Creating Memories: Creative Ideas Help Your Event Stand Apart from the Crowd
The goal for any event is to generate buzz. However, there are so many throughout a calendar year that audiences need something truly special to make an exhibition memorable.
We live in a world where disruption is an advantage. Offering something unique or unusual can only be seen as a good thing – as long as it feels organic to the event. Not all of the ideas presented later in this article will work in every circumstance. You’ll have to use your best judgement in finding what’s best for you and your audience.
When a clever, outside-the-box idea works, it generates buzz that will maintain your brand well beyond the event. However, when an idea falls flat – because it was inorganic and shoehorned into an event – it becomes a black hole of buzz, a vortex that sucks away energy and enthusiasm.
So, be thoughtful. Your guests want to be excited and engaged – give the people what they want.
One instantaneous benefit that a creative venue has over a traditional one is an immediate “wow” factor. Of course, you can do some very impressive things inside a convention center or hotel conference room, but from the outside those venues all look the same. However, just walking up to an outside-of-the-box venue makes an instant impression (sometimes even the journey there is an adventure).
Remember, today’s attendees want more from their events: they want experiences. These unusual locations will help your event stand apart from the competition and create a lasting impression on your guests.
There are a few different types of unusual venues.
Venues that are ready to roll. These locations may not be among the first places where you would expect to host a large-scale brand event, but they are comfortable supporting large groups of people and have (most, if not all, of) the amenities in place. Examples of these locations include:
- Football Stadiums
- Sporting Arena
- Race Tracks (car and horse)
- Theaters (movie and live)
- Museums (children’s and otherwise)
Photo Credit: Her World
Most of these places already have the ability to set up for a nice dinner, have plenty of available parking, and may even have pricing in place for hosting an event like yours.
Venues that require a bit more planning. This next group requires some legwork on your end but may wind up making the greatest impression. These locations often fly under the radar or are off the beaten path.
- Bank Vaults (empty, naturally)
- Airport Hangers
- Subway Stations
- Historical Landmarks
- Local Tourists Destinations
There is even a service in London that will host your dinner party in the sky. Seriously, the entire table is lifted off the ground and supported on a giant pole above the city while guests sip wine (or guzzle, depending on their level of acrophobia) and are served a full meal.
As mentioned, some of these locations require more preparation on your part, but that can also become part of the thrill of the event. For example, let’s say you wanted to host an event at a cave, a location that will likely be well outside of town. First, you can provide shuttles for everyone from an easily accessible location where cars can be securely parked. After the event goes flawlessly, dinner is held in an amazing stalagmite- and stalactite-filled area, and everyone enjoys cocktails as they watch bats take flight from the mouth of the cave. Now it’s late and you have a choice: do you want to pack people on the shuttles (after several libations) or you could turn the event into a luxury campout.
Set out rows of Snoozys, and your guests can grab some shuteye in comfort. Each pod sleeps up to two people, is equipped with a lockable door, and can be rigged with electricity (for lights, amenities, and device charging) and climate controls. These weatherproof structures take only 10 minutes to set up. In addition, every surface of the Snoozy is fully brandable, so your guests won’t ever forget who is providing them with this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Another example is a warehouse, which might make an excellent setting for your event but doesn’t have the necessary facilities for the meal you would like to provide for your guests. Simply utilize a product like the XPODH, and set up a four-star restaurant within the confines of the warehouse.
There is a plethora of places where you could host an event that are unexpected and attention grabbing, but the venue is not your only option to make your event memorable.
Silence is Golden
A relatively new trend for business events is a silent conference. In this scenario, the entire audience of a large conference area is given wireless headphones. Around the perimeter, several presenters are walking through their productions without any audio enhancement. To listen to a presentation, an audience member simply needs to tune in with their headphones. And switching between speakers is as simple as turning a dial.
This innovative method of presenting breakout sessions solves many issues that events face. The first is lack of space; in this instance, several breakout rooms are not necessary. Several small groups are able to form unobtrusively in one large space.
Photo Credit: Silent Disco King
Next is a time crunch; a silent conference actually saves time. The audience can listen to multiple speeches without needing to leave their seat.
It also helps to increase engagement and attention because if people tune in to a talk they are not interested in, they can inconspicuously switch to another speaker without any interruption.
Dedicated Q&A Space
Question and Answer time is something that most attendees look forward to, yet it is also the first thing to go when a speech runs long, or it starts late, there’s a schedule change, etc. To solve this issue, some conferences are setting up a second stage that is dedicated solely to Q&A.
After a presentation, the speaker moves to this second area. During the transition time, attendees can submit questions through a social media or dedicated event app. The speaker then has time to address the questions in an educational, interactive session.
Everyone loves a surprise. So, bake a few into your event that you can spring on attendees. You can reveal the time and location through your dedicated event app.
For example, maybe you can get permission to show a popular flick that is still playing in theaters. You can convert a large ballroom (or an XPODH) into a Cineplex and even add an intermission where popcorn and cocktail time turns into a networking event.
Young at Heart
Another trend is to provide the adults at your event with plenty of playtime. Judging by your intended audience, which would they prefer: a Lego bar, bounce house, ball pit?
You could even make these teambuilding exercises by adding a little competition to the activities. It’s a great way to take a break from the “adult” goings-on and blow off some steam.
Fake Celebrations and Special Occasions
There’s a trend in Argentina where people are throwing fake weddings. These celebrations are attended by several hundred people with paid actors portraying the happy couple (sometimes an ex will show up to spice up the proceedings).
These parties came about when a group of friends realized they were attending fewer weddings and, missing the pageantry, decided to do something about it.
How could you incorporate a phony celebration into your next event? What would surprise, thrill, and engage your attendees?
Over the past few years, new and more affordable technologies, combined with innovate venues and activities, have made it possible to conceptualize and create these exciting engagements. To discover even more secrets about throwing a memorable event, call Event Architecture at 972-323-9433.