When event planning firms are in search of creative approaches to marketing, it's sometimes important to move beyond conventional approaches. Marketing is not about pitching products or services. The key to effective marketing over the long haul is to build and maintain relationships of trust that will ensure that your products, services or venues are top of mind when it's time to make purchasing decisions.
Today, we'll explore examples of some of the events that can help firms stay in touch with existing and prospective clients.
- Cocktail Receptions to showcase event venues. When Vintage Inns Niagara-on-the-Lake wanted to showcase Toronto's Crush Wine Bar that they acquired in January, 2013, they used social media to invite event planners, meeting planners and account managers from venue search firms to a cocktail reception. It was a chance to mix, mingle, sample hors d'oeuvres and view the event and meeting venues.
- Winery Tour and Chef's Table with wine pairings. Toronto Congress Centre reached out to clients and prospective clients with a special invitation to a Chef's Table at a Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. After a brief tour of the facilities, guests boarded a comfortable shuttle bus with lounge seating for a relaxed evening.
- Afternoon Tea. Business development managers at Four Seasons Hotels invite meeting and event planners to join them for tea when they are in town. It's a time for some one on one interaction to get to know the needs of each planner and showcase venues that are of greatest interest.
- Cooking Events. In a previous blog feature, we highlighted how Switzerland Tourism's cooking event in Toronto built on connections with meeting and event planners. Cooking events can be an effective marketing vehicle for just about any event planning or hospitality business.
- Flash Mobs. Brazil and Jamaica are just two of the tourist boards that used flash mobs for destination marketing.
- Road Shows. Dubai Tourism took their show on the road with road shows at hotels across North America. These events featured displays from various suppliers and panel discussions with local meeting and event planners who were familiar with the destination. I was a member of the panel at the event held at Toronto's Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
- Pop-up Events. Disney modeled the brilliance of pop-up events when they created an ice castle in New York's Time Square to launch their Limited Time Magic promotion for 2013.
- Polo and equestrian events. Barbados Tourism has marketed the destination by sponsoring Barbados Day at Toronto's Polo for Heart tournament. Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach at Watergate Bay Hotel features a champagne bar, Beach Hut barbecue, and entertainment . It's an opportunity to experience the hotel through a unique and interactive event.