When we review the most memorable times of our lives, it’s moments that stand out the most. The moment a child is born, the moment you fall in love, and the moment you won the perfect job. Our most vivid memories are made up of a collection of single moments in time, not just one long episode.
If you want to design impactful memories for your event attendees, think in terms of moments. The best way to excite and engage your guests is to create a series of WOW moments within your events that continually surprise and delight them in a way that is unforgettable. If you can do that, they will remember your event for years to come.
So, what is a WOW moment? First, make a list of all of the usual moments your attendees experience at your event. Here’s a starter list:
- Buying tickets online
- Arriving at the event
- Checking in on event day
- Receiving event credentials
- Attending the keynote
- Attending meals
- Visiting the exhibition hall
Once you’ve got this list together, start thinking about how you can take each moment and lift it up. How can you generate an experience out of something mundane? If you can do that, it will be memorable. Here are some thought starters.
Tell a Story
Humans remember narratives more than lists of features or benefits. When we tell stories of people like ourselves who have experienced, we can relate to, we are more apt to not only remember the story but act on how we feel during the experience. This is good to remember at times when we need people to take an action such as buying tickets. On your ticketing website, post a video of a past happy attendee telling a story of their experience at your event. Don’t script them. Let them tell the story in their own words so that it is authentic and real. Add some exciting footage of the event. Make sure there is a large “Register Now” button right next to the video so that viewers can take advantage of the WOW moment you just created.
Organizer apps like Eventzilla make check-in moments easy and quick for guests. You could also use Eventzilla’s attendee event app to deliver maps, schedules and sponsor offers to their phones as soon as they check-in so that no bulky printed schedules or bags are needed. Of course, there are plenty of brand-new tech options to try. Virtual reality and augmented reality offer the opportunity to transport attendees to new locations and to try new activities or processes. Live polling technologies are great to use during sessions to collect real-time feedback that speakers can react to in order to make presentations more customized for the crowd. The possibilities in creating WOW moments through technology are endless.
Personalize Your Service
The more you know about your guests, the better opportunity you have to create WOW moments. If you have the ability to offer personalized service, you should absolutely do so. For example, printing each attendees’ preferred pronouns on nametags is a small act of customization that can have a large impact on your guests. Leave a note of welcome with a small gift in each guests’ hotel room. Communicate with attendees via social media before, during and after events. Highlight attendees’ profiles during the events on digital screens and on social media. Greet each attendee by name as often as possible. When you pay attention to who your guests are and what’s important to them, they will appreciate and remember your effort.
Moments of Empathy
WOW moments sometimes happen when we are pulled out of our usual environment and faced with another reality. That can happen when we experience a moment of empathy for another person or another living being. Providing that moment can be as easy as bringing shelter animals to your event for a fundraiser or scheduling a service project at a local soup kitchen. You could also suggest a “Pay It Forward” Challenge to your guests to carry out while at the event. Offering guests, the opportunity to help others is an excellent way to produce a WOW moment.
Of course, WOW moments can be created with something as simple as an amazing dessert or a dazzling entrance display. A donut wall. Your favorite musician as the dinner entertainment. A party bus to the airport. Bean bag chairs and a ping pong table in the break room. Don’t forget about the details. Decorations, transportation, food, drinks, room setup, signs, lighting, and more can all be opportunities to surprise and delight guests with over the top or fun elements. Think about all of the events you’ve attended. Which events do you remember the most? They are probably the events that offered a special moment that was extraordinary. Producing a remarkable event is all about creating WOW moments.