The latest research study from PCMA and Steelcase reveals how to design an optimal corporate event. In this blog post, we look at a few of the insights from the report that can help business leaders organize both small and large corporate events.
Depending on the type of conference you are planning, attendance can vary in size, from hundreds or thousands of attendees. Despite the size, there is one critical component that all events have in common; it’s perfecting the attendee experience and venue design.
New research from PCMA and design company Steelcase confirms that one of the most critical aspects of event planning is designing the perfect experience. The two brands surveyed hundreds of business leaders at conferences to gain insights into developing a better attendee experience.
The report looked into everything from venue design, seating, food and beverage, technology, and furniture.
Let’s take a look at a few useful tips from the report that showcase how to design a better attendee experience.
If you’ve attended several trade shows and conferences, you know that after spending most of the day on the trade show floor, you want to find a quiet place to unwind and get some work done.
Smart event planners should make sure when scouting venue locations that there is space for private meeting areas away from the noise of the conference. Incorporating private meeting areas allows attendees the opportunity to take a few business calls, host meetings, and get work done away from the showroom floor.
Engaging room layouts
The survey results from PCMA showed how venue design could impact attendee engagement and shape the entire experience. Survey respondents wish the venue had more physical space for networking or shared experiences.
Networking is always a top priority for event attendees. As a planner, making sure you can help participants connect is crucial to the success of your event. On the same line, incorporating structured time for networking and breaks throughout the event gives attendees the face to face interaction they came for.
If you are trying to create an ambiance that makes people want to stay awhile, make sure your venue has comfortable furniture. Talk to the venue to find out if they have multiple furniture options available for you to use.
If the venue does not have a wide variety of furniture options, find out if they have access to outside vendors. Attendees will appreciate having comfortable chairs and lounges they can sit on during the event. The research survey showed that seating made the event space relaxing and inviting.
Seating layout and design:One of the major points indicated in the PCMA survey was the need for a better seating design. Survey respondents recommended that event organizers avoid theater-style seating because it is difficult to find seating after people have already chosen their seats.
Latecomers tend to be a distraction because they have to walk in front of people during presentations. Theater-style seating also limits the amount of group interaction that can take place during an event.
People tend to attend events in groups so by opting for a classroom or banquet style layout, you create a more inviting and engaging environment.
Food and beverage
Food and drink are always at the top of mind for attendees. As an event planner, selection of the food and beverage menu options is one of the most critical elements of planning an event. Attendees will always remember the emotions surrounding a good meal, so you want to make sure your event participants stomachs are satisfied at all times.
The food you select will affect attendee engagement. You don’t want to serve a heavy meal that will affect participants mental alertness throughout the day. One of the key points in the PCMA survey surrounding food was about the accessibility of concessions and a separate dining area.
Most venues provide on-site catering. If your venue doesn’t come with a concession area, make sure to incorporate a place for people to grab a bite to eat. The findings showed that attendees don’t want to eat in the same area they are learning or meeting with clients.
Participants would prefer to dine away from the show floor or breakout sessions. To remedy this problem, request that the venue have a separate area for people to relax and grab a bite to eat.
Event Tech Tools
New event technologies are appearing on the market daily. This makes it harder to decipher which tools will serve as a useful resource to your audience.
PCMA survey respondents recommended the use of digital displays, interactive maps, mobile apps, TV monitors keep attendees engaged and informed throughout an event.
It’s also important when selecting a venue to make sure they have a strong wireless connection, charging stations, and backup generators to support all of your tech needs.
These are just a few takeaways event organizers should keep in mind when planning both large and small scale events. The insights from the PCMA and Steelcase help inform event strategies event professionals can use to better understand the framework needed to plan meaningful and engaging experiences