eShow is here to help you make your mark. We offer a large suite of tools designed to help you create impactful events and our team is happy to custom-design the right solution for your needs. Contact us today to learn more and request a personalized demo.

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual and hybrid events have obviously increased in popularity. To compensate for the lack of in-person connection, businesses and organizations have sought innovative ways to engage audiences while simultaneously meeting their event goals. To hold audiences’ attention during virtual and hybrid events, event managers have taken advantage of technological advances in audio and video production to create engaging content.

To execute stellar events that include AV components, event organizers should consider allowing for an AV professional in the event budget.  An AV producer is that professional and can help the event team by managing all AV, livestream, and production of the event, from set-up to run-through to execution. Think of the event manager as Batman and the AV producer as Robin. Together, these “superheroes” can conquer mediocrity and rescue attendees from a ho-hum event program.

Employing an AV producer is one way for you to streamline event production in an event format including digital, in-person, or hybrid. But we advise to expand your backpack of tricks and be sure to incorporate a fully comprehensive platform into your budget. When you’re working on time-sensitive projects (like events), you don’t want to have to piece together multiple platforms to host a successful event.  

1.  What Does an AV Producer Do?

AV producers perform a variety of tasks and work with audio, video, and lighting equipment. These components need to be properly interconnected to computers to create harmonious and professional video presentations on-stage and online.

AV producers also prepare scripts for teleprompters, monitor live feeds to ensure quality, diagnose and resolve problems, and digitize data. They are the wizards of all things technical in event production!

On a higher level, AV producers plan and manage internal and external AV production communication and workflows, ensuring there’s an effective and prompt exchange of information while simultaneously maintaining high quality in project deliverables. Maintaining the AV budget is often part of the AV producer’s responsibilities.

 2.  Five Reasons to Seriously Consider an AV Producer

In general, an AV producer can assist in providing a smoother, more engaging, and better-branded experience for your attendees. Below are five reasons to seriously consider bringing an AV producer on board for your next event:

  • Your in-house event team has limited time and/or resources (even if someone on the team is qualified).
  • You want attendees to have a broadcast-level experience. 
  • Your event includes VIP speakers or a large number of speakers. 
  • Your event includes more than two sessions.
  • Your event involves multimedia elements such as background music, pre-recorded video, or visual transitions. 

3.  What To Look for in an AV Producer

If you want to ensure that your AV producer can take your events from good to great, here are seven skills you should look for before bringing him/her on board: 

  • Strong Communication:  Successful events rely on effective communication to ensure that the client’s vision is carried out. AV producers must be proficient communicators to receive direction, delegate, and convey any updates to AV staff and clients.
  • Effective Time Management:  AV producers are expected to complete tasks on schedule so effective time management skills such as planning and timely problem solving are essential.
  • Critical Thinking:  The role of AV producers involves complex problem-solving. They should be able to visualize the best solution for the client and troubleshoot and resolve issues that may arise.
  • Perceptive/Detail Oriented:  AV producers work with technological components (software and hardware) that can be problematic at times. Effective monitoring of AV systems and being able to anticipate and meet the client’s needs are required to ensure a seamless installation.
  • Collaborative:  AV producers need to be able to coordinate their tasks and goals with others on their AV team and other members of the event team. They should also be able to adjust their tasks should any parameters of the event change.
  • Customer Service Oriented:  The AV producers that you hire will be seen as an extension of your company. You don’t want to have your brand tarnished by producers who aren’t punctual and are disrespectful to clients. They should also present themselves in a professional manner (i.e. attire, grooming).
  • Keep Up With Industry Standards:  Because technology is ever-evolving, effective AV producers need to stay abreast of changes in the industry. This ensures that their skill sets are up-to-date and diverse.

Final Thoughts   

As virtual and hybrid events increase in popularity, the bar for experiences has been raised. While virtual events overall may be less expensive to produce, they are still held to high-quality standards by both attendees and event organizers. Attendees expect undistorted sound, sharp video, and other media elements that drive your message home and enhance the virtual experience. 

Depending on how robust your event goals are, investing in an AV producer could give your event the lift it needs while leaving you, as the event manager, free to focus on other aspects of the event. You’ll realize the return on investment when you receive positive feedback from attendees and turn them into repeat attendees for future events.

When performing any task under strained conditions, innovation is often necessary for a successful outcome. Holding events under pandemic conditions (virtual and/or hybrid), therefore, requires innovation. At eShow,   we’re always looking for ways to help our clients take advantage of advancements in the event industry.

Contact us today for a no-obligation demo.

We’ll show you how our comprehensive platform will make your role as an event manager easier. Our event platform allows you to scale your event strategy and incorporate virtual production as part of a larger hybrid event format. We help with everything from vendor management to data collection and analysis. You’ll have access to tools that result in legendary events and make you look like a superhero to your clients.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly impacted the event planning industry. However, it’s not the only challenge event planners face. While today’s events need to be safer and more versatile, organizers also have to work harder than ever to impress their attendees.

