EXPERIENCE MEANS THE sum of all parts when it comes to your event. That means the pregame antics of building excitement, the touch points as attendees arrive and the highlight of it all, killer, memorable engagement. Below, a few pointers on all three.
Whet their appetites ahead of the shindig with solid, easy-to-absorb info on what to expect. This should include important things (such as COVID and/or health protocols) but also things that get the engagement going ahead of time. Social media is your friend, of course. And depending on the range of your attendee demographics, you may want to craft on a range of platforms (Facebook for Gen X and older), Instagram for a range (Gen Z, millennial, Gen X) and even a few IG Reels or TikTok for the youngest of the bunch. Here’s where fun video from last year’s event can be leveled-up into something truly compelling. If you’re looking for input ahead of the game, tie it into these posts – perhaps attaching a contest of sorts – to increase participation and get the information you’re looking for.
Make a great first impression on arrival, so be sure the transfer from airport to hotel isn’t just smooth and pleasant but makes up for any not-so-great experiences they may have had during travel (not uncommon these days!). Have some snacks and water at the ready, and perhaps some event- or association-branded giveaways as a welcome gift.
Engage! Cool city and/or venue notwithstanding, it takes more than place to make your event shine. Interactive programs – perhaps activities that utilize all that great info you were able to get ahead of time – and amazing content via speakers, workshops and networking opportunities in great surroundings are what takes your event from a 7 to a 10. Make their presence count with thoughtful programming and takeaways that not only last but lay a great foundation for repeat registrations and involvement.
HISTORIC SPACES COME in all shapes and sizes. Why not consider a unique one for your event? Firehouses
“Lit” events in Houston. Wanna burn the house down at your next soiree? You couldn’t find a place more appropriate than Station 3, which began its life as a firehouse in 1903, fighting the city’s blazes with horse-drawn wagons. Conveniently located just outside downtown, the space features its original brick, wood floors, concrete beams and intricate stonework. In 2014, the venue underwent an extensive renovation to bring its modern-convenience factor up to code. And yes, it still has a fire pole. houstonfirestation.com
Set sail in Galveston. What has three masts and room for 300? The Tall Ship Elissa, an iron-hulled sailing ship built in 1877 and available for private events. And even if she doesn’t leave dock the picturesque backdrop of Galveston’s waterfront makes for a dreamy event – and a potentially educational one to boot. Available for day sails, as well. galvestonhistory.org/events/elissa-daysails
Majestic in Sugar Land. Built in 1926 by renowned local architect William Ward Watkins, the Majestic Metro features detailing unique to the era in which it was born – and amenities suited for state-of-the-art corporate events, which it has been hosting for more than 30 years. Its preservation, in fact, garnered the developer an award for keeping this downtown treasure alive. majesticmetro.com
Stationary soiree. Built in the 1900s, restored in the early 2000s, Olde Dobbin Station makes for a spacious event venue – its McCoy Station venue accommodates up to 500 in soaring historic digs. oldedobbinstation.com
They’ve got your number in Beaumont. It’s 434. 434 Fannin, to be precise, where walls, beams and floors built in 1903 serve as the backdrop for funky events in 4,000 square feet of beautifully illuminated space. Groups of 75 to 296 welcome. Wait ‘til you see the bathrooms. Seriously. 434fannin.com