When the effects of the pandemic first became evident, some people were quick to predict the demise of the event industry. People simply wouldn’t want to meet each other face to face anymore in this “new world,” they hypothesized. Every type of meeting or event would now need to become virtual, and the industry would have to adapt accordingly. Of course, this opinion was premature, and the long-term effect short-lived, as the human condition will always require one-on-one interaction. As such, events will undoubtedly survive, but organizers will need to look at their offerings in a new light. They will need to be more creative, and especially when it comes to those venues. What do they need to take into account going forward?
Technology Expands Choice
Connected technology has been around for some time and was a part of the event picture prior to the pandemic. Indeed, PCMA discussed the challenge to the event organizer back in 2018 but went on to talk about how this type of tech could impact venue selection. Today, cheaper and easier to access technology can open up venues that may once have been unable to cope or even impractical.
Moving Away from Predictability
This ties in nicely to a bigger overall trend in the event industry: to move away from the conventional and to “go rogue” when it comes to venue selection. Today, people want far more than just a predictable conference room, so organizers can often inspire attendees by choosing something unique or special based on the demographic or overall aspiration.
Further, safety is still on the top of the list for event requirements and is likely to remain so for some time. While the pandemic should slowly fade into the background, the after-effects will linger, and potential attendees will make crucial decisions based on their perception of safety.
Off the Beaten Track
Consequently, why not move away from the traditional, easy to access convention center and look for something more rural. Your attendees may feel more inspired if they are closer to nature and safer when it comes to potential exposure to not just strangers but city center pollution and other factors.
Many attendees are looking for a real experience in everything that they do. If your venue has a “wow” factor or can present them with an “Instagrammable” moment, they may be more likely to attend and give you positive feedback at the end. The venue’s draw will attract delegates, and your client may be far more likely to engage if they believe that their customers, suppliers or staff will be happier.
Better Learning Environment
If your event is educational, you may provide a more suitable and creative learning environment, should you go rogue. After all, adults are more likely to retain information if they receive it in a positive external environment. In this case, as they enjoy a positive sensory experience, they are likely to remain engaged and take on board more information. As such, you should find a venue that is as far away from a conventional conference room as possible. By doing so, you can avoid any predictable setup and get off to a better start.
Pros and Cons of the Conventional
It’s much easier to choose a conventional venue and especially when it comes to design, set up and delivery. After all, hotels are fully focused on this area as they earn the majority of their profits from events like this. They have full-time staff members who are only too keen to help an event organizer produce something special, and they will, within the constraints of the space available, do their utmost to please.
Yet, there is only so much that you, as an event organizer, can do with a space that is designed to please as many different tastes as possible. As “easy” as it may be to work within this environment, it’s a lot harder to be inspirational and to generate that much-needed “wow” factor.
Unusual Venues May Have Complications
If you set out to find an unusual venue, you have to take on the added complications. After all, meetings or events may not be their primary focus by the very nature of these venues. Some venues may never have organized an event of any kind, while others may be interested, but you may have to deal with additional issues.
Consider timing carefully. The venue may not be available around the clock like a typical hotel or convention center. The management team may have to consider business interruption and its effect on their existing clientele or bottom line.
It may also be more difficult to get a clear picture of how your event will look when everything is set up, so you can create a successful event. You need to work closely with the venue to see exactly what they can achieve as you envision the end result. Above all else, make sure that you use all the available space effectively with creativity to the fore if you’re going to get the best return on both your objective and investment.
On the flip side, your unusual venue may come with fewer restrictions. As they may also be working with a clean sheet of paper and have not staged the type of event before, they may well buy into your creative thinking. This is not always the case when it comes to a conventional venue, where there are often strict rules and regulations to adhere to.
You may also find that you have more leeway from a budgetary perspective. An up-and-coming destination may not have set aspirations, and venue hire costs may be lower.
Blending Business and Leisure
The new venue may be a destination in itself, as well. You may be able to blend business and leisure by moving away from the corporate feel of that convention center.
Go outside the Box
As the event industry returns to normal, think outside of the box. Give your attendees a reason to commit and make sure that they will have the experience to remember. Sell your alternative venue on the basis of safety, accessibility and inspiration. Your delegates are far more likely to be engaged and help you achieve your ultimate objective.
Shouldering the Work
As you plan, work with partners who can make everything a lot easier. eShow can provide you with an all-in-one event management platform, from registration to session management, from general layout to revenues. When you work with eShow, you will get to worry less about the detail – and have much more time to focus on that unique venue.