Tom Siciliano is the CEO of Town & Country Event Rentals and Signature Party Rentals, based in Southern California.
How to Emphasize the “Wow” Factor at Your Next Trade Show or Event
The live events industry is roaring back to life, but this trend is more than just the post-pandemic surge in attendance. Customers don’t want the typical massive trade show or small business conference. They are increasingly demanding an experience.
Attendees are craving uniqueness, such as concierge service, VIP booths, gourmet food, virtual check-ins, mobile apps and much more. But how do you make your conference or corporate event stand out from the noise?
As the CEO of a major California event rental company, I oversee a company that services more than 12,000 annual events, and we’ve seen these trends coming for years. Event customization, sociable areas, technology, connectivity and creativity are still evolving and improving. Here’s what we see through 2023, 2024 and beyond.
Today more than ever, the attendee takes center stage at events. The value of an event lies in its ability to deliver a fresh and immersive experience. We have seen a major trend of photo booths being set up either for professional headshots or fun group photos with colleagues. We have also set up giant paint-by-the-number boards that encourage each guest to partake in a unique painting. This year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas, was a prime example of this trend. The 10-day conference was full of immersive experiences, from designing and creating unique personalized SXSW merchandise to live podcasts, panels and performances presented by Audible.
At corporate events and trade shows, we are seeing companies bring in third-party interactive services to create that “wow” factor at every touchpoint for attendees. Service and entertainment can work together to get guests talking. This can be anything from roaming dancers to thematically dressed servers to aerial performances.
Achieving the luxurious feel at your event can be easier than you think. Even a small change, such as replacing foldable chairs with loungers, can go a long way. At the U.S. Open, held in June at the Los Angeles Country Club, lavish indoor and outdoor seating areas and structures, along with luxe food service and premium seating, made the experience seem more like a luxury hotel or resort rather than a hot, crowded golf tournament where fans elbowed each other to see the players and the scoreboard.
A Defining “Wow” Moment
While attendees are looking for a captivating experience from start to finish, there should be at least one standout “wow” moment. This can be a classic light show, fireworks display, dance performance or something more unique like a custom drone show with the company logo.
With a focus on customer experience, practical technology and a fusion of the best elements from the entertainment business, there is every reason to be optimistic about the future evolution and prosperity of the event production and event rentals industry for many decades to come.