The DMC Network is lucky to have a plethora of expert event planners in its midst — as both clients and as DMC partners!
Two of our community’s sharpest minds were brimming with insights during a recent Northstar Meetings Group webinar that featured Kate Patay, Director of Engagement for Terramar, one of our partner DMCs, and Thuy Diep. Thuy has been a colleague of Kate’s, and joined us at this year’s DMC Network Exchange.
Here's just several ways Kate and Thuy add extra surprise and delight elements to their work.
Figure out how fun strategically fits in
Kate and Thuy agreed — any “fun” you bake into an event should be part of the event’s overall holistic design. The two agreed on the importance of setting overarching goals, and using “fun” elements as tactical ways to help achieve the strategies and objectives set out.
Fun is best realized through collaboration
When asked to share the most fun group experience they’ve ever created, Kate said the event that sprang to mind for her was actually a past one she and Thuy collaborated on in the Bahamas.
When you share in the fun and both bring creative insights to a project, Kate noted, that’s how you end up with the most interesting ideas — like having your speaker literally present on top of a resort’s pool, with attendees surrounding them to soak in new knowledge from the comfort of a pool float! They’re going to want to experience the pool anyways, so why not work that into the agenda vs. competing with it?
Fun also looks different to everyone, Thuy reminded us. Collaborations, especially with local destination experts, not only enrich discussions and brainstorming, but also ensure designs stay genuine and authentic to the destination and will truly read as fun to local attendees.
Surprises are fun, as long as not everything is a total mystery
Experts like Kate and Thuy are well versed in the art of the perfect reveal — keeping some key details to themselves to pleasantly surprise clients, while still ensuring delegates are prepared for the program. Both always give basic details about activity locations, for example, so wardrobes (and footwear) can be appropriately planned.
Kate also described how surprise elements can actually offer some budget wiggle room, for clients looking to stay financially savvy. Keeping some details intentionally shrouded in a bit of mystery can give planners and their clients some behind-the-scenes breathing room that sometimes comes in handy.
Fun from start to finish
The fun doesn’t stop when your event ends either, says Kate. She stressed that the Terramar team stays just as busy in the days and weeks post-event as they do in the ones leading up to it.
You not only need to make sure everything is closed out the right way, said Kate, but want to continue hitting the same emotional notes that your event originally struck and keep the positive feelings building even after delegates make their ways home.
Fun approaches to CSR
Thuy had some especially strong insights on including fun CSR elements in an event program. Find out what charities and non-profits a company already supports, she suggests, then work with local experts (like Kate!) to translate that same support into your event, even if you’re in a new destination.
Kate also chimed in about the importance of giving people options. CSR activities aren’t guaranteed to be everyone’s definition of fun so getting creative with how you incorporate CSR elements pays off, she advised. Even if a hands-on activity isn’t the best fit for a particular group, there are other fun ways to bring a sense of giving back and doing good into your overall event design.
A few final fun words
Kate and Thuy offered a few final pieces of advice to close out the webinar. Trust and transparency are key for Kate. She reiterated the importance of ensuring there’s a good fit with everyone involved in the planning process and to be upfront if something’s not working. Start the conversations early and bring your creative partners into the process at the beginning.
Thuy finished with wise words about avoiding the urge to overpack an agenda. Turns out there maybe is such thing as too much fun when you don’t give attendees time to clear their heads and take a breath now and then!
Thank you to Thuy and Kate for sharing their thoughts with the DMC Network, and with last week’s webinar attendees. We can’t wait to see what you both dream up next — and know we’ll have a lot of fun whatever, wherever we end up!