Friday, August 12, 2016

B2B Events are Wending toward Wow

Once upon a time, a hotel ballroom sufficed to fill the conference producer's need for a space suited to parking 300 butts, and maybe 30 booths, for a day or two.

But Millennial attendees have crabbed so much, for so long, about B2B events' blandness producers are rethinking venue, hoping to provoke a wee more wow.

According to Skift, B2B events are now being situated in many privately owned "alternative venues," including factories, warehouses, mansions, museums, boats, restaurants, cocktail lounges, wineries, art studios, work spaces and incubators. (Aside: With my partner producers, I just chose the latter type of venue for a new conference myself).

But blocking the way to wow is convention. For decades, producers have worked cozily with hotels.

"They’ve always met in the same hotel meeting rooms with the same carpet and the same white walls,” says Jan Hoffmann-Keining, CMO of an online matching service named Spacebase.

Producers' cherished comfort comes at a cost—to corporate innovation and creativity.

"People are realizing that if you keep meeting in the same rooms and thinking the same thoughts, then it’s going to be hard to find that innovation and creativity,” Hoffmann-Keening says.

Patric Weiler, Head of Strategy for American Express Meetings & Events, thinks more producers will gradually buck tradition.

“The meetings industry is changing, and the classic silos are breaking up about how to plan a meeting,” he says.
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