July 13, 2017

Engagement is crucial for any meeting. But how can planners compete with an ever-increasing cacophony of distractions to reach their audience?

The answer is great content. From speakers to activities, from meals to workshops, from excursions to parties, compelling meeting content is crucial for maintaining attendee engagement. And savvy meeting professionals know how to work various elements to create a truly unique experience. 

It's not always easy. According to a 2017 Success Meetings' reader survey, the biggest challenges to building effective meeting content include creating a conducive environment, getting quality presenters and convincing attendees to use apps and technology. But within these challenges lie multiple opportunities for planners to succeed.  

Choosing the right location can open the door to a myriad of opportunities. But regardless of which city makes sense for a given group, planners can tap into the local scene to create unique and interesting content. Incorporating local and regional flavor - whether cultural, musical, historical or culinary - allows stakeholders to better align the interests of the group with the most appropriate activities and experiences. And that can make any presentation, workshop or social event more engaging. Being aware of what each destination offers also makes it possible to find noteworthy local speakers, whose expertise and knowledge can provide rewarding insight for attendees. 

Programming that integrates education and entertainment across various channels and platforms is another way that planners are upping the ante on meeting content in order to increase engagement. Do attendees use Facebook and Instagram for professional reasons? Are they likely to share videos online with people who aren't attending? What types of free-time activities do they enjoy, and what types of educational content will make their professional lives better? Planners need to take the pulse of potential attendees to understand what makes them tick. A survey of their goals and interests can facilitate the creation of sessions and events that encourage true participation and excitement on the part of attendees. 

Also worth noting is the increased popularity of so-called "experiential" travel. People crave a sense of place. And that can be conveyed in a variety of ways, including décor, cuisine, education and entertainment. Successful planners incorporate interactive, one-of-a-kind and regionally authentic experiences in their meetings as much as possible. Destination-specific culinary options, for example, as well as local music and cultural experiences can also play interesting roles in the meeting content strategy. 

When done correctly, compelling content attracts the attention of attendees long before the event, inspires and entertains them during the gathering, and leaves a memorable and lasting impression after they go home. The diverse interests of today's attendees, coupled with the ever-growing popularity of technology and demand for unique experiences, have made the meeting planner's job more challenging, to be sure. But it can also be more interesting and rewarding.  

Click here to learn more about destination-specific information and planning opportunities from Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts that you can use to elevate your meeting and leave attendees inspired.