As our team prepared for this year’s ASAE Annual Meeting, we thought about the pain points our clients and partners are experiencing today. With costs on the rise, but event budgets pressured to remain at pre-Covid levels, meeting planners are struggling to meet attendees’ high expectations for a new and memorable experience.
We thought ASAE was the perfect opportunity to come up with ideas about how to address some of these challenges. So, we asked attendees to think strategically about events and the content we put out to attendees all year long.
And, for every idea shared, we made a donation to the ASAE Research Foundation.
Here’s a snapshot of our favorite ideas shared:
- Be strategic about your event’s vision and goals (see The Importance of Thinking Strategically About Your Meeting – and How to Get Started).
- Design creative, collaborative, and comfortable layouts such as stages in the round, soft seating, family-style or community seating.
- Make your spaces more welcoming and inclusive.
- Use generative AI tools (some are free!) to design more meaningful events by analyzing what sessions were most popular based on your target attendee profiles.
- Incorporate entertainment and make it fun! Use parodies, skits and scripts, spotlights, and interviews.
- Educate your attendees by answering FAQs, simplifying a complex subject, sharing case studies of both successes and failures, curating, and compiling valuable resources such as “how to” and “how/where to get started.”
- Inspire them with lessons learned, encouraging stories and their rightful place in your community.
- Make it engaging. Use polls, ask for feedback, or discuss unpopular/controversial opinions.
- Put your attendees’ needs first. Start by creating attendee personas and attendee journeys.
- Again, attendees love fun. Try gamifying, humorous emcees, and fun conversation starters for interactivity.
- Create an ambiance/experience in the room with creative lighting, projection mapping, emotive videos, and better graphics.
- Incorporate food and beverage displays in non-traditional areas, such as the Speaker Ready Room.
- Provide more on-site assistance/customer service.
- Increase your exhibitor/sponsor ROI by providing great customer service, training/best practices, pre-show marketing materials (web banners, email signature, social content), and post-show data.
- Discover new sponsorship opportunities such as video/LED walls, digital signage, presentation management site, ePosters, custom capture/live streaming design, Audience Response, game show, gobos, and listening devices.
- Offer exclusive content to higher ticketing tiers.
To prompt more great ideas, ask yourself or your colleagues/attendees/members:
- How can we make meetings more valuable to members?
- How can we use AI for events?
- How can we engage exhibitors?
- What are some ways we can make events more FUN?
- How can we make a “wow” impact?
- What factors make you leave an event yelling, “OMG, that content was sooo good!”
- What ways can we measure the success of an event?
- How can we make events more inclusive?
- What gives you that FOMO feeling at an event?
- Have you ever had an emotional reaction to something at an event?
- How can we better understand our attendees and what they value?
- How can we engage Gen Zs?
- What’s the most innovative thing you’ve seen at an event?
- How can we better engage virtual attendees?
- How can we grow our attendee base?
- What type of event features are you willing to pay more for?
- How can we keep attendees’ attention?
One of the key takeaways from our many conversations we had over the course of two days: every individual has a unique way of looking at their event; if we come together and exchange those perspectives and ideas, we can accomplish so much more.
We had such a great time ideating with the ASAE attendees and look forward to seeing the unforgettable event experiences their big ideas bring to the future of meetings.