By: Nancy Drapeau, IPC, Vice President of Research, CEIR
As I continue to monitor activity in our industry and read commentary among organizers that have taken the step of running an in-person event, I am reading about stories about stress and frustration who are dealing with participants who are also stressed and fearful.
We are witnessing an opening of our industry. It is happening slowly, but surely. It is happening at a time that feels uncertain.
Epistemix is documenting approaches that organizers can use to run their events safely, thus assuring success in that regard. Events have happened safely.
People are yearning to connect face-to-face. CEIR data is uncovering this, among other entities monitoring the industry.
If you missed the recent CEIR webinar, I encourage you to either download the deck or listen to the recorded version of the session. It provides results from CEIR’s October Tracker Survey with U.S. B2B exhibition organizer executives.
But beyond giving a community a chance to convene again face-to-face, which is a great moment, I wonder how organizers can inject an experience that feeds the senses in a way that brings participants joy and peace for no reason other than that. Feed the senses in a way that can touch participants’ hearts or give them a sense of calm and peace in our current uncertain times. Perhaps, this could be an opportunity for a sponsored experience.
It makes me think of instances where I have been in public spaces and have enjoyed such moments. Two come to mind:
Chicago O’Hare Airport, https://youtu.be/DuH9-MDno-o
I had a layover at that airport for a few hours, awaiting departure in the early morning hours. So, I spent time walking around the airport and discovered a walk way that connects two terminals. It stretches for perhaps 400 yards, with a moving walkway as well as space to walk on one’s own. What brought me joy and peace were the pastel lights that decorated the walls and ceiling that alternated in time with the pleasant music that played. I liked it so much I walked through it four or five times. Maybe more than that, 😊, I had a lot of time. It calmed me and helped me get ready for the long flight from Chicago to Buenos Aires.
Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Disney Hollywood at Christmas Time, https://youtu.be/5sjQ0ub70xE
Of course, Disney is a master at delivering impactful and emotional experiences. Though one experience stood out when attending the very crowded park over five years ago. It was an area with Christmas lights brought by the Osborne family. What touched me was the snow, of course not real. but quite effective in replicating a snowy Christmas. People were running to catch the snowflakes while Christmas music played and all the lights twinkled on and off. Was very magical, it is burnished in my memory, gives me a warm feeling every time I think of it.
So, I wonder again, for all you B2B exhibition organizer magic makers, and exhibitors too, how can you help give participants a moment of joy? A moment people will remember and give that emotional connection to your event or brand, a powerful, positive memory. It is a unique opportunity. And more importantly, it is sorely needed. We all need balm in these uncertain stressful times. Be that experience.