From sound effects to targeted audio, learn how to amplify participant experiences
Sounds provoke powerful emotions. The sound effects in a movie make us lean forward with anticipation or jump in surprise. A song on the radio has the power to transport us to another time and place instantly. Conversely, when you can’t hear what’s going on, you tune out. And when sound quality is degraded, it negatively affects people’s ability to communicate, learn and focus. That’s why sonic engagement is a powerful tool in any meeting or event professional’s arsenal.
According to the National Institutes of Health, when people hear sound, it ‘lights’ up brain areas involved in emotion, memory and even physical movement. That’s why intentionally chosen music, video stingers and well-produced high-quality audio amplifies the emotional impact of a conference program and makes it more memorable. Let’s examine how integrating sound and engaging participants’ hearing can enrich onsite events.
Traditional sonic tools and technologies
One in eight people in the United States over the age of 12 has hearing loss in both ears. Nearly ten percent of adults between the ages of 55 and 64 have disabling hearing loss. That’s why it’s important not to cut corners on how you employ traditional event audio tools. It’s important that the correct type of amplification is used throughout your event spaces to deliver high-quality audio.
Traditional sonic tools and technologies include:
- Audio mixers
- Closed captioning
- Simultaneous translation
To aid comprehension, consider close-captioning event audio for the in-person audience. This not only helps the hearing disabled, but also for non-native English speakers. Simultaneous translation, whether AI-generated or using a live translator, is a must for international meetings.
Setting the mood with music
Music sets audience expectations and influences their mood. For example, playing ambient jazz can help participants relax before you discuss difficult topics. If you’ve had people sitting in meetings all day, dance music can boost their mood and get them excited for evening activities.
For any public event, music played needs to be properly licensed. Your pro subscription to a streaming service won’t protect you or your organization from liability if you’re caught playing a personal playlist.
One solution is Encore Music. It offers more than 300 curated and properly licensed music playlists for commercial background music use. It also offers a royalty-free music solution with more than 100,000 tracks, sound effects and loops for virtual/hybrid events and stingers that you can edit and use for videos, motion graphics and walk-in/walk-out music.
Combining sound with other senses to create more inclusive events
Some audio technologies engage the sense of touch as well as hearing. One such tech tool is a throwable microphone, called a Catchbox. It’s a fun way to keep your audience engaged. Audience members can toss the Catchbox to each other instead of waiting for mic runners to reach them. Because people don’t have to move from their seat to be heard, it also makes it easier for people with physical disabilities or more introverted dispositions to join in the conversation.
Examples of using sound to create
When you’re creating an immersive experience, pay attention to the sound design. Sound effects and cues provide subtle information about our environments and can reinforce the illusion you’re creating. For example, the sound of waves and seagulls transport us to the beach; crickets remind us of relaxing summer evenings.
Flying speakers from rigging gives you better sonic coverage of large spaces than floor-based speakers do. But did you know it also gives you the ability to create directional audio? When sounds ‘move’ from one speaker to another in sequence, it immerses the audience in a sonic bath that moves from one side of the room to the other. This can emphasize motion graphics, key presentation points and complete the feeling of being in a dynamic environment.
Targeted audio can create sonic zones. Museums often use this to educate people as they look at a specific item. Targeted audio can only be heard within a tight radius. Once you move outside that cone of sound, the audio disappears. It’s a fantastic solution for trade shows when you don’t want sound to bleed over from one booth to another.
Next-generation event audio engagement
Wireless technology allows you to create ‘silent conferences,’ where speakers can only be heard by audience members wearing headphones. Presenter mics transmit sound wirelessly only to the headphones in that vicinity. This allows for several activations or presentations to happen in a shared space. When participants want to move on, they can change the frequency on their receiver or remove their headphones.
Audio also can be used to create synchronized individual experiences. A fun example of this is Improv Everywhere’s MP3 Experiments. Participants download an MP3 and are asked to bring a short list of items to a specific location. At the designated start time, individuals play the MP3, which leads them through a series of prompts and activities. The result is a playful group experience that each individual feels they helped create.
The benefits of partnering with experienced
High quality sound is a basic building block of any event. People need to hear what’s going on, otherwise they’ll disengage with the content. High quality sounds help people pay attention, connect and enjoy themselves. It’s an essential tool for crafting memorable events.
