Personalizing the attendee experience within a larger group setting is on the agenda for this year’s meetings and incentives.
We spoke with Sonja Soderbom, director of Ovation Australia to glean insights on how her team is facing personalization both creatively and strategically. Here’s what she had to say.
Personalizing the attendee experience within a larger group experience is something that is ever more in demand. In what ways are you catering to this demand?
We find the best way to bring a diverse group together is to provide interactive experiences that connect people. Recently, for a large incentive program to Sydney with attendees from more than 50 countries and origins, we created the HUB within the main hotel, a space where attendees could meet new people and experience the ethos of Australia. There were four key experience areas: REVIVE (Australia wellness space), REFRESH (sampling Australian food and beverages), CONNECT (a place to recharge phones, a lounge to relax and workstations for WiFi) & PLAY (iconic Australian games and activities). This allowed attendees to interact with others who shared the same passion and interests.
How are you helping attendees experience local culture in a way that’s individually meaningful?
We love to create unique bespoke itineraries and events that bring local experiences to attendees without them needing to leave the comfort of their hotel or conference space. One example of this is incorporating a scenic drive from the airport to the hotel with a favorite snack on route.
With Australia’s unique indigenous culture, we like to include a “Welcome to Country” experience at the welcome event. For those interested in more indigenous experiences we highlight more intimate details.
We bring in local providores and wineries for wine tastings at evening events, which give attendees the opportunity to connect with locals in a warm atmosphere. The evening is enhanced with some of our iconic furry friends as special guests; attendees love photo opportunities.
How can planners better understand attendees pre-event in a way that helps them expect diversity and create all-inclusive programs?
We have been working with our incentive clients to utilize digital innovation to enhance incentive programs. By launching an event app 1-3 months prior to departure we can develop a strong campaign that unlocks the hidden secrets of upcoming destinations and adds personalization options and pre-event networking for attendees. This creates engaging social feeds that connect attendees pre-event, whether sharing the best underground bars that serve boutique wines and local gins, or the famous walking routes through an untouched part of the city.
For more information, visit www.australia.com/businessevents.