The Wow Factor in Events

Skift Take

making your guests go wow

Last year I published a presentation about 10 event trends for 2011. Almost 30K views later, I am happy to say most of the trends did materialize.

It’s been a great roadmap for my year in blogging. I tried to cover most of those trends, from New VIPs to Check-ins.

One item that I wanted to analyze more in depth was fostering Emotions, Serendipity, Surprise and Spontaneity.

In other words, .

What Do You Sell?

I am amazed at how few event planners can answer this question.

I believe you are selling the wow factor. That’s the core product.

In most cases you are also offering networking, education and entertainment. These are great reasons to attend events, but it’s not what we want.

What we really want (but we don’t tell anyone) is to be surprised. To discover something new, to feel we belong to a group, to be a spontaneous part of a movement.

The wow factor is what makes us happy about an event. It drives us to share a story when we go back home. It induces us to buy a ticket for next year and forget about your crazy pricing.

Surprising Someone is an Art

It’s not as it used to be, dear reader. We get to know about cool events around the world like never before. We watch the live stream, we read the tweets.

Surprising your guests is an incredibly difficult task.

Trying may not be enough. It may result in the opposite. It’s like coming up with a video with the objective of making it go viral. I am afraid that is very difficult to achieve. If it happens, in most cases, it is for the wrong reasons.

I will share a tip that works for me:


That’s it.

Read blogs completely unrelated to your event area. Read tweets from users that do the opposite of what you do. Read magazines that stimulate your creativity but never touch on your subject.

The secret is, get out of your domain. And Read.

Here is a good start.

Now to the Master

In my presentation I highlighted Improve Everywhere as a fantastic example of how to foster Emotions, Serendipity, Surprise and Spontaneity.

Here is a TED video from Charlie Todd, who started the movement 10 years ago. I found it thanks to Guy Kawasaki, who is enchanting me these days.

Enjoy and remember: wow us!