Please inspire us…

Please inspire us…

With so many speed dating events being staged where the format is one-to-one meetings between supplier and buyer, we wonder how often have you experienced the supplier going straight into their prepared spiel and accompanying slide presentation about their product/destination without asking you a single pertinent question to gauge your interest or experience?  You may even have mentioned the fact you were travelling to, or organising an event in the destination, yet rather than stopping to acknowledge that insightful nugget of information and perhaps find out more about your trip, the supplier will invariably continue with their presentation.

Sadly, this kind of story is not that uncommon in our industry. It’s not the one-to-one meeting model that’s to blame, but the lack of personalisation in that particular supplier’s approach. Forums and trade shows that enable buyers to get to meet many different suppliers in one place can be incredibly useful. But we believe that so much more could be done to make them work better for both buyers and suppliers.

We talk so much about personalisation and immersive experiences being a hot trend in this sector, and how important it is for event planners to engage their audiences on a personal level and give delegates a more tailored experience. Yet when it comes to suppliers – many are still very stuck in their ways with their approach to market.

Sometimes these events can feel like a box ticking exercise – 20 meetings done – check! But what’s the value in these meetings for the supplier if the buyer has forgotten the last eight of the day because they had 20 packed into one day, and they were all slide presentations with facts and figures about meeting room size or number of bedrooms and categories? Agencies and corporates need to be inspired and engaged just as much as the delegates they are organising events for.

This is not a rant against suppliers, but more a plea to inject some creativity and personalisation into our industry events. We’re apparently a creative industry after all, and it’s not like we’re being sold car parts; it’s hotels, venues and destinations, even cool technology that is being sold. Surely there are more exciting and immersive ways to do this than via a slide presentation?

Rather than thinking of it as selling a meeting space, and going into intricate details about size, natural daylight etc. etc. etc. – why not tell us a fun experience that you have staged or seen that could be organised in the venue to make our client’s meeting more memorable… and to make them stand out from the crowd?

All is not lost, there are some suppliers out there that spring to mind that have done something a bit different, and as a result have stood out. Singapore for example use VR experience – which gave delegates a 360-degree rooftop views of the Singapore skyline and a fly-through of the business tour, we’ve seen this for other destinations too, such as New Orleans.

Meanwhile, at their summer party this year, The Oysters – a collection of tourist boards and convention bureaus – each created a unique experience, from origami folding to building landmarks from newspaper and chocolate snorting – that teams of planners took part in. You can learn a little something about each destination and really connect with the tourist board representatives in a fun and memorable way.

Think about all the immersive experiences brands are creating at other trade shows – Mobile World Congress for example, where hall upon hall is filled with brand experiences of all shapes and sizes, as companies look to not only launch their latest products, but demo them in new and unique ways.
And now imagine a trade show for our industry where you walk in and rather than a bunch of stands, it’s an exhibition hall full of immersive experiences – you’re skiing in the alps one minute via VR, and then sitting on a real sand beach with palm trees and cocktail in hand the next, or in a recreated hotel suite in downtown New York. You could still have the one-to-one meetings, but wrapped in a more creative, inspiring and immersive experience. And isn’t that what this industry is all about?