by Geniene Preston
Have you ever tried to make your conference or bosberaad a little different or is it always the same old, same old? I bet you have done the photo booth or the room drops because they are traditional and expected.
Personally I think conference and event organisers that have a little imagination could go a long way. And I also can’t blame PCO’s that have never moved out of the tired old cardboard box ! There was an age old saying – No one ever got fired for buying IBM.
But isn’t it time to look at things a little differently and see what promotional companies – especially small startup’s can offer? As long as they have time to deliver why not give them a try?
Rules of using small startups include
- Don’t squeeze them on price as they are already stretched and probably have quoted you less than your usual suppliers. Remember every cent they make goes to feed another family.
- Don’t pay them 45 to 90 days. They need your deposit to pay for the materials to make up a large order. So 75% upfront without penalties is a good start with the balance (which is generally their profit) being paid when they deliver. And give them a week before the event as a deadline so they have time to deliver late.
- Look at what they have to offer and try and get a few companies involved so there are a number of small companies delivering unique items or services
What should you be looking at?
How about including a spa or massage in your conference offer? So when you book a conference at a hotel if they have an in-house spa, perfect, get a voucher which can be redeemed during the conference. Better than a smoke break! Or cocktail hour! If not then use a mobile spa nearby that can be on hand to do a neck and shoulders or hand/foot massage. It makes all the difference to the attendee.
Instead of badges why not embroider shirts or wide brim hats for the sun. They are worn for ages afterward. Look at comfortable tracksuits that are embroidered with clients names that can be worn during the conference. Yes by all means have speakers wearing suits and ties but surely attendees that are going from one room to another or attending workshops could be comfortable?
Colorful fun stationary instead of boring and dull in house stationary could also be a bonus. I always used to use Star Wars characters and have enormous fun with those. You could ask attendees to pick a name or character from their favourite movie and have a placemat put where they should sit so that colleagues don’t bunch together and form a clique – excluding colleagues who are not normally part of their groups.
Create treasure hunts where your guests should find items that are not normally found in their rooms or the dining room. Let them collect these items and the person who collects the most of them, wins a weekend away.
Instead of room drops why not consider roof drops. At the recent 89th Oscars 2017, they dropped candy from the roof using parachutes. You could use Balloons!
And lastly, where budget allows, why not invite spouses so that they may have some time away from home. Create packages with local tourism authorities that can create future travel opportunities for attractions and activities in the area. Most couples don’t mind paying reasonable amounts and I am sure that the activities in the area would be delighted to fetch and carry delegates to visit.
Consider these things when putting something together for groups or conference groups. Even Weddings are perfect for this.