Events Creating Unforgettable Experiences Thrive in Today’s Market

October 31, 2018

We all want to have experiences that we feel are worthy of sharing with others and that we look back on with positive feelings. Traditionally, those experiences haven’t been found at trade shows. While a good place to get business done, the standard model trade show – aisles of pipe and drape and dozens of lecture rooms – is not as strong when it comes to creating a lasting impression. Today, however, the model is changing at events of all sizes.

Krista LeZotte, senior manager of conferences at ASAE says that making an event memorable is the best way to capture attendees’ attention both before, during and after the event. 

“When attendees walk away from an event full of energy and excitement they will continue to use your event as a reference in conversation,” she explained. “It is a great way to create buzz and word-of-mouth promotion for your event for future years.” 

Creating memorable experiences can be as simple as adding a creative new element or as complex are reworking the entire event concept. Either way, when considering adding new features to an event, research is the key to getting stakeholders and organizational leaders on board.

LeZotte says trade show organizers need to get their stakeholders just as excited as the attendees who walk through the event’s doors. Organizers should understand how the new element or change in direction will reach your attendees, how it will impact the rest of the event, how it will dictate the future of the event as well as how it impacts the bottom line in order to sell it.

“Making sure you have all elements flushed out before your design presentation will allow you to predict the challenges, opportunities and questions that may arise,” she said. 

LeZotte continued, “If your budget and time allow, try testing out a pilot of the event with these changes in a smaller capacity to see how attendees would react as well as your stakeholders. It will allow you to make changes before the event date and ensure you have thought through the impact of the event design.”  

Other research options include conducting focus groups to test out certain elements of the event to ensure you will have member buy-in.  

“Most of all, ensure when presenting the event design to the stakeholders you ignite their senses through the presentation,” she added. 

When a new element is implemented it is important to establish metrics to gauge success. These metrics can take on many forms from profit margins to survey results from your attendees. 

“In order to establish metrics for success, you need to know the goals and objectives from the beginning not just for you, but for your stakeholders,” LeZotte explained. “Determine how you’ll collect and analyze information to measure the metrics and understand in each area if the event is successful.”   

While it is not necessary to reinvent the entire experience for every show, it does help to change a few elements each year to peak the interest of attendees, excite them for the next meeting and keep them engaged in different ways.  

“Changing elements of the experience can be as easy as switching up the room set for your learning breakouts, changing a simple continental breakfast into a fun, creative dining experience, or adding surprise elements into the conference,” LeZotte added.

LeZotte, along with Katie Stern of UBM and Kevin Barasso of Mohegan Sun, will participate in TSNN’s free webinar, “Creating Memorable Event Experiences: Game On!” on Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. ET where they will discuss how to create unique experiences for attendees. To register, go HERE.


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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact