Event Design

Comfortable Footwear Seduces Planners

Group posing for a photo

Skift Take

Gathering meeting professionals for a reception after a long day at a conference is okay, but what if an activation was added where they take home something they will enjoy for years to come?

Comfortable footwear isn’t negotiable. It is one of a meeting planner’s most essential tools. The iconic song may state, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’,” but in the case of a meeting professional, sneakers are the way to go.

Long days and nights navigating cavernous convention centers, plodding hotel hallways, making sure everything is in place in a maze of meeting rooms, meeting professionals accumulate tens of thousands of steps onsite without stepping foot in a gym.

Over 3,000 industry professionals gathered in Columbus, Ohio, at the beginning of January for the Professional Convention Managers Association (PCMA) Convening Leaders.

As with most industry events, gathering customers together after the sessions ended happened throughout downtown Columbus, the site of the convention. Some of these gatherings featured activations as well.

Visit Indy Provides the Footwear Comfort

Uggs fitting (Source: Visit Indy)

As the temperature drops, there is no better way to keep one’s feet warm than with a pair of Uggs.

During PCMA’s Convening Leaders, Visit Indy, the official destination marketing organization for Indianapolis, sponsored a popular footwear activation — an Uggs fitting. The activation took place in the new tower of the Hilton Columbus Downtown, opened in October, one of the hotels connected to the Greater Columbus Convention Center

“During the event, our attendees had the opportunity to learn about how Indy is a comfortable fit to host meetings and events,” said Chris Gahl, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Visit Indy.

Visit Indy welcomed 196 meeting professionals to the event. Guests could try on, and take home Ugg boots or slippers as a gift.

Reno Tahoe Provides a Foot-Friendly Evening

Sneaker fitting (Source: Reno- Tahoe)

Reno Tahoe, the destination marketing organization for the area, booked Martini Modern Italian Restaurant across from the convention center to host its guests for another footwear activation.

In talking with planners, Charles Harris, CDME, CTA, president and CEO of Reno Tahoe, decided that part of the experience would include a sneaker fitting. Planners enjoyed the concept and many left sporting their new kicks.

“I liked that we were able to get a local shop to help not only with the fitting but with educating about proper footwear,” said Harris. “Plus, this activity gave our salespeople a chance to visit with their customers in a unique setting.”

Footwear specialists from the Columbus Running Company were on site with stacks of different brands and styles of sneakers. Word got out about this foot-friendly evening, and 21 more meeting professionals showed up than Reno Tahoe had expected. “We were planning on a group of 35, and 56 showed up. Usually, that doesn’t happen,” said Harris.

“Our team did a great job identifying the need of meeting planners who work so hard and are on their feet all day. It was also a plus that we could tap into a local business for help. It made the experience more authentic, and authenticity is vital to Reno Lake Tahoe,” said Harris.

There was an alignment in marketing messages as well. “The Reno Tahoe vision represents outdoors, gaming, and special events. It’s about taking care of yourself, and being outdoors aligns with that, as did this shoe event,” Harris explained. 

Photo credit: Visit Indy provided close to 200 meeting professionals new Uggs during a customer event at PCMA Convening Leaders. Visit Indy