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Reimagining Business Meetings and Incentive Travel Part 2: Getting Specific

Do people really want to travel to sit in auditoriums hearing the same keynotes and panel discussions that they can access online whenever they wish?  This Enterprise Engagement Alliance YouTube webinar with event management experts focuses on new ways to format events in a way that people could never experience online. Reimagining Business

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Earlier this year, RRN held an EEA YouTube show on Reimaging Business Meetings and Incentive Travel in the Post Covid Era.  Recently, Andrea Doyle, Executive Editor of Skift Meetings, published a piece How Conferences Are Failing Their Attendees, identifying the same need to rethink live events now that people can enjoy great keynote speakers and the best panel discussions whenever or wherever they are in the mood.
The program host is Bruce Bolger, Founder, Enterprise Engagement Alliance. Panelists are Andrea Doyle, Executive Editor, Skift Meetings; Jaki Baskow, Founder, Baskow Talent, Las Vegas; Ira Ozer, Founder, Innovation Meetings,  Melissa Van Dyke, Senior Vice President, Integrated Marketing and Innovation, Creative Group Inc.
Key points include:
  • Have a clear purpose, goals, objectives, and metrics for your event. Those metrics need not be only financial, they can include emotional, learning, networking, sharing, innovation, loyalty, willingness-to-recommend and other outcomes.
  • While all panelists agree there’s a need to significantly change event formats, organizations have first had to deal with many complexities that arose because of the pandemic, points out Melissa Van Dyke of Creative Group Inc. There are signs that planners are now becoming more receptive to innovation.
  • If you can do it on Zoom, don’t do it in a room, advises Andrea Doyle of Skift Meetings. People seek to travel to meet and share with colleagues new information, new ideas, and meaningful experiences, not sit in auditoriums and meeting rooms.  Every event should have a clear story supported by every aspect of the agenda and make emotional connections, she urges.
  • Use events to get people together to solve industry or organization challenges, suggests Ira Ozer of Innovation Meetings. Set up roundtables focused on addressing issues of importance to the attendees and the organization.  He notes that people often come to association meetings to find answers to challenges that aren’t covered in the program and leave frustrated. Or the meeting sponsor overlooks a unique opportunity to address a company or industry challenge by gathering people into groups to address and potentially solve them.
  • Make business events about the participants, not about the speakers or panelists. Recognize that the audience likely consists of many experts from whom others would like to hear.  Consider using town hall or fish bowl formats to encourage audience participation suggests Van Dyke. “This way, people make new connections that they can develop during the social periods,” adds Ozer.
  • While celebrity speakers can draw crowds, Jaki Boskow of Boskow Talent says, select them wisely to make sure their story is consistent with the purpose of the event. Get speakers involved with the audience in meet and greets, book signings or other activities.  If the speaker has a favorite cause, he or she might offer more time to mingle with the crowd, she suggests, when given a way to promote it. And, don’t forget industry experts, she adds. People value the opportunity to hear from and share information with experts they believe understand their fields and the challenges they face.
  • Surprise and delight, Bostow suggests. If an event organizer has enough credibility, it does not always have to announce details on the entire program. She has seen events in which the name of a key speaker or agenda was held in suspense, which increased the impact when in fact the speaker delivered the desired impact. “People never forget that,” she says, “and look even more forward to the next event.”
  • The audience experience is not dead, asserts Van Dyke, “Everyone is looking for that third place, such as at a Taylor Swift concert, where everyone is coming together to experience a shared passion.”  
  • Make it social year-round. Enhance the conference app to develop a year-round dialog for reoccurring events. Use newsletters or social media platforms not just to inform people about upcoming events but also to share information about the field, participants, sponsors, etc. throughout the year.
  • Sustainable sustainability strategies: Support the local community at which an event is held not only by holding events to support local charities but by creating opportunities for attendees to visit local shops and restaurants or attend authentic events, fairs, and festivals.  If an event is held at a historic location, include a special contribution to its upkeep, Van Dyke suggests.
  • Mine the data, Van Dyke urges.  Based on the purpose, goals, and objectives of the event, don’t miss any opportunity to use data to better understand, while respecting privacy, how people are interacting with the event on their smart phones, computers, on the show floor or conference and meeting rooms.

How RRN and Brand Media Coalition: Your Partner in Success in Incentives, Rewards, and RecognitionEnterprise Engagement for CEOs

Published by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance at TheEEA.org

  • The only weekly news, how-to and resource publication of record for the Incentive, Rewards, and Recognition field.
  • The only marketing agency focusing specifically on the IRR and broader engagement marketplace.
Contact Bruce Bolger at 914-591-7600, ext. 230 or email Bolger@TheEEA.org when you want to get to know or get known in this growing $176 billion marketplace.

The Industry’s Only Combined Media Platform and Marketing Agency to Help You Expand Your Business Enterprise Engagement: The Roadmap
  • All the industry news, research, announcements, and how-to articles read by over 20,000 end-users in sales, marketing, and human resources; incentive, recognition, loyalty and promotional companies, as well as marketing and human resources agencies, seeking to enhance performance through effectively designed incentive programs.
  • Unparalleled business development services for engagement, incentive and incentive travel, recognition firms; brands, gift cards and master fulfillment companies, and technology firms, featuring ROI-based business development strategy design and ongoing digital and social media and e-newsletter communications to help marketers profit in the coming era of cookie-less marketing. 
  • Unique abilities for solution providers to sponsor authoritative, evergreen content directly related to what they sell through the EEA’s Effective Practices series on articles in our media platforms.
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  • Access to new technologies from EEA preferred solution providers enabling brands to create their own points-based or transactional redemption site.
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