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Do you feel like you are in a rut when it comes to event planning? After a while, it can be hard to think outside the box, and events can even start to blend together. This blog explores how you can do more than host a gathering or presentation–learn how to plan an unforgettable experience for your attendees.
What sets one event apart from another? A memorable experience is emotionally grabbing while helping people learn something or connect with others in a meaningful way. Before you can deliver an unforgettable event, you need to know your audience and understand their key objectives. While your event will ultimately attempt to support your organization’s goals, you must keep the needs and interests of your audience as a central point in your plan.
Think back to an event that really stuck with you in a good way. Perhaps you were surprised by how fun something was when you expected a boring lecture. Or maybe, you felt really relaxed and encouraged by the event. It’s also possible you made important connections or enjoyed the way information was shared.
Not all guests are going to react to an event the same way you did—everyone has different expectations and experiences that color how they feel about each occasion. However, you can use your past experiences to help you understand what fosters memorable (or lackluster) events; before starting your planning process, consider how your guests could be pleasantly surprised or moved by your event.
Are you trying to plan an event that makes a lasting impression? Here are seven tips to help you create events that leave their mark and make the most of each opportunity.
It really can’t be overstated: you need to know your audience and what matters to them if you want to plan an unforgettable event. Don’t assume you understand your audience—ask questions and take steps to really get to know what they want to get out of an event. When possible, personalize the event to show you really understand your attendees.
What do you plan to help your attendees accomplish during your event? Set objectives that align with your organization’s goals—but also take your attendees’ needs into consideration. Use SMART goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely:
At some point in your event, you should have a focal point or wow factor that really catches your attendees’ attention. For some events, the wow factor could be a live music performance, fireworks, an exciting game, an unexpected door prize, or a big-name speaker. Other events may use decor, promo swag, or delicious catering as their wow factor. A memorable event needs a stand-out factor that gets people talking.
Offering delicious food or drink that aligns with your event is a great way to support your overarching theme and make guests feel appreciated. Consider how you can use food or drink to help your event stand out. You don’t have to host a dinner; appetizer platters or dessert bars can be very delicious and more cost-effective. Be mindful of your guests and include an option that is allergen-free and vegan in case any attendees have dietary restrictions.
Thoughtful refreshments aren’t limited to in-person events. Even online events can host a coffee-fueled session or happy hour networking event where you bring your own drink of choice. If you really want to get attendees excited about an online event, you could send them a swag package with a drink or snack included for the event.
In line with your outcomes, identify exactly what kind of value you are giving your audience. Will the event provide information they care about (or is the information required and not necessarily fulfilling in and of itself)? Does your event provide them with a delicious meal? Will guests get an opportunity to watch an exciting performance?
To increase the value and impact of your event, consider giving away swag bags or event favors to your attendees. You could fill thank-you gift bags with snacks, promo items, coupons for local businesses, gifts from your event sponsors, and more. You can also follow up with supportive resources to reinforce your event’s value well after the occasion itself is over.
What kind of emotions are you trying to trigger with your event? Your event could make people feel excited, empowered, nostalgic, empathetic, fired up, relaxed, supported, confident, inspired, or motivated. Consider how you will trigger the right emotions.
Also, consider the emotions you don’t want your guests to feel, like frustration, irritation, confusion, boredom, or annoyance.
Remember, you are planning an experience—not just an occasion. Setting up the time, choosing the location, inviting guests, and selecting the activities are just small pieces of the puzzle that make up unique event experiences. From the registration process to the event reminders and check-in process, your attendees are on a journey that is curated by you.
For a truly memorable experience, make sure you’ve considered all the details and how you can leave a positive impression with each little touch:
Are you looking for ways to make sure the experience is smooth and enjoyable for your attendees? Here are four quick tips on how you can make your event more engaging and enjoyable for your guests.
A custom app is a great way to make your event more memorable. Many event planners don’t consider creating a customized app for their event, but there are several benefits when you develop your own mobile app.
Brushfire’s industry-leading platform gives you the tools you need to plan and host incredible events. Use our services to create custom ticketing solutions, increase engagement, build a custom app, host online experiences, and increase your customer support. Our knowledgeable and innovative team is the best—ready to help you accomplish more and get the most out of our tools. Learn more about our solutions with a free consultation from our team!