Conferences and events of all sizes offer your audience unique opportunities to enjoy interesting and exotic locales, venues and experiences that they may not otherwise have. They also present opportunities to advance your organization’s brand and mission in conjunction with the event. As planners and producers, it’s on us to help our clients maximize those opportunities in ways that provide memorable experiences to create awareness, build loyalty and inspire future performance.
Time, travel and resources are already committed to the main event. Ancillary events targeting different audiences can be added with relatively modest additional expense and effort, depending on the program and how it’s being executed. Here are just a few techniques that can be employed to help get the most out of the investment already made in the event.
Tap Your Local Connections
A host destination’s convention and visitors’ bureau (CVBs) is a great resource that provides a multitude of event-related services. They know the city’s trends and hot spots and can connect you with the local event services community, including reputable destination management companies (DMCs) and more.
They can assist with execution and typically have access to volunteer labor. They can also help you with the site visit. We can see and learn a great deal through virtual tours, cell phone videos, snaps and CAD drawings, but there is no substitute for being in the destination and in the event spaces. It’s difficult to overstate the importance of relationships when most of the planning will be done long distance. You can learn more about maximizing your site visits here.
CVBs are also a great resource for bringing local flair into your event. Their members will include the town favorites and you can work together to bring local food, beer, wine, spirits, locations, entertainers and handmade goodies into your attendee experiences.
You should also consider working with a destination management company. They can be your best ally and can connect you with just about any items, experiences, places or people you might need. If you have more than one DMC to choose from, meet with them during your site visit. Review their portfolio, ask questions and ask for references.
Make Your Mark
There’s no shortage of ways to make your organization’s presence known. Use outdoor branding – billboards, banners, window clings, sidewalk clings – to make the host community aware of your organization’s presence. Some CVBs may support this effort, depending on the size of the group, with airport signage, flags or banners.
Your people embody the brand. If it’s a large group that will be flooding the local restaurants and hotels, think of how they can help advance the brand. Shirts, bags, credentials, lanyards, etc. Also consider where you’d like them to have a brand presence – maybe a sporting event makes sense — and plan activities in those locations and venues. We’ve seen beach parties, private garden parties and all types of themed events and outings. If shuttles or motor coaches will be used to transport your group to and from off-site events, consider wrapping the vehicles with graphics.
A little extra effort and resources can go a long way toward maximizing the investment already being made in a larger event. We can help your company or organization develop and execute a plan to increase visibility and awareness while leveraging your conference and event presence in any given location. For more information about how we can make your next destination event a huge success, click here.