Experience counts: Tips for creating an experiential event
Experiential – “relating to, derived from, or providing experience”. Experiential is the latest word in the event world that may have planners buzzing with ideas or crying in frustration. While creating an experiential event is something every meeting planner should strive for, doing so may prove a bit challenging. The goal is to deliver meeting excellence, a “wow-factor” and experiential events thus avoiding the pitfalls of tired, ‘here we go again’ meeting itineraries.
It’s often said that experience is everything. In fact, Scott Dzierzanowski, associate creative director of the experiential company, Mosaic writes, “Since we live in a world with constant distraction and noise, a meeting that is not in some form experiential will not be effective.”
Organizing a unique, experiential event that has groups feeling refreshed and enthused requires a bit of brainstorming. Here are a few ideas to heighten your attendees’ overall experience and ensure an experiential event.
3 Tips to creating experiential events
Greater Good for Greater Meaning
In today’s fast-pace society, meeting planners are constantly finding ways to capitalize on the latest trends before they fade. However, even with creative capture, it’s not uncommon for meetings to get stuck in the repetitive patterns of wine tastings and team building excursions. Now more than ever, there is the necessity to give your attendees an experience that holds greater meaning. Partnering with a local non-profit is a great way to get your guests involved in the destination while generating awareness for an important cause. Arranging for your group to participate in a local community service initiative, not only creates a positive impact, but also builds an purposeful experience. In addition, it allows attendees to gain a new perspective of the area, and walk away with a memorable and humbling experience.
What says more about creating an experiential event, than fully immersing your attendees in experiences unique to your chosen destination. Go beyond the standard ballroom or even boardroom decor, by uping the ambiance with decor representative of the local area.
Influenced by the destination, create a theme to weave through your entire program that highlights aspects of the area attendees might otherwise miss out on. Cater the event using restaurants and bars that are known for crafting delicious local cuisine, then give your guests the option to attend a cooking or mixology class, allowing them the experience of hands-on learning. Add a takeaway gift bag filed with the new recipes and ingredients enabling attendees to relive the experience long after the program ends.
Tip #3 – Tapping the destination for an experiential event
Meeting participants want to do just that — participate. Adding a few interactive elements to your meetings can lead to an engaging experience. According to Adrian Segar, founder of Conferences That Work, experiential meetings encourage people to connect and learn through interaction. One way to encourage interaction is through design. The physical setting can either foster engagement, or discourage it. Encourage involvement with your seating arrangements. Rather than large rounds or classroom style, try cabaret seating or ditch tradition and add lounge clusters or even colorful, comfy bean bags. Neuroscientists say that relaxation inspires creativity, inviting ideas and collaboration.
Another way is to combine local immersion with an interactive environment, easy to do if your group happens to be meeting in Newport Beach, California. As one of the few destinations in the nation where you can hold a private event right on the beach, options for an experiential event are plentiful. Meeting planners may want to add a few activities favored by locals such as beach volleyball, a sandcastle build, a kayak tour or a private harbor cocktail cruise. Encourage even more interaction with a mixology class aboard a private yacht.
Creating an experiential event particularly in a new destination requires the knowledge of local experts. When you’re ready to begin organizing your next group meeting, contact the staff at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA. Visit Newport Beach opens the doors to this Pacific paradise with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and valuable resources.
Written By: Visit Newport Beach Meetings