Utilizing Entertainment to Engage Meeting Attendees

Find a shared experience that reflects your meeting’s values and mission, rather than an activity that simply entertains.

Make it easy, make it simple, and most importantly make it fun and memorable. As gamification and social gratification seep into every consumer experience, smart organizations are doubling down on their ability to surprise, delight and entertain their customers whether its gamifying routine tasks like booking a hotel room, offering guests a flute of champagne while waiting to check into a room or creating a live, custom entertainment experience during corporate events and meetings.

Consumers crave entertainment according to a study, “Truth About Entertainment,” commissioned by MGM Resorts International. More than 90 percent of respondents in the U.S. and China, and more than 80 percent in Japan, see entertainment as a fundamental contributor to their health and happiness, according to the study. In addition, an equal percentage of respondents in each of the three countries reported they could not imagine their lives without their favorite books, music, films, bands and sports. In fact, 61 percent of Americans describe the role of entertainment in their lives as an escape from the everyday routine. The survey was conducted in the United States, China and Japan, with a sample size of 2,000 people in each market.

And while it may seem as if consumers spend most of their free time looking at screens, when Americans are asked to choose between live and digital experiences, 66 percent would choose a live event, the study found.

In fact, meeting planners are increasingly asking meeting venues to include live entertainment during corporate events, says Marti Winer, vice president of MGM Resorts Event Productions. In fact, 80 percent of event planners reported that their jobs require more experience creation in 2018 than just two to five years ago, according to CVENT, a firm that offers web-based software for meeting site selection and online event registration.

One popular live entertainment option at MGM Resorts is to open a meeting with the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ drumline. “It creates a sensory overload that brings a local flavor to the meeting so attendees immediately understand what MGM, Vegas and their meeting are all about,” Winer says. “Partnerships with local vendors also demonstrate our engagement with the community.”

In addition to delighting and surprising meeting attendees, including entertainment can create a shared experience that encourages participation and engagement among attendees. It’s important to provide entertainment that reinforces your meeting’s message and resonates with your attendees and goals of your organization, Winer says. The key is to find a shared experience that reflects your meeting’s values and mission, not just to simply entertain.

It’s also important to know the demographics of your audience to determine what type of entertainment will engage them and drive meeting success, Winer says. Consider whether attendees have a common interest or are socially conscious and would prefer to engage in an activity that gives back to the community, she says. “Think about what’s near and dear to your attendees’ hearts,” she adds.

For instance, MGM recently created an activity for a marketing association that allowed attendees to give back to the community and also feel energized before their meeting even began. As attendees walked into the meeting space, they were greeted by three information stations and encouraged to build a food bag to donate to Three Square, a local Vegas food bank. At the first station, they were handed a donation bag and, at each subsequent station, attendees could choose prepackaged foods to put in their donation bag. Right before entering the meeting, attendees dropped off their bags and were thanked for their donation. “This creates a great feeling right when you’re walking into the meeting,” Winer says.

Entertainment can also transform a meeting location, especially if your corporate event is held in the same location every year. “It’s an opportunity for guests to see a space differently especially if they’re coming back to the same site each year,” Winer says.

Meeting planners should think creatively about how to use the space and incorporate elements that showcase why the location is unique. For instance, Las Vegas offers one-of-a-kind views of the Strip so to highlight that MGM Resorts partners with local helicopter ride vendors to offer a distinctive after dinner experience for meeting attendees. “It’s an experience you won’t get anywhere else,” Winer says.

MGM Resorts offers 4 million square feet of meeting and convention space within a two-mile stretch on the Las Vegas Strip. Advanced designs feature robust and creative meeting options to meet the ever-changing needs for collaborative and productive work spaces. To learn more, view our available venues throughout the city.