Guest Post: Add Entertainment to Your Event—Even on a Budget (Part 2)

This is a guest post by Denise Quashie, a successful Atlanta-based event planner who hosts a great webinar series. Denise has previously shared her excellent venue tips and insights on marketing your event through Twitter. Today, she writes about getting top entertainment for your event—even on a budget. (Part 1 of this post, focusing on event content, appeared here.)

PT 2 — ENTERTAINMENT

Many people equate entertainment to opening acts and high budgets. Wrong. Entertainment can be comprised of many low-cost activities that attendees quite enjoy. Here are some free/low cost entertainment options you can interject at your next event.

Scavenger Hunts

Create a viral campaign by hiding swag on the exhibit show floor. Exhibitors would love you for it and if you’re using social media applications, like Twitter, Twitpic/Plixi, QR codes, it can create a major boost of excitement. If you’re not using Twitter at your event, you should really read my other post about this feature. If cost is a factor, create a pay-to-play with the exhibitors and hide clues at their booths. This will drive revenue for your client, make your exhibitors beyond happy and give you extra cash to purchase those iPad giveaways!

For Cause

Conference organizers can help attendees stay on their workout schedule by creating morning workouts. Bring in a personal trainer and it’s Yoga on the Lawn (perfect sponsorship opportunity, by the way). If you’re looking to give to a charity, provide attendees with a pedometer, encourage a “Walk for Charity,” and give away a prize for the most steps walked. And be sure to spring for a quality pedometer that doesn’t accelerate just on a slight handshake – make certain it actually counts steps.

Brand Integration

Brands are coming down on event organizers when it comes to brand integration. Back in the day brand exposure was all they wanted; now we’re being asked to think outside the box and get their product in every attendee hand. Here’s what you can do:  create a brand-focused speed networking session. Allow brands and attendees to swap tables “speed dating” style and incorporate product/service offerings and education based on the different tables.

Family Activities

If your event takes place during a school break, attendees are more inclined to attend if they can bring their family. Connect with the Convention & Visitors Bureau to create special activities just for family members while sessions are taking place.