5 Tips for Successful Corporate Events

October 5, 2014

Doug Shockley

Doug Shockley, vice president, Business Development and Global Events at www.GES.com, has over 22 years of industry expertise.

There are a lot of generalizations when it comes to our industry. Many people who are unfamiliar feel the same type of planning and work goes into an exhibition, meeting, consumer event, corporate event or congress. Well, we all know that isn’t true; the planning and execution differs by the type of live event being produced. Drayage, kit rules and regulations, negotiating show floor packages, etc. often aren’t a topic of conversation with my corporate events clients. One thing that is critical across the board with corporate events is planning for attendee engagement.

After years of working with clients all around the world, here are five tips for successful corporate events that delight my clients and their attendees:

1. Give Attendees Some Control- Not every single minute of your event can be planned. Let attendees decide and interact horizontally through things like tweet ups. This will help bring down barriers and provides a feeling of being a part of the socially elite.

2. Facilitate Live Streaming or Outside Event Interaction- Let’s face it, schedules happen. Don’t punish attendees who can’t make it to your event. Offering a live stream aspect to your event means future business; including the fact that those who cannot attend will earn you more attendees next year (they won’t want to miss out on the action next year).

3. Promote Pre-Event Networking- Breaking the ice and finding their niche can sometimes be hard on attendees. Planning a simple lunch, dinner with a stranger or happy hour with your attendees the day before the corporate event kicks off helps them get social without the awkwardness of doing it on their own. They’ll appreciate you for having their back.

4. Don’t Use Inspiration from the 1990’s- Start a movement or community rather than a one-off event. Create engagement and a memorable experience for attendees. Gathering 300 people in a room for three days is what events looked like in the 90s, not exactly the type of throwback they’ll be looking for. Offering webinars, regular meet-ups in various cities and setting up virtual facilities makes your experience timeless. Plan to have your event live on after the actual event dates.

5. Pay Attention to the Registration Process- It’s hard for me to understand that in 2014, some corporate events still require faxing documents to register. Don’t do it people! There are plenty of services you can use to set up easy event registration. Also, don’t neglect onsite registration. If an attendee starts off their experience waiting in a line then being greeted by a staffer who doesn’t know what they’re doing, they may not come to your event next year.

What tips do you have for memorable live events? Share your experiences below; I’d love to learn from you.

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Partner Voices
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.