Technology has revolutionized the meetings and convention industry, just as it has with virtually every other business on the planet. These technological advances have substantially improved the speed and ease with which we get things done. But, on the flip side, they have added layers of complexity to our daily tasks. This is especially true when it comes to trying to set yourself apart from competitors for your target audience.
We are swimming in emails, tweets, posts, selfies, and likes, so how do you rise above the tide? At the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau, we’ve found that going “low-tech” is helping us reach our customer.
Embrace the Arts: Collaborate with your local arts community to give your signage and collateral a unique look, so your meeting or event has a more distinct personality. Embracing low-tech painters and printers is actually very modern, as it follows two current trends: the “buy local” movement and the return to Old-World craftsmanship. We commissioned a local company called Providence Painted Signs to paint iconic scenes from our city, which we then turned into welcome banners.
These banners have become so popular with our meeting planners and delegates that we have framed copies as client gifts and produced a line of posters and postcards available at our Visitor Center. We also did a direct mail piece in conjunction with a local arts collective that included a limited-edition, hand-printed T-shirt. Like the paintings, the shirt got such positive feedback that it is now for sale at our Visitor Center.
Relationships Matter: While technology has made communication faster and easier, it has also taken the hospitality out of the hospitality industry. No matter how advanced civilization gets, people will still want to talk to other people. Picking up the phone or physically leaving your office to talk directly with someone makes an indelible impact. Getting some face time — as opposed to FaceTime — with our customers allows us to connect on a personal level. It also clearly illustrates the intrinsic value of the face-to-face meeting experience, which is the backbone of our industry.
By Thomas Riel, CASE
Vice President of Sales & Services
Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau