by Sarah J.F. Braley | October 01, 2005

chartFor many meetings professionals, finding just the right motif for a conference or event is what really gets the planning ball rolling. M&C conducted an online poll in August to find out how planners feel about theming and where they get their ideas.
    Of the 230 people surveyed, 33 percent said they always theme their events, 55 percent sometimes do and 12 percent never have to come up with a unifying idea for their meetings. Of those who do work with themes, 28 percent are extremely comfortable when pressed to tap their creative juices, 61 percent are somewhat comfortable, 10 percent are not very comfortable being so creative and 1 percent are extremely uncomfortable.
    When asked where they get their ideas, most respondents cited other events they’ve attended (75 percent) and suggestions from colleagues (73 percent). The media (such as movies, TV, magazines and the Internet) provides inspiration for 57 percent. Other sources are third-party planner/suppliers (36 percent), hotel/venue staff (35 percent), clients (31 percent), friends/family (31 percent) and top management (30 percent). For the 21 percent who selected “other,” theme suggestions come from board members, brainstorming sessions and committees, among other sources.
    Turning an eye to the most successful themes ever, many respondents said casino nights (often combined with a James Bond element) have been very well received. Evenings celebrating the city of San Francisco ranked high for several of those surveyed. Other top themes mentioned were “vintage” (a wine auction), super heroes, Brazilian rain forest, under the sea, an Elvis holiday party and the winter solstice.

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