Corporate events are a fantastic way to show off your company brand. But it can be hard to innovate the corporate event format when there’s a degree of  professionalism. With some of these best practices, you’ll be able to level up your next corporate event in no time.

Think outside the box

Shake up your corporate event with these out of the box upgrades to common conference formats:

Corporate event planning idea #1: Conferences

Conferences are a popular type of corporate event. But with higher registration prices, you need to pull off an experience that warrants the investment. Here’s how to get creative with this format:

  • Find better event speakers: Conference-goers will travel far distances for the right speakers. But finding and securing conference speakers isn’t always easy. Follow the guidance in this ebook to upgrade your conference speaker sourcing strategy.
  • Let attendees choose their own swag: People love free stuff, but only if it’s something they actually want. A customizable swag booth is a surefire way to send them home with swag they’ll keep.
  • Offer interactive food and drink stations: There are many ways to feed attendees and wow them at the same time. Try a customizable champagne cocktail bar, live stir-fry station, or even a donut wall.

Corporate event planning idea #2: Training workshops

Training workshops for employees can be a thankless task. Just like school assemblies, many people aren’t excited about required gatherings — especially if the training is on a dry topic. Break people out of their distractions and get them participating. Here are a few ways to get people engaged:

  • Change the room layout: Training rooms are always laid out in the same way – rows of tables and chairs. Challenge the convention and surprise your attendees by perhaps providing beanbags instead of chairs, standing podium tables, or tables with just a few chairs to encourage small groups.
  • Add networking opportunities: Whether a training event is external or internal, provide people with time to connect with each other.
  • Turn audience members into participants: Encourage total participation, even from shy attendees. For those who don’t like to speak up in a group, consider using real-time polling apps like Sli.do to encourage the asking of questions from mobile devices.

Corporate event planning idea #3: Seminars

Seminars are often used to showcase a company’s expertise on a specific topic or internally to provide employees with learning opportunities. They also usually allow the audience to interact with the speaker. To mix things up at your next corporate seminar, consider the following tips:

  • Think outside the ballroom: Sometimes the best venues are the ones that don’t feel corporate at all. Multiple nontraditional venues, for example, have helped Techweek become the nation’s leading technology conference and festival.
  • Incorporate an activity during break time: Instead of the usual coffee break, consider adding something experiential into that time. Informal fireside chat sessions, for example, can energize attendees and help their brains get the break from learning they need to focus when they come back.
  • Lean on technology: Instead of a PowerPoint presentation, consider how you can help your speakers connect with the audience better — whether that’s through an app, social media, or even a chatbot to help people discover relevant content.

Upgrade your tech

The conference world is constantly evolving with new ways to wow your attendees. But before you look for trendy ideas, make sure you have these four staples in place first.

ROI

It costs six to seven times more to acquire new attendees than retaining your existing ones. That means to increase your conference’s return on investment (ROI), cost-effective marketing strategies and an easy registration process aren’t enough. Properly analyzing the numbers as well as communicating them effectively to the right people is a key best practice to corporate event planning.

Session entry

Even when it’s not important to limit entry to a session, self-service technology provides valuable data for organizers who want to know who goes where. Using RFID bracelets or badges, individual attendee entrance and exit from events can be automatically tracked. This gives organizers a precise picture of event flow in real time.

Look for technology that integrates with your ticketing partner’s data, so you can import and sync multiple guest lists to better manage registration lists in one place. Boomset’s Smart Session Scheduling attendance data, for example, is auto-synced back to Eventbrite’s records.

VIP management

If you offer a VIP option, give your attendees the means to upgrade at any time from self-service kiosks distributed throughout your venue. The moment event goers upgrade, their badge or RFID bracelet is instantly updated. Anyone with VIP access can walk right into your VIP lounge by flashing a wrist.

Attendee apps

Feature-rich mobile event apps aren’t only a replacement for printed handouts. When done right, they help your event attendees network with like-minded individuals, interact with experts, and become active participants in the event experience.

This empowers attendees to organize their experience up front or at any time during the event, and alleviates your staff from spending valuable time facilitating such changes.

Transportation

With so many events to choose, yours has to be superior from start to finish. Every attendee expects an elevated experience throughout, but your VIP attendees demand it.

Yes, your VIP attendees could take it upon themselves to call a Lyft, and often will. For this reason, proactive rideshare options are quickly becoming the new norm for event creators. By partnering with a rideshare company like Lyft, you can make rideshare the convenient go-to option for your VIP attendees.

Stay in touch

Email is your most powerful tool when it comes to communicating with your attendees. Maximize your reach and opens with these two tips.

A/B test emails

A/B testing should become an integral part of your email creation process. Test for effective open rates, subject lines, CTAs. Take that data and optimize your emails for the next campaign to increase engagement. Third parties like MailChimp can do the work for you. You can set up A/B tests within your campaigns and MailChimp will optimize toward the highest performers.

Retarget in the future

Segment your lists so you can target your email campaigns to the right audience. Then create email campaigns that speak to those smaller groups with specific messages. Make this email targeting easier with email marketing platforms like MailChimp or Emma.

Put your next corporate event on cruise control

Want to make sure nothing slips through the cracks? Keep this conference and corporate event planning checklist handy.

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