While “traditional” events typically feature things like live music, buffets, and keynote speakers, these offerings rarely excite a demanding audience. To truly make your mark, you’ll need to add in some spice.

Innovative events offer new twists that capture an audience’s attention and keep them talking about it long after they’ve packed their bags and headed home. If you want to impress your guests, you’ll need to modernize your events, make them more interactive, and incorporate a significant number of surprises. Use these seven outside-the-box ideas for inspiration!

1. Virtual Reality

While virtual reality (VR) isn’t a new invention, it’s a novel experience at most events. You can use VR technology to immerse your audience in a wide range of settings, making this useful for everything from demonstrating an important concept to creating fun competitions for guests to enjoy during their breaks.

Consider using VR to create 3D models of flagship products or to offer interactive training sessions. You can also use VR to create a fully immersive tour of the sponsor’s warehouse or home office. Once you start using your imagination, the options are literally endless.

Depending on your budget, you may consider sending inexpensive VR headsets to at-home guests so they can enjoy the experience as well. This is a great way to keep them engaged, even when they’re enjoying your event from a distance.

2. Digital Display Walls

Digital display walls are a great way to set the mood for your event. Not only is this an excellent way to showcase products and highlight a company’s message, but changing the wall can completely transform the look and feel of a room in a matter of seconds.

Animated, panoramic, or even static projections are sure to astound your guests and make them feel like they’ve stepped into a whole new world. 

PRO TIP: You can also engage your off-site guests by providing 3-D or VR tours of the event space so they can enjoy the same immersive experience as your in-person attendees. 

3. Magical Transformations

Often, the biggest impacts are found in the smallest of details. For example, instead of allowing guests to arrive in a large, open hall and awkwardly look for their table, consider managing your floorplans to move guests through various themed areas designed to make them more comfortable before they ultimately sit down.

You can also hold your attendees’ attention by continually pulling exciting tricks in all directions. For example, you may set up dueling stages, turn overlooked spaces into unique art displays or performances, and offer unexpected surprises – like placing a small open bar inside an elevator.

4. Showcase Local

For in-person events, consider ditching the traditional catered dinner and instead showcasing food and drinks from local artisans, chefs, and nearby farms. Encourage your food and beverage providers to find innovative ways to create single-serving portions, making mealtimes interesting and fun while still keeping COVID-19 precautions in mind.

For virtual and hybrid attendees, we highly recommend sending a care package that includes promotional items from sponsors as well as snack-sized versions of non-perishable, locally made food items.

5. Interactive Engagement

Direct audience interaction is one of the hottest trends in event planning today. This is particularly important when planning hybrid and virtual events. By pulling the audience into your presentations, you’ll capture their attention and make them feel like they’re an important part of the event – even if they’re watching from home.

Try using technology like mobile apps and event management software to crowdsource questions during events, integrate live Q&A sessions, and poll the audience. Allowing both live and virtual participants to speak their minds will make everyone feel more engaged.

For in-person events, it’s common practice to pass a microphone around so audience members can ask questions or make comments. You can make it more fun and exciting by using a wireless throwable microphone instead. Not only will this turn your Q&A sessions into a fun game, but it will also allow for more questions by saving the time it would take to pass the microphone around. 

6. Creative Use of RFID

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has been used for event registration and tracking session traffic for some time. Now, event planners are getting more creative with this technology. For example, you can give each participant an RFID lanyard and allow them to use it to check into various stations throughout your event. This makes it more interactive and encourages participation. 

You can also take this concept to the next level by using sensor-enabled checkpoints at various locations to trigger custom messages on LED screens. If you want to add another element of fun, turn this into a game, like a scavenger hunt, or offer entries into a raffle or giveaway for each check-in. 

7. Pervasive Themes

Every good event has a theme, and the best ones incorporate this theme into everything they do. You can make a lasting impact on your guests by making sure your theme flows through into all of your event’s design elements.

For example, if the host is all about sustainability, make sure you use recycled utensils instead of plastic silverware – but don’t stop there! Consider hanging repurposed art throughout the venue, using reclaimed furniture, and looking for other creative ways to carry your theme into all aspects of your event. If you’re sending packages to virtual attendees, make sure everything in them clearly conveys the theme as well.

Incorporate Innovation into Your Next Event

To continue “wowing” your guests, you’ll need to include your fair share of surprises, ensure flawless execution, and incorporate a series of unforgettable experiences. This isn’t always easy, but if you do it well, you’ll certainly make your mark. 

If you’re ready to take your events from traditional and monotone to innovative and vivid, eShow is here to show you how. We offer a full line of event management tools to help you take your events to a whole new level.

Our experts are happy to help you explore the tools we offer and design a custom package to meet your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more.

During late 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns and stay-at-home mandates severely impacted the meeting and events industry. Companies and countries imposed strict travel restrictions, while mask and social distancing mandates put a damper on live occasions.

What a difference a year makes.

