Impactful experiences require thoughtful planning and quality gifts
Incentive trips, recognition events, or other special occasions serve as exciting and dynamic ways to honor employees and celebrate great results. But pulling together meaningful events requires a great deal of thought, planning, and attention to detail. The latest PIP Connect Webinar, “Creating Memorable Meetings and Events”, walked viewers through event planning best practices, including incorporating merchandise gifts and managing impactful virtual and onsite experiences.
Panelist Candice Crossfield, Meeting Planner with Focus Brands, kicked off the proceedings by discussing the many ways meetings and events have changed in the aftermath of the pandemic. She spoke to the increased focus on safety, including finding trusted COVID testing vendors, creating socially distanced seating plans, and providing supplies like hand sanitizer and masks. And she emphasized the importance of person-to-person connection after nearly two years of Zoom calls, especially for employees who’ve never met one another offscreen. Additionally, Crossfield addressed how event expectations change based on an event’s size, including what’s required to make attendees feel at ease.
Crossfield, who’s a Certified Meeting Planner, also outlined her top four tips for planning an impactful event: partnering with the best gifting partner in the field; continuously asking questions to uncover every venue and city’s differences; always overplanning to anticipate worst-case scenarios, including creation of plan Bs and contact lists for all emergency contacts; and plotting out the event minute-by-minute in a detailed run-of-show, before Event Day.
In a live poll during the session, many viewers pointed to audio-visual setup as a common pain point at events. Crossfield shared that sentiment and discussed the significance of having reliable and knowledgeable audio-visual partners. These regular partners not only offer expertise but also learn your preferences and make it easier to execute events at the level you expect.
Crossfield closed out her portion of the webinar by highlighting the attendee experience. Key ways to make an impact include having friendly faces at registration and offering welcome drinks and gifts.
The second portion of the webinar dove deeper into the gifting aspect, with a presentation by Kate Renk, Sales Representative with Event Gifting by Incentive Concepts.
Renk reinforced Crossfield’s message about the ways gifts resonate. She shared that corporate gifting has become a major priority, noting the corporate gifting industry now tops $242 billion. Nearly half of that gifting happens for and at events, with 60% going to external recipients and the rest being handed out internally.
She then outlined the ways that Event Gifting by Incentive Concepts can handle all corporate gifting needs, including Onsite Experiences, which feature interactive displays and demos from eight premium gifting brands. (Those event brands include Bose, Briggs & Riley, Costa, Hyperice, kate spade new york, Seiko, and Trek, as well as a curated mix of wellness brands.) Each experience can be centered around a single brand, two brands, or the Select Signature Collection, comprised of six brands. Additionally, she shared that these onsite events can easily be paired with Incentive Concepts’ virtual Your Event Card gifting platform for turnkey selection and shipping.
Concerning the gifts that corporate buyers are searching for, Renk highlighted that the most important factors are quality products, timely delivery, and a wide assortment of gifts to choose from. Event Gifting by Incentive Concepts meets these criteria, but really sets itself apart by not requiring multiunit purchase minimums. Buyers can select individual units of particular products, and many of those gifts can be decorated with company logos.
Renk also moved beyond Event Gifting to showcase Virtual Gifting, which includes Incentive Concepts’ full catalog (not just the event brands) and works for all budgets and price points. Through the Your Event Card, recipients are given the gift of choice as opposed to a fixed amount on a traditional gift card. Renk talked through the e-delivery options and the customizable redemption process.
To close out, Renk stressed the most important factors in ensuring corporate gifts make an impact. Corporate buyers should plan ahead, know their budget, tell a story with the chosen gifts, personalize the gifting experience, consider what works for everyone, and choose quality products.
In all, creating memorable meetings and events requires a thoughtful approach, in which all aspects of the experience are considered, including safety, purpose, and quality gifts. To sign up for future PIP Connect Webinars and explore more rewards & recognition resources, visit pipconnect.net.