An experienced audio partner will ensure all your presenters and participants can be heard. They also can recommend fun and unexpected ways to engage audiences sonically, such as through directional sound or attention-grabbing music cues. Best of all, if your audio partner is on the same team as your event technology provider, you can breathe easy, knowing all the elements of your event will be seamlessly integrated with your vision and goals. That makes designing multisensory experiences more seamless and successful.
Want to learn more about leveraging audio solutions to design immersive, unforgettable events? Download our guide Symphony of Sound: Orchestrating Emotional Connections.
When it’s time to select your venue, a site visit is one of the most critical steps. Not only do you get to physically step in your space and imagine your event coming to life, it’s a chance to ask the most important questions with your potential venue team.
Unfortunately, so many of us are busy with the details of the space contracts and food and beverage minimums, that our time with AV providers is often cut short. On your next site visit, be sure to squeeze in some time with your AV partner and ask these questions to ensure a successful event.
What would you recommend to make a greater impact with my budget?
If you only ask one question, this is it. As planners, of course we have ideas right out the gate with an inspiration board – but no one knows the space better than an on-site event experience team. During your site visit, discuss your vision and ask what they would do to make it work within your plan and budget.
Because they have worked so many events within the very space you’re standing in, they can take the groundwork of your initial plan and elevate it – whether it’s rigging screens differently for new vantage points or trying new seating levels. This discussion can change the whole direction of your event and catapult it to new heights.
What other services do you offer?
These days, AV companies do so much more than just audio-visual. With teleconferencing, content design, and event internet, the same company will likely be able to provide you with almost everything you need for your event. So, before you start the taxing process of looking around for extra technology quotes, be sure to explore the opportunity of leveraging your in-house partner.
Are there any exciting new technologies I can employ?
It’s the old adage of “if you don’t ask, you don’t know.” Technology changes rapidly, and there may be something new on the horizon offered by your event partner. Maybe it’s a new mobile engagement app that could be a great way to show meeting value to your stakeholders. Your provider will be eager to talk to you about everything they have – you just have to ask!
Who will be my point of contact, and how hands-on will they be?
Don’t wait until you’ve already signed a contract to ask this question (or worse, until there’s a day-of crisis). Ask up-front how big their team is, and who will handle which parts of your meeting. It’s also a good idea to find out if the entire team will be on-site, or if there is an off-site team (for example, in the case of internet), so you know exactly what you’re dealing with going into your meeting and who’s on first.
What information do you need from me?
Communication is a two-way street, and your event partner may have some questions for you as well that will spark some ideas. Be sure to open up the conversation and make sure they have a full understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish up-front to avoid complications later on.
Arming yourself with these questions for your event partner during your site visit can instill confidence in your decision with venue selection, and ensure a seamless event from the start with a team that understands your goals.
Even the smallest event can involve surprising complexity: innovative technology, remote participants, not to mention on-site changes. And with each vendor or production partner, that level of complexity becomes amplified by the need to manage additional people and processes, expectations and production schedules. That’s why – especially if you have limited time and resources – partnering with a single event production provider to weave together all your creative, production and technology needs will make your (and your team’s) life exponentially easier. Here are three smart ways to leverage the power of a single event production partner.
1) Align on strategy and solutions to enhance the participant experience
The best event production partner will be with you and your team from the very beginning – getting to know your event goals, history and patterns and co-creating the event strategy with you. Understanding why you are meeting and what you’re trying to achieve will help them make recommendations on how to bring your vision to life.
If this partner can manage everything from the creative design/branding to sets/décor, speaker content and coaching to onsite production and technology, then you don’t have to worry about reiterating your vision to every vendor. Your event production partner bridges that gap, ensuring that all the disparate pieces of your event are united under one coordinated, well-communicated umbrella designed to help you achieve your event goals. A single provider also means no surprises: They’ll guarantee that software is up to date, presentation audio and video synch up, SSOs and APIs are integrated, and more. This eliminates many of the barriers to enjoyment attendees experience when tech infrastructure is cobbled together between different vendors.
