“Been there, done that”
Gone are the days of traditional event formats. Events are changing for the better. Attendees want an all-in-one multi-day spectacular that’s both educational and entertaining. This is festivalisation. But, festivalisation is more than a bit of entertainment at a conference – it’s about engaging your audience and providing an organic experience that will resonate with them. It’s about doing something unique and interactive. According to a 2017 report, the ‘festivalization of meetings trend started with the multidisciplinary programming at SXSW and TED, bringing together thought leaders from different sectors to share their views on driving change in a new era of global connectivity.’
Successfully combining different elements requires knowing your audience thoroughly. An experienced event planner knows that it’s necessary to understand their target audience. Festivalisation isn’t about incorporating every possible option into one package – it’s about selecting the most appropriate option that will leave delegates feeling uplifted and inspired. Understanding your audience is the first step.
Companies can adopt different elements to enhance their conference experience. A simple, but clever technique when organising a conference is to incorporate technology and social media. An example of this encouraging delegates to use social media to vote for the best presentation, turning the experience into a mini competition. This is a simple, but smart idea for event organisers to consider if they want to increase delegate engagement. Additionally, we all know that the majority of delegates are glued to their smartphone – so why not take advantage of that by engaging them on their devices?
If event planners are serious about building on their festival experience, then they should consider utilising apps and such as:
- Eventmobi that allows event organisers to manage and create live polls and surveys.
- An iPad Treasure Hunts that are packed with unique features like augmented reality. An ideal choice if you’re looking to add some team building to your event.
- Socio’s event app that encourages people to participate in live Q&As.
Delegates are increasingly valuing personal choice over preordained agendas. As a consequence, event planners need to shape their event in such a way that allows attendees the opportunity to follow their own journey. Delegates want to choose. On the surface this might sound fanciful but implementing it doesn’t need to be overly complicated for experienced event planners. Having a variety of outdoor workshops that delegates can take part in will add that personal choice to their event. Furthermore, having these workshops outside will mean that the event isn’t confined to one space.
Collaboration between different event professionals is key. Festivalisation can’t be planned and implemented by one event planner – it requires a team of experts who must work collaboratively together to share thoughts and ideas even if it means calling in additional teams to help with some of the stages of organising the event. For event organisers looking to embrace festivalisation, it’s essential that they understand planning limitations.
To conclude, festivalisation offers a multitude of opportunities to enrich your event. A conference should be more than disseminating information. It should be about implementing techniques to enhance your delegate’s experience, so they leave feeling engaged and inspired.