It takes a talented marketer to get 80 event and marketing professionals to sign up—and pay—for a trip with no idea where they were headed until two hours before their chartered flight took off. That’s Haute Dokimazo for you.
This innovative start-up is known for creating unconventional conference experiences. That certainly was the case for Haute Dokimazo’s Secret Family Reunion, a four-day international meeting held this past November. The “secret” was that attendees had no idea where they were headed—Tuscany—until two hours before their chartered flight took off from JFK.
Here’s how Haute Dokimazo made it all happen—and why the company has decided to make SFR an annual event.
The Idea Behind SFR
Launched in 2017, HD has garnered a reputation among event planners for participant-driven meetings in which crowd-sourced agendas are moderated on site by attendees and the focus is on collaboration and personal connection. The Secret Family Reunion refers to the “family” of event professionals who’ve become fans of the HD experience, so much so they paid a fee to be part of this secret one.
“Our attendees signed on for the trip with complete trust and confidence in the Haute Dokimazo team, simply because of the experiences they had enjoyed or heard about from previous HD events,” said Nicole Osibodu, president and co-founder. “For our internal HD team, the planning process spanned well over 18 months and wasn’t easy by any means!”
How It Worked
“Social media played a large part in engaging our attendees, especially via our LinkedIn audience,” Osibodu said. “We faced the challenge of selling the value of the trip without providing the type concrete details that so many of our event industry attendees crave so much.” But the trip also appealed to a demographic “tired of traditional events and ready for anything we threw their way.”
Attendees were given a recommended packing list and instructed to bring their passports and to arrive at the TWA Hotel at JFK Airport at 2 p.m. on November 2 for a live-streamed reveal party sponsored by NYC & Company. That’s when they found out their destination: Italy’s Tuscany region.
Upon arrival in Tuscany, attendees enjoyed four immersive days that were a mix of vacation and HD’s spontaneous think tank format involving collaborative strategy sessions. SRF was so successful that it will become an annual event, Osibodu revealed.
“As technology continues to advance, we recognize that the craving for human connection has never been more prominent,” she explained. “The Reunion provided an environment that encouraged our participants to speak more openly and contribute more freely, and to take greater risks to achieve lasting personal growth and authentic professional relationships.”
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