Even better alignment is assured if your partner has a relationship with the host venue. Partners embedded with your host venue can facilitate relationships with the venue team and help them align with your event strategy, desired participant experience and goals. In-venue partners also have the inside track on identifying potential challenges and proposing solutions to anticipate your needs. For example, their insider knowledge and relationships with hotel service groups helps you maximize room layouts, set-ups, quick turns, show flow and the timing of breaks and meals so they synch with other events happening in the venue. This also helps them troubleshoot problems that typically pop up during live events. This optimization and alignment between all your event vendors amplifies the cohesive nature of your event, creating a truly memorable experience for your participants as well as a relatively stress-free experience for you and your team.
Once you find an event production partner you work well with, engage them to work with you across your event portfolio. They will be able to track important per-event and year-over-year metrics that will demonstrate how your work contributes to achieving organizational objectives. And they can ensure quality, ease and consistency from one event to the next while creating an economy of scale across venues. Best of all, they’ll already know how you like to work, what you’re trying to achieve and what’s worked or needs to be improved from event to event without you needing to educate them. This kind of relationship provides an excellent customer experience that translates into exceptional events and outcomes, no matter where in the world you produce them.
2) Leverage production partner expertise
A single production partner isn’t only an expert on event technology. Creative branding, presentations, exhibitions, hybrid events, mobile apps, general sessions or audience engagement – they comprise teams with expertise in all these areas.
The best partner will be able to explain good, better and best solutions for creative, production and technological aspects of your event goals and budget parameters. If the partner knows the venue, they’ll know what works in each room, and how to show each space off to its best advantage. They may be able to offer bundled services or special event packages you can’t find anywhere else. They’ll also know which options might produce a similar result at a different price point, so be transparent about your budget and other constraints so they can customize recommendations for you. There’s an incredible benefit to working with a team that knows you. And who can replicate established best practices for your events, no matter where they are organized.
You want a partner whose team is up to date on the latest trends, technologies, audience engagement and customer satisfaction strategies. When interviewing potential partners, ask how their team members are educated and trained. What kind of capital investments are they making in their people, products and technology solutions? What is their approach to customer success? Do they see challenges or solutions? Alignment with your organization’s brand values is another crucial factor to consider, as it’s an important indicator of whether they will match your organization’s commitment to delivering service excellence and customer support.
3) Trust your production partner to coordinate resources and relationships
The fastest way to put time back on your calendar is to trust your event production partner to coordinate the resources and teams needed to execute your event. If they helped set the strategy and have deep knowledge of the host venue, then they only need your brand guidelines, feedback and approval to run with the other elements.
For example, you don’t have to worry about sourcing separate providers for audience engagement technology, an event app and in-room audiovisual. The event production partner can provide all those services and teams and make sure that everything works together. You can rely on them to do everything from producing walk-in motion graphics, designing lower thirds and choosing the audio stingers to livestreaming the general session and packaging it for your online learning management system post-event. They can provide stage managers and set designers.
When you engage one provider to do everything from creating the event strategy, designing the branding and content, producing the show and executing it, then you are more easily taking a holistic approach to your event, where every element is completely aligned with your event goals. This enhances the customer experience for your participants, exhibitors and/or sponsors.
This relationship makes your life easier because you have a single point of contact: the event production partner’s project manager, who sets deadlines and deliverables and ensures all the event elements are on track. The event production partner’s team will manage the inter-team communications with the creative, production, technology and on-site team.
Because of the variety of services, products and solutions, your partnership can scale based on your needs. A single event provider puts a strong network of resources at your disposal. This is especially important if you have a complex event. If they have a regional network of warehouses and venues, they can quickly scale up to provide you with additional resources, staff and equipment to amplify what may already be onsite.
In short, engaging with a single event partner will save you time and headaches as they coordinate the moving parts required to bring your vision to life. Having a single point of contact for all your event needs streamlines communication and simplifies the planning process. Because they’re aligned with your event goals and can help you track their achievement, they make you look good and help you demonstrate the value of your event portfolio in ways that will raise your profile within your organization. Best of all, when you partner with one team from strategy to execution, you maximize alignment and deliver truly memorable experiences.
Produce a memorable experience for your meeting participants
In today’s ever-changing landscape, the way people consume content has undergone a rapid transformation. What does this mean for meeting and event professionals? You’ve likely faced unique challenges in capturing (and keeping) your audience’s attention to deliver a memorable experience. Let’s consider some key trends that contribute to these hurdles.
