Four Things I Learned From the EMA (on Day One!)
As a first time Elite Meetings Alliance attendee, I really didn’t know what to expect. I figured it would be like your typical networking opportunity, with some standard educational sessions throughout. I have attended a handful of industry events over the last couple of years and they have been nice, though nothing to write home about. Even though it’s just Day One at La Cantera Hill Country Resort, my experience at the September 2015 EMA has been far greater than I expected!
1. Inspiration is everywhere. It’s nice to take a break from hosting and to actually experience an event from an attendee’s perspective. As a planner, I constantly notice the small details (did you see those burlap table cloths?!) and it is a nice change to get to experience them without being the one to coordinate! I’ve already noted several ideas to consider at future meetings and events.
2. Networking is enjoyable. It’s especially great to be surrounded by people who understand, first-hand, exactly what you do. I’ve met countless people on day one who are great contacts around the industry and have already recommended properties, best practices, and other helpful resources.
3. The element of surprise feels really good! I always try to do something unique at events I plan, to keep attendees on their toes. I have often wondered what it feels like to be surprised, and if it is worth the extra effort to keep something a secret. The answer is yes! At the planner’s welcome reception, La Cantera pleasantly surprised each of us with our very own pair of beautiful, authentic cowboy boots! You could feel the excitement as we picked our favorite pair and tried them on!
4. Educational sessions are engaging and instantly applicable to your projects. I didn’t realize how many educational sessions I would get to attend. On day one alone, I’ve learned more contract negotiation strategies and best practices, Wi-Fi specifics (who knew bandwidth wasn’t the most important factor?), and event technology options for both planning and attendee engagement. All of the presenters have been great to interact with and their content has been easy to understand and immediately relevant to my programs.
So far, the EMA has proven to be well worth my travel and time spent out of the office. I’m looking forward to spending the next few days experiencing all that the EMA has to offer!
Photos by Andrew Shafer Visuals