Driven by the trend among consumers to value experiences over material things, meetings are undergoing a profound transformation. Attendees are seeking memorable experiences where the culture, food and people of the destination are woven into the event.
The following 7 tips will help you transform your meeting into an experience attendees won’t soon forget:
1. Tap into your hotel’s activity calendar
Many hotels have a roster of classes and activities with a local flavor, everything from yoga at sunrise to sand sculpting on the beach.
2. Ask your CVB about hyperlocal tours
CVBs often promote tours that immerse participants in the local culture, which may include everything from microbrewery tours to glass blowing demonstrations or a popular new activity, wild food foraging.
3. Don’t just watch, do!
Have attendees get into the action. Rather than just making a stop at the establishment known for the city’s best gelato, arrange a course in gelato-making for the group. Enhance a spa day by having participants blend their own bath soaks and body scrubs. The possibilities are endless.
4. Incorporate CSR into your program
Attendees want to be a part of an activity that makes a difference in the community they travel to, whether this means assembling backpacks that will be distributed to local schools or making Mother’s Day cards for seniors in assisted living facilities.
5. Include F&B experts in your event
Whether you invite the resident mixologist to teach attendees how to make their own mojitos or include a carving station where guests can ask the local butcher questions about roasting techniques, there are many ways to get the conversation flowing.
6. Let attendees customize their room experience
Enhance the registration area with a display featuring samples of different types of pillows (down vs. foam), throws, choices of beverages and even flowers for the rooms. Include a table of sweets with creative take-out boxes that they can pack up and bring back to their rooms.
7. Source gifts locally or choose gifts that give back
Gone are the days of impersonal corporate gifts; instead, seek out items made by local artists or where a portion of the sale goes to a worthy cause. One source is Chicago–based Helping Hand Partners, an umbrella for nonprofits like Boise’s Ūsful Glassworks, where repurposed glassware from empty wine bottles is handmade by people facing employment barriers.
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