Innovation and discovery will fuel the delegate experience as we return to in-person meetings and events.
As we prepare to return to in-person meetings and events, many of us are coming to realize that our expectations are dramatically different than they were before the pandemic swept across the world. Today, after more than a year and a half of video meetings and restrictions, we want to ensure that the events we choose to attend have greater value and the highest return on investment. For associations, this means that it’s important to find ways to elevate the delegate experience. One tactic? Leverage a destination’s local expertise to deliver meaningful, content-rich events.
“There’s a huge pent-up demand for innovation and discovery,” explains Virginie de Visscher, senior director of business development, economic sectors for Destination Canada Business Events. “Post-pandemic conference-goers will no longer be satisfied with another convention center or hotel in any destination. They want their brains to be engaged with local intellectual capital, have discussions that will challenge their status quo and be inspired by site visits.”
To embrace this trend, first look beyond features like conference facilities or entertainment experiences when selecting a location. While these are undoubtedly important contributors to a successful gathering, exceptional events occur in locations that align with a meeting’s purpose—and then tap into its intellectual capital to create immersive learning and networking opportunities for delegates. For example, a life-sciences event would be well-suited to a city that provides opportunities to explore its innovation ecosystem through visits to research institutes and innovative labs, or by tapping into the leadership and thought-provokers at local universities.
Then, work closely with representatives at the host destination, such as the convention and visitors bureau, to incorporate this expertise into your event programming. Offersite visits that give an insider’s look into cutting-edge technologies, or enhance your speaker schedule with prominent locals. When promoting your event to your audience, be sure to convey these unique opportunities and benefits—this is what will draw them in and give them the value they’re looking for.
While there’s an anticipated spike in demand for in-person events in the months to come, many people will be selective about which ones they choose. Set yours apart by harnessing local expertise, creating enriching experiences and leaving your delegates feeling energized, inspired and ready to perform.
Canada offers a national network of thought leaders, influencers and industry champions that span industries and ecosystems. Connecting with key influencers to enhance conference programming, augment your speaker schedule, develop customized technical tours and living-lab visits is as easy as connecting directly with the Destination Canada Business Events team.