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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Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact