5 Tips for Killer Hospitality Events


Hospitality events, long used as fun ways to drive business, are getting bigger plays these days as companies try and spend more “quality time” with prospects, customers and employees.

In the interest of better bonding and greater impact, many event marketers are turning the traditional hospitality events inside out. Some are activating a unique venue. Others are focused on ensuring sales teams get the perfect amount of facetime. And most are trying to create something memorable.

Five Ways to Make Hospitality Events More Unique and Memorable

1. Integrate the Product

Find a way to make the brand or product a part of the event. Example: Volvo Construction Equipment customers who attended the company’s hospitality events at the ConAg/ConExpo trade show witnessed a basketball game played by a backhoe, forklift and 70-ton excavator. The machines passed a ball from one to the other before going in for a slam dunk.

2. The Right Ratio

The goal of hospitality is to bring a company closer to its customers
, something that can only be accomplished with the right staff-to-guest ratio. Make sure there are enough staffers on hand and provide activities that allow intimate interaction between customers and staffers. GE Security’s Night at the Races event required customers to team up with their sales reps for the night to compete against other customers and reps. The event included interactive games, virtual horse racing and contests.

3. Make the Experience Timely

Tie the event theme to the location it’s taking place in, the city—even the weather or season. Using a basketball game to demonstrate Volvo’s heavy machinery was a perfect fit because the event was held at the same time as the NCAA men’s college basketball March Madness tournament.

4. Leverage Other Assets

Take advantage of properties and venues your company may already have ties to. IBM once brought PGA IT pros (from Big Blue’s golf sponsorship portfolio) to trade shows for chalk talks, and Coke treated event attendees to a concert by American Idol Kelly Clarkson; both were facilitated by the companies’ existing sponsorships.

5. Pace It

Many events provide actual “intermissions” between experiences—using breaks or lulls in the schedule to give attendees a chance to discuss what they just experienced. Others keep things moving right along but make sure they include breaks for peer-to-peer dialog and sales staff interactions.

Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker

Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. Chief Marketing Officer, Doodle owner and lover of all things chocolate.