Engage and Entertain: How to Captivate Event Attendees

Written By: Camryn Hilton, Event: Trendsetter Night – Scottsdale Fashion Week, Photo Credit: Marcia Salido, Location: Fansē Salon

It’s the age-old question that all of us in the events industry ask ourselves when we plan any event: How do I create the wow factor that will leave a lasting impression? We all want our guests to continue talking about their experience long after the day is up. From small to large-scale events, there are tried and true methods to leave guests stunned at how awesome your event is. So, without further ado, here are the three best ways to charm the socks off of your attendees!

Unique Venue Selection

Try to recall the most memorable event you’ve ever attended. I’d wager that the venue in itself elevated the experience, and was maybe even the reason you went in the first place. It’s all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Find the hottest spot. You may want that place that is so cool people are excited about taking photos in the bathroom just to show that they were there, or that place that is hush-hush exclusive but everyone’s low-key talking about. Either way, the venue needs to feel like they’re traveling somewhere they’ve never been before; somewhere so immersive and unique they may as well be on a different planet!

Picture this: You’re hosting a fashion show, and you’ve selected a new venue in a pop art museum with paintings and sculptures that complement the work of your quirky designer. The venue fits the mood completely. There is art for people to admire in advance, creating a vibrant atmosphere for mingling, and then it serves as an iconic backdrop for the runway. There’s plenty of space for guests to view the show, and the bathroom even has a funky Rolling Stones mouth urinal. Every element of the venue is being talked about.


Interactive Experiences

Now that we’ve laid the foundation for your event’s success, how do you keep the momentum going? Interactive experiences! With the perfect venue that complements your event – your attendees can now focus on the exciting experiences you planned. Your interactive experiences are what the attendees will leave and tell their friends about; it’s what they attach their happy and awesome memories of the event to. Be intentional!

Let’s continue visualizing the fashion show. Add in a retro photo booth, a tattoo station, a claw vending machine full of flowers, and an old-fashioned coffee cart, where the foam on the coffee is 2D printed with the person’s name! These elements are all sprinkles that are topping off your double-chocolate ice cream cone (perfect venue space).

Personalized SWAG

Let’s step into the world of personalization. EVERYONE loves a good gift, especially one that doesn’t feel like an afterthought. Tailoring gifts or SWAG to the attendees is the epitome of the cherry on top in the events industry. You’ve already created this beautiful and iconic event, and the guests get to take something home too?! BOOM – cherry on freaking top!

Do you know your audience?! We sure hope so! Imagine who they are, what they do, where they go, and how the heck they ended up at your event! Now that you can imagine them, what excites them? What trend waves are they riding? Let’s strut back to the fashion show…

The fashion show at the museum is now in full swing, but wait, everyone gets a gift?! Your guests look inside the SWAG bag and pull out a 14k gold signet ring engraved with their initials, a dinner reservation to the most exclusive speakeasy in town, and a Marshall Stanmore III speaker! Wow!

From the moment guests arrive at the carefully chosen venue, to their immersion in interactive activities, and departure with personalized SWAG, every detail adds to the event’s allure. Let’s continue weaving these elements into our events, creating lasting memories that resonate with guests long after the event ends. Because in the end, it’s not just about entertaining—it’s about connecting with your guests and creating a memory like never before.