If you want to make your audience feel better about your organization and your event, make them feel better.
That’s right, make them feel physically, emotionally and intellectually better. Seems obvious, right? If a member of your association attends your annual conference and leaves feeling better, it stands to reason he or she will feel a deeper sense of connection to you, be more engaged, and maybe even feel a sense of joy.
Most events are designed to do just the opposite. Early start times for educational sessions, and late-night receptions lead to less sleep. Less sleep leads to lower immune system resistance, and it lowers our cognitive capacity and willingness to be open emotionally.
What about the food we serve at events? Brown, fried, processed, carbohydrates; lots of caffeine; loads of sugar- and salt-filled snacks; and alcohol. Hardly a diet that leads to peak performance.
Throw on top of that travel in a contained tube with recirculated air, sleeping on pillows with maybe a germ or two from the hundreds of prior guests sleeping on that bed, and time zone changes.
What’s an event designer to do?
For starters, check out what the MGM Grand has done with its Stay Well Program: air purifiers, energizing light therapy, healthy mattresses, a healthy in-room menu, access to Cleveland Clinic wellness software, and much more.
There are so many ideas and options available once you look through the lens of human physiology and recognize that the better you make the guests feel at your next event, the more they will recognize how much you care for them. And once they know you care, they will reward you with their loyalty.
I know how much more it costs to do what it takes to be healthy, and I know that the conference and trade show industrial complex has not evolved as fast as they need to. But don’t let yourself off the hook. There are hundreds of great ideas, best practices, and business partners willing to support you.
Start small and see where it takes you.