- Shortened attention spans:
With the proliferation of smartphones, the average adult’s attention span has significantly decreased. Encouraging participants to disconnect from their devices has become more challenging than ever.
- Greater production value behind content:
When it comes to the crowd-pleasing content people routinely engage with, even singular episodes of crowd-pleasing series have soaring production value. Episodes of The Crown cost an average of about $13 million, and high-end streaming dramas like Stranger Things now see price tags of $4 to $7 million per episode.
- More targeted, digestible content:
Thanks to platforms like TikTok, which deliver fast-paced, hyper-targeted content to 1.67 billion users, many of your attendees expect no less than pithy, entertaining messaging, picked specifically for them. Your tech-savvy participants are used to being able to find, filter and immediately interact with the type of content they already like, thanks to the platform’s scarily effective algorithm. If you want to earn (and keep) attendees’ attention in today’s digital landscape, your content needs to meet their higher expectations.
Considering the impact of these trends, it has become more difficult to entertain and engage an audience — while easier than ever to distract them. So, how can you ensure your content is compelling and has a lasting influence? Read on for insights that can help you revolutionize your storytelling.
Engagement is a metric that matters
A recent Encore survey revealed that planners prioritize attendee engagement and advanced content delivery. To revamp your content strategy and recapture the hearts and minds of your audience, here are three powerful approaches to consider:
- Cultivate community through content
Remember the viral Ice Bucket Challenge, which united people around a common cause? It brought ALS, and the ALS Association’s mission, to the forefront of Americans’ minds (and phones).
The content developed around the social media challenge was not only attention-grabbing but also prompted immediately achievable action.
Taking part was cheap, easy (except withstanding the ice water part), enthralling and, most importantly, repeatable. Meanwhile, the call to action rallied individuals into a community for a shared goal.
Photo credit: ALS Therapy Development Institute
2. Craft Your storytelling as a unifying thread
Your content should seamlessly weave a compelling narrative throughout the entire attendee journey, from initial contact to post-event communications. However, avoid generating content that merely starts and ends there.
While the content onstage might be the main focus during your sessions, to deliver truly resonant messaging, consider how your programming ties into the tentacles of broader, ongoing conversations within your audience’s communities. By designing content that’s relevant to your participants and what’s going on in the world around you, you can leverage your meeting as a chapter in a much larger and powerful discourse.
3. Appeal to your guests’ emotions for lasting impact
Some of the most memorable event moments are emotionally charged rather than purely intellectual. Consider award shows in pop culture, where speeches, interactions and reactions generate buzz for days, weeks and even years.
Ultimately, you want your program to live on with a life of its own, and fueling similarly strong emotive responses is a great way to drive connections with your content. Is yours designed with that intent? Is it working hard enough to become unforgettable for your attendees? If the answer is no or you’re unsure, think through how you can better speak to and influence attendees’ emotions through your storytelling.
We’d love to help you do just that! Our Creative Services team dreams big when it comes to crafting inspiring content, amplifying it through strategic event branding and design, and influencing the purposeful connections that set programs apart.
Want a sneak peek into our capabilities? Explore some of the riveting content we created for Marriott International’s exclusive three-day conference for their general managers that created a customized experience just for them!
Let’s partner on incorporating these content strategies into your planning process for a program that captivates participants and extends the reach of your message well into the future.
How to leverage color psychology to
Unlock the Unforgettable
Colors play a vital role in helping us navigate the world around us. Certain hues can influence how we feel, behave and even respond in various settings, giving them an intriguing role in human psychology and fueling our long-held fascination with them.
This year, Pantone, the industry leader in color forecasting, declared the vibrant Viva Magenta as the Color of 2023. Described by the institute as “bold” and “unapologetic,” this shade was chosen to evoke a sense of confidence and optimism in the post-pandemic world.
*Photo caption: Courtesy of ARTECHOUSE
Each year’s color is carefully selected based on current trends, social and political events and global attitudes. Once announced, it becomes a symbol of the times, evoking emotions and memories specific to that moment.
In our industry, for example, we’re seeing the sense of optimism that Viva Magenta is meant to signify with the surge of in-person events — which are expected to continue increasing. This hopeful sentiment is reflected by audiences who have shown their desire for the return of face-to-face interactions.
In a number of other business sectors, ranging from fashion to marketing, the color of the year is used to forecast trends in branding and design, product development and purchasing decisions. It’s become so influential that the 2024 color of the year has already been selected (Apricot Crush), and there are predictions for which hue will hold the glory in 2025 (Future Dusk)! But what grants a singular shade such power?
Read on to explore the impact of color psychology and how to leverage it to promote certain mindsets, further engagement and participant learning, and deliver an inspiring attendee experience at your next meeting or event.
Color psychology: Why certain hues affect
Colors are not just a matter of aesthetics; they can have a profound impact on our mental state. Research in this area has confirmed what we have long suspected: that colors can influence our internal physiology and create unconscious reactions.
Consider the neurological effects of warm versus cool tones. Bright and warm colors, like red, orange and yellow, stimulate our senses and can evoke feelings of happiness, optimism and energy. Contrastingly, cool and calm tones like blues and greens are typically internalized as soothing.
This fascinating field of research shows us that, not only does the presence of color affect our cognition and mood, certain hues affect how we internalize information and interact.
How color enhances participant learning and the event experience
Humans are more sensitive to the impact of color than you may expect, something that grants you a unique capability to strategically influence audiences. How? By leveraging this aspect of your meeting or event design, you can boost engagement and participant learning to strengthen the power of your programming.
“There has been a lot of research dedicated towards neuroscience recently and one really neat finding as it relates to our business is that when the right colors are added to a meeting, attendees are more engaged, message retention increases and the overall atmosphere is improved.
“What this means in layman’s terms is that by using certain colors within the meeting space, we can adjust an audience’s mood to best match the content being presented,” explains Drozd.
Combine these findings with research that demonstrates 80-85 percent of our perception, learning and cognition is mediated through vision, and it’s clear to see how being purposeful about color use can work in your favor.
Amplify your impact with vibrant
Having the optimal technology solutions and expertise on your side can ensure you’re showcasing the right colors, and at the right moments, to shape the participant journey and reach new levels of success in achieving your meeting objectives.
Here are a few of our top recommendations:
LED technology and scenic elements
LED technology is a perfect way to incorporate greater use of color at indoor or outdoor gatherings. This solution enables you to cast screens or even full walls in color, delivering striking visual content in high resolution, regardless of surface or image size.
If you’re planning a gala where you want to promote interaction, for example, you could incorporate sweeping use of yellow visual content with LED walls. The attention-grabbing technology and brilliant hue would serve to encourage these connections and even boost participants’ moods.
Focused on long-range planning during a critical small meeting? Add a dynamic aspect to your space with LED table lamps set to cast purple tones. This hue can support goal setting to support your desired outcomes.
No matter your program’s aims, LED technology provides you with a rich palette to play with. Using this lighting in place of a traditional incandescent fixture allows for endless color mixing, including saturation and intensity. Change the ambiance of your event space at any time — color mixing is executed seamlessly.
Another way to dazzle audiences with chromaticity? Reinforce the effects of your intentionally chosen tones through the use of scenic elements, such as spandex soft sets or backdrops, like BackDrop Pro. These can serve as palettes for your lighting fixtures and amplify their presence in your space.
Whether you’re planning a large-scale event or small meeting, our experts can help you choose the right color-creating tech to captivate and impress audiences. Plus, by partnering with a full-service provider like Encore, you’ll have an industry-leading team on your side to provide guidance on enhancing your meeting or event design, creating stunning content, and managing technology before, during and after the production.
Want to discuss your personalized meeting or event needs? We’d love to provide a free consultation on how we can help deliver a memorable experience that leaves audiences amazed.
Interested in learning more about one of our popular colorful technology solutions? Click the button below to explore our experts’ guidance on how to reimagine the possibilities of creating transformative events with vivid LED technology!
You’ve heard the term ‘immersive experiences.’ But what does that mean? Let’s go beyond the buzzword to look at how you can use cutting-edge and traditional audiovisual (AV) technology to leverage this trend.
What is an immersive experience?
An immersive experience is one that engages one or more senses. It encourages people exposed to the experience to become active participants rather than passive observers. It invites them to relax and engage with their environment in new, more memorable ways.
