Ways to stay relevant and ahead of the curve
2020 Forecast Pt 3: The Most Innovative Client
Start with your Audio Visual Company: If the client wants to be the most innovative, I start with my Audio Visual company. I do not pretend to know everything about every niche and that’s why I bring in the best of the best in those niches. I start with my AV company and say, ‘Let’s build the main room and let’s break out from there.’ Then I ask them ‘Tell me what do you have to surprise me. What’s new? What can we do with lighting? What can we do with the stage that’s a little bit unpredictable? What can we do that we haven’t done before that you’re playing around with?’ No matter what my venue, I always like to have a stage that’s a little bit unpredictable.
100% Food Matters:
I have one client who offers their attendees vegan, gluten free, and non dairy options, and everything is organic. Some clients just want to lay off the carbs. I have some clients that want the entire event plant based. I notice that hotels are offering that.
Here is an inside tip: I rarely go off of what the banquet menus offer me. I often go straight to the head chef and ask ‘What can we tailor and what can we create?’ I do not want something that is off the banquet menu, that is preplanned. I want something that is amazing. I want something that is exciting. I want something surprising so let’s create something off menu.
No matter who my client is, it is going to be healthy because I have to keep my attendees feeling good. I have to have their energy up. It is going to be colorful, flavorful, there will be plenty of meat if they do want that, but it is going to be focused on keeping them at full energy capacity for, sometimes, really long days.
Care of the Soul:
I am loving bringing in meditation, mindfulness and breath into an area that you do not normally see that. I focus on corporate events, and a lot of sales events and product launches, and I am bringing in many more speakers and presenters who will lead attendees through mindfulness practices. It is something that is not going away, something that is only going to grow. Attendees are benefiting from it immensely, they are enjoying the experiences, and I do believe it translates into better event experiences, better retention, even better sales when people are getting quiet, when people are being led in a mindfulness practice, in a meditation practice, when they have time to go outside to do some breathe work. I am incorporating a lot of those things. You have it do it kind of delicately with some of the demographic, the people that are not exposed to that. I am weaving that in as often as it is applicable.
Get Physical: At some of my smaller events — I do a lot of intimate mastermind events, intimate meaning 50 people and under, and again based on client, based on attendees — the client and the attendees will start at 6 am and do a workout led by a famed, celebrity personal trainer or something like that. They will do workouts together.
Sustainability: If there is anything that could possibly be a source of contention or if there is anything that I can do to show that we care more about, at the end of the day, that we are thinking about more than just this event, more about the bottom dollar, that we are thinking globally, that is a great impression for the attendees. I have some clients that are very specific — it is very important to them — we do not want anything paper, we do not want plastic straws, we do not want this particular fish served, if it is farm raised. That is my job to make sure the client has exactly what they want presented for themselves and as a representation of their brand.
Venues: Hotels have stepped up because people are tired of them. They know that people are wanting a different experience so they are offering up more unique opportunities, more spaces. I will buy out the restaurant. I will bring in a tent or let’s do something outside to maximize the space, especially if you have a client who wants to get people out of their comfort zones, so I am not going to put them in a hotel. There are huge warehouses that I can convert into amazing spaces. I have also been working with a TV studio. I love doing events in TV studios, production studios, and warehouses. If we want something more feminine or more intimate feeling, or a more retreat style, I can turn a rustic farm space into something amazing.
Technology 2020: I want interactive monitors in the foyer, I want them pressing buttons, I want touch screens, I want them registering at a kiosk. If I have a client that says “I want to be the latest and the greatest and the most innovative”, then I am going to go and pull out all my resources and go really tech heavy. I am going to look into AI. I am going to bring in a top notch person in AI and see how we can incorporate that into the event. I am going to look into personalized experiences. For a client wanting to surprise people, I want to bring in virtual reality for the VIP reception. Let’s do a virtual reality that we can encompass with the client’s products.
Go Digital: You are not going to get people off their phones, so let’s get them super engaged with the event through their phone, use it to your advantage. Millennials are driving this. An idea I am starting to play around with is what I see at music festivals, where the minute you walk into the parking lot, the minute you walk into the vicinity, it is telling you where you are, it is telling you what is happening on what stage at what time, who is playing, it is telling you to walk to the left. At a corporate event, we can use the phone to say starting in 25 minutes over in this break out room is this particular segment with this particular speaker, over in this room is …. People love it because how do you decide between Snoop Dogg and the Wu Tang clan? So let’s find a way to do it between marketing and business strategy.
Leader Spotlight : DeAnna Rogers, Director of Events, Boost Events.
I have been passionately working with events for over 13 years. I started in the Real Estate space and then for the past 7 years have been working with Digital Marketer and their parent company, Scalable. I live outside of Austin, TX.
Personal quote: “I am lucky to work with an incredible team and work with over 30 events per year. The event sizes range from 50 attendees to over 10000 attendees. I have learned from my mistakes over the years and I am happy to share my mistakes with others. I truly believe we learn from others and from collaborating.”
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