The Rise of ‘Design Thinking’ in Event Planning

Great events don’t happen by themselves. Together, The Venetian© Resort Las Vegas and its clients design innovative events that engage attendees while achieving key business goals.

Recently, The Venetian partnered with Skift to produce an in-depth report titled “The Rise of Design Thinking in Meetings and Events.” This piece summarizes some of the findings of that report. The full report may be accessed on the website for The Venetian.

What is “design thinking”? In the event space, it’s a way of coalescing all the various components of a meeting plan to serve a set of business objectives. In other words, events are literally “designed” to meet specific customer-focused goals.

Event owners and planners are continuously looking for new ways to capture the attention and imagination of meeting attendees, and they recognize the need to engage attendees differently than in the past. Design thinking helps by giving planners a way to organize and shape all the elements of an event for optimal end-user engagement.

The Venetian ǀ Sands Expo works with meeting planners to design the end-user experience with the company’s objectives in mind. Says Chandra Allison, senior vice president of sales, “Companies have to think about their core purpose and what they need to achieve, but they also have to recognize that smaller subcommunities can exist within a single event. Clients can use the wide variety of spaces we offer to address their core purpose while accommodating multiple attendee segments. Clients achieve tremendous success when they use this approach, which is being referred to as ‘festivalization.'”

Festivalization, now a top industry trend, is one manifestation of design thinking. It involves leveraging a wide variety of property assets and capabilities for more impactful brand activation and deeper attendee engagement. Clients at The Venetian are increasingly looking beyond core exhibit and meeting spaces and asking to incorporate unique spaces and experiences into their events.

“We’re seeing more clients ask how they can use our property as a platform for festivalization — they’re almost thinking of the resort as a small city,” Allison says. “Blank-canvas spaces such as our expo halls allow clients to build everything from community villages to silent discos. But in addition to meeting spaces, we see clients making much more use of smaller spaces like restaurants and even shops to cater to the needs of subsegments. We’re promoting the use of creative additions like nontraditional spaces, new cocktail experiences, and new restaurant concepts.”

Design thinking doesn’t end with festivalization, though. Meeting planners are recognizing the need to be more innovative in every way. It’s not enough to replicate what was done in years past; companies want to leverage digital technology and out-of-the-box thinking to bring their brands to life.

The Venetian recognizes the importance of continuous innovation. The resort is making investments in digital technology across its meeting spaces and frequently pilots new meeting designs, concepts, and themes with group clients. “We’re fortunate because we host so many different types of events. That helps us stay on top of industry trends,” Allison says. “We share the latest trends with everyone in our organization, so we’ve always got a repository of information on things coming down the pipeline.”

No matter what an event is seeking to achieve, meeting planners should brainstorm with their hosts during the design phase. According to Allison, “When we align our knowledge and extensive capabilities with our clients’ goals, we can co-create truly memorable events.”

The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, when combined with The Sands Expo® & Convention Center, has over 2.25 million square feet of state-of-the-art exhibition and meeting facilities, including a 1,170-square-foot pop-up space for recharging and collaboration. More than 7,000 suites, over 30 restaurants, nightly entertainment options, and a world-class spa make The Venetian a fully integrated resort ideal for events of all sizes. In the past 25 years, The Venetian has welcomed some of the world’s largest trade shows and corporate programs, including CES, HIMSS, AWS re: Invent, and AAPEX.


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