Put A Date On Hold

Ballrooms Are Boring: An Event That Looks Different IS Different

By Andrew Davis

As the particularly unhelpful taxi driver pulled away, I was screwed.

"There's no way this is where I'm speaking," I said out loud.
I was two hours early for the Branded Content Event, and the parking lot was empty.

I've spoken in the Netherlands before. I've even addressed audiences in the college-town of Utrecht before, but I'd never spoken here.

Most of the events I attend are held in hotel ballrooms.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with hosting a conference or convention in a hotel. I get it. It makes sense. Everything is right there. Hoteliers, after all, are in the hospitality business. Booking a ballroom is easy. They've got everything you need to make your conference planning easy, but easy isn't always better.

We claim our events are different. However, the vast majority of events I attend look and feel the same. If you want to differentiate your event. It has got to look different. One of the easiest ways to look unique is to choose an unusual venue.

An event that looks different is different.

The energy level is intrinsically higher from the minute you enter when the venue is unique. In our visual, always on, share-friendly world, a distinctive event site creates infinite opportunities to snap Instagram photos.

Where am I?

The smoke stacks bellowed steam. The catwalks and grain silos towered above me as I followed the Brand Content Event arrowed signage. "I'm in the right place," I thought to myself. The weathered bricks, faded paint, industrial doors, and rusted cranes tickled my imagination. What in the world is this going to look like inside?

The doors swung open, and I stepped into a post-industrial architectural marvel. Exposed pipes, brick pillars, concrete floors and colorful spotlights, highlighted the interior caverns as I made my way to the stage.

"Where are we?" I asked the event organizer.

"It's called DeFabrique. It's an event venue designed inside an old feed mill. Do you like it?"

"Like it? I love this place!" I replied. I snapped and shared photos while we walked.

Over the next two hours, I watched the venue fill up. As attendees walked in they too were enamored. Their faces transformed from mundane to mesmerized. They too snapped photos while others pointed at industrial relics hidden in the rafters.

I took the stage at 9:45 and the energy in the room was infectious. Nothing had happened yet; the peculiar venue provided an infusion of excitement and suspense that I (and other event goers) rarely feel.

Change of Venue

I know the logistics involved in finding a unique venue are challenging. But if you want to create a standout event, if you want to surprise and delight event goers for years to come, if you want to show me your event is different, start with a unique venue. You'll be so glad you did. I promise.

Ask Yourself...

What if I choose a venue that challenges my audience to engage from the minute they arrive?

Here are a few shots taken at DeFabrique in Utrecht. They're too intriguing not to share.

Subscribe to The Loyalty Loop

Don't miss a week!

Get next week's Loyalty Loop video a day before everyone else in the world!