One of the top challenges event professionals face is \finding time for continual learning. The events industry is fast-moving and constantly changing, so it's vital event pros keep their knowledge current.
Event pros have lots of options for keeping up with the latest information and insights, from publications and conferences for event professionals to podcasts and event blogs.
But one of the best and simplest ways to stay effective is simply to ask a variety of event professionals—planners and others who've been deeply enmeshed in the industry for many years—for their guidance.
When eight experienced event pros, most of them members of the Women in Event Tech community, were asked, "If you could give event planners / marketers one piece of advice, what would that be?," the answers were enlightening.
Though each answer was unique, a few interesting themes did emerge:
- To optimize attendee engagement and create a uniquely valuable event experience, co-create the event plan with selected guests. They know what appeals to them, and can draw on a variety of experiences with other vendors and gatherings.
- Look outside your industry for new ideas and inspiration.
- Have fun in order to create fun. While organizing an event is a lot of work, it doesn't need to be drudgery. Making the process fun for employees will more likely lead to fun for the guests.
- Your people matter more than your venue. While your choice of location and facilities is certainly important, it's the expertise and hospitality of your team that ultimately creates positive, memorable guest experiences.
Here are the full answers from the group.
Dahlia El Gazzar, Tech Evangelist / DAHLIA+ Agency:
Co-create your events, experiences , and content.
Bring in people who are not related to your industry, or know your attendees and have them help you co-create new areas, new session formats, and new ideas for your events.
Don't depend solely on your internal team to come up with all the ideas, session topics, event tech stack, and call it a day. You are competing with a far broader range of different experiences now, so you need to cater to your event participants differently. It'll get more competitive and it's up to you to think different.
Corey Fennessy, Creative Director, DAHLIA + Agency:
Have more fun! From the pre-event marketing to during and after the event—think about how you can inject some fun and humor into what you do.
While understanding that not everything can be light-hearted, just thinking about it can help make some decisions that will have a great impact on your attendees. Creating fun experiences at your event will have attendees energized and keep their attention fresh.
Kahshanna Evans, Founder, Kissing Lions Public Relations:
The advice I'd give is to innovate, lead, refine, design, co-create, and build based on the core dream, concept, or mission of the brand or cause behind any given event.
Sure, use research and metrics to help intimately understand what delights, inspires and motivates guests, but information is nothing without allowing a passionate team to artfully apply their expertise and allowing them to add the final human touches.
Stephanie Selesnick, President, International Trade Information, Inc.:
Communicate personally. You still have to talk to your clients, on the phone or face-to-face, no matter how cool all of the technology is.
Shirley Craven, SMMP Consultant and Managing Director, Curvebox Ltd:
Start gathering information before the event happens.
Pauline Kwasniak, Founder, TurnedSee & Hotels4Meetings:
In the business of events and hospitality, we often forget about one important thing.
While hotels, venues, and even event agencies compete with designer refurbishments, the latest technology, coolest lights, largest swimming pools… what they should first and foremost invest in is the training of their staff and hiring the right people. The people who are in love with this business and care about the others . I truly believe you must love people to exceed in the hospitality business, no matter if it is a 3 star 4 star or 5 star hotel. Loving your clients, truly caring. If you do, you will never go wrong.
People will forget what they saw. People will forget what you told them. People will forget what they read. But they will never forget how you made them feel. So focus on making people feel good- always. This is how you provide a truly luxurious or first class service events service.
Donella Muzik, Director, International Marketing and Outreach, AVIXA:
Look to adjacent industries for inspiration, and don't hesitate to use emotion as a way to engage an audience!
Paula Rowntree, Head of Events & Experience, The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
Future-focus your surveys and data. So many event planners are still following the traditional path of post-event surveys that focus on what’s been. A simple shift in focus to create three stages of surveying – registration, during event and post event – with questions that focus on the future and on gathering more relevant data on the delegate experience, will help you create a more personalized experience for attendees.
Tom Pick is a digital marketing consultant at Webbiquity LLC who works with event management platform developer G2Planet to share the company's insights and knowledge with corporate event marketing professionals.