What is the “Festivalization” of Meetings?

Many meeting planners have heard about the emerging trend of the “festivalization” of meetings and events. Designing a program around a festival or festival-like elements provides an excellent assortment of F&B and activity options for attendees, and boosts registrations for the “bleisure” crowd. While the main draw of festivalization is improved attendee engagement, Brightspot has been considering other creative alternatives to give clients more options to make their events something spectacular.

festivalization of corporate meetings

Planning a meeting alongside a festival, like the South Beach Food & Wine Festival, attracts attendees

Bringing your Meeting to a Festival

Instead of bringing festival-like experiences to your events, why not have your event during a festival and include their program in your own agenda? The possibilities are endless when thinking about all the different festivals that are held in the US and worldwide. From South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas to Oktoberfest in Germany, there are thousands of attendee-attracting options that will provide real buzz for a business meeting.

Matching the Festival to the Meeting

Picking the right festival for your event is where it can get tricky. Brightspot’s goal is to help our clients pick the right event based on what attendees will benefit from most. Going to the Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Oahu, Hawaii can promote health and wellness to your attendees, along with giving time and space for relaxation and creative thinking. On the other hand, going to Austin City Limits or SXSW can get attendees up and moving, get energy levels up, and get attendees out of the everyday meeting agenda.

festivalization of business meetings

Giada De Laurentiis at Miami Food & Wine Festival

Companies that have substantial amounts of millennial employees may want to consider events that will be the most “Instagramable.” Millennials are all consumed with adding interesting and extraordinary content to their social media platforms. Last year, Brightspot had a client incorporate the Miami Food & Wine Festival into their program. As a bonus, attendees were able to meet and take photos with Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network. Now that is Instagram worthy! Including the Food & Wine Festival into this program was a huge success; it allowed for Brightspot and our client to place a focus on utilizing creativity to increase attendee engagement and excitement.

Adding Festival Elements to a Meeting

No festival in the area during the meeting? No problem! Festivalization can also mean bringing festival elements to your meeting without having to plan alongside an actual festival. Bring in food trucks for your opening reception to create that feeling of being in a festival right from the start. Having live music scattered throughout the agenda will also bring ambiance to a festival-atmosphere, and for large meetings, contracting a recognized artist as the headliner will draw in more attendees.

Bringing in food trucks is a great way to “festivalize” your meeting’s F&B

Changing the F&B and A/V budget from a ballroom dinner and a cocktail hour to a food truck court and a pop-up stage allows for more flexibility in creating festivalization elements for a corporate meeting. Don’t forget those “Instagramable” elements either! Having an art installation created for the meeting or a unique step-and-repeat setup will promote the event and generate buzz. Planners will find that bringing festival elements to a meeting is easy enough on the budget and logistics for the benefit of attracting more registrations and delighting attendees.

Live music drives attendee engagement and creates the festival vibe

Benefits of Festivalization

Including these festivals into event agendas could also help with overall attendance for meetings because attendees will be more excited to register! Rather than your standard, run-of-the-mill networking event, they will have an opportunity to add a unique experience to their time away from home. This also provides creative opportunities to increase breakout session engagement or even encourage early registration.

For example, attendees who register early could get the chance to win VIP passes to events. Or, every attendee who attends a breakout session is in the running for VIP passes to events, or other cool add-ons, to the already unique experience you are providing them. This makes attending the meeting fun for the attendee and helps the client by encouraging attendees to register early and to engage with conference sessions.

While incorporating festivals into your events brings many exciting opportunities, it can also involve working outside of the planning comfort zone you are accustomed to. Working with a meeting planner agency, like Brightspot, will streamline the creative process and works in conjunction with city and industry contacts to package other activities and negotiate discounts. Whether you are adding a festival to your agenda or keeping it simple, Brightspot is an easy one-stop-shop for all your event wants and needs. Drop us a line for a quick chat on how your next meeting can be the bright spot of your company’s year!

Kara Benz

Author Kara Benz

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