A Conference Planner on Ballrooms

Conference Planners Can Make Over Ballrooms

I wrote this back in 07 and it still holds true for conference planners today. The image in this article was taken by me only a week ago in NYC….Some things will never change.

We all understand that we have to use ballrooms for some events. It never ceases to amaze me that properties can go through 100 million dollar renovations and still have the same tacky carpet and a 1973 era chandelier, kinda boggles the mind. What are ya gonna do? 

I suppose having to suffer through these ballrooms is a small price to pay for having a program in a location that stuns, awes and makes attendees go wow. Whether it is a sales incentive group or a conference on Internet connectivity they soon forget the ballroom the second they step outside and are in Maui, the Bahamas or one of my favorites…….the Mayan Riviera. Sometimes they also forget the event that was in the ballroom.

Before I digress, it is back to the ballroom. Something that always bothered me on surveys an questionnaires after a program was that you could have the best meal, best entertainment and best resort or conference location but if it was in your standard ballroom……… marks were mediocre at best. The rest of the program got an A+ and the ballroom functions got a B.

We were fortunate enough to work with a fortune 500 client many years ago who felt the same way and she had a little money left in her budget so together we set out to transform this drab piece of nasty real estate into something more. I mentioned that it was a little money, so we did not go crazy. We simply added flora, fauna and all manner of living plant things. What do you know, survey results went up. This was the moment we made a sea change in the way approach ballroom events. We no longer accept, we transform.

That brings me to the present, after this experience and it’s positive feedback, we decided to try many different ways to spruce up the spaces.

Today these can include full wall wraps (we will turn the walls of any ballroom into a scene from the beach, New York or even Venice),  structure builds (if you have the walls as a scene from Venice, build some bridges and add a few gondolas) or even volcanoes. It is all the art of illusion, making the attendee see what you want them to see and look past the standard ballroom decor.

I have to give credit to Encore Creative in Arizona. If you ever have the opportunity to do a program at one of the great properties in the Valley of the Sun, look these folks up.

They are masters at changing the ordinary into an amazing place to entertain, educate and dine. The picture is from an event a few weeks ago, the client had some money left at the last minute (I mean just a couple of hours) and they were able to transform drab into cool and chic. Rather than close in the ballroom, we actually opened the airwalls and built the nylon curtain and put a hip bar area on the other side. Behind the photographer, the stage was just as amazing with all of the bar areas set behind the nylon screens. Simple lighting completed the effect. Survey results for this event came back at an astounding 98% positive with the attendees very happy indeed.

Should you have the time and the little extra budget (and we all know that this is sometimes impossible), try something out of the ordinary.

Just a thought.

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

Yep. We use cookies. Just like everybody else. Cool? Click OK.