Venues are more than floorplans and capacities. Cities are more than just locations. They have a heritage. They have stories to tell. They can provide a connection with nature. They are where experiences are made. Yet, these elements are often overlooked in the rush to find a venue and destination.
To create experiences and events that influence and inspire, we need to understand our audiences and what they want.
And what do they want?
One of the top ten event trends from the last few years, even before lockdowns, was that guests wanted venues with stories. Guests wanted unique venues. Guests didn’t want to be stuck in a dark conference room.
In fact, the following words could often be heard muttered at a conference, ‘why did they bring us all the way here when we haven’t left the conference room and could be anywhere?!’.
McCrindle recently released their Top Trends for 2022, with Intentional Lifestyling and the Great Retention, both ranking in the top 8.
With Intentional Lifestyling, we have moved into the ‘wellbeing era’; people want to make every day of their lives count. They have an increased love for blue spaces (rivers, lakes, harbours, oceans). People are looking after themselves and their loved ones more than ever before.
The Great Retention is a byproduct of the pandemic accelerating societal change. In fact it’s the biggest transformation to work in a century. What is now important to workers when choosing a role and employer?
- social connections
- positive impacts
As event managers, it is crucial we look at these societal changes, to plan events and experiences that engage, influence and inspire. It isn’t a return to 2019. Events need to change with our audiences.
Visiting Tasmania on a recent famil and as a guest of Business Events Tasmania, it was great to see how this small but diverse state, is making the most of their history, landscape and peoples, to create venues with stories and differences.
It was wonderful and refreshing to see:
- An increase in conference rooms with natural light and access to fresh air (which is widely proven to increase serotonin, reduce anxiety and improve concentration and well being).
- Venues that are being repurposed, reimagined and rejuvenated.
- Fully accessible accommodation rooms that are more than just lip service and have thought through every detail including wheelchair height door viewer holes.
- Venues utilising fresh air and outdoor options for breakouts and experiences, something that will become increasingly important with the focus on ventilation.
- The increase in biophilic design in venues. Connecting people to nature within our built environments, whether it be through access to views of nature or bringing nature into venues, has proven effects of creating more productive and healthy environments.
- Showcasing of local produce and helping guests connect with the local area through taste and smell. As my taxi driver commented, ‘be vocal for local’.
- Experiences that are unique to the local area. Don’t drag delegates to a city and then stick them in a conference room, that in reality, could be anywhere. Create memorable experiences by connecting with and leveraging the location.
- Understated but powerful theming and table centres that connected with the local story.
All of these factors create a more memorable experience, thereby creating a stronger and deeper engagement with your business events audiences.
When you are next sourcing a venue for your event, look beyond the floorplans and capacities. Look to how this venue fits in a post 2020 world.
Fetching Events & Communications was a guest of Business Events Tasmania.
Georgie Stayches is the Founder and Chief Engagement Officer of Fetching Events & Communications. Inspired by the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and kicking off her life in events at the 1997 Australian Open Tennis, events has always been in Georgie’s DNA.