I recently attended my first IMEX tradeshow. IMEX America is an annual, worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings, and events, where more than 6,000 people gather to acquire the latest information about the U.S. meetings market with new contacts, new ideas and a passion for business.
It is essentially THE event of the year for anyone and everyone who has anything to do with the meeting and event industry, boasting 500,000 square feet of exhibit space and more than 3,000 suppliers from every sector of the global meetings industry.
Creative ideas, innovative technology, and fresh industry trends awaited in every square foot. I wanted to share some favorites with you starting with creative engagement solutions. Here are 10 experiential innovations geared to increase event engagement and spark some inspiration for your next event.
I referenced this idea in a recent post on event badges. Your guest sits for a portrait at his or her leisure. The artist composes a caricature over the course of a few minutes, prints it out, inserts it into a plastic sleeve attached to a lanyard, and gives it to the guest to wear for the duration of the event. It works as a conversation piece, branding opportunity, and a keepsake.
What do you think – does it look like me?
For details and booking information, visit caricature.com.
Japanese Name Art
Speaking of keepsakes, check out this personalized gift idea for your guests. Attendees were requesting their children’s names as gifts to bring back or the names of their businesses to display back in the office. It could also be an interesting idea to convert to a name badge perhaps … so many possibilities.
Find out more at pippiart.com.
At IMEX, artist Heidi Schwartz creates a large canvas painting of your event for all to see as they pass by her workspace.
Want to give the commemorative canvas to one of your guests at the end of the proceedings? Great idea!
For details on how to include this great feature at your event, visit paintyourevent.com.
Motion-Based Video Gaming
Are you a gamer? Your guests will be if they see this at your event.
The wristbands pictured here can be used to control instruments in the legendary game Rock Band. This fun activity will encourage people to work together and get to know each other in the process. It’s OK if you’re not musical – that usually adds to the fun.
The links below are examples of playing this game with smartphones, but the wristbands use the same concept.
CSR Team-Building Music for Good
Do you prefer making music with actual instruments instead of through smart technology? The same people behind the Rock Band Wristbands create an event environment through which a group of guests builds instruments that get donated to a chosen school or charity.
Materials are recycled and sustainable, and each individual attendee builds an instrument with a color that identifies its individual note.
When finished, the group plays a song collectively, using the Rock Band game format to hit their instrument when their color shows up on the screen. After the event, all instruments are donated to recipients in need.
For additional information, visit Catalyst Global’s website.
Flowerhead Living Flower
This one might not be for everyone. Is it cool, creepy or a little bit of both?
Either way, your guests will talk about it.
Pop-up Meeting Space Solutions
Meeting space is a valuable commodity at a venue. Often you find the perfect venue, but may be challenged with having enough breakout spaces to accommodate the group.
IMEX hosted several fireside chats and education sessions right on the show floor with these pop-up meeting space solutions, great for impromptu discussions among medium-to-large groups (let’s say up to 25).
We saw them inside inflatable igloos, used as temporary but dedicated areas where meeting space was unavailable. Their close proximity kept everyone engaged in the event so you didn’t lose attendees to shiny distractions outside. Brilliant!
Giant coloring board
Who doesn’t love to color? Your guests can be walking down a hallway, see this floor-to-ceiling opportunity, and go to town with the colors of their choice. Coloring is a creative, stress-relieving endeavor, and this one lets each guest leave a personal imprint on your event.
To enlist this for your next event, visit the Champagne Studios website.
Be Well Room
Refresh, recharge and relax in a Be Well room with a trained Mindfulness facilitator (yes, that’s a thing). Lee Papa uses these rooms for those seeking “a way to manage stress, an avenue to find happiness and a way to be content.”
One room was dedicated to guided meditation and equipped with chairs in a circle, mats on the floor, and the relaxing smell of essential oils. A connected room included comfortable seating, greenery, and the sound of trickling water. A quiet space to work or just relax.
Sounds soothing to us.
This makes us think of Tiny House Hunters on HGTV, except it’s a tiny, pop-up meeting space that fits two to four people. Looking for a way to make the most of your event space while accommodating your guests’ meeting needs? This will do the trick.
For more details, visit the ZenSpace website.
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Eventfully Angela is a premier independent event management partner specializing in Corporate Events and Event Branding. Based in Charlotte, NC, Eventfully Angela fills the resource gaps of businesses both large and small, with premium and customized services. Specialties include full-service planning, sourcing and venue selection, on-site day of support, consulting and contract audits, event marketing and branding, experiential event design, and fully customized event registration websites. 704-754-2627 firstname.lastname@example.org