In an event context, an immersive experience can describe several things. But, at its root, it is an environment that mentally, physically and/or emotionally engages the senses:
Using light to influence participants' mood
Lighting helps participants connect with each other. When you’re in a darkened theater, you sit back and relax because no one can see you. But when the faces of people sitting around you are visible, you feel connected to their enjoyment of what’s happening. When they cheer or laugh, it’s easy to get swept up into that same joyous feeling. When you choreograph lighting to what’s being presented on stage, you can chart and control the audience’s emotional journey.
Lighting also sets a mood. Being in natural light improves mood and increases happiness. And using LED screens helps you maximize venues with natural light without sacrificing presentation visibility.
Colors affect mood. For example, blue light accelerates the relaxation process, yellow boosts happiness and concentration, white light alleviates depression, and purple light reduces emotional and mental stress. When designing the experience you want participants to have, incorporate color theory into how you light the space.
Let’s not forget other technology that leverages the power of sight. LED screens can transform small spaces like windows to the largest exhibit halls into whatever you want to display. When you add vibrant encompassing visuals to a room, then you can transport guests to other worlds with the push of a button. And closed captioning can assist guests with hearing loss be connected to the message directly
Leveraging sound design to encourage engagement
We’ve grown so used to hearing music when we’re out in public, that when it is absent, that creates a void. The music you select to play at your event is crucial — Creating anticipation for what will come, setting the mood and grabbing participants’ attention. Encore Music provides carefully curated and fully licensed playlists for every occasion and audio clips that can be remixed or used for videos, walk-in music and stingers.
Audio should be used to strategically engage participants in different ways. For example, technicians can surround the audience with sound to totally immerse them in what’s happening. They can move sounds from one side of the room to the other to create a sense of movement, including tracking with what is playing across the screens. The volume and intensity of the sound can be used to drive the event’s storytelling.
Aside from these techniques, there are also tools like directional audio, which provides a focused stream of audio that can only be heard in a specific space. This lets you create activation areas that don’t bleed out into the rest of the event or show floor.
You can also use “silent event” technology like headphones to hold simultaneous sessions in a communal space without interfering with anything else happening there. Don’t forget the power audio narration has to help visually impaired guests engage with experiences they can’t see.
Injecting scents into events
Have you ever noticed how hotel lobbies smell a certain way? Hoteliers leverage olfactory science to influence guest attitudes and mood. This is because our sense of smell is the strongest of the five senses, and the one most tied to memory and emotion. In fact, 75 percent of all daily emotions are generated due to smell.
Scents can be used to add character to a themed environment. Think coconut oil and beaches or lavender and summer gardens. They also enhance taste. That’s why you swirl wine around a glass and smell its ‘nose’ before tasting.
Scents also can influence behavior. A Nike Study found that subjects were willing to pay 10 to 20 percent more in scented environments. Lemon scents can increase productivity. Lavender and jasmine scents ease feelings of stress.
Be thoughtful and judicious when you use scent, as some people are highly sensitive or allergic to perfumes. Scents can be infused through the space with atomizers, naturally distributed through floral or food displays or embedded on physical objects, like scented candles or paper.
Engaging audiences with the power of touch
There’s a reason why museums warn visitors not to touch sculptures. People often explore and make sense of the world by touching objects that appeal to them. Watch a baby or toddler and you’ll see how basic this instinct is.
Adults aren’t often encouraged to interact with objects physically, so it creates a fun, playful environment when they are permitted to do so. One way to introduce this into an educational session is to use a throwable microphone, like a Catchbox. These cushy squares eliminate the need for mic runners as audience members can toss the microphone to each other. With some coaching on how to use it, this becomes a fun and engaging way to conduct a Q&A.
Interactive projections and projection mapping can create opportunities for participants to play with the environment or enjoy light competition with each other. These games and experiences can be projected onto flat surfaces, like tables, floors or walls. They can also be projected onto unexpected surfaces, like falling water.
Inviting participants to a moveable feast
When people file into a ballroom for a meal function, they think they know what to expect. Subvert those expectations by creating an immersive experience centered around their sense of taste.
Encore Project Manager Miguel Sanchez used projection mapping to coordinate table-based imagery and meal courses to create a synchronized experience for nearly 400 diners. Every time a different course was served, the entire look and feel of the table shifted along with it to create a different mood around the food. This combination of technology and gastronomy transported guests visually and enhanced their enjoyment of each course.
