About a year ago, I attended a conference in my hometown, Vancouver. I’ve attended several conferences, but this one really stood out and has stuck with me ever since. I think this is due, in part, to it being a local conference that showcased what makes Vancouver unique.
From the local Vancouver flare to the fun pre-session activities, this conference had everything it takes to make a memorable event experience. I want to share this experience with you so you can make your next event just as memorable.
A Taste of Vancouver
When I first arrived, a crowd of people working the conference greeted me. All of them were smiling, cheering and high-fiving attendees as we entered. It immediately set the tone for what this conference would be like; high-energy and exciting.
The exhibition floor was packed full of various booths, games, activities and more. The venue had a large outdoor courtyard, lined with picnic tables. There were coolers set up in every corner with unlimited drinks and snacks. Towards the back of the courtyard, five Vancouver food trucks were set up, allowing attendees to taste some of Vancouverites favorite local meals.
The food trucks really stood out to me because it was so different from the usual catered lunches you typically find at conferences. The fact they were popular picks among Vancouverites sealed the deal – not to mention they were delicious! I couldn’t decide on the Mac ‘n Cheese truck or the Thai truck…so I had both.
Fun and Games
Back inside, there were so many different activities to do between sessions. A couple of my favorites were the VR station, the caricature artist and the beanbag toss. I still have the caricature portrait on my desk to this day. Anytime we participated in an activity, we received tickets in exchange. These tickets could later be exchanged for swag. The swag at this conference was another standout for me. I picked up a branded dog hoodie. That’s right, there were hoodies for dogs — so even my dog got to experience a small piece of the conference. She gets quite a few stares at the dog park now; the perfect brand ambassador.
Many of the booths throughout the conference were aimed to showcase and support local businesses, which I loved. Anytime I can support a local, Vancouver-owned business, I will. A few of my favorites were a gourmet candy booth that made adults-only gummy candy using champagne and wine, and a green juice booth handing out wheatgrass shots. That way, I could indulge in the candy to get my sweet fix, but also get my greens in – best of both worlds.
Apart from all the fun in-between session activities, the sessions themselves were great. I learned a lot of valuable information from industry leaders that I was able to take back to my team. Overall, I had a wonderful event experience that I still remember a year later. And yes, I am going back again this year.
Takeaways for a Memorable Event Experience
- Showcase the host city
- Focus on local ‘treasures’
- Have good swag that will actually get used long after the event
- Keep attendees busy between sessions with games, activities, booths and more
- Provide good food
- Have well thought out sessions with relevant speakers who are experts in their field
Next time you’re planning an event be sure to think of these tips!