Successful events often rely on unique destinations. The benefits of remarkable spaces go beyond just the event journey - they also include the travel experience and interaction with the local community and culture.
When choosing a new destination for their conferences, trade shows, or conventions, event professionals have an entire pool of resources at their fingertips. Nowadays, multiple global destinations are ready to welcome a big number of international attendees, offering a strong event infrastructure.
According to the Defining Conventions as Urban Innovation and Economic Accelerators report, "Over the last decade, convention bureaus have been collaborating more strategically with their local and state governments, economic development agencies, academic and scientific institutions, and local business improvement districts to better leverage the value of conventions in their cities, especially those aligned with their region’s high-priority growth sectors."
Apart from easily accessing the city infrastructure, event professionals have the possibility to leverage the destination's richness. By promoting the event destination, planners can attract a larger number of international guests, which in turn will increase their marketing campaign's impact.
Unique city experiences and distinctive local flavors will motivate the attendees to pack their suitcases and get ready to embark on a memorable journey. However, destination marketing must not limit itself solely to a touristic approach. Although promoting the city's physical attributes remains a key factor in influencing people to attend the event, there are other details planners should consider when designing a destination marketing campaign. Here are a few:
Tip #1. Market the unique urban location
No matter how digitized our society becomes, people are always going to be interested in the physical aspect of cities. They want to experience new destinations, interact with other cultures, and try the local cuisine.
According to American Express Meetings and Events' 2018 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, there's a growing demand for unique locations and meeting spaces. That being said, when designing your event’s marketing campaign, don't forget to introduce the marvelous experiences your attendees will be able to live while traveling to the meeting location.
Tip #2. Enrich the social program with local experiences
Although traveling to new destinations is exciting on its own, you can't deny your attendees the privilege of experiencing the local culture through different dynamics or activities. Moreover, thanks to digital platforms such as Airbnb and Amazon, event professionals can now crowdsource intelligence in local communities and extend the window of engagement beyond just the event itself.
You can include exciting activities in the social program. From gastronomic tours to adventurous hiking trips, you have the option to enrich the experience of your attendees even more, increasing the attractiveness of your event.
Tip #3. Work with the local influencers
With destination marketing, you aren’t just promoting the location - you’re also marketing the local industry authority and human resources. Depending on the topic or the focus of your event, identify a series of local influencers who are also internationally renowned.
Subsequently, find ways in which you could engage those influential figures in your destination marketing campaign. For example, you could ask them to publish videos or articles about the upcoming event, in exchange for being speakers. By leveraging their authority, you’ll increase the chances of attracting more attendees who may be interested in meeting those individuals.
Tip #4. Create a knowledge collision space
According to Skift, "Cities are repositioning their downtown cores as 'Innovation Districts' to better connect their high-tech and creative industries, research institutions, cultural venues and convention center districts. The goal is to create a richer attendee experience with more opportunities for organic networking and knowledge sharing between local and visiting industry leaders."
Another important element to consider is the presence of industry clusters that can be of interest to your audience. By ensuring and promoting the fact that your event will include local community leaders and industry experts, you’re giving your attendees access to a knowledge collision space.
Tip #5. Encourage the networking between your attendees and the local businesses
Another great way to boost your event's attendance rate is to set up a series of networking dynamics between your target group and local businesses. People may want to attend your event for not only the content or the location itself, but also for the business relations they can build. Dedicate a few hours in the event program for B2B matchmaking sessions in which your attendees can schedule different meetings with local entrepreneurs and discuss business opportunities.
When it comes to promoting an event through destination marketing, remember that both the physical and nonphysical components are equally important. The same way you'll promote the incredible location and unique local experiences, you must also focus on talking about the local expertise and business opportunities your guests will have. By transforming the event location into an undeniably promising experience that people won’t want to miss, your attendance rate is sure to skyrocket.