Putting it all together
When the Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida Chapter wanted to amplify their 27th Annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, they partnered with Encore to transform the main dining experience and open auction event into a New York City aquarium with 360 Film and LED walls. A saltwater scent was piped into the room to enhance the illusion. The transitional experience between the opening reception/silent auction and grand ballroom featured a mesmerizing visual ‘supernature’ LED tunnel. The technology allowed the Encore team to quickly flip the grand ballroom and pump music into a new environment for the afterparty. Guests were so thrilled by the immersive experience Encore created that Make-A-Wish raised a record-breaking amount of money — twice as many donations than what was generated the previous year.
Immersive events are more than a buzzword. They’re a way to enhance participants’ event experience by engaging their senses. When thoughtfully done, you don’t need fancy equipment to produce an immersive experience that engages, educates and entertains event attendees in ways that make traditional experiences feel flat.
Ready to try your hand at this trend? Contact Encore to see how we can transform your next event into an immersive experience.
Sources of event planning stress
What is stressing event professionals out? According to a recent MeetingsNet survey, the
Top 3 post-pandemic stressors are:
- Smaller staffs/heavier workload
- Shifting responsibilities and/or job requirements
- Virtual meeting management
The survey reports that more than half of its respondents have considered leaving their job because of increased stress levels. Out of that number, 75 percent might leave the industry completely.
“I really feel bad for meeting planners because they didn’t get a break,” says Encore Chief Digital Officer Darius Vaskelis. “They had to pivot very, very hard to virtual during the pandemic and now they’re pivoting back. They didn’t have a chance to breathe. We want to offer solutions that allow them to breathe.” The Encore team offers creative, production and technology products, services and expertise. Its global footprint ensures that whether a planner needs something a la carte or end-to-end, or for in-person, hybrid or virtual events, the Encore team can help.
Relieving the stress of smaller staffs, heavier workloads and shifting responsibilities
“Being a planner right now is tough because the role changed during the pandemic,” Vaskelis says. “People’s standards for production and what’s in a meeting are higher. Due to lots of factors, there’s less time to set them up and higher expectations. Planners also are expected to have a broader set of responsibilities.”
In addition to sourcing and contracting, event organizers may now oversee virtual event production and audience engagement strategies. But even though they have all these new responsibilities, many event team leaders are forced to manage them with fewer people on staff, thanks to the “Great Resignation” and other factors beyond their control.
One solution is the event platform Chime Go, a full-service option that gives event organizers the ability to delegate engagement technology, event platform creation, customization and management to the Encore team. This mobile-friendly favorite solves many communication and wayfinding issues common to small and mid-size in-person meetings.
Navigating increased audience expectations and job requirements
Vaskelis points out that there’s a huge gulf between a Zoom meeting and a conference. “There is a point where the content of the meeting is more than what’s being shown by a talking head. That’s where engagement starts playing a bigger role.”
”Video conferencing is fine for when you’re meeting virtually and you only need to collaborate or listen to someone talk,” Vaskelis says. Similarly, if you’re meeting in-person and you have fewer than 10 people, then you can manage information delivery with a calendar invite. “But once you get into double-digit attendance,” Vaskelis says, “it becomes useful to have some other place attendees can go to find out information about your meeting.” Chime Go is a convenient solution because it has robust features designed to enhance the meeting experience, including an agenda and map images; the ability to submit or upvote questions, take notes, participate in a forum, and add banners to promote sponsors or fundraising. It’s a great choice when you need a site to inform and engage with an audience, before and during the meeting as they need to look things up or reference the schedule as it changes.”
Relieving the burden of virtual meeting management
During the pandemic, Encore added remote video capability to the Chime platform. “That’s how we delivered the majority of our virtual events,” Vaskelis says. “Now that same in-room platform delivers events in two ways: Light engagement with Chime Go or a full engagement platform for virtual and in-room attendees with second-screen technology (Chime Live).”
Vaskelis says that Chime Go was intentionally built as a full-service solution to relieve the pressure planners might feel about managing an event’s hybrid or virtual elements alongside the in-person experience. But unlike other event platforms, which might have elements cobbled together when you choose Encore and the Chime Go platform, you’re supported by our experienced production and technology teams. This ensures a seamless, integrated experience that allows planners to do more while managing fewer resources alongside a team they can trust.
