The events industry is an ideal example of an industry in transition, enthused with innovation. ‘Experiential Events’ or events that allow guests an opportunity to engage are currently gaining popularity and have in fact only just begun. I’d say, it’s more about crafting experiences, less about creating a floor-plan blueprint, of course that being said ‘organizing’ plays a pivotal role to the success of any event. The industry has been transitioning from being merely organisational to largely experiential.
Engages The Five Senses
‘Experiential Events’ are about designing an event solution that actively engages all five senses — to be able to touch, see, taste, smell and hear. Everything from the event’s layout, to the aura/feel, to the taste must create a multi-sensory experience for the guests, such that it successfully immerses him/her with our message and strikes a good connect with the event agenda. It definitely must capture the uniqueness of the event hosts and the experience they want to create for their guests.
High Level Of Personalisation
We have long surpassed the times when family members stood glued at the wedding gates with a jaw-breaking-smile on their faces throughout a wedding, acknowledging attendee footfalls ranging from a couple of 100s to a few 1000s in number.
Even though this marks a high level of personal attention towards being hospitable, it clearly needed to be backed-up with smarter, less exhausting yet highly personalised acts.
Sometimes around year 2005, we moved on to DJs and VJs to pull the crowd onto the dance floor and eventually found ourselves offering ‘comfort’ solutions like beach flip-flops for tired and sore feet, fun and visually appealing interactive-live bar counters followed by hangover kits, just recently – each activity being extremely well thought of, pre-planned and arguably aiming to park a sense of indulgence and entertainment along with warm hospitality. Our focus has moved from “We Plan” to “We Care”. It’s all about creating experiences that travel.
Focus Lies On Attendees And Guests
Client and guest experience is a hot-button subject this year in not just the weddings and social celebrations space but also corporate events, idea penetration and marketing activities. It is important to consider your guests while making your event decisions. Intricate and focussed event planning ensures that your guests are left feeling valued and cared for.
‘Guest Engagement’ Is The New Mantra
It would be interesting to note the rapid infusion of ‘digital’ in the events world. Over the last 2-4 years, we have embraced new platforms like digital attendee tracking, guest list managers, online RSVPs, wedding websites, virtual weddings et cetera.
We tend to gauge the success and failure of many such events by the level of social media engagements and activities pre and post occurrences. Technological advancements have in fact resulted in an otherwise unusual level of guest engagement pre and post events, much of it resulting in being able to create a highly personalised and effective event solution.
Besides, would you ever have gone on television looking for your future life partner or speed dated via chat, basis location? The principle part of the process, like building a professional event0s network via online platforms, getting sponsors aboard for a music concert, looking for the right vendors for your destination events, finding a suitable match for yourself, reaching out to your event invitees on social media et cetera are all ‘pro-active engagements’ that create a sense of self participation and we see rapid penetration of such ‘experiential’ doings in the days to come.
As professional event organisers, one would have a number of examples where clients have achieved amazing levels of brand awareness and engagement through live communications and experiential events.
One must see events as big ticket investments, whether personal, social or commercial.
On a professional front and being part of the industry, I believe that the Indian Events Industry is on the cusp of an incredible phase. I recognise the growing need to nurture and encourage proactive efforts to create an events environment conducive to interaction and participation. It’s important to assume that everything is on a fast-paced and ever-evolving mode, even the client backgrounds and expectations.
With the experiential element having gained momentum, our focus now lies on the RoI or even the RoE (Return on Engagement) of the event. The creativity and innovation surrounding these experiences will continue to evolve far into the next decade.