We believe it’s not all about the venue, attendees of meetings in 2019 are looking to the destination as a whole to provide unique offerings. But what means it to you how a destination stands out? A destination must appeal and complement the event, particularly as a lot of time is spent in hotels, networking or with scheduled free time. You don’t want the event to fall flat because attendees are holed up in a motel, miles away from activities when they break for the day, so choosing a destination that opens up further opportunities is important. We look at the meetings and events industry trends influencing event destinations as well what they can do to prepare themselves for event planners.
Destination Playgrounds We add fun and adventure to corporate events by turning the destination into a playground to enjoy and use. This involves play across the city creating an atmosphere as well as activity planning. Be a kid again:
City-wide themes. Seasonal events are an excellent example of how cities can unify through themes and this becomes a creative starting point for us as event planners. Winter wonderlands, summer fayres or local events can set the tone for the venue and extend the event theme into the city as if all were participants. When a conference falls on Halloween, we created a pop-up shop outside of the registration desk that fulfilled every Halloween costume desire. Some guests tried their hand at crafting their costume, while others chose from an assortment of wigs and hats. This type of pop-up worked because it was a reflection of the city in all of its wonder and weirdness.
Youthful tours. Another adventure we do have in our back pocket are our creative tours of Edinburgh which is rooted in childhood memories. These kinds of tours have a sense of familiarity that encourages guests to join in; but unlike a stationary game, the tours allow guests to step foot in destination landmarks all the while playing a game they know from their youth. For example, a GPS treasure hunt across the city combines team building, familiarity, and education all in one. This kind of tour takes guests to the more vibrant areas of the destination and encourages them to hunt for the listed items independently, giving the guests the power to make the tour their own as well as providing a first-hand experience of the destination.
Utilize nostalgia. For some attendees who want more structure, nostalgia and familiarity can still be used to your advantage through a tour experience by implementing playful games while at various tour stops. For instance, we can take the group on a “dine around” to experience the city through eats and drinks.
Overcoming The Past Some destinations are inevitably linked in our minds with certain concepts, sometimes prejudices. Changing that perception cannot be only a marketing stunt. It requires the effort of many players, from local authorities to small business owners. Do you know that Scotland does have an average of about 150 days of rain per year? Reinvent destinations:
Beat expectations. Focus on the finer details of a destination, whether that’s the experiences, wildlife, local cuisine or culture and capitalize on that by showing a new side to the destination that blows away expectations. In the outer Hebrides you will find alot of stunning nature.
Offer something new. Destinations that have previously been known to appeal to one demographic are starting to consider their offerings in other markets. Dundee, for example, is usually synonymous with its harbour but with Scotland's First Design Museum it is also starting to appeal to corporate events.
Pleasant surprises. We make a change and surprise attendees by overcoming the odds working against the destination. For example, Glasgow, although quite advanced as far as infrastructure and technology, found itself heavily impacted by economic decline but was able to innovate and push through, surprising attendees with connectivity and an urban atmosphere.
City Immersion With more time spent on leisure than business during a work trip, it means that traveling attendees need to be reached outside the venue and we are looking to destinations to offer an immersive experience to extend the event floor and message. Get attendees committed:
Human interaction. We as DMC know the venues and the city streets inside and out. Even with the directional signage we are a reliable resource for our client and we act as an audible extension of that signage.
Oversized Art. Another form in which this trend is coming to fruition is through the recreation of city murals. Custom installing large pieces of artwork for photo opportunities is more exciting to guests than the standard photo booth. Something to keep in mind is that the larger the destination city, the more room for interactive oversized art. There is more opportunity to pull inspiration, more ways to educate the attendees via art, and a larger platform with which to show off the destination.
Unique Transportation. We bring an extra element to the immersion by providing a unique way to get around. Speedboats on Loch Lomond can be popular as well as the 4x4 in the Cairngorms or even a Ghost Bus. We cater the transportation to best suit the city and benefit the attendee, and sometimes the best way to explore is still by walking.
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