2020: the time to REACH
With over 4,000 eventprofs and suppliers gathered in one place, PCMA Convening Leaders proved once again why it is one of the most important conferences for planners to attend, and a rock star for international event design and content.
Our Senior Sales Manager, Jason Fajardo, who took over our Convention Centre’s social media live from San Francisco, recaps some of most important takeaways that will have an effect in the event industry the most in 2020.
1. Personalization is key to succeed: Our industry is moving in the direction of micro-events and more personalized experiences. By paying closer attention to their attendees’ needs and desires, and using AI tools and marketing data, planners can create a completely customized event experience for each one of their audiences. PCMA designed a diverse and rich program that took into consideration all of those involved in producing events; from the strategic planner and supplier, to the marketer and event sponsor. There was something special, personal and interesting for every type of delegate in attendance.
2. Sustainability is no longer an option, but a requirement: Our industry needs to make a bigger commitment to reducing event’s CO2 emissions. As Tammy Blount-Canavan from Fired-Up! Culture shared during her session on sustainability, little things such as using compostable cups, choosing linen-free tables, opting for local performers or requesting a plant-based menu are small steps to green your event. Kudos to PCMA for taking action (and even some risky choices) to make the world a better place, one event at a time; proving that change is driven by people with a cause.
Some of the sustainable initiatives during PCMA Convening Leaders included eco-friend badges for the first time in the history of the event, made from recycled material. IMEX Group hosted a “Meatless Monday” lunch that took some attendees out of their comfort zone, but reduced the use of water at the venue. Participants were also encouraged to bring their own water bottles to refill in one of the purification filters displayed across the conference space.
3. Social Media can enhance the conference experience…if done right: Social media can open up a new world of possibilities for your events and your business. By live tweeting using the event hashtag, creating Instagram stories, or posting on LinkedIn updates, you will create a sense of community for your delegates and your online audiences. User generated content is the most effective form of advertising as it reaches new audiences, provides credibility and you will later be able to repurpose it for your own strategy. The networking opportunities will be endless, don’t be afraid to share your story in a social way, like the PCMA team has done successfully for the past few years.
4. Focus on Your Attendee Wellbeing: We all have experienced long conference days, packed with sessions, networking and evening programming. PCMA has recognized the importance of keeping guests engaged and energized by creating opportunities for less stressing and more connecting. Some innovations included chair yoga, a morning “fun run”, Namaste with PCMA, the Steelcase Work Lounge - a space with adaptable and very comfortable furniture for informal meetings within the event - energizing food options, and healthy snacks throughout the three days.
4. If your event is going to have a theme, own it: Allow your attendees to connect with the experience and create significant engagement. REACH was the motto for 2020, a concept that we saw embodied successfully in many aspects of the event. From the very impressive line-up of inspirational speakers, to the immersive activations, and experiential marketing initiatives, we were all invited to reach new heights by finding new ideas, and making new connections, all while building community.
5. Infuse local flavours: Your delegates may not have as much time to explore the destination as they would like, and by bringing an infusion of local flavours, planners can connect their visitors to the host city in a meaningful way. Through food, performances from local artists and authentic experiences, your guests will feel welcomed, while you help stimulate the local community.
6. What is Your Cause? Being part of the event professionals’ community requires a lot more than years of experience, certifications and awards. It’s about showing up for your colleagues, being open to collaboration, and going after your ideas. As Simon Sinek explained during his main stage session, you need to have a “just cause” and have the courage to lead in order to be successful in this infinite game of events, meetings and conferences.
As Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice highlighted in her interview at the main stage, we all have an opportunity to enhance our industry by enabling people to colour outside the line and being agents of change. Eventprofs, lets make 2020 a year of innovation, collaboration and opportunities.
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