As the largest photography company for the meeting capital of the world, we have seen a few things. We’ve captured small, one day meetings and huge multiday events. We’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. Through it all we have found one common thread of success; A Change Of Pace.
The average attendee comes to town ready to do it all! They want to soak in as much information as possible. Meet as many people as possible. Do as much business as possible. They are always on.
The average meeting planner builds on this excitement. They create large energy-building sessions, to pump up the audience and get them going in the same direction. Then they fill the agenda with as much education, networking and business as the attendees can handle.
The term being bandied about is “immersive.” It’s the art of dropping an attendee completely into the experience. They eat, breath and sleep within the event while living the brand.
Wow, that is tiring!
There is just so long an attendee can keep up the energy required to make the most of these fast-paced events. At some point, they hit the wall and can’t take in anymore. This isn’t good for the attendee or the meeting planner.
The most successful Las Vegas meetings include sessions to relieve the stress of a high-powered event, lifting the mood while lowering the energy required to participate in a branded group event. This “downtime” lets the attendees have fun while taking a mental break from the business at hand. It’s a matter of creating these sessions at the appropriate moments in the agenda, while considering the likes and dislikes of the audience.
Larger companies are hiring entertainment in a variety of forms. It might be a motivational speaker on something everyone knows about, like a celebrity chef or movie star, or it might be something obscure but interesting like a doctor talking about how 3D printing is saving lives.
An important educational session might start with a performance from magician or circus act before jumping into the meat of the meeting. With the strategy of clearing the clutter in the mind before adding information, entertainment and a shared experience can be a key to high retention.
Other groups plan entire sessions just to decompress and bond with fellow attendees. We’ve seen team building events, painting classes, even dune buggy excursions.