Attendees at Global DMC Partners’ event at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas shared some of their creative ways to overcome budget shortfalls and entertain guests in a creativity roundtable hosted by Margaret Stafford of the American Bar Association, and Danene Dustin of Morris Meetings and Incentives.
A destination management company from Louisiana mined the Internet for inspiration and used a flash mob during a tour to serenade a group. Another Internet-inspired activity organized by a German company at a pharmaceutical meeting was a “mannequin challenge” that was filmed and the video given to participants to keep. Although the event was successful last year, Kuba Piotrowski, global conference and event manager for Oriflame Poland, warned that memes get old quickly and this one may have passed its prime. To stay on top of Internet trends it is a good idea to give your team members time to monitor YouTube and other meme sources. Piotrowski also contributed a creative solution to staffing international events with trusted employees. He said, “We take people from IT, HR, and marketing in our corporation and fly them to the event, for example one we did recently in Singapore. They work for us for free, but they see it as a reward because we take them abroad.”
Bonnie Boyd of BBC Destinations in New Orleans says it is important to look at the whole budget for an event. Her budget suggestion is to creatively cut one part to boost another, she said, “We are excellent at robbing Peter to pay Paul!” Transportation was a popular area to cut back on but Boyd went on to say, “We would prefer a caviar budget but we can have a lot of fun with a hot dog budget if we know that’s what we’re working with”
Andrea Wild, account manager for incentives in Southern Africa at The Winners Group, suggests planners set the scene for attendees as soon as they land. She likes to greet event attendees at the airport with a large elephant puppet, but anything that evokes the destination including a signature cocktail handed out on the bus can signal that the experience has begun. She said, “We see ourselves as experience architects so we like to tell a story and create a production around the visit.” When a group from the Middle East was unable to visit Cape Town, Wild brought Cape Town to them, recreating different neighborhoods, staging traditional African dances, and bringing in animals such as leopards. The event was so successful The Winners Group will expand the onsite village for an event in 2018. Wild says that for many international meeting attendees it is their first time visiting Africa so she tries to arrange trips to neighboring Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Botswana to expand their experience. “A trip to Victoria Falls is relatively inexpensive now that there are domestic scheduled flights,” she said.