AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: MAKING YOUR EVENT STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD

Tempus fugit, as those who know the importance of time like to say, and participants certainly don’t want to be spending their own valuable time at boring meetings. Our hypothesis is that in addition to excellent content, events and conferences will also need to offer experiences and create interaction through engagement, otherwise in the future, it’s likely that they won’t survive. This assumption has been nagging at us for some time, so we decided to dedicate an entire segment of this summer issue of Kongres Magazine to practice cases that have actually worked and worked well.

The events set out below aren’t your typical ‘theatre-style conferences’. In fact, their premise has been to turn things upside down, for content to over-power form and to break the hinges what has been considered a unified conference box. They have been elevated by active participant engagement, a creative event space, social responsibility and local inspiration.

The model called Meetovation, created by the Danes is one that’s on the rise, and we hope meeting planners can take some things from it and incorporate them into their own work. What follows are some of the most resounding projects we’ve seen, created by divergent thinking and genuine out-of-the-box ideas.

1. CONNECTIONS

DATE:29.05. - 01.06.2016
LOCATION:Malaga, Spain
AGENCY:Travel Weekly Group,
Part of Jacobs Media Group
TYPE OF EVENT:Interactive B2B
SLOGAN:Travel Leaders do Business
WEB PAGE:weareconnections.com

IDEA
Connections’ concept stems from the standpoint that large trade shows have lost their personal touch and have become focussed on quantity rather than quality. Connections is different, and guides a small group of around 80 delegates – 40 buyers and 40 suppliers – through an interactive format, in cooperation with the destination where the event is being held. Connections was created by Micaela Giacobbe, formerly head of marketing and communications for World Travel Market, whose passion for saving people from boring meetings inspired her to come up with the Connections Way, where delegates leave with more meaningful, longer-lasting business relationships.

CREATIVE FORMAT
The event format adheres to the “meeting design” philosophy with a major emphasis on the host destination, in this case, Malaga. By moving the event away from a congress hall and into the “open”, buyers and providers are exposed to a completely different experience. The organisers call their dynamic format “Next generation H2H”, which means Human to Human events.

ENGAGEMENT
The entire project resembles a dynamic team building event, where free time and relaxation is all taken care of. The meetings are held in informal venues, such as trains, restaurants, terrace bars, on bikes and even on tennis courts. Despite its peculiarity, the entire event is excellently moderated, and individual Connections Experiences last around 40 minutes. All of the activities are geared towards getting participants acquainted with each other and connecting meeting planners with providers.

RESULT
Travel industry organiser Connections was named Best Conference at the prestigious Eventex Awards in 2017, and Best Trade Show the previous year. The company started in 2014 and since then a series of excellently executed events are a testament to their success. They have several different event categories – Connections Meetings, Connections Luxury, Connections Wellbeing and Connections Adventure – and so far they have carried out 13 events across the world, with locations including the UK, Abu Dhabi, Brazil China, Ecuador, India, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Thailand.

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