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How to create a VIP experience for your delegates

If you are planning a corporate retreat, incentive trip or company conference early in 2017, here are some simple tips to create a VIP experience for your delegates without breaking the bank.

From my experience as a professional event planner for conferences and corporate events across Australia and New Zealand, I have picked up some great tips to add wow factor and make your delegates feel extra special whilst managing the bottom line.

1. Use an experiential venue

If five star hotels are a bit outside your budget, just take some time to think ‘outside the box’ of a venue that has flare, style and will leave a lasting memory.

It is important to understand your group including their age range and common interests, as well as the purpose of the event and its timeframe.

For example, it may not leave a great impression if you choose an outdoor venue if the group isn’t into nature or you require a lot of audio visual technology.

However if your delegates do like the great outdoors, maybe a consideration is ‘glamping’ which we have seen emerge in recent times as a popular option.

It may also be more cost effective to look at regional locations rather than city or CBD options, and this may provide a great opportunity for delegates to experience a new destination.

2. Create balance in the agenda

You want your delegates to be invigorated and excited through the event so they are fully engaged and absorb the material being delivered.

To achieve this, you need to create balance in the schedule and content.

There should be an appropriate mix of activity and education/information.

Plan some breaks between sessions as well to allow your delegates time to ‘breathe’ and mingle to get the ideas and discussion flowing.

Incorporating a team building activity is a good affordable way to create a unified and fun culture amongst the delegates too.

Your delegates will feel like VIPs if the agenda and content has been considered for them, not just considered for the organisation planning the event.

3. Be smart with your gifts

There is nothing more impersonal for delegates than receiving a gift bag full of items of poor quality, unlikely to be used and are only inserted because it ticks a marketing box.

Like with the venue, the main consideration should be the background of your delegates whilst also ensuring the gift/s are relevant to the conference or corporate event.

I always believe in quality over quantity. A leather compendium with a personalised message inside and some relevant vouchers may be perfect for an executive delegate.

So think about a gift that will make your delegates feel special and how you can maximise your budget on fewer items but of better quality and greater impact.

4. Keep it intimate

I’m not referring to candle lit dinners and walks on the beach however that may be suitable for some events. Again, consider your audience!

What I’m actually referring to again is ‘less is more’. Don’t have too many participants which may make the event too crowded or impersonal.

It will be more productive to achieve your event objectives with fewer delegates and gives everyone more of an opportunity for input and engagement.

It will also give the event an ‘exclusive’ feel for the delegates in attendance, not to mention reduce the overall cost.

5. Go the extra mile

This tip is always thinking about how you can make your delegates feel special.

Don’t think luxury, think overall experience and making it unique. People no longer want the most expensive event, they want a story to tell from their experience.

Food and beverage packages always leave a lasting memory for me, so carefully consider what you present to your delegates. Talk to the venue and see what they can do.

Can you go the extra mile with transport as well? Perhaps a flight upgrade to business class or a scenic bus tour.

So there are five tips to create a VIP experience for your delegates at your next corporate event. Remember it all comes back to knowing your audience and what experience will provide that wow factor!

Rachael Ziccone is Conference & Events Manager for Corporate Challenge Events