UCLA Luskin Conference Center Quarterly Newsletter — January 2017

New year, new strategies

Sometimes less is indeed more. When it comes to setting goals for 2017 in the meeting and events industry, focusing on these three techniques is not only totally manageable, but well worth the investment of your time and effort. Take simple steps, and be amazed by the results.

1. Make your attendees and guests feel welcome well in advance. Use social media before and during events to build relationships, anticipation and engagement.

This meeting industry is all about hospitality. Build a foundation for instant-camaraderie from the start of your meeting by using social media before the event — not just to recap after it has ended.

Before the big meeting even starts, gather and organize your attendees’ data and pass along pertinent information that will generate energy and make them feel comfortable even before they arrive. Anticipating needs and setting expectations are the hallmarks of a great organizer, after all, and social media provides an easy outlet to reach your audience. Just be careful not to overwhelm them with information – organize all the data you’ve aggregated into social-media-friendly bites.

Build up excitement shortly before the meeting by using Snapchat or Twitter to post behind-the-scenes action shots of the event set-up or volunteers stuffing giveaway bags. Keep attendees and their colleagues back in the office engaged during the meeting as well by posting speaker interviews or attendees’ thoughts on a session to keep the excitement flowing.

2. Keep it fresh. Create a memorable experience for your eager attendees.

With a new year, it’s time for reinvigorated enthusiasm! And in the meetings and events industry, it’s all about what’s new. Groups love trying new things, so successful planners always keep up on the latest industry trends.

Try breaking out of the boardroom, holding a unique off-site meeting or planning an unconference-style agenda. Don’t settle for the well-known, fallback plans – look into unexpected locations and consider how that might be of interest to your group. Virtual reality, live video, data-powered event analytics, flexible indoor-outdoor event spaces and experimental food and beverage options are all trends that planners should keep an eye on.

For instance, the UCLA Luskin Conference Center’s Centennial Ballroom offers the indoor-outdoor advantage, with an inviting adjacent patio that is perfect for creating networking opportunities while taking in the gorgeous Southern California climate. Additionally, the Conference Center’s location in the middle of UCLA’s campus lets groups explore a host of options, from seeing a performance at historic Royce Hall to visiting the UCLA Meteorite Gallery.

If you deliver a unique meeting experience, the extra time you spend unearthing the unorthodox will certainly be worth it in the form of repeat business. Keeping things fresh and trying something different will help get attendees engaged and excited about your events.

3. Learn something new.

To keep your meetings fresh, remember to keep yourself fresh and up-to-date, too. In this fast-paced industry, strategies and ideas that worked well yesterday may not be as effective tomorrow.

In 2017, do yourself a favor by making learning a priority. Read books about meeting planning and career advice, subscribe to e-newsletters and listen to free podcasts for planners. Take a few minutes to enroll in free event planning webinars that can teach you the finer points of contract negotiation, event technology and more.