IIn 2021, the meeting and event industry adapted to pandemic-created challenges, leading to innovative events. As of now, in-person events, complete with social-distancing measures, vaccination requirements, and mask mandates, are starting to come back. But what will happen in 2022? The likelihood is strong that even as live events ramp up, digital and hybrid happenings will continue to be part of the event-planning landscape.

Returning, In Person

One hard-to-ignore fact is that people are anxious to get back together, especially when it comes to live meetings and events.

The Global Recovery Insights 2021 report backs this assertion with numbers. According to exhibitors surveyed, half anticipated that their budgets would return to normal by the end of 2022. Additionally, 62% of exhibitors surveyed said they plan to attend shows in person at the same or increased frequency as before.

The report also surveyed attendees; 72% of participants indicated they would be attending in-person events and shows in 2022.

Another interesting fact about this report is that digital events haven’t replaced live events. Respondents noted that face-to-face happenings are preferable when it comes to networking, education, and overall experience. However, this doesn’t mean that digital events are going away.

Hybrid, the Continued Tool

One thing to count on in 2022 is that hybrid events will continue. However, the issue to keep in mind is that “hybrid” can mean various things.

According to Meeting Planners International, a hybrid event combines “technology with traditional event practices to create new types of attendee experiences and content delivery tools.” As such, these events can focus on at least one group of face-to-face attendees, which connects virtually with participants in other locations.

Regardless of the form a hybrid event takes, experts, believe they will be a mainstay of 2022 events for the following reasons.

Young Adults and Millennial Preference

According to Charles Vincent with Spur Impact, younger adults have been partial to in-real-life (IRL) virtual meetings and events. He noted that young adults, especially, are becoming more used to multitasking and working on multiple screens.

Broader Audience Reach

report from Qualtrics forecasts that while digital (formerly virtual) events are still preferred, a combination of online and in-person events will be essential to appeal to larger audiences. Many attendees and exhibitors are still leery of travel, making a hybrid happening a good strategy.

Continued Remote Work Preference

Not all corporate offices are open. In fact, companies are more accepting of remote work, especially among employees with kids. This has translated to event attendance. During 2020, a high percentage of working parents attended digital events, and this trend continued in 2021 and is likely to continue in the coming year.

More Sophisticated Content

During 2020 and 2021, planners developed content that was ideal for hybrid events. In 2022, session recordings and PowerPoints will be more available for those attendees unable to travel to an in-person event or who could not attend a digital event when it was live.

Potential Emotional Obstacles

There is indeed a pent-up demand when it comes to in-person events. However, people are still nervous when it comes to issues such as COVID-19 transmission rates. As such, it will be easier to offer a hybrid format, especially for those who are nervous about attending events in person.

The Hyperlocal Impact

Another trend continuing into 2022 will be hyperlocality. Rather than hosting a single meeting or event at a centralized location, planners and schedulers will take advantage of regional spaces (such as limited-service hotels or meeting spaces) and host simultaneous events there.

Local events with a robust digital component offer several benefits, not the least of which is a lower risk of viral transmission. Furthermore, this setup will help cut back on travel expenses for attendees. This can be an important consideration, especially as businesses are dealing with last year’s pandemic-created recession.

Worker and Staffing Challenges

Finally, staffing shortages will be an issue as people return to events and meetings (whether in-person, digital, or hybrid). One reason for this is because event planning companies had to cut staff in 2020 and 2021 and are trying to ramp up their teams. As such, labor shortages could mean that “auxiliary” staff, such as artists, technicians, audiovisual specialists, and florists, might be more challenging to find and hire.

Preparing For 2022

When thinking about your meetings and events in 2022, it’s essential to realize that this will be vastly different from 2019, before the pandemic. As such, consider the following suggestions for a successful event next year.

Begin planning now. If you have not already started to book your 2022 event, it’s crucial you do so now. As mentioned above, staffing shortages will be an issue next year. Furthermore, as more companies and organizations plan their events, you could run into competition for experts, small meeting spaces, or even bandwidth.

Make sure your plan covers live and digital components. When setting up packages, people, and assistance, ensure that the correct components are fitted with the proper method deliveries. For example, not all speakers will be comfortable on a virtual platform.

Be flexible and creative. During 2020 and 2021, event planners develop unique and innovative ways to engage hybrid and digital attendees. It’s vital to continue innovation in 2022. Whether they are tuning in virtually or coming to see your event live, your attendees want to be engaged. Speaking of which . . .

Know your audience’s likes, dislikes, and tolerances. In other words, delve deeply into data. Audience feedback in 2022 will be more critical than ever, and understanding what works with your attendees and exhibitors means a better event experience. For example, planning your hybrid event might be a good idea to focus on shorter micro-events spread out over a couple of days versus one large, hours-long main event.

2020 involved shutdowns and the need for digital platforms, while 2021 experienced meetings and events comeback. We anticipate that 2022 will see an even more significant resurgence. Additionally, the positive advantages realized from hybrid and hyper-local happenings will carry over into next year. The best way to take advantage of this is to know what your attendees and exhibitors want. With this knowledge, your next-year event can be the one that is remembered and appreciated.