Add Cultural Flair to Keep Event Attendees Engaged

Now more than ever, planning engaging meetings is critical and leaning into culture can be the key to success.

The pandemic has altered many aspects of business, most notably in the MICE sector. From Zoom meetings with former officemates to virtual conferences with thousands of peers, this past year has brought creative challenges—and solutions—no one could have predicted.

While we have adapted to virtual and hybrid meetings, many elements of the in-person versions were missed—both the tangible and intangible. One example is the inclusion of “local flavor” often programmed into events to showcase a destination: incorporating cuisine, music/dance or other arts that elevate the guest experience. Authentic local partnerships have become more important than ever, and maximizing your resources will aid in distinguishing your event from the competition’s while providing an immersive and memorable experience for guests.

The 2021 Global Meetings and Events Forecast from American Express predicts that in-person meetings throughout 2021 will be smaller than before the pandemic. Meeting planners may find that they are planning events for a new generation of clients with different priorities. Attendees will want to feel their time is well spent. Millennial guests desire engagement and crave a greater sense of connection; a perfect way to achieve that is to incorporate local culture and appeal to each of the senses.

Food may be the first thing that comes to mind, as cuisine creates many shared experiences and is commonly an element that unites consumers despite backgrounds and cultures. According to the recent Cvent report outlining key trends to expect in 2021, people are more focused now on immunity-boosting food and amenities related to health and mindfulness, which is important to keep in mind.

Entertainment is another option that can be fun and memorable; Maybe your next meeting break can include a performance to keep your attendees engaged, or a cooking demonstration by a local chef. Ultimately, it’s important to find ways to make an event translate well digitally for attendees logging on from home.

No matter what the future holds, most forecasters agree that virtual events will be part of the MICE industry in some form for the foreseeable future. When planning these events, it’s important to incorporate authentic experiences to help your content stick while keeping attendees immersed, interested, and engaged.

Discover Puerto Rico is a not-for-profit Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) whose mission is to make Puerto Rico visible to the world as a premier travel destination by collaboratively promoting the Island’s diversity and uniqueness for leisure and business travel and events. Showcasing a blend of Spanish, Taino and African roots, the destination’s cultural flair offers a unique experience that makes for ideal event engagement, from cuisine, art, and music—all without the need for a passport.


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