by Loren G. Edelstein | March 01, 2010

March NLR chart1When it comes to themes for meetings and events, the vast majority of planners always (47 percent) or sometimes (48 percent) use them. Doing so enhances the attendees' overall experience, say 79 percent of the 108 respondents to a recent poll by M&C Research. Just 16 percent think themes don't make a significant difference, and 5 percent believe they don't improve the event at all.  

But coming up with clever ideas can be challenging. Only 37 percent of those surveyed feel "extremely comfortable" coming up with creative themes. A greater number of respondents (46 percent) say they are "somewhat comfortable" with that task.

In the quest for ideas, meeting planners say their greatest source of inspiration is their colleagues, cited by 78 percent of respondents, followed by the media (59 percent) and other events they have attended (58 percent).

Who OKs the theme concept? Most commonly, the CEO or other top executive gives the nod, say 41 percent of planners polled. The client makes that call for 31 percent, and another 11 percent say the decision is up to the meetings department.

Looking for bright ideas? We asked survey respondents to explain the best themed event they had planned or attended. For a rundown of all-time favorites, go to



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