When planning a major conference or event, organizers want to make sure participants leave feeling thrilled they attended and excited to share their experience with the world. But these days, this is no small task. Participants expect the full VIP experience (regardless of status)- with exclusive offers, prizes, and networking opportunities. And event planners are expected to deliver. So what does it take to land the “world class events” vibe?
Not sure where to even start? Here are the top elements every event planner needs to know to elevate the next event to gold status… and beyond.
Related: Driving Industry Stimulation Through Virtual Engagement
Understand Your Audience for World Class Events Appeal
Knowing your audience is key to creating an exceptional event experience. Making guests feel special isn’t necessarily about giving them something “fancy” and more about finding creative, innovative ways to give them what they actually want. This can only be achieved when organizers do the research necessary to truly understand their audience.
For example, if the majority of participants are busy executives, they will appreciate periodic breaks in the agenda, as well as a dedicated space and internet access, to catch up on calls and emails. Or, if the audience is more geared toward kicking back and socializing, happy hours with craft food and drink tastings might be a more welcomed event perk.
Do you want to know how Van Wagner can help you create a memorable event? Look into our Boston Beer Company case study!
Visual Branding Consistency
To create a buzz that fits the bill, it’s important for event planners to use visual branding and marketing to their fullest potential. Building an event landing page that showcases all the event highlights- including the agenda, keynote speakers, and logistics- will encourage visitors to sign up on the spot.
The site link can also be easily integrated into marketing content and posted on social channels to generate excitement and engagement. This strategy will make sure the event’s look and feel is consistent with the overall aesthetic of the hosts’ theme to increase brand recognition throughout the event’s marketing campaign.
To create a truly VIP experience, planners should approach an event like a highly anticipated art exhibit, curating each component to fit and elevate the overall experience.
Again, it’s crucial for organizers to know an audience’s expectations in order to exceed them. Brainstorm things that would excite the target audience and list out creative ways to deliver them and more.
Even better, ask participants directly via surveys and questionnaires prior to the event or send out a poll to discover what would most appeal to them. This is a great way to build rapport with attendees and get clear on their needs and preferences.
Go Mobile With Exclusive Content
Using Mobile apps is another great way to make an event stand on its own. Gamification features can provide fun, creative ways to engage and entertain participants before, during, and after an event. Custom mobile apps allow event planners to provide attendees with all the event details they could want at their fingertips, from session schedules to speaker bios to detailed site maps, and much more.
Event planners can customize the app features to best meet guests’ wants and needs, as well as create design elements to reflect the branding and vibe of the event.
Related: 10 Strategies for Designing Your Event’s Content
Exclusive Event-Only Discounts & Prizes
Because event organizers will already know what excites their audience, they can find products and services that guests will truly love. Hosts can offer participants exclusive access to new products and deep discounts, as well as valuable prizes through contests and giveaways.
Social channels are another great way to build excitement for VIP event offerings. Event marketers can send limited offers and discount codes to registered participants and surprise especially active followers with special prizes they can share with friends to encourage engagement and increase registration.
Use the Right Team and Sponsors
An exceptional team and strategic sponsorships will elevate the event experience tenfold, for both organizers and participants. Securing high-quality sponsors who have aligned goals and similar audiences will add credibility to an event, as well as expose participants to valuable products and services.
And all event planners know, they are only as good as the people they surround themselves with. It’s almost impossible to run a successful event without the help of a skilled, reliable team to help guide planning processes, avoid technical meltdowns, and keep presenters and customers informed, comfortable, and happy.
Choose an Engaging Guest Speaker
Finding an engaging speaker is one of the most important components of a successful event, impacting everything from attendance rates to sponsorships. Event speakers are essentially the brand ambassadors for an event, adding value, credibility, and intrigue for participants.
But organizers don’t necessarily need to secure a big name to wow an audience. In fact, as long as a speaker has an interesting topic, a good amount of charisma, and content that’s unique, innovative, or thought-provoking, audience members will stay engaged and most remember the experience as an event highlight.
Provide Event-Related Goody Bags
Whether it’s personalized, funny, functional, or all of the above, people love event swag. Providing an assortment of themed or promotional items can make a fabulous first impression on customers, and when curated thoughtfully, can keep the buzz about an event going after.
When selecting gift bag items, choosing products that are unique, useful, and will enhance the participants’ life in some way is the best way to ensure goodies are put to use. Even better, customizing items with brand logos or graphics will remind guests of the brand every time they use it and serve as anyone else who sees it!
Related: Human Connection: Why Hybrid Events Produce Mind-Blowing Results
Upgrading an event to elite status doesn’t have to be over the top. In fact, organizers can make participants feel like celebrities with just a few simple upgrades. The key is for event planners to do their research, and do it well, incorporating personal touches that will light up their target audience and create a red-carpet experience with a down-to-earth feel.
Do you need help getting started with your next virtual or hybrid event? Let us know and we will help you get started.