Do you know what the best indicator that attendees loved your event is? They still remember it for days (or weeks!) afterward. Successful events are transformational and help attendees get out of their comfort zone by experiencing something different.
Subsequently, the new feelings and insights they gain take (or not) the form of a memory. And it depends solely on you if (and how) people will remember your event. Why is it so important to generate memorable event experiences?
First, it encourages people to talk about your event to those who didn’t have the opportunity to attend. As eventplanner.tv founder and author Kevin Van der Straeten highlights, "People love to talk to others about spectacular or memorable acts that they have seen." What better advertising than word of mouth?
Second, as Tony Rogers notes, memorable events will determine if people attend a future event (or if you represent a brand, will determine if they’ll become your clients by actually connecting with your products or services).
Finally, these positive memories will strengthen your audience’s sense of community.
Intrigued? Here’s five easy ways you can help guests have a memorable event experience:
Tip 1. Send special event invitations
We all know just how 'effective' and 'memorable' mass invitation emailing can be. It’s just a newsletter-type of email that usually ends up in the spam bin. So how about coming up with something truly out of the ordinary and actually send an analog invitation, which is different from what your potential attendees may expect? For example, for an event for tourist professionals in the cruise business, it could be truly memorable for them to receive the event invitation in a bottle.
Tip 2. Awaken powerful emotions through storytelling
We can’t reiterate enough how important storytelling is. Paul Bulencea, coauthor of Gamification in Tourism: Designing Memorable Experiences, explains in his interview for eventplanner.tv, "The major challenge is to make people realize that events are experiences. And that they should think in the framework of how they can carefully design each point of this experience."
One of the best ways to generate an experience is by wrapping the event in a story. The thing is, as Bulencea explains, "In every story there is a call to adventure. Something happens that disrupts your day to day." That’s why events that potentiate a specific narrative are the ones that create extraordinary and memorable experiences.
Tip 3. Prepare small, yet personalized event tokens
Everybody loves receiving a small present when attending an event. But what if instead of traditional eco-friendly event bags, notebooks, and pens, you give them something more special? For example, you could offer USB pen drives with specific content, such as a small library related to the event topic.
Tip 4. Make your attendees think and act outside the box
Active engagement has a big impact on forming memorable experiences. When people actually interact and participate during an event, they are better able to articulate their feelings and thoughts regarding the discussed topics. That’s why unusual tasks that involve creative thinking (such as finding solutions through board games) will help people remember their event experience.
Tip 5. Add a unique digital touch to your event
A digital archive is a great way to let attendees review the event content for weeks or months after the event. Consider creating a platform with event videos and photos, allowing your audience (via login) to access the event’s visual memories.
Put your ideas to work
Running a memorable event is not as difficult as it may seem. The only thing you need to do is to be aware of how your event design will influence attendees’ feelings. Thus, when planning your next event, focus on both digital and analog experiences. Offer your attendees tangible (and useful) gifts to have a physical memory of the event.
Also, experiment with analog invitation to rouse attendees’ interest and make them remember the event as something special. Encourage them to explore their creative thinking and actively participate during the event. This will help them explore engagement and form stronger memories. Finally, don´t forget about the narrative of your event. People are much better at remembering great stories than just meaningless content.