The Chime Go event platform also features low-latency video for hybrid and virtual events. This means that anyone viewing the streamed content will see it within two to five seconds from the time it is broadcast. This is an important improvement over the industry standard lag-time of 45 seconds because it means that in-person and remote participants can interact in real-time. Participants can also chat along with the video stream and add sentiment emojis.
Another benefit to using Chime Go is its flexibility. “We started with an in-person engagement tool and added virtual capabilities,” Vaskelis says. “So, it’s a form of insurance in case you have to add or go virtual.” This is important in an environment where multiple factors might disrupt meetings and events.
Simplifying the planning process
Chime Go simplifies the planning process by providing a team that manages, produces and trouble-shoots the technology. It’s best for in-person meetings where you need a sustainable, paperless agenda and communication tool. If lead-time is a challenge, Chime Go also may be the best solution as it can be set up in as little as three days*. It works best for small or mid-sized meetings and delivers a polished and professional participant experience. It also provides engagement tools, such as the ability for participants to ask questions, upvote others’ contributions and take part in forum topics determined by the event organizers.
Chime Go operates well in in-person, hybrid or virtual event scenarios. In this way, they help planners create a Plan B for their meetings, as you can switch to a different event format if needed. Encore team members can advise on how to make the transition smooth and recommend way to achieve the best participant experience for each format. The Encore team offers free consultations if you’d like to schedule a meeting to discuss your specific needs. They also provide end-to-end event solutions for a variety of formats and technologies.
In a world where there is still so much uncertainty, isn’t it good to know that you can turn to Encore for advice, expertise and flexible solutions exist to increase your peace of mind?
*Lead times may vary in some regions.
More meeting and event professionals are actively booking or sourcing new events now than any time since 2020. According to the Encore Summer Planner Pulse 2022 report, that number represents 71 percent of 461 survey respondents, who represent a diverse swath of corporate, association, administrative, marketing, third-party, independent and special event producers and organizers.
More than half of the meeting and event professionals surveyed say they are booking new events. And only five percent are currently rescheduling or re-booking events — the lowest number since the pandemic began.
Despite rising costs, in-person events are expected to increase in the second half of 2022.
Key survey findings:
- 80 percent of events will have an in-person audience
- 20 percent of events will be hybrid, with both in-person and remote audiences
The demands of keeping these dual hybrid event audiences engaged and planning two parallel events are a major stressor, the report finds. Perhaps that’s why the participant experience is becoming a greater factor in event design, with professionals layering technology over the in-person experience to create events that feel like they are in-person+ — with or without hybrid participants.
When asked how future in-person events will compare to pre-pandemic in-person events:
- 45 percent of respondents said better attendee engagement
- 38 percent of respondents said more networking
- 37 percent of respondents said more attendee personalization
This trend drove Encore to create a free guide to help meeting and event professionals meet shifting audience expectations: Boundless Possibilities for Engagement. The Encore team also offers free consultations on how to enhance the in-person and remote attendee experience.
Other challenges meeting and event professionals say they face include lead times, specifically for large events. Event professionals report that a third of their events for more than 250 people (34 percent) must be organized within a three-to-six month window. Only half of these sized events are planned more than six months out. Most small meetings with one to 50 participants (43 percent) are being organized within one to two months out. Most mid-sized events with 51 to 250 participants (43 percent) are being organized three to six months out.
Want to read the full report? Download it here.
Elevate Your Next Virtual Event: Top 10 Tips
Virtual events are convenient but may preset attendees with many distractions at the same time: While it may be easier to attend a virtual event, it’s also easier to leave one. Distraction is only one click away. Online audiences are value conscious, and they expect more—more interaction, more entertainment and more conversation.
Now more than ever, it’s vital that organizers invest in their virtual events, up the production values and boost the experience for their attendees. We’ve put together our top ten tips to help you elevate your next virtual event and keep your audience glued to the screen.
Get all of the Virtual Event Top 10 Tips by clicking the button below:
When Science and Events Combine: Adult Learning and Technology
Effective use of psychology principles in event technology can ensure your conference message is hitting the mark with attendees. Learn how the right mix of science and technology play a major role in a successful event.
Hope Holm, Regional Sales Director, Encore, Field Sales
Recorded